Mercedes J. Ruehl (//;) (born February 28, 1948) is an American screen, stage, and television actress. She is the recipient of several accolades, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, two Obie Awards, and two Outer Critics Circle Awards.
Mercedes J. Ruehl
February 28, 1948
|Education||College of New Rochelle |
Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts
(m. 1999; died 2020)
|Relatives||Peter Ruehl (brother)|
Ruehl is known for her leading performance in the play Lost in Yonkers (1990) and supporting performance in the film The Fisher King (1991). Her other film credits include Big (1988), Married to the Mob (1988), Last Action Hero (1993), Roseanna's Grave (1997), and Hustlers (2019).
Early life and educationEdit
Ruehl was born February 28, 1948 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City, to Mercedes J. Ruehl, a schoolteacher, and Vincent Ruehl, an FBI agent. Her father was of German and Irish descent and her mother was of Cuban and Irish descent. The family frequently moved during her childhood owing to Vincent Ruehl's assignments with the FBI, and lived in other states including Silver Spring, Maryland. She and her brother, Peter, were raised Catholic.
Ruehl began her career in regional theatre with the Denver Center Theatre Company, taking odd jobs between engagements. In 1980, she was nearly cast in the sixth season of Saturday Night Live, losing her slot to Denny Dillon. Her first starring role on Broadway came in 1984's I'm Not Rappaport. She then went on to win the 1984 Obie Award for her performance in The Marriage of Bette and Boo and twenty years later, an Obie for Woman Before a Glass. She also received a 1991 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers and continued her role in the show during its tour with co-star Mercedes McCambridge. Her performances in two other plays earned her two other Tony nominations: in 1995, as Best Actress (Featured Role – Play) for a revival of The Shadow Box; and in 2002, as Best Actress (Play) for Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?.
Her most acclaimed film role was in The Fisher King; her performance in the film earned her the 1991 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as an American Comedy Award, a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, and a Golden Globe. Earlier she had won the 1989 National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Married to the Mob. She played KACL station manager Kate Costas in five episodes of Frasier, and had a major role in the made-for-TV film All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story. In 2005, she (along with Esai Morales) received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. She later played the mother of main character Vincent Chase in HBO's Entourage.
In 2009, she returned to the stage in Manhattan Theater Club's production of Richard Greenberg's The American Plan playing the role of Eva Adler. The production opened at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and the limited engagement ran From January 22 until March 22. In his rave review in The New York Times, Ben Brantley called Ruehl's performance "masterly". Ruehl next appeared in the drama/horror film What Ever Happened to Barker Daniels?, which was released in 2009. In January 2011, Ruehl starred in Sarah Treem's play The How and The Why, directed by Emily Mann at McCarter Theatre of Princeton University.
Ruehl appeared in the role of Ma in Harvey Fierstein's revamped and renamed revival of his play Torch Song Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theater. The play began previews on September 26, and opened officially on October 19, 2017. The production later transferred to Broadway.
In 1999, Ruehl married painter David Geiser with whom she had adopted a son, Jake (born 1995). She had another son, Christopher, whom she placed for adoption in 1976 when she was 28. They were reunited in the late 1990s when he turned 21, and later Christopher became Jake's godfather. Ruehl and Geiser put their Hampton house on the market in 2017; the same year Ruehl was quoted as saying that they were no longer together, but remained close. David Geiser died unexpectedly of heart disease in his sleep at home on October 14, 2020, at the age of 73.
|1976||Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands||American girl in casino||Film debut Uncredited|
|1981||Four Friends||Woman in Taxi|
|1987||Radio Days||Ad Man|
|84 Charing Cross Road||Kay|
|The Secret of My Succe$s||Sheila|
|Leader of the Band||Miss Cooper|
|Married to the Mob||Connie Russo|
|1989||Slaves of New York||Samantha|
|Crimes and Misdemeanors||Party Guest||Uncredited|
|1990||Crazy People||Dr. Liz Baylor|
|1991||Another You||Elaine/Mimi Kravitz|
|The Fisher King||Anne|
|1993||Lost in Yonkers||Bella Kurnitz|
|Last Action Hero||Irene Madigan|
|1994||On Hope||Wendy||Short film|
|1997||Roseanna's Grave||Roseanna 'Rosa'|
|1999||The Minus Man||Jane|
|Out of the Cold||Tina|
|2000||What's Cooking?||Elizabeth 'Lizzy' Avila|
|More Dogs Than Bones||Victoria 'Vic' Galletti|
|The Amati Girls||Grace|
|2004||Zeyda and the Hitman||Esther|
|2010||Goldstar, Ohio||Adriana Rock||Short film|
|2014||Chu and Blossom||Mrs. Fefterg|
|2016||Good Business||Lorraine||Short film|
|1977||The Doctors||Ursula||Television debut |
