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Lisa Jane Persky (born May 5, 1955) is an American actress, journalist, author, artist, and photographer. She is best known for her supporting roles in the films The Great Santini (1979) and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), and her work in the late 1970s as a writer and photojournalist for New York Rocker magazine.

Lisa Jane Persky
Born (1955-05-05) May 5, 1955 (age 63)
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Occupation Actress, author, artist, photographer
Years active 1977 - present
Spouse(s) Andy Zax (2008-present)


Early life and educationEdit

Persky was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of Jane Holley (née Wilson) and Mort Persky, and, subsequent to her parents' divorce, the step-daughter of novelist Judith Rossner (Looking for Mr. Goodbar) and classical violinist Vladimir Weisman.[1] She grew up in New York's Greenwich Village, making her home at 87 Christopher Street,[2] a building known for such notable tenants as playwright H.M. Koutoukas[3] and Yoko Ono. Persky attended P.S. 41 elementary school and the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan, where she studied graphic design.[4]


Immediately after she graduated from high school, Persky's neighbor H.M. Koutoukas told her that he had written a play for her, and cast her (at the sum of $25 per week) as "Cordelia Wells, The World's Most Perfect Teenager" in the play Grandmother Is in the Strawberry Patch at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, the first of several collaborations between the two.[3] In 1976, she performed (as Mary-Eleanor) in Tom Eyen's Women Behind Bars, directed by Ron Link and starring Divine.[5] Since that time, she has appeared in a wide variety of plays, including Broadway's Steaming,[6] and has won critical acclaim in Los Angeles for many stage performances, as well as the Drama-Logue and LA Weekly awards for best actress for These Men, in which she starred at LAATC (Los Angeles Actors Theatre Company), and for Hearts on Fire at the Odyssey.[7] She also received a Drama Critics Circle Award nomination (for Outstanding Performance) for her role in playwright Mayo Simon's These Men.

Her breakout performance as a film actress came in 1979, playing the role of Robert Duvall's daughter in The Great Santini, and she has gone on to act in more than two dozen films, including American Pop,[8] The Big Easy, When Harry Met Sally..., Coneheads, The Cotton Club, and Peggy Sue Got Married. While playing Katrina in 1995's Destiny Turns on the Radio, she gave actor/director Quentin Tarantino his first on-screen kiss.[9] In 2013, she appeared as herself in I Am Divine,[10] Jeffrey Schwarz's documentary about the late actor Divine.

In television, Persky's work has included a recurring role on Private Eye,[11] as well as appearances on the likes of NYPD Blue, The X-Files, King of the Hill, E/R, The Golden Girls, and dozens more. She has also appeared in such made-for-TV movies as Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back and KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.[12][13]

Writing and editingEdit

An early participant in the CBGB music scene, she was a founding member of the New York Rocker magazine staff.[14] During that era, she documented the burgeoning punk/new wave movement both as a writer and a photojournalist. She revisited that scene on the New York Rockers panel at the 2012 EMP Pop Conference.[15]

As a journalist, her work has also appeared in a variety of publications, including Fortean Times[16] and the LA Weekly.[17]

In 2010, she became a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she was also Art Director, leaving the publication in December 2012.

Her fiction has appeared, among other places, in the magazine BOMB[18] and Eclectica (where, billed as Eljay Persky, she was one of 30 writers selected to be anthologized in their Eclectica: Best Fiction Vol. 1 collection).[19]


In addition to fine art photography, her work as a photographer has been featured in periodicals such as Mojo, Q, and Uncut, and also in books, including Gary Valentine's memoir, New York Rocker: My Life in The Blank Generation,[20] Punk: The Whole Story,[21] and Lance Out Loud,[22] to which she also contributed an essay. Her collage work has appeared in publications including the Los Angeles Times and LA Style, and it earned her an Award for Design Excellence from Print magazine. In 2008, she co-produced and curated Los Angeles Loteria; An Exploration of Identity, an edition of prints in honor of the 40th anniversary of Aardvark Letterpress.[23][24] In 2012, she contributed the foreword to the exhibit catalogue for photographer Bobby Grossman's show Low Fidelity - The Photos of Bobby Grossman.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

On January 19, 2008, she married music historian and former co-star of the Comedy Central game show Beat the Geeks, Andy Zax.[26]


Persky was the subject of a critically lauded song by Blondie, "(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear", which was written by her then-boyfriend, Gary Valentine, who was the band's bassist at the time.

In 2009, Persky began making appearances on The Best Show on WFMU radio program, as both as a regular caller and as an in-studio special guest. She is also a semi-regular on the Life Elsewhere[27] program on WMNF FM, Tampa.

Persky occasionally has appeared at fan conventions, including the 20th anniversary celebration for Quantum Leap[28] and at the 2013 NY/NJ KISS Expo.[29]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 The Great Santini Mary Anne Meechum
1980 Love in a Taxi Marian
1981 American Pop Bella
1983 Breathless Salesgirl billed as Lisa Persky
1984 The Cotton Club Frances Flegenheimer
1985 The Sure Thing Mary Ann Webster
1986 Peggy Sue Got Married Delores Dodge
1987 The Big Easy McCabe
1989 Great Balls of Fire! Babe
1989 When Harry Met Sally... Alice
1990 In the Best Interest of the Children Gwen Hatcher
1990 The Last of the Finest Harriet Gross
1990 Vital Signs Bobby
1993 Coneheads Lisa Farber
1994 Dead Funny Sarah
1994 Pontiac Moon Alicia Frank
1995 Destiny Turns on the Radio Katrina
1996 Female Perversions Margot
1998 Where's Marlowe? Jenny
1999 Tumbleweeds Diner Waitress billed as Lisa Persky
1999 The Wetonkawa Flash
1999 Goosed The Psychic
2001 My First Mister Sheila
2001 An American Rhapsody Pattie
2002 Dogwalker, TheThe Dogwalker Allison
2006 Grilled Sally Wilson
2013 I Am Divine Herself


