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Lesley Ann Warren
Lesley Ann Warren Height 5' 8" Born August 16 1946 in New York, New York, USA
Copyright © Design Watt-up
Lesley Ann Warren: Lithe and lovely Lesley Ann Warren started gearing towards a life in show business right off the bat as a child ballerina; little did she know that Hollywood stardom would come to her in the form of a "Cinderella" story -- literally!
The New York-born actress (born in 1946) was the daughter of a realtor and a night club singer who gave up her own entertainment career for marriage and family. Lesley attended New York's Professional Children's School and eventually studied under Lee Strasberg at his Actors Studio, the youngest student to be accepted at the time (age 17). The talented hopeful gathered musical stage experience in such shows as "Bye Bye Birdie" playing swooning teen Kim McAfee. She made her illustrious Broadway debut in "110 in the Shade", the 1963 musical version of "The Rainmaker," and subsequently received the Theatre World Award for her work in the 1965 tunefest "Drat! The Cat!"
The attention she received immediately led to her capturing the beguiling title role in the Rodgers and Hammerstein TV musical production of Cinderella (1965) (TV). Although sweet-voiced stardom was certainly hers on a silver platter, she didn't necessarily carry the sweet tooth for it. Her impact as Cinderella led to her signing with the Walt Disney Studio as their principal ingénue. Co-starring in the rather blah musical showcases The Happiest Millionaire (1967) and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968) further convinced her that she needed to nip the saccharine stereotype in the bud if she was to grow as an actress and sustain some type of career longevity.
Rebelling against her studio-imposed image, she left Disney determined to pursue roles with more depth, drama and character. Changing her name temporarily to "Lesley Warren" to reinforce her goal, she replaced Barbara Bain in the long-running espionage series "Mission: Impossible" (1966) in 1970, but the audiences were quite cool in their reception to the "new and improved" Lesley and didn't buy her as a femme-fatale replacement for the cool and aloof Ms. Bain. After only one season, she left the show and sought greener pastures in the TV mini-movie market playing a wide range of vulnerable neurotics as well as sexy, worldly ladies. She made her mark in such sudsy 1970s material as Love Hate Love (1971) (TV) co-starring 'Ryan O'Neal (I)'; The Legend of Valentino (1975) (TV); the rags-to-riches story "Harold Robbins' 79 Park Avenue" (1977) (mini), for which she won a Golden Globe award; the epic WWII story "Pearl" (1978) (mini); Betrayal (1978) (TV); and Portrait of a Stripper (1979) (TV).
In the early 1980s, Lesley's movie career resurrected itself with a priceless performance as kingpin James Garner's whiny-voiced, peroxide-blonde spitfire Norma Cassady in the musical film slapstick _Victor/Victoria (1982)_. This scene-stealing turn led to a couple of other quality offbeat films: Choose Me (1984) and Songwriter (1984), along with the usual quota of TV projects. She also matured into a steamy, sexier "older woman" type and earned some worldly roles opposite various gorgeous young guns, including Christopher Atkins in the critically-drubbed A Night in Heaven (1983). Her riotous "dumb blonde" act, however, had Hollywood discovering her potential as a scatter-brained comedienne, an image she has reinforced over the years with recurring TV guest parts on such popular shows as "Will & Grace" (1998) and "Desperate Housewives" (2004) Lesley has a son, Christopher Peters, from her 1967-1977 union to makeup artist/hair stylist-cum-film producer Jon Peters. Since 2000, she has been married to advertising exec Ronald Taft, a former v.p. at Columbia and sometime actor. From Cinderella to sexy mamas, the effervescent Lesley is still going strong in a career now hitting four-and-a-half decades.
Ronald Taft (16 January 2000 - present)
Jon Peters (13 May 1967 - 1977) (divorced) 1 child
Youngest actor ever to have attended NY's Actors Studio, when she was 17.
Was student at School of American Ballet when she switched to acting.
Lives in LA with companion Ron Taft, ad executive.
Auditioned for the role of Liesl in The Sound of Music (1965).
Tried out for the role of Lois Lane in Superman (1978), but lost to Margot Kidder.
Is a vegetarian.
She has a son, Christopher Peters, from producer Jon Peters.
Her father was a World War II vet and realtor while her mother was a nightclub singer who stopped working when Lesley Ann was born.
At age 13, she won a scholarship to study with ballet legend George Balanchine.
