Involved in amateur theatricals since childhood, Annie Potts received her BFA in theatre arts from Missouri's Stephens College. Potts has been seen in comic supporting roles in films since 1978; she is most closely associated with the part of ditzy secretary Janine Melnitz in the two Ghostbusters flicks of the 1980s. On television, Potts has played Edith Bedelmeyer on the one-season sitcom Goodtime Girls (1980), then enjoyed a longer run as Mary Jo Shively on Designing Women (1986-93). Her characterization of outspoken gourmet chef Dana Paladino on the prime time sitcom Love and War won Annie an Emmy nomination in 1994. Annie Potts has also been featured in a popular series of commercials for a well-known corn-chip product, and has served as national spokesperson for the Women for Arthritis Foundation. In 1996 she was cast as a no-nonsense schoolteacher of troubled inner-city high schoolers in the ABC-TV show Dangerous Minds, a series based on the 1995 Michelle Pfeiffer film of the same name. She voiced the part of Bo Peep in the first two Toy Story films, and in 2003 she took part in a Designing Women reunion. That same year she was the lead in Defending Our Kids: The Julie Posey Story}. She appeared intermittently on the Showtime series Huff, and in 2007 she joined the cast of the short-lived series Men In Trees. In 2012 she was cast as one of the leads in the new TV series GCB.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Started acting at 12, playing the lead role in a summer-camp production of Heidi.
- Joined a road-company production of Charley's Aunt in 1976, appearing alongside Roddy McDowall and Vincent Price.
- Made her TV-movie debut in 1977's Black Market Baby.
- Best-known for her seven-year stint as Mary Jo Shively on Designing Women.
- Made her New York stage debut in 2000 in a production of The Vagina Monologues.
- Returned to her alma mater Stephens College in 2003 to perform in a production of the Stephen Sondheim musical A Little Night Music and teach a master class to theater students.
- Made her Broadway debut in 2009 in God of Carnage.