Dana Robins Ivey (born August 12, 1941) is an American actress. She is a five-time Tony Award nominee for her work on Broadway, and won the 1997 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for her work in both Sex and Longing and The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Her film appearances include The Color Purple (1985), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), The Addams Family (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Two Weeks Notice (2002), Rush Hour 3 (2007), and The Help (2011).

Dana Ivey
Dana Ivey "Professional Cuddler" trailer.jpg
Ivey in Professional Cuddler, 2018
Dana Robins Ivey

(1941-08-12) August 12, 1941 (age 78)
Years active1962–present

Early life and familyEdit

Ivey was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Her mother, Mary Nell Ivey Santacroce (née McKoin), was a teacher, speech therapist, and actress who appeared in productions of Driving Miss Daisy and taught at Georgia State University; Mary Nell was considered by John Huston to be "one of the three or four greatest actresses in the world."[1] Her father, Hugh Daugherty Ivey, was a physicist and professor who taught at Georgia Tech and later worked at the Atomic Energy Commission.[2] Her parents later divorced. She has a younger brother, John, and a half-brother, Eric Santacroce, and one nephew, Evan Santacroce from her mother's remarriage to Dante Santacroce.[3]

She received her undergraduate degree at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She was a member of Phi Mu women's fraternity and earned a Fulbright grant to study drama at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.[4] She received an honorary doctorate (humane letters) from Rollins College in February 2008.[5]



Before making New York City her home in the late 1970s, Ivey appeared in numerous American and Canadian stage productions and served as director of DramaTech in Atlanta from 1974 to 1977, as had her mother before her from 1949 to 1966. In 1981, Ivey made her Broadway debut playing two small roles in a production of Macbeth; the following year, she was cast in a major supporting role in a revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter, for which she received the Clarence Derwent Award as Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. She was nominated for two Tony Awards in the same season (1984) – as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George and Best Featured Actress in a Play for a revival of Heartbreak House – a feat repeated by only three other actresses, Amanda Plummer, Jan Maxwell, and Kate Burton.[6]

Ivey's performances in Quartermaine's Terms and Driving Miss Daisy (creating the title role)[7] earned her Obie Awards,[8] as did that in Mrs. Warren's Profession (2005).[9]

Ivey performed in the New York premiere in 2009 of The Savannah Disputation by Evan Smith at Playwrights Horizons. The comedy co-starred Marylouise Burke, Reed Birney, and Kellie Overbey.[10][11]

In July 2010, she appeared as Winnie in Happy Days by Samuel Beckett at the Westport Playhouse.[12] She appeared as Miss Prism in the Roundabout Theatre Company Broadway production of The Importance of Being Earnest in 2011.[13] Ivey played Mrs Candour in the 2016 production of The School for Scandal at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.[14]

In December 2016, Ivey was invited by the Noel Coward Society to lay flowers on the statue of Sir Noël Coward at the Gershwin Theatre in Manhattan to celebrate the 117th birthday of "The Master".


Ivey's first film appearance was in Joe Dante's 1985 science-fiction fantasy film Explorers with Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix.[15] Her first major screen appearance was in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Alice Walker's The Color Purple later that same year. Among her other film credits are Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the 1995 remake of Sabrina, Simon Birch, Postcards from the Edge, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, The Adventures of Huck Finn, Orange County, Rush Hour 3, The Leisure Seeker, The Importance of Being Earnest, and as Sandra Bullock's character's mother, Mrs. Kelson, in Two Weeks Notice. In 2011, she played the role of Grace Higginbotham in the critically acclaimed film, The Help, and starred in Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight.


In 1978, Ivey made her television debut in the daytime soap opera Search for Tomorrow. Her television credits include a starring role in the sitcom Easy Street opposite Loni Anderson and guest appearances on Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order, Frasier, Oz, The Practice, Sex and the City, Ugly Betty, Boardwalk Empire, and Monk (episode "Mr. Monk and the Other Detective").

Broadway creditsEdit

Theatre awards and nominationsEdit

  • 1983 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (Quartermaine's Terms, nominee)
  • 1983 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (Present Laughter, nominee)
  • 1984 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Sunday in the Park with George, nominee)
  • 1984 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Heartbreak House, nominee)
  • 1987 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play (Driving Miss Daisy, nominee)
  • 1997 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (The Last Night of Ballyhoo, nominee)
  • 1997 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (The Last Night of Ballyhoo and Sex and Longing, winner)
  • 2005 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (The Rivals, nominee)
  • 2007 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Butley, nominee)
  • 2008 Induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame [16]


  1. ^ NYT April 21, 1999[full citation needed]
  2. ^ "Dana Ivey Biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  3. ^ "Dana Ivey Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  4. ^ ""phimuaglaia article, Winter/Spring 2008". Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2019-07-15.
  5. ^ Orlando Sentinel article, February 15, 2008[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Twice Blessed" Archived June 9, 2003, at the Wayback Machine tonyawards.com, accessed April 17, 2011
  7. ^ Gussow, Mel, "The Stage: Driving Miss Daisy", The New York Times, April 16, 1987. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
  8. ^ Dana Ivey, official website. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
  9. ^ Staff."Winners of 51st Annual Village Voice Obie Awards Named", broadway.com, May 16, 2006
  10. ^ Current Season at Playwrights Horizon
  11. ^ Isherwood, Charles, "Dodging Hellfire, Armed With Quips and the Obliging Father Murphy", The New York Times, March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2011-02-15
  12. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Dana Ivey and Jack Wetherall Face Happy Days at Westport Playhouse, Beginning July 6", Playbill, July 6, 2010
  13. ^ Isherwood, Charles."A Stylish Monster Conquers at a Glance" The New York Times, January 13, 2011
  14. ^ "Dana Ivey on Loving Language, Social Media, and The School for Scandal" by David Gordon, TheaterMania.com, April 26, 2016
  15. ^ Harnick, Chris (May 8, 2013). "Dana Ivey on "the Big C"". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  16. ^ "Hall of Fame: theater veterans get a night in limelight". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

External linksEdit