Bebe Neuwirth
Neuwirth at a showing of Chicago in Broadway on teachers' night, 2023
Beatrice Jane Neuwirth

(1958-12-31) December 31, 1958 (age 65)
Alma materJuilliard School
  • Actress
  • singer
  • dancer
Years active1980–present
  • Paul Dorman
    (m. 1984; div. 1991)
  • Chris Calkins
    (m. 2009)

Beatrice "Bebe" Jane Neuwirth (/ˈbbi ˈnjwɜːrθ/ BEE-bee NEW-wurth; born December 31, 1958)[1] is an American actress, singer, and dancer. Known for her roles on stage and screen, she has received two Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, and a Drama Desk Award.

Neuwirth made her Broadway debut in the musical A Chorus Line in 1980. She went on to receive two Tony Awards, the first for Best Featured Actress in a Musical playing Nickie in the revival of Sweet Charity (1986) and received her second for Best Actress in a Musical for Velma Kelly in the revival of Chicago (1996). She has also starred as Lola in the revival of Damn Yankees (1994) and Morticia Addams in The Addams Family (2010).

On television, her breakthrough role was as Dr. Lilith Sternin, Frasier Crane's wife, on both the sitcom Cheers (in a starring role) and its spin-off Frasier (in a recurring guest role). The role won her two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Neuwirth was cast as Bureau Chief/ADA Tracey Kibre in NBC's Law & Order: Trial by Jury which ran for 2005 to 2006. She starred as Nadine Tolliver in the CBS political drama Madam Secretary from 2014 to 2017. She also appeared in Blue Bloods (2013–2019), and The Good Fight (2018–2021), and is currently featured in Julia.

In film, she portrayed Nora Shepherd in the original Jumanji (1995) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019). Other film roles include Say Anything... (1989), Green Card (1990), Bugsy (1991), Celebrity (1998), Summer of Sam (1999), and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003).

Early life

Neuwirth was born in Newark, New Jersey.[2][1][3] Her father, Lee Neuwirth, was a mathematician who taught at Princeton University and also designed an encryption device while working at the Institute for Defense Analyses.[3] Her mother, Sydney Anne Neuwirth, is a painter who also danced as an amateur for the Princeton Regional Ballet Company.[3] She has an older brother Peter, a mathematician and actuary who graduated from Harvard.[3] In her youth, Neuwirth rebelled against authority, being placed in custody for smoking marijuana when she was 13.[3]

Neuwirth started taking ballet lessons at the age of five, a year after viewing a production of The Nutcracker with her mother.[3] She desired to be a ballet dancer until her early teens, when she realized how restricted her technique was, as well as the standard of ballet education where she lived.[3] Upon viewing the musical Pippin in Manhattan at 13, she changed her future plans from becoming a ballerina to being a Broadway musical dancer.[3] After graduating from Princeton High School in 1976,[4] she attended the Juilliard School for dance and left after only a year, disliking the school for having a "stifling creative environment" and no Broadway-style dance training.[5] Immediately after leaving Juilliard in 1977, she took singing and jazz classes at a New York City-based YWCA,[5] one of them taught by Joan Morton Lucas, who appeared in the film Singin' in the Rain (1952) and the original Broadway production of Kiss Me Kate.[6] She performed with the Princeton Ballet Company in Peter and the Wolf, The Nutcracker, and Coppélia, also appearing in community theater musicals.


Theater work

Neuwirth at the Annual Flea Market and Grand Auction hosted by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, September 26, 2006.

Studying acting for two years under Suzanne Shepard,[7] Neuwirth made her Broadway debut in the role of Sheila in A Chorus Line in 1980. She later appeared in revivals of Little Me (1982); Sweet Charity (1986), for which she won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical; and Damn Yankees (1994).

1996 saw Neuwirth play Velma Kelly in the Broadway revival of Chicago. She described the difficulty level of the role as "like performing microsurgery from 8 to 10:20."[6] That role brought her her greatest stage recognition to date and several awards including a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Neuwirth would later return to the revival of Chicago in 2006, this time as Roxie Hart.[8] In 2014 she returned again, this time playing "Mama" Morton, making her the first person to play three different characters at three separate times during the course of a single Broadway run.

