Laurie Metcalf –

Laurie Metcalf in JFK.

About Laurie Metcalf (1955 – ____)

Laura Elizabeth Metcalf was born in Carbondale, Illinois, the eldest of three children. She, her brother James and her sister Linda were raised in Edwardsville, Illinois, which she has said "isn't anywhere near a theatre." Her father, James, was the budget director at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville at the time of his sudden death in 1984. Her mother, Libby, was a librarian. Her great-aunt was the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Zoë Akins. She is an alumna of Illinois State University, class of 1976.

Metcalf, who worked as a secretary while in college, said she thoroughly enjoyed seeing a pile of paper in the to-do box on one side of her desk move over to the completed side by the end of the day. She often zoned in on the task at hand and worked through lunch. She originally majored in German, thinking she could work as an interpreter, and then in Anthropology before accepting a Theatre major was her real passion. She has said that theatre work also involves interpreting and studying human behavior. She has described herself as hideously shy, and yet she found the courage to audition for a few plays in high school and was "hooked". She initially did not choose acting as a career because she thought it was unlikely to lead to regular work.

She attended Illinois State University and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theater in 1976. While there, she met fellow theater students, among them John Malkovich, Glenne Headly, Joan Allen, Terry Kinney, and Jeff Perry, the latter two of whom, along with Perry's high school classmate Gary Sinise, went on to establish Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Metcalf began her professional career at Steppenwolf, of which she was a charter member. Metcalf went to New York to appear in an Off-Broadway Steppenwolf production of Balm in Gilead at Circle Repertory in 1984 for which she received the 1984 Obie Award for Best Actress and a 1984–85 Theatre World Award (for best debut in a Broadway or Off-Broadway performance). She was praised for her performance as Darlene, and was singled out for her twenty-minute act two monologue. Chicago critic Richard Christiansen wrote:

There's a moment when Laurie Metcalf — who plays this poor young thing that comes to the big city and hangs out at this greasy spoon diner where the play is set — is talking about her once boyfriend who is an albino; I think it's a monologue of about five, six, seven minutes. Just to sit there and watch and hear Laurie unspool that story, it just brought tears coming down your eyes — oh, boy, it was something.

Metcalf relocated to New York City and began to work in both film and theater, including such productions as David Mamet's November on Broadway in 2008.

Through June 2009, Metcalf starred with French Stewart in Justin Tanner's play, Voice Lessons, in Hollywood before beginning rehearsals to play Kate Jerome in the Broadway revival of Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical plays Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound.

In September 2010, Metcalf returned to Steppenwolf and starred in Lisa D'Amour's play, Detroit.

In 2012, Metcalf joined David Suchet in a West End production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, for which she was nominated for the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress.

The Other Place came to Broadway in 2013, with Metcalf reprising her role and earning Tony and Drama League nominations. She starred with Zoe Perry, her real-life daughter.

In October 2013, Metcalf performed with Jeff Goldblum in Domesticated, by Bruce Norris at the Off-Broadway Mitzi Newhouse Theater of Lincoln Center.

She was then cast in the role of Annie Wilkes in the Broadway production of Stephen King's Misery, opposite Bruce Willis. The play premiered to mixed reviews from critics, but Metcalf's performance was widely acclaimed.

Metcalf has performed in roles that range from very large to very small in many films, including Desperately Seeking Susan, Making Mr. Right, Miles from Home, Internal Affairs, Stars and Bars, Beer League, Mistress, A Dangerous Woman, Uncle Buck, Blink, The Secret Life of Houses, Treasure Planet, Toy Story, Runaway Bride, Bulworth, Meet the Robinsons, Georgia Rule, Fun with Dick and Jane, Leaving Las Vegas, Scream 2, Stop Loss, and Hop.

Metcalf has often appeared against type in both film and television; in JFK, she played a dramatic role as one of Jim Garrison's chief investigators. She appeared as the murderous mother of Billy Loomis in the horror film Scream 2; and portrayed real-life Carolyn McCarthy in the television movie The Long Island Incident.