She once enrolled in an acting class with drama coach Stella Adler.
Warren says she won the highly-coveted part of Susan's high-maintenance mom "Sophie" on "Desperate Housewives" (2004) because of her son, Christopher Peters.
Was supposed to play the role of Brenda in Goodbye, Columbus (1969), but she got pregnant and had to be replaced. Ali MacGraw then got the part.
Was very proud of her work in Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story (1992) (TV), and was disappointed that it got clobbered by an HBO movie on the same story (The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (1993) (TV)) that came out at about the same time, starring Holly Hunter.
Started working on her first Broadway show (110 in the Shade) at sixteen and a half years old.
When she first auditioned for Cinderella, she was so nervous that the audition tanked. She had to audition a second time, and then was hired.
Of all her television experiences, Warren said she had an especially great time on "Will & Grace" (1998) and "Dr. Kildare" (1961), and that her favorite television experience was the making of Cinderella (1965) (TV).
Says her favorite genre is the Musical.
Starred in an early 1970s busted TV pilot as "Cat Ballou," the role Jane Fonda made famous on film.
Walt Disney hand-picked Lesley for the ingénue role in the film The Happiest Millionaire (1967) after her "Cinderella" success. This film was the last live-action movie Disney supervised before his death.
Was extremely upset at first about her performance as the gangster's moll in _Victor/Victoria (1982)_ prior to its release, having thought she went horribly over the top. She did go over the top and the audiences loved her for it. Lesley was nominated for a "Supporting Actress" Academy Award, her only nod so far.
Lesley was to co-star in the beautician comedy series "Snip" (1976), a TV takeoff of the Warren Beatty movie Shampoo (1975) starring David Brenner as a divorced hairdresser. Just before its scheduled September 30, 1976, debut, NBC abruptly canceled the show, so fast in fact that TV Guide did not even have time to remove a special feature on the show in its Fall Preview of September 18-24, 1976. Why? One of the show's supporting characters, a fellow hairdresser named "Michael", was openly gay and NBC got cold feet at the last minute. Had "Snip" (1976) premiered, it would have been a first on American series TV. Instead, Billy Crystal went on to receive that honor with his gay character a year later on the popular series "Soap" (1977). Seven episodes of "Snip" (1976) were completed when it got the ax. The only place the series ended up airing was in Australia, and it became the highest rated show in Australian history up until that time.
Played Lois Lane in a television production of the musical It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman (1975) (TV), and later screen tested for the role in Superman (1978).
Born in New York City; educated at the Actors Studio, New York. A great underutilized talent in features, this stage-trained actress has shone in numerous TV movies, miniseries, and music-oriented specials. America first discovered Warren as a fresh-faced ingenue; she was a radiant "Cinderella" (CBS, 1967) in the now classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical TV special. That same year, Warren made her feature debut in THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE, a Disney musical starring Fred MacMurray. She followed up with another Disney songfest, THE ONE AND ONLY, GENUINE, ORIGINAL FAMILY BAND (1968) before devoting most of her time to TV, appearing in TV movies, busted pilots, miniseries and guest spots.
Though feature assignments were few and far between -- only three between 1968 and 1982 -- TV realized Warren's potential as a lead. Warren could ennoble some dubious material. She brought conviction, toughness, and sympathy to her portrayals of B-girls, struggling moms, and plucky careerists. Warren's many miniseries credits include HAROLD ROBBINS' 79 PARK AVENUE (NBC, 1977), BEULAH LAND (NBC, 1980) and EVERGREEN (NBC, 1985). Her TV movies include such provocative titles as PORTRAIT OF A STRIPPER (CBS, 1979), PORTRAIT OF A SHOWGIRL (CBS,1982) and WILLING TO KILL: THE TEXAS CHEERLEADER STORY (ABC, 1992). Warren's feature career was revived after an Oscar-nominated supporting performance in Blake Edwards's VICTOR/VICTORIA (1982). She won critical raves as Norma, the blonde mollof James Garner, evoking memories of Jean Harlow and Jean Hagen (in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN). Warren's subsequent film credits include two Alan Rudolph films, CHOOSE ME and SONGWRITER (both 1984) and the female lead in Mel Brooks's LIFE STINKS (1991). More recently she played the manager of country & western singer George Strait in PURE COUNTRY (1992). Nominated for Supporting Actress 1982: VICTOR/VICTORIA 1 nomination.
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