Year Title Role Notes
1977 The Fitzpatricks Episodes: "Halloween" and "The New Fitzpatrick"
1978 NBC Special Treat Cindy Episode: "Snowbound"
1978 KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park Dirty Dee Television movie
1980 Shirley Episode: "The Three Dates of Shirley Miller"
1981 ABC Afterschool Specials Jo Dayton Episode: "A Matter of Time"
1981 The Choice Emmy Soames Television movie
1981 Quincy M.E. Penny Stone Episode: "Sugar and Spice"
1982 The Incredible Hulk Rita Episode: "A Minor Problem"
1982 Open All Night Laurie
1982 Trapper John, M.D. Sally Episode: "Ladies in Waiting"
1983 Desperate Intruder Linda Television movie
1984 E/R Episode: "Sentimental Journey"
1984 Shattered Vows Sister Cathy Television movie
1985 The Golden Girls Kate Zbornak Episode: "Guess Who's Coming to the Wedding?"
1985 Amazing Stories Shirley Episode: "The Main Attraction"
1985 New Love, American Style Episode: "Love and Leaving Home"
1986 Crime Story Joanne Goldman Episode: "Pilot"
1986 The Twilight Zone Sandra Episode: "The Once and Future King"
1987 Private Eye Dottie Episodes: "Pilot," "Nickey the Rose," "War Buddy," "Blue Movie," "Blue Hotel Pt.1," "Nobody Dies in Chinatown"
1988 Private Eye Dottie Episode: "Hollywood Confidential"
1988 Sharing Richard Roberta
1988 thirtysomething Sharon Berman Episode: "Whose Forest Is This?"
1989 It's Garry Shandling's Show Kitty Episode: "Vegas: Part 2"
1990 Grand Jenny Episode: "Norris' Romance"
1991 The Antagonists Joanie Rutledge
1992 Designing Women Heather McPhaul Episode: "All About Odes to Atlanta"
1992 Mann & Machine Episode: "Cold, Cold Heart"
1993 Murphy Brown Jane Episode: "Games Mothers Play"
1994 Quantum Leap Marion Episode: "Memphis Melody - July 3, 1954"
1995 The Marshal Felton Voorhees Episodes: "Twoslip" and "Pass the Gemelli"
1995 Touched by an Angel Alison Episode: "The Big Bang"
1997 The Pretender Lamont Episode: "Bomb Squad"
1998 Perfect Assassins Janice Franklin Television movie
1999 The X-Files Laura Weinsider Episode: "Terms of Endearment"
1999 King of the Hill Actress (voice) Episode: "Love Hurts and So Does Art"
1999 Touched by an Angel Stasi Episode: "The Last Day of the Rest of Your Life"
2000 Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back Wilma Aday Television movie
2002 The Practice Karen Garvey Episode: "The Test"
2002 The Division Ann Fenwick Episode: "Illusions"
2004 NYPD Blue Jessica Applebaum Episode: "What's Your Poison?"
2005 Invasion Disheveled Woman Episode: "Unnatural Selection"
2005 Twins Marcy Episode: "Horse Sense"


  1. ^ "Lisa Jane Persky, Andrew Zax". The New York Times. January 20, 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Yoko Revisits Her Old Home". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Persky, Lisa Jane (March 21, 2010). "H.M. Koutoukas; A Remembrance". Noir Pictures. 
  4. ^ Contributor's Notes, Eclectica magazine, October / November 2005. Accessed August 6, 2008. "Eljay Persky grew up in New York City's Greenwich Village, attending the High School of Art and Design."
  5. ^ Women Behind Bars. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  6. ^ "Steaming". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Lisa Jane Persky". Turner Classic Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  8. ^ Canby, Vincent (February 13, 1981). "'American Pop' Grown-Up Animation". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-16. 
  9. ^ Dawson, Jeffrey (1995). Quentin Tarantino: The Cinema of Cool. Google Books. Applause Books. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ "I am Divine - The Movie". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Private Eye TV Intro". Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Lisa Jane Persky". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ "PodKISSt #23: KISS Goes to the Movies (Part 1) - Lisa Jane Persky Interview". Retrieved May 2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  14. ^ "New York Rocker". May 1976. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Lisa Jane Persky". 2012 EMP Pop Conference. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  16. ^ "Strange Days: Obituaries/Curtis Harrington". The Fortean Times. Archived from the original on 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  17. ^ "RODNEY BINGENHEIMER: A Child of the Myth". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  18. ^ "One of Milo Challenger's Stories". BOMB (magazine). Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  19. ^ "Best Fiction Volume One Sales Sheet" (PDF). Eclectica. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  20. ^ "New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation". Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Punk: The Whole Story". Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Lance Out Loud". Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Aardvark Letterpress marks its 40th year with loteria-like fine art prints". The Los Angeles Times. June 15, 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  24. ^ "Los Angeles Loteria". Bert Green Fine Art. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Low Fidelity - The Photos of Bobby Grossman". Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Lisa Jane Persky, Andrew Zax". The New York Times. January 20, 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  27. ^ "Life Elsewhere". Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  28. ^ "20th Anniversary Guest Stars". Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Lisa Jane Persky". Retrieved May 7, 2013. 

External linksEdit