Metcalf has appeared in several television series, including being a cast member for a single episode of Saturday Night Live—the final episode of the show's tumultuous 1980–1981 season. In 1981, she appeared as a feature player on the first Dick Ebersol-produced episode of Saturday Night Live following the firing of Jean Doumanian. Because of the sketch show's severe decline in quality at the time and the 1981 Writers Guild of America strike, the show was put on hiatus for retooling. Metcalf was never asked back to be a cast member.

Metcalf is perhaps best known for her role as Jackie Harris, the multi-careered, low self-esteemed, amiable sister of the title character, in the hit series Roseanne. Her performance garnered her three consecutive Emmy Awards. Roseanne ran from 1988 to 1997, and Metcalf appeared as Jackie over its entire run.

She subsequently appeared with Norm Macdonald on The Norm Show (or Norm), which ran for three seasons (1999–2001), and was also a regular on the 2003 Nathan Lane series Charlie Lawrence, which was cancelled after two episodes. Metcalf has made guest appearances on Absolutely Fabulous, Malcolm in the Middle, My Boys, Dharma & Greg, Frasier, The Big Bang Theory, Without a Trace, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Monk.

Metcalf took a recurring role on Desperate Housewives — for which she received an Emmy nomination — and also appeared alongside her ex-husband Jeff Perry in an episode of Grey's Anatomy. In the fall 2008, she starred in the CW dramedy Easy Money, as the matriarch of a family of loan sharks. The series was canceled after three episodes.

Metcalf starred in the HBO comedy series Getting On during its run from 2013–15. She was concurrently the lead actress in the short-lived CBS sitcom The McCarthys (2014–15).

She returned in the 2018 revival of Roseanne along with most of the original cast.

In 2017, Metcalf earned critical acclaim for her performance in Lady Bird, a comedy-drama film directed by Greta Gerwig. For her performance, she was nominated for numerous awards, including a Golden Globe Award, the SAG Award, and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Personal Life

In 1983, Metcalf married Jeff Perry, co-founding member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company. They had a daughter, Zoe Perry, in 1984, and later divorced, in 1992.

Metcalf later began a relationship with Matt Roth, the Roseanne co-star who played her abusive boyfriend, Fisher. By November 1993 they had a son, Will, and eventually married. They also occasionally worked together, as in the 1994 feature film thriller Blink and the 1998 drama Chicago Cab; they also appeared together in an episode of Desperate Housewives. Their daughter, Mae Akins, was born in 2005. They had a second son, Donovan, whom they fostered at six years old in 2006 and permanently adopted. In November of 2008, Metcalf and Roth separated. In September 2011, Roth filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. In May 2014, the divorce was finalized.

Metcalf has self-disclosed as a workaholic and that she's hard on herself in rehearsals. She has often said that she prefers theatre to any acting medium as it is where she feels most comfortable.

She has also appeared in commercials for Plan USA, a humanitarian organization which helps children in need around the world.

Laurie Metcalf's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
1978A WeddingMaid
1985Desperately Seeking SusanLeslie Glass
1987Making Mr. RightSandy
1988Candy MountainAlice
1988Stars and BarsMelissa
1988The Appointments of Dennis JenningsEmma
1988Miles from HomeExotic Dancer
1989Uncle BuckMarcie Dahlgren-Frost
1990Internal AffairsAmy Wallace
1990Pacific HeightsStephanie MacDonald
1991JFKSusie Cox
1992MistressRachel Landisman
1993A Dangerous WomanAnita Bell
1994The Secret Life of HousesAnn
1995Leaving Las VegasLandlady
1995Toy StoryMrs. Davis
1996Dear GodRebecca Frazen
1997U TurnBus Station Clerk
1997Chicago CabFemale Ad Exec
1997Scream 2Debbie Salt / Mrs. Loomis
1999Runaway BrideBetty Trout
1999Toy Story 2Mrs. Davis
2000TimecodeDava Adair
2002Treasure PlanetSarah Hawkins
2005Fun with Dick and JanePhyllis
2006Steel CityMarianne Karn
2006Beer LeagueMrs. DeVanzo
2007Meet the RobinsonsLucille Krunklehorn-Robinson
2007Georgia RulePaula Richards
2008Stop-LossMrs. Colson
2010Toy Story 3Mrs. Davis
2017Lady BirdMarion McPherson
2019Toy Story 4Mrs. Davis

