Amy Brenneman
Brenneman in 2009
Amy Frederica Brenneman

(1964-06-22) June 22, 1964 (age 59)
EducationHarvard University (BA)
  • Actress
  • producer
Years active1992–present
(m. 1995)

Amy Frederica Brenneman (born June 22, 1964)[1] is an American actress and producer. She worked extensively in television, coming to prominence as Detective Janice Licalsi in the ABC police drama series NYPD Blue (1993–1994). Brenneman next co-created and starred as Judge Amy Gray in the CBS drama series Judging Amy (1999–2005). She received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations for these roles.

In subsequent years, Brenneman has had starring roles as Violet Turner in the Shonda Rhimes medical drama series Private Practice (2007–2013), and as Laurie Garvey on the HBO drama series The Leftovers (2014–2017). She is also known for her recurring role as Faye Moskowitz on Frasier and has starred in various films, including Heat (1995), Fear (1996), Daylight (1996), Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her (2000), Nine Lives (2005), and The Jane Austen Book Club (2007).

Early life

Brenneman was born in New London, Connecticut, to Frederica Joanne (née Shoenfield), a judge of the Connecticut State Superior Court, and Russell Langdon Brenneman Jr., an environmental lawyer.[2][3] Her aunt was Cold War-era journalist Beryl D. Hines.[4] Her mother was Jewish, and joined a Congregationalist church as an adult.[5] Her father, who was of English, Irish, and Swiss descent, was from a Protestant background.[6]

Brenneman was raised in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where she participated in theatre as a teenager, both in school at Glastonbury High School and with a local theater group. She graduated from Harvard University, where she majored in comparative religion, in 1987. While at Harvard, she co-founded Cornerstone Theatre Company, with which she traveled for several years after graduation.[7]


This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (July 2022)

Brenneman began her career in the short-lived CBS series Middle Ages in 1992. The next year she was cast in her first major role as mob-connected uniformed officer Janice Licalsi on the ABC police drama series, NYPD Blue. Her story arc, which included a romantic relationship with David Caruso's character, ran through the show's first season (1993–1994) and the first few episodes of the second season. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1994 and for Outstanding Guest Actress the following year.[8]

After leaving NYPD Blue, Brenneman made her way into film. In 1995, she appeared in Bye Bye Love, Casper, and the critically acclaimed crime drama Heat.[3] In 1996, Brenneman had the female lead role opposite Sylvester Stallone in disaster thriller Daylight, and also starred in another thriller, Fear. In 1997, she played the leading role in the independent drama film Nevada.[9] The next year she starred in Your Friends & Neighbors directed by Neil LaBute.[10] In 1998–1999 season, she returned to television with a recurring role on the NBC comedy, Frasier, as Faye Moskowitz.[11]

In 1999, Brenneman became creator and executive producer of her own television series Judging Amy, in which she played the title character.[11] Brenneman portrayed a divorced single mother working as a Family Court Judge in Hartford, Connecticut. The show's concept was based on the real-life experiences of her mother, Frederica Brenneman, as a superior court judge in the state of Connecticut. Frederica Brenneman was one of Harvard Law School's first female graduates and became a juvenile court judge in Connecticut when Amy was three years old. Amy has said, "I play my mother's job, not my mother."[12] Judging Amy ran on CBS for six seasons and 138 episodes from September 19, 1999, to May 3, 2005, to good ratings. In 2002, she was awarded the Women in Film Lucy Award in recognition of her excellence and innovation in her creative works that have enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television.[13]

Brenneman starred in ensemble cast film Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her directed by Rodrigo García in 2000. In 2005, she starred in another Rodrigo García's independent drama, Nine Lives. In 2007, Brenneman played the role of Sylvia Avila in The Jane Austen Book Club based on 2004 novel of the same name by Karen Joy Fowler.[14] In 2008, Brenneman co-starred in 88 Minutes alongside Al Pacino.[15]

In March 2007, Brenneman was cast as Violet Turner in the Grey's Anatomy spin-off, Private Practice.[16] The Shonda Rhimes series ran on ABC from September 26, 2007, to January 22, 2013. She later starred in films The Face of Love and Words and Pictures, and was cast in HBO drama series The Leftovers opposite Justin Theroux.[17][18][19] Also in 2013, Brenneman played the role of Mary of Guise, the series' lead character's mother, in Reign.[20][21]