She appeared in the musical revue Here Lies Jenny which featured songs by Kurt Weill sung and danced by Neuwirth and a four-person supporting cast, as part of an unspoken ambiguous story in an anonymous seedy bar possibly in Berlin in the 1930s. The show ran from May 7 through October 3, 2004, in the Zipper Theater in New York.[9] Here Lies Jenny was also presented by Neuwirth in San Francisco in 2005. In 2009, Neuwirth toured a one-woman cabaret show with pianist Scott Cady. The cabaret included music by Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim, Tom Waits, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, John Kander and Fred Ebb amongst others. In 2010, she returned to Broadway to create the role of Morticia Addams in the original production of The Addams Family opposite Nathan Lane.[8]

In 2019, Neuwirth returned to the stage with the Philadelphia Theatre Company, appearing at the Suzanne Roberts Theater in Philadelphia.[10]

Film and television

Neuwirth at the Governor's Ball of the Primetime Emmy Awards on August 25, 1991

While in Los Angeles waiting to receive a Tony for her appearance in Sweet Charity in 1985, Neuwirth auditioned for the role of Dr. Lilith Sternin in the television series Cheers.[11] At the time, Neuwirth was not interested in doing television work and her character was initially planned to be in only one episode of the series.[11] However, the writers enjoyed writing her dialogue so much that she was written into more episodes of the show, eventually making her one of the series' recurring actors.[11]

Neuwirth's character married Frasier Crane. From the fourth to the ninth season, Neuwirth portrayed Lilith in a regular recurring role, and she appeared on the show as a main star for both seasons ten and eleven. Like Kelsey Grammer when he started on the show as Frasier, she was not immediately given star billing in the opening credits but in the end credits for seasons eight and nine, appearing in the opening credits with her own portrait in seasons ten and eleven. She auditioned for the role with her arm in a sling, following a fall a week earlier. She won two Emmy Awards for the role, in 1990 and 1991. The character also made an appearance in the series Wings and in twelve episodes of the Cheers spin-off Frasier, which earned her a 1995 Emmy Award nomination as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. She left Cheers in 1993 to go back to her career in dancing, but would make more television appearances in other shows and commercials.[12]

Neuwirth's dip into the film industry began in 1989 with small roles in films such as Say Anything... (1989), Pacific Heights (1990), and Penny Ante (1990).[13] In 1990 she started doing supporting roles in films including Green Card (1990), Bugsy (1991), and Malice (1993), in all of which she received acclaim from critics for her performances.[13] Her first lead role came in 1993, when she played a married woman attracted to one of her neighbors in the psychological thriller comedy film The Paint Job.[13]

Her other credits include Jumanji, Summer of Sam, Liberty Heights, An Extremely Goofy Movie, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Tadpole, The Associate, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Big Bounce, Le Divorce, The Faculty, and Woody Allen's Celebrity. In 1996, she starred in a pilot for a TV series called Dear Diary for ABC which was not picked up.[14] The producers had it edited slightly and put into a single theater for a single weekend in November 1996, and it became one of only two TV pilots to be nominated for an Oscar and the only one to win.[15]

Other small-screen credits include a guest appearance in the second season of NewsRadio, a small role on The Adventures of Pete and Pete (episode: "The Call"), Deadline (2000), Hack (2003), Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005) as ADA Tracey Kibre, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) as a modeling agent/suspect, the miniseries Wild Palms, and the fourth season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "First Contact" as Lanel.

She appeared as herself in episodes of Will & Grace, Strangers with Candy and Celebrity Jeopardy!. In 2009, she co-starred as Ms. Kraft in the remake of Fame. She had a recurring role as Caroline, the literary editor of Jonathan Ames, on the HBO series Bored to Death. She also had a recurring role on Blue Bloods.

She starred as Nadine Tolliver in the 2014 CBS political drama Madam Secretary. In October 2017, Neuwirth announced her decision to leave the series after four seasons. No reason was given.[16] She later reprised the role of Nora Shepherd in Jumanji: The Next Level in 2019; the film grossed 800 million dollars worldwide and received positive reviews from critics.

