Lisa Edelstein

Active - 1991 - 2020  |   Born - May 21, 1967 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Comedy Drama

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Upon her election by The New York Times as a "top celebutante" in 1986 (due to her popularity in N.Y.C.'s club scene), then-19-year-old Lisa Edelstein reportedly grew wary of "fame for fame's sake" and spent years grounding her celebrity in a series of well-respected, if minor, acting assignments. She made a small-scale debut in a prestigious film -- the role of the makeup artist in Oliver Stone's controversial Jim Morrison biopic The Doors (1991) -- and thereafter was often pigeonholed in sitcom appearances, typically as a comically eccentric girlfriend or wife. This typecasting characterized Edelstein's appearances on Seinfeld, Mad About You, Sports Night, Frasier, and a myriad of other programs. There were exceptions, though, as the actress also starred on the short-lived but critically acclaimed drama Relativity in the mid-'90s as Rhonda Roth, a lesbian whose complex, non-sensationalized portrayal marked a step forward for homosexual characters on network TV. Edelstein also garnered recurring roles on such series as The West Wing (playing a law student whom Rob Lowe's character romances until he finds out she moonlights as a call girl), Felicity, and Ally McBeal (appearing as a transsexual who dates a lawyer played by James LeGros).

Edelstein would score her biggest break to date with a lead role on the hit medical drama House in 2004. She would stick with the hugely successful show until 2011, in addition to roles on other shows throughout the 2000's, like American Dad!, The Good Wife, House of Lies and Castle.

Movie Highlights

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  • A noted Manhattan nightclub denizen as a college student, she was the subject of a 1986 New York Times Magazine profile written by Maureen Dowd.
  • Wrote, composed and performed in Positive Me, a 1989 musical piece about AIDS produced by off-Broadway's LaMama theater company; Thomas Gibson was in the cast.
  • Made her film debut as a makeup artist in Oliver Stone's The Doors (1991).
  • Voiced the role of Lex Luthor's aide Mercy Graves in Superman: The Animated Series, as well as in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon series; also voiced Crystal Steele in the Blade Runner CD-ROM game.
  • Is a longtime vegetarian.
  • Does volunteer work for the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Save the Children, Planned Parenthood and AmFAR.