Expressive comic actress Conchata Ferrell attended drama classes at West Virginia University and Marshall University. Ferrell's first off-Broadway appearance was as good-natured hooker April Green in Lanford Wilson's Hot L Baltimore (1972), a role she would reprise in the short-lived 1975 TV sitcom version. In 1973, she won an Obie Award for her performance in The Sea Horse. Her first major film role was feisty frontier widow Elinore in the 1981 western Heartland, a performance that earned her a "Wrangler Award" from the Cowboy Hall of Fame. She has also been seen in Network (1976), Mystic Pizza (1988) and Edward Scissorhands (1991), to name but a few. As active on TV as elsewhere, Conchata Ferrell has played such regular TV-series roles as female cop Wilhelmina "The Fox" Johnson in BJ and the Bear (1979), café owner Vangie Cruise in McClain's Law (1981), nurse Joan Thor in the original ER (1984), zoo secretary Kate Galindo in A Peaceable Kingdom (1989), entertainment lawyer Susan Bloom in LA Law (1991-92 season, earning an Emmy nomination in 1992), and cynical psychologist/advice columnist Dr. Madeline Stoessinger in Hearts Afire (1993-95).