Born and raised in the Boston area, Erbe left her hometown to study drama at New York University. After making her TV debut as Lynn Redgrave's daughter on the short-lived TV sitcom Chicken Soup (1989), she returned to New York and was cast in the acclaimed 1990 Broadway production of The Grapes of Wrath. Erbe soon scored her first major film credit as Richard Dreyfuss' daughter in the Bill Murray comedy What About Bob? (1991) and alternated stage work as a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Atlantic Theatre Company with TV and films throughout the 1990s, most notably in Rich in Love (1992), George Wallace (1997), Kiss of Death (1995), The Addiction, (1995), and Stir of Echoes. Erbe also earned major acclaim on the HBO series Oz. As the 2000's unfolded for the actress, she found continued success in TV, playing the role of Detective Alexandra Eames on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Biography by Lucia Bozzola
- Decided to become an actor after playing the Little Red Hen in a kindergarten production of Chicken Little.
- As a member of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, she starred in a 1997 production of A Streetcar Named Desire (directed by husband Terry Kinney), playing Stella opposite Gary Sinise's Stanley and John C. Reilly's Mitch.
- Her second pregnancy was incorporated into a Law & Order: Criminal Intent storyline by having her character act as a surrogate mother for her sister.