Deborah Rush

Deborah Rush (born April 10, 1954) is an American actress. She has worked in television, film and on Broadway. In 1984, she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Michael Frayn's comedy Noises Off. She also acted in Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. In 2003 she acted in the comedy film American Wedding, as Mary Flaherty, Michelle Flaherty's mom. In December 2008, she joined the cast of the Broadway revival of Blithe Spirit.[1]

Deborah Rush
Born (1954-04-10) April 10, 1954 (age 68)
Years active1978–present
Chip Cronkite
(m. 1985)

Rush has acted in a number of movies and television series, including the Woody Allen films Zelig and The Purple Rose of Cairo. She was a regular cast member of the television series Strangers with Candy. She had a recurring role on Spin City as Helen Winston, eventual ex-wife of mayor Randall Winston, and on Orange Is the New Black, as Piper's mother.


She is the wife of Walter Cronkite III (born April 22, 1957) and daughter-in-law of the late television journalist Walter Cronkite. The couple has two sons, Walter Cronkite IV and the late Peter Cronkite.[2]



Year Title Role Notes
1981 Honky Tonk Freeway Sister Mary Magdalene
1982 Split Image Judith
1983 Zelig Lita Fox
1983 A Night in Heaven Patsy
1985 The Purple Rose of Cairo Rita
1985 Compromising Positions Brenda Dunck
1986 Heat D.D.
1988 Big Business Binky Shelton
1989 Parents Mrs. Zellner
1989 Family Business Michele Dempsey
1990 My Blue Heaven Linda
1992 Passed Away Denise Scanlan
1995 Reckless Trish
1997 In & Out Ava Blazer
1998 You've Got Mail Veronica Grant
1999 Three to Tango Lenore
2002 The Good Girl Gwen Jackson
2003 American Wedding Mary Flaherty
2005 Strangers with Candy Sara Blank
2006 Half Nelson Jo Dunne
2007 The Good Life Diane
2008 Fling Katherine
2009 Julie & Julia Avis DeVoto
2009 The Box Clymene Steward
2012 Rhymes with Banana Jane
2015 Ava's Possessions Joanna
2016 Women Who Kill Grace
2020 Before/During/After Therapist #4


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Kiss Me, Petruchio Bianca TV film
1982 Alice at the Palace Alice's Mother TV film
1982 A Midsummer Night's Dream Hermia TV film
1985 Spenser: For Hire Angela Episode: "No Room at the Inn"
1987 Crime Story Penelope Worth Episode: "The Pinnacle"
1987 Leg Work Judy Episode: "Things That Go Bump in the Night"
1987 Invisible Thread Dr. Norris TV film
1988 The Dictator Isabel Domino Episode: "1.1"
1990 Against the Law Louise Ciardi Episode: "Pilot"
1992 Unnatural Pursuits Stephanie Didcot Episode: "I Don't Do Cuddles"
1994 Heaven & Hell: North & South, Book III Isabel Hazard TV miniseries
1995 The Client Phoebe Halliwell Episode: "Pilot"
1996-1997 Spin City Helen Winston Recurring role (4 episodes)
1997 Law & Order Frances Houston Episode: "Blood"
1999 Earthly Possessions Heidi Anderson TV film
1999-2000 Strangers with Candy Sara Blank Main role (30 episodes)
2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Christina Harlin Episode: "Russian Love Poem"
2000 Madigan Men Mrs. Wolfe Episode: "Meet the Wolves"
2004 The Jury Ms. Davenport Episode: "The Honeymoon Suite"
2004 Tempting Adam Ruth Heller TV film
2010 The Electric Company Caroline Heffenbacher Episode: "Revolutionary Doughnuts"
2010 Big Lake Linda Franklin (10 episodes)
2012 The Good Wife Judge Sally Rigby Episode: "Gloves Come Off"
2013 Girls Thomas-John's Mother Episode: "It's a Shame About Ray"
2013-2019 Orange Is the New Black Carol Chapman (11 episodes)
2014 Inside Amy Schumer Amy's mother Episode: "Slow Your Roll"
2019 The Blacklist Realtor Episode: "Orion Relocation Services"
2021 Search Party Gertrude Wreck Episode: “The Thoughtless Woman”


Year Title Role Notes
1975-1976 Dance with Me Goldie Pot
1983-1985 Noises Off Brooke Ashton
1985-1986 Hay Fever Jackie Coryton
1993-1994 The Sisters Rosensweig Gorgeous Teitelbaum Replacement
2005 Absurd Person Singular Marion
2009 Blithe Spirit Mrs. Bradman


  1. ^ Gans, Andrew (December 10, 2008). "Rush Joins Starry Cast of Blithe Spirit Revival". Playbill. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2009.
  2. ^ "Peter Cronkite Obituary".

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