Nancy Travis

Active - 1985 - 2021  |   Born - Sep 21, 1961 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Thriller

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The ever-fascinating Nancy Travis excelled in edgy, neurotic characterizations during the 1990s; she sounds like a chain-smoker or Valium-popper even when not playing one. Graduating with a BA degree from New York University, Travis apprenticed at Circle in the Square, acted in the touring company of Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, and starred on Broadway with Judd Hirsch in I'm Not Rappaport. As a means of continually recharging her creative batteries, she helped found the Naked Angels, an off-Broadway acting troupe. After laboring in virtual anonymity in such TV movies as Malice in Wonderland (1985), Travis was afforded top billing in the 1986 two-parter Harem, lending a little artistry and dignity to an otherwise trivial affair. Her movie breakthrough was in the role of the errant, unmarried British mother Sylvia in Three Men and a Baby (1987) and its 1990 sequel Three Men and a Little Lady. More complex roles came her way in Internal Affairs (1992), The Vanishing (1993) and Chaplin (1993); in the latter film, she appeared as the real-life Joan Barry, whose spiteful and unfounded paternity suit against Charlie Chaplin (Robert Downey Jr.) was the beginning of the end of The Little Tramp's Hollywood career. Even when playing comedy in So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993), Travis retained her ticking-bomb, "don't turn your back on me" aura. Nancy Travis' television credits of the 1990s include her gravelly voiceover work as Aunt Bernice on the animated weekly Duckman (1993- ) and her starring stint on the so-so 1995 sitcom Almost Perfect.

Movie Highlights

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  • Got her start acting in commercials, including ads for Twinkies and Levi's Jeans.
  • A founding member of the New York City-based Naked Angels theater company.
  • Made her Broadway debut in I'm Not Rappaport in the mid 1980s.
  • First big-screen role came in the 1987 comedy Three Men and a Baby.
  • Auditioned for Julia Roberts' role in 1990's Pretty Woman.
  • Appeared on the sitcom Becker alongside her Three Men and a Baby costar Ted Danson.
  • Voiced characters on the animated series Duckman, Superman and The Wild Thornberrys.