A classically trained actress with her roots in the theater, buxom performer Debra Monk spent years specializing in portrayals of matronly types, including aunts, mothers, and policewomen, on-stage and onscreen. Monk made one of her first film appearances as Aunt Dorothy in Norman Rene's fantasy comedy Prelude to a Kiss (1993) opposite Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan, then moved into a lengthy series of additional A-list Hollywood projects, including Fearless (1993), For Love or Money (1993), Quiz Show (1994), and Extreme Measures (1996). In the meantime, Monk also continued her stage work in such Manhattan-area productions as Death Defying Acts (1995) and Redwood Curtain (1997), for which she netted a substantial degree of acclaim. Monk found even greater success on the small screen, however, with two ongoing roles on popular series: that of Katie Sipowicz on Steven Bochco's NYPD Blue and that of Louise O'Malley on Grey's Anatomy. In 2008, Monk landed a supporting role opposite John Malkovich and Colin Hanks in the bittersweet show business drama The Great Buck Howard (2008). She was away from screens for four years after that, but returned in the 2012 Katherine Heigl vehicle One for the Money.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Was voted "Best Personality" in her high-school graduating class.
- Has worked extensively in theater, starting with cowriting, codirecting and costarring in Pump Boys and Dinettes, which was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical in 1982.
- Appeared as Mrs. Boyle in Prelude to a Kiss on Broadway in 1990. Two years later, she made her film debut in the movie version, playing Aunt Dorothy.
- Played the role of Gerald Ford's would-be assassin Sara Jane Moore in Stephen Sondheim's 1990 off-Broadway musical Assassins.