Best known for her portrayal of Marcy Rhoades D'arcy, the manic, feminist/careerist neighbor on the long-running series Married...With Children, Amanda Bearse is also a prominent spokesperson for lesbian and gay rights in the entertainment industry and a very busy director on television. Born in Winter Park, FL, Bearse came to acting through high school and community theater and later moved to New York, where she studied acting with Sanford Meisner. Her first major acting role was as Amanda Cousins on the daytime drama All My Children from 1982 to 1984. Her early film appearances consisted of small roles in features such as First Affair (made for television), Protocol, Fright Night, and Fraternity Vacation, before Married...With Children came along in 1987. Originally, her portrayal and image were that of a perky supporting player but as the series evolved, the writing for her character did as well and her portrayal became harder, much funnier, and much edgier. Bearse also studied directing at the American Film Institute and U.S.C., and most viewers were less aware of the fact that from the middle of the series' run, she became one of the program's regular directors and also wrote several scripts. During this period she emerged as a spokesperson for gay and lesbian rights, declaring her sexuality openly in October 1993, as part of National Coming Out Day. After the end of the series' run of ten seasons, Bearse concentrated largely on directing, on sitcoms such as Ladies Man, Dharma and Greg, and Two Guys and a Girl, among other programs.
Biography by Bruce Eder
- Studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City under the famed method-acting teacher Sanford Meisner.
- Studied directing at both the American Film Institute and the University of Southern California.
- Professional screen acting debut came in 1982 on All My Children.
- Directed more than 30 episodes of the Fox sitcom Married...With Children, while also appearing on-screen as the Bundy's next-door neighbor Marcy D'Arcy for the show's entire 11-season run.
- After publicly revealing her sexuality in a 1993 magazine interview, she was regarded as one of the first openly gay actors appearing on prime-time television in the U.S.
- A vocal advocate for LGBT rights, she began serving as an Ambassador for the Federation of Gay Games prior to the seventh quadrennial Gay Games held in Chicago in 2006.