Anita Gillette

Anita Gillette (née Luebben; born August 16, 1936) is an American actress. She had numerous roles on Broadway, American television, and in feature films. She also made many appearances as a celebrity guest on television game shows.

Anita Gillette
Theatre World Award (1960) 1 (cropped).jpg
Gillette in 1960
Anita Luebben

(1936-08-16) August 16, 1936 (age 86)
Years active1959–present
Spouse(s)Dr. William Gillette (1957–1967) (2 children, divorced)
Armand Coullet (1982–1999) (his death)[1][2]
Children2[citation needed]
From TV series Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1973). Back: David Spielberg; front, L–R: Anne Archer, Robert Urich, Anita Gillette

Early lifeEdit

Gillette was born Anita Luebben in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of Juanita (née Wayland) and John Alfred Luebben.[citation needed] Raised in suburban Rossville, she graduated from Kenwood High School.[3]



Gillette studied at the Peabody Conservatory and made her Broadway debut in Gypsy in 1959. Additional Broadway credits include Carnival!, All American, Mr. President, Kelly, Jimmy, Guys and Dolls, Don't Drink the Water, Cabaret, They're Playing Our Song, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Chapter Two, for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. She received a 1960 Theatre World Award for her performance in Russell Patterson's Sketchbook.

Television and filmEdit

Gillette's first television appearance was on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963. She joined the cast of The Edge of Night in 1967, leaving the next year. Gillette's biggest exposure on a national scale came as a celebrity guest on various New York City-based game shows, mostly those produced by Goodson-Todman and Bob Stewart. She served as a semi-regular on the syndicated What's My Line?, Match Game and the various Pyramid series, among others. She also appeared with Robert Alda as a contestant on Fast Draw.[4]

Gillette's roles in the 1970s included the short-lived series Me and the Chimp with Ted Bessell and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice with a then-unknown Robert Urich and a young Jodie Foster. She also appeared in Norman Lear's All That Glitters (1977), and TV movies such as A Matter of Wife... and Death (1975) and It Happened at Lakewood Manor (1977).

The 1980s marked Gillette's transition from Broadway and television into a character film actress. Prior to this transition, she had sizeable television roles as Nancy Baxter on the national run of The Baxters, Quincy's second wife Dr. W. Emily Hanover on the last season of Quincy M.E. (having previously portrayed his deceased first wife Helen Quincy in a flashback[5]), and a role on Search for Tomorrow at the end of that series' long run, as well as the early David Chase series Almost Grown (1988–1989).

After the end of Search for Tomorrow in late 1986, and appearing with Robert Reed and Bert Convy on Super Password, Gillette transitioned to film with a variety of notable roles such as that of Mona in 1987's Moonstruck. Many of these roles had her as an on-screen mother to characters played by prominent actors; she played Jack Black's mother in Bob Roberts (1992), Mary-Louise Parker's mother in Boys on the Side (1995), Bill Murray's mother in Larger Than Life (1996), Jennifer Aniston's mother in She's The One (1996), and the mother of Bobby Cannavale's love interest in The Guru (2002). Her return to television in 2000's short-lived Normal, Ohio had her playing the mother of John Goodman's character (coincidentally with fellow former game show regular Orson Bean as her on-screen husband).

In the 1990s, Gillette starred in two Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, The Summer of Ben Tyler (1996) with James Woods and A Christmas Memory (1997) with Patty Duke. In 2004, Gillette appeared as Miss Mitzi, the lonely alcoholic owner of a struggling dance studio in Shall We Dance?, opposite Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon. She made several appearances as Grandma Betty on Fox's The War at Home (2005–2007); as Lily Flynn, the mother of criminalist Catherine Willows, in four episodes of CSI (2005–2007/2012); and the mother of Liz Lemon in two episodes of 30 Rock (2007/2010). She starred in the 2006 film Hiding Victoria.

Since 2010 she has had several guest-starring roles in such shows as: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2010), Shake it Up (2012), Modern Family (2013), Blue Bloods (2013), Elementary (2015), Public Morals (2015) and Chicago Med (2016).[citation needed] She played Rose Fitzgerald in the 2012 film The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, written, directed by, and starring Edward Burns.