Personal life

In 1995, Brenneman married director Brad Silberling in the garden at her parents' home. They had originally met on the set of NYPD Blue. Brenneman and Silberling have two children, Charlotte Tucker and Bodhi Russell, in Pasadena.[22][23]

Brenneman is an Episcopalian.[24][25]

Brenneman signed the "We Had Abortions" petition which appears in the October 2006 issue of Ms. Magazine. The petition contains signatures of over 5,000 women declaring that they had an abortion and were "unashamed of the choice they made."[26]

In the February 28, 2007, all-star benefit reading of The Gift of Peace at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, she portrays an entrepreneur, alongside actors Ed Asner, Barbara Bain, George Coe, Wendie Malick, and James Pickens, Jr. The play was an open appeal and fundraiser for passage of U.S. House Resolution 808, which sought to establish a Cabinet-level "Department of Peace" in the United States government, funded by a two percent diversion of The Pentagon's annual budget.[27]

In July 2008, Brenneman was nominated as a candidate on the Unite for Strength slate for a place on the national governing board of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in elections scheduled for September 18, 2008.[28] The bid was successful.[29]

Brenneman is also a strong supporter of more restrictive gun laws, and in 2009 she hosted the Target for a Safe America gala at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control group that favors restrictive gun laws and supports gun bans.[30]


die Denotes works that have not yet been released


Year Role Title Notes
1995 Susan Bye Bye Love
1995 Amelia Casper
1995 Eady Heat
1996 Laura Walker Fear
1996 Madelyne "Maddy" Thompson Daylight
1997 Chrysty Nevada
1997 Annie Lesser Prophets
1998 Angel City of Angels Uncredited cameo
1998 Mary Your Friends & Neighbors
1999 Grace The Suburbans
2000 Det. Kathy Faber Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her Segment: "Love Waits for Kathy"
2003 Adult Bo Groden Off the Map
2005 Lorna Nine Lives
2007 Shelly Barnes 88 Minutes
2007 Sylvia The Jane Austen Book Club
2008 Carol Downloading Nancy
2009 Dr. Eleanor Stone Mother and Child
2013 Elspeth Words and Pictures
2013 Ann The Face of Love
2016 In the Shadows of the Rainbow Short film
2019 Lucille Peel
2019 Mother Her Mind in Pieces Segment: "Here Now"
2019 Kim Trainer Foster Boy
2021 Diana Morgan Sweet Girl


Year Role Title Notes
1992 Blanche Middle Ages Episodes: "The Pig in the Python", "Night Moves", "Murmur of the Heart"
1992 Amy Wainwright Murder, She Wrote Episode: "A Christmas Secret"
1993–94 Det. Janice Licalsi NYPD Blue Main role, 18 episodes
1997 Lauren Simone (voice) Duckman Episode: "A Trophied Duck"
1998–99 Faye Moskowitz Frasier Recurring role, 4 episodes
1999 Agent Robin O'Brien A.T.F. TV film
1999 Mary Cassatt Mary Cassatt: An American Impressionist TV film
1999–2005 Amy Gray Judging Amy Main role, 138 episodes
2004 Herself Sesame Street
2007 Dr. Violet Turner Grey's Anatomy Episode: "The Other Side of This Life: Parts 1 & 2"
2007–13 Dr. Violet Turner Private Practice Main role, 106 episodes
2011 Dorothy Gale / Various (voice) Robot Chicken Episode: "The Departy Monster"
2014–15 Marie de Guise Reign Episodes: "The Consummation", "Forbidden", "The Price"
2014–17 Laurie Garvey The Leftovers Main role, 20 episodes
2016 Herself No Tomorrow Episode: "No Holds Barred"
2017 Regina Pell Veep Episode: "Library"
2017 Ellen The Get Television film
2018 Donna Jane the Virgin Episode: "Chapter Eighty"
2019 Diana Blackwood Goliath 8 episodes
2021 Mary Barlow Tell Me Your Secrets Main cast
2022 Rachel Shining Girls
2022 Zoe The Old Man Main cast

Music videos

Year Artist Title Role Ref.
2014 Various "Imagine" (UNICEF: World version) Herself [31]


Year Notes Title
1997 Co-producer Nevada
1999–2005 Executive producer, writer/creator (138 episodes) Judging Amy
2016 Executive producer (10 episodes) Heartbeat
2018 Executive producer Intelligent Lives