Personal life

In 1984, Neuwirth married Paul Dorman.[17] She met him in 1982 after she performed a revue at O'Neal's restaurant in New York, where he was bartending.[17] The two divorced in 1991.[17] In 2009, she married director, producer and writer Chris Calkins at The Players club in Manhattan, in a ceremony officiated by actor Peter Coyote.[18]

In a 2004 article in the newspaper J. The Jewish News of Northern California, she was reported as describing herself as Jewish – a "plain Jew" with "no training".[2] In a 2011 interview she said that she was an "atheist" who "believe[d] in unseen and unproved things" such as reincarnation.[6]

Neuwirth has supported and worked for several non-profit charity organizations.[19] Following two hip replacement surgeries,[20][21] and after hearing stories of other dancers facing hip problems, Neuwirth was moved to establish the Dancers’ Resource program at The Actors Fund, which caters to financial and physical needs unique to professional dancers.[19][6] Neuwirth currently serves as vice chair on the board of trustees for The Actors Fund.[22] She has also helped Seeds of Peace.[19]

As an animal lover,[19] she has contributed to the Chatham, New York-based horse rescue group Equine Advocates and the annual pet adoption event Broadway Barks.[23] Neuwirth is particularly fond of cats.[23] In the 1990s, she owned one, Frankie, that she named after architect and writer Frank Lloyd Wright.[17] As of August 2016, she had a black cat, Bobby, a long-haired calico cat, Tallulah, and a mixed Siamese cat, Billie.[23]

In her free time, she enjoys pottery, which she first did in high school.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1989 Say Anything... Mrs. Evans
1990 Green Card Lauren
1991 Bugsy Countess di Frasso
1992 Painted Heart Margaret
1993 Malice Det. Dana Harris
1995 Jumanji Nora Shepherd
1996 All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 Anabelle Voice[24]
The Adventures of Pinocchio Felinet
The Associate Camille Scott
Dear Diary Annie
1998 Celebrity Nina
The Faculty Principal Valerie Drake
An All Dogs Christmas Carol Annabelle/Belladonna Voice[24]
1999 Getting to Know You Trix
Summer of Sam Gloria
Liberty Heights Ada Kurtzman
2000 An Extremely Goofy Movie Sylvia Marpole Voice[24]
2002 Tadpole Diane Lodder
2002 The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina Thumbelina's Mother Voice[24]
2003 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Lana Jong
Le Divorce Julia Manchevering
2004 The Big Bounce Alison Ritchie
2005 Game 6 Joanne Bourne
2008 Adopt a Sailor Patricia
2009 Fame Ms. Kraft
2017 Humor Me C.C. Rudin
2019 Jumanji: The Next Level Nora Shepherd[25] Cameo
2020 Modern Persuasion Vanessa Perry, Persuasive Aunt
2021 Tick, Tick... Boom! "Sunday" Legend


Year Title Role Notes
1986–1993 Cheers Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane 80 episodes
1986 Simon & Simon Receptionist Episode: "Family Forecast"
Fame Phyllis Turner Episode: "Stagefright"
1990 The Famous Teddy Z Unknown Episode: "Teddy Gets a Guru"
The Magical World of Disney Dr. Lilith Sternin Episode: "Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration"
Without Her Consent Gloria Allred Television film
1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation Lanel Episode: "First Contact"
1992 Wings Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane Episode: "Planes, Trains and Visiting Cranes"
1993 Wild Palms Tabba Schwartzkopf 5 episodes
1994 The Adventures of Pete & Pete Mailwoman McGinty 2 episodes
1994–1995 Aladdin Mirage Voice, 6 episodes
1994–2003 Frasier Dr. Lilith Sternin 12 episodes
1995 NewsRadio Sandi Angelini Episode: "Friends"
1996 Duckman Tamara La Boinque Voice, episode: "Noir Gang"
Freakazoid! Deadpan Voice, episode: "The Wrath of Guitierrez"[24]
1996–1998 All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series Annabelle/Belladonna Voice, 5 episodes
1997 The Magic School Bus Flora Whiff Voice, episode: "Makes a Stink"[24]
Jungle Cubs La La Episode: "Old Green Teeth/The Elephant Who Couldn't Say No"
1997–1998 Pepper Ann Ms. Bladdar Voice, 3 episodes
1999 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Juliette Episode: "Salem and Juliette"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Nina Laszlo Episode: "Or Just Look Like One"
Dash and Lilly Dorothy Parker Television film
2000 Strangers with Candy Herself Episode: "To Love, Honor, and Pretend"
Cupid & Cate Francesca DeAngelo Television film
2000–2001 Deadline Nikki Masucci 13 episodes
2002–2003 Cyberchase Binky the Cat Voice, 2 episodes
2003 Hack Faith O'Connor 5 episodes
2004 