On February 17, 2020, Gillette was bestowed Honorary Member of The Lambs, America's oldest professional theatrical association.



Year Title Role Notes
1987 Moonstruck Mona
1988 Bum Rap Drunk woman
1991 Undertow Marlene
1992 Bob Roberts Mrs. Davis
1995 Boys on the Side Elaine
1996 Larger than Life Mom
1996 She's the One Carol
1998 Charlie Hoboken Stepmother
2001 Dinner and a Movie Heddie
2001 Early Bird Special Betty
2002 The Guru Mrs. McGee
2004 Shall We Dance? Miss Mitzi
2005 The Great New Wonderful Lainie
2006 The Last Adam Betty Adams
2006 Hiding Victoria Althea Jaffery
2012 The Fitzgerald Family Christmas Rosie Fitzgerald


Year Title Role Notes
1956 The Edge of Night Franki
1961 Route 66 Nancy Episode: "The Thin White Line"
1963 The Ed Sullivan Show Singer 1 episode
1968 Pinocchio Blue Fairy Television film
1970 George M! Ethel Levey
1971–1974 Love, American Style Pat O'Brien 4 episodes
1972 Me and the Chimp Liz Reynolds 13 episodes
1973 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Alice Henderson 12 episodes
1975 A Matter of Wife... and Death Helen Baker Television film
1977 All That Glitters Nancy Langston 2 episodes
1977 It Happened at Lakewood Manor Peggy Kenter Television film
1979 Trapper John, M.D. Teresa Duvall Episode: "Taxi in the Rain"
1979–1983 Quincy, M.E. Dr. Emily Hanover / Helen Quincy 17 episodes
1980 Marathon Anita Television film
1982 Another World Loretta Shea Episode #1.4498
1985 Brass Sister Mary Elizabeth Television film
1986 St. Elsewhere Maureen Westphall Episode: "Time Heals: Part 1"
1986 Search for Tomorrow Wilma Holliday Episode: "Finale"
1986 You Again? Sue Episode: "Henry the Kissinger"
1987 Brothers Flo Waters Episode: "Love and Learn"
1988–1989 Almost Grown Vi Long 13 episodes
1992 All My Children Dee Dee Dunstin 3 episodes
1994 Mad About You Claire Wicker Episode: "When I'm Sixty-Four"
1996 Law & Order Cookie Costello Episode: "Remand"
1996 ABC Afterschool Special Aunt Rita Episode: "Through Thick & Thin"
1996 The Summer of Ben Tyler Suellen Television film
1996 Jules Herky
1997 A Christmas Memory Callie
2000 Frasier Mrs. Wojadubakowski Episode: "Whine Club"
2000 Sex and the City Mrs. Adams Episode: "Hot Child in the City"
2000 Normal, Ohio Joan Gamble 12 episodes
2001 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Loretta Marlon Episode: "Poison"
2003 Queens Supreme Mrs. DeSipio Episode: "Case by Case"
2005–2007 The War at Home Betty 5 episodes
2005–2010 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Lily Flynn 4 episodes
2007 Women's Murder Club Winnie Spencer Episode: "Grannies, Guns and Love Mints"
2007, 2010 30 Rock Margaret Lemon 2 episodes
2009 Cold Case Grace Stearns '09 Episode: "The Crossing"
2010 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Sheila Tripler 2 episodes
2012 Shake It Up Edie Wilde Episode: "Rock and Roll It Up"
2013 Modern Family Annie Episode: "Goodnight Gracie"
2013 Blue Bloods Colleen McGuire Episode: "Bad Blood"
2015 Elementary Claire Renziger Episode: "A Stitch in Time"
2015 Public Morals Eileen 2 episodes
2016 Chicago Med Ruth Episode: "Extreme Measures"
2018–2019 After Forever Frannie 7 episodes


  1. ^ "Anita Gillette-After All, a Working Actress". Woman Around Town. September 17, 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths COULLET, ARMAND". The New York Times. April 23, 1999. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  3. ^ Kelly, Jacques (May 7, 2010). "Baltimore actress returns home for 'After All'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  4. ^ "Fast Draw Starring Johnny Gilbert," YouTube, posted July 14, 2015,
  5. ^ Quincy, M.E. episode "Promises to Keep", March 1, 1979

External linksEdit