Awards and nominations

Year Category Award Work Result
1994 Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series Viewers for Quality Television Award NYPD Blue Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Primetime Emmy Award Nominated
1995 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2000 Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama Golden Globe Award Judging Amy Nominated
Favorite Actress in a New Series TV Guide Award Won
Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television Producers Guild of America Award Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Primetime Emmy Award Nominated
Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series Viewers for Quality Television Award Nominated
2001 Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama Golden Globe Award Nominated
Actress of the Year in a Drama Series TV Guide Award Won
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Primetime Emmy Award Nominated
2002 Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama Golden Globe Award Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Primetime Emmy Award Nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Series – Drama Satellite Award Nominated
Lucy Award Women in Film Lucy Award Won
2003 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Screen Actors Guild Award Judging Amy Nominated
2005 Best Actress Locarno International Film Festival Nine Lives Won
Best Ensemble Cast Gotham Award Nominated
2007 TV Moment That Became Headline News
For appearing nude in the pilot episode
TV Land Award NYPD Blue Nominated


  1. ^ "Brenneman, Amy 1964–". Cengage. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  2. ^ Who's Who in American Law. Marquis Who's Who. 1983. p. 78. ISBN 0837935032.
  3. ^ a b Amy Brenneman Biography, Yahoo! Movies; accessed December 24, 2017.Archived December 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Cold War Journalist Beryl D. Hines, 84". The Washington Post. August 16, 2007.
  5. ^ Miller, Gerri (March 21, 2016). "Hollywood Now: Interfaith Stars and How They Raise Their Kids - InterfaithFamily". Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  6. ^ "Blog Archive » Race: Whose Problem Is It, Anyway?". Amy Brenneman. 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  7. ^ Julia Collins, "Brennemans on the Bench",; accessed December 24, 2017.
  8. ^ "Amy Brenneman | Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  9. ^ "Nevada (1997) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  10. ^ "Your Friends & Neighbors", Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved June 5, 2017
  11. ^ a b JAMES ENDRST (1999-05-10). "Brenneman Takes Up Art, Courts Frasier, Seeks Own Show". The Hartford Courant. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  12. ^ Hal Erickson Encyclopedia of Television Law Shows: Factual and Fictional Series About ..., p. 147, at Google Books
  13. ^ "Past Recipients". Archived from the original on August 30, 2011.
  14. ^ "The Jane Austen Book Club - Cast, Reviews, Summary, and Awards - AllRovi". Archived from the original on March 23, 2009.
  15. ^ RON DICKER (2008-04-13). "Amy Brenneman Not The Boss Anymore, And It's Nice". HARTFORD COURANT. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  16. ^ "Applegate, Smart, Brenneman cast in pilots". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ "'Private Practice's' Amy Brenneman to Co-Star in HBO's 'Leftovers'". The Hollywood Reporter. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 25, 2013). "Amy Brenneman To Co-Star In HBO Pilot 'The Leftovers'". Deadline. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  19. ^ Highfill, Samantha (2013-09-16). "HBO gives series order to Damon Lindelof's 'The Leftovers'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  20. ^ Highfill, Samantha (2013-11-25). "Amy Brenneman joins 'Reign' as Mary's mom". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  21. ^ "Amy Brenneman Joins CW's 'Reign'". Variety. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  22. ^ The Frostig Focus December 2020
  23. ^ "Amy Brenneman — Chiming In". ABILITY Magazine (Amy Brenneman Issue). Apr–May 2013.
  24. ^ "Mouth Wide Open Program: Program Notes: Amy Brenneman Opens Up | A.R.T. - American Repertory Theater".
  25. ^ "Amy Brenneman | Hollywood Prayer Network". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011.
  26. ^ Q&A: Amy Brenneman on Defining—and Devoting Herself to—Feminism. Ms. Magazine, 19 May 2017
  27. ^ Martino, Stacey (2007-02-28). "The Peace Alliance". The Gift of Peace. Archived from the original on 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
  28. ^ "Hollywood actors' union faces internal rift". ABC News. Reuters. 2008-07-25. Archived from the original on 27 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  29. ^ "National Board of Directors". Screen Actors Guild. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  30. ^ "Amy Brenneman hosts the Brady Center Target for a Safe America gala, Los Angeles 2009". Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence web site. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  31. ^ Rowles, Dustin (2014-11-21). "'Imagine' Gets the Star-Studded 'We Are The World' Treatment for UNICEF". Pajiba. Archived from the original on April 15, 2021. Retrieved 2021-05-24.