|1984||ABC Afterschool Special||Sandy||Episode: "Mom's on Strike"|
|1985||Our Family Honor||Louise Taylor||Episode: "Homecoming"|
|1986||Kate & Allie||Millie||Episode: "Late Bloomer" |
Credited as Mercedes Ruehle
|1990||The Cosby Show||Bernadette Foley||Episode: "The Moves"|
|1995||Indictment: The McMartin Trial||Lael Rubin||Television movie|
|1995–96||Frasier||Kate Costas||Recurring role; 5 episodes|
|1997||North Shore Fish||Florence||Television movie|
|SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground||Leyla||Television movie |
|1998||Gia||Kathleen Carangi||Television movie|
|2000||Mary Kay Letourneau: All American Girl||Jane Newhall||Television movie|
|The Lost Child||Rebecca||Television movie|
|2001||Mr. Life||Television movie|
|2002||Guilt by Association||Susan Walker||Television movie|
|Widows||Dolly Rawlins||4 episodes|
|2004||Everyday Life||Television movie|
|1-800-Missing||Emmanuelle Baker||Episode: "These Dreams Before Me"|
|Bad Apple||Lorraine Gibbons||Television movie|
|2004 and 2009||Law & Order||Judge Clara Lloyd/Zina Rybakov||2 episodes|
|2005||Mom at Sixteen||Terry Jeffries||Television movie|
|2006||So Here's What Happened||Rochelle||Television movie|
|A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story||Sylvia Guerrero||Television movie|
|2006–08||Entourage||Rita Chase||2 episodes|
|2007||Psych||Detective Goochberg||Episode: "Scary Sherry: Bianca's Toast"|
|2009||Loving Leah||Janice Lever||Television movie|
|2012||El Jefe||Delmi Rodriguez||Television movie|
|Luck||Renzo's Mother||Episode: "Episode Nine"|
|2013||Doubt||Mrs. Syd Newman||Television movie|
|Monday Mornings||Judge Beverly Natheson||Episode: "Wheels Within Wheels"|
|Star Spangled Banners||Rosalind Banner||Television movie|
|2015||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Lucia Barba||Episode: "December Solstice"|
|2016||Life in Pieces||Mia||Episode: "Hair Recital Rainbow Mom"|
|The Mysteries of Laura||Val Santiani||Episode: "The Mystery of the End of Watch"|
|2 Broke Girls||Olga||Episode: "And the Godmama Drama"|
|2017||NCIS||Marie Quinn||Episode: "A Bowl of Cherries"|
|2017–18||Power||Connie Teresi||Recurring role; 7 episodes|
|2018–20||Bull||Judge Tessa Hudson||3 episodes|
Awards and nominationsEdit
- "Say How: R". National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
- Trescott, Jacqueline (26 March 1992). "Mercedes Ruehl, Driven; The Manic Actress On the Road to Oscar". The Washington Post. HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "Mercedes Ruehl biography". Film Reference.com. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Stark, John; Hutchings, David (September 5, 1988). "Playing a Gangster's Spitfire Wife, Mercedes Ruehl Heists the Spotlight in Married to the Mob". People. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Corliss, Richard (April 6, 2002). "That Old Feeling: The Oscar Race". Time. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Buckley, Michael. "STAGE TO SCREENS: Mercedes Ruehl, the Macy-Mamet Connection and Remembering Brad Sullivan". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Ruehl, Mercedes. Casting a new light on a dark subject - novelist Cynthia Ozick - Interview. Interview. August 1994. FindArticles.com. Archived 2006-12-14 at the Wayback Machine
- "About CNR". College of New Rochelle. Archived from the original on 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
-  Andy Hoglund, Vulture, August 13, 2020 Archived August 12, 2020, at the Wayback Machine
- "Biography: Mercedes Ruehl". American Theatre Wing. February 2005. Archived from the original on 2013-05-12. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Jones, Kenneth (January 22, 2009). "Ruehl & Rabe Are Mother and Daughter in Broadway's American Plan, Opening Jan. 22". Playbill. Playbill.com. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Jones, Kenneth (February 19, 2009). "Broadway's American Plan Is Extended to March 22". Playbill. Playbill.com. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "Rapunzel in the Catskills". The New York Times. January 22, 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Filichia, Peter (January 18, 2011). "'The How and the Why' review: Princeton play premiere proves to be all-inclusive success". The Star-Ledger. Newark, New Jersey: nj.com. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "Torch Song, Starring Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl, Extends". TheaterMania. September 14, 2017. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
- "Mercedes Ruehl, HB Studio NYC, Acting Workshop Teacher". HB Studio. 2021-02-04. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
- "David Geiser, Artist, Was 73". East Hampton Star. November 5, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- "Mercedes Ruehl". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Hoffman, Barbara (November 2, 2017). "Meet the 'most unloved woman in New York'". New York Post. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- "Mercedes Ruehl And David Geiser Unload East Hampton Home". Southampton Press. March 28, 2017. Retrieved February 23, 2021 – via 27east.
- "Newspaper columnist Peter Ruehl dies". The Sydney Morning Herald. April 12, 2011. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "Mercedes Ruehl theatre profile".