Laurie Metcalf's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
1981Saturday Night LiveWeekend Update Reporter
1985The Execution of Raymond GrahamCarol Graham
1986The EqualizerTheresa
1988–97, 2018–presentRoseanneJackie Harris
1997King of the HillCissy Cobb
1997The Eddie FilesSpecial Agent Hicks
1997Life with LouieMiss Kinney
1997Dharma & GregSpyder
1998Always OutnumberedHalley Grimes
1998The Long Island IncidentCarolyn McCarthy
19983rd Rock from the SunJennifer Ravelli
1999Balloon FarmCasey Johnson
1999–2001The Norm ShowLaurie Freeman
2000–11God, the Devil and BobDonna Allman
2002Two Families
2003Phil at the GateTeddy Duffy
2003Charlie LawrenceSarah Dolecek
2004Malcolm in the MiddleSusan
2004FrasierNanny G
2004Absolutely FabulousCrystalline
2005Without a TraceSusan Hopkins
2006Grey's AnatomyBeatrice Carver
2006Desperate HousewivesCarolyn Bigsby
2006My BoysAunt Phyllis
2007The Virgin of Akron, OhioLydia
2007RainesAlice Brody
2007–presentThe Big Bang TheoryMary Cooper
2008–09Easy MoneyBobette Buffkin
2009The FarmWarden Margaret Elder
2013The Goodwin GamesDr. Richland[62]
2013–15Getting OnDr. Jenna James
2014Tim & Eric's Bedtime StoriesGabrielle
2014–15The McCarthysMarjorie McCarthy
2016Horace and PeteSarah
2017Playing HouseDr. Leslie Rollins
2018American Dad!Elizabeth Hadley
2018SupergirlMary McGowan

Academy Nominations/Awards won by Laurie Metcalf include...

Year Movie Award
2017 Lady Bird Best Supporting Actress (Nominated)

Memorable Quotes by Laurie Metcalf

“ I don't know if ISU helped me become what I am, but I know that if I hadn't gone there, I wouldn't be what I am today. ”

“ I'm hideously shy as myself, but on stage I can run around naked and bite the heads off fish. ”

[on receiving an Oscar nomination, 2017] “ I'd like to think it's karma. I'd like to think that, having treated every single project as the most important one in that moment, and having worked your ass off and given 150 percent to each one, there's a little payback. ”

“ [on receiving an Oscar nomination, 2017] I'd like to think it's karma. I'd like to think that, having treated every single project as the most important one in that moment, and having worked your ass off and given 150 percent to each one, there's a little payback. ”

“ I work just as hard and have just as much fun whether in a 50-seat house or in a 1000-seat house. It's a luxury to be in a tiny space every once in a while and a rush to be on a giant stage every once in a while. ”

“ I like to play a wide range of characters. The more they're unlike me, the better I like it. ”

Things You May Not Know About Laurie Metcalf

She is a founding ensemble member of the famous Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. Her ex-husband, Jeff Perry, was one of the three founders of the troupe.

She became a mother for the 3rd time at age 50, when her daughter, Mae Akins Roth, was born on July 3, 2005 via surrogate. The child's father is her 2nd husband, Matt Roth.

She is of English, German, Scottish, Irish, and more distant Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, ancestry.

As of 2018, she has been in 3 films that were Oscar nominated for Best Picture: JFK, Toy Story 3, and Lady Bird.

At one time typed 90 words per minute.

She is an active member of UNICEF.

Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in 3rd Rock From the Sun (1996).
In Dear God (1996).
With Jeff Hephner in Easy Money (2008).
In Getting On (2013)... top picture with Niecy Nash...
bottom picture with Nash and Alex Borstein.
With Andy Garcia in Internal Affairs (1990).
In Oliver Stone's JFK (1991)... bottom picture with Kevin Costner , Wayne Knight, Gary Grubbs, Michael Rooker, and Jay O. Sanders.
With Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird (2017).
In Roseanne (1988)... bottom picture with Roseanne Barr.
In the new incarnation of Roseanne (2018)... top picture with
Roseanne Barr... bottom picture with Roseanne Barr and Sara Gilbert.
Laurie Metcalf in The Big Bang Theory (2007)... middle picture with
Jim Parsons... bottom picture with Parsons and Johnny Galecki.