Conchata Ferrell

Active - 1972 - 2016  |   Born - Mar 28, 1943 in Loudendale, West Virginia, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

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).

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  • Cofounded the Circle Repertory Theatre in New York City.
  • Had her big break as prostitute April Green in the 1970s in the off-Broadway production of Hot L Baltimore, a role she reprised for the 1975 TV series of the same name.
  • Was known for April's boisterous laugh and said that for years people asked her to do the laugh.
  • Made her theatrical film debut in Sidney Lumet's Network (1976).
  • Had her first starring role, opposite Rip Torn, in Heartland (1979).
  • Though known for her long career in TV and film, she has won an OBIE Award, Theater World Award and Drama Desk Award for her stage work.
  • Her role as Berta on the sitcom Two and a Half Men, for which she received Emmy nominations, was originally only supposed to be for a two-part episode.
  • Writes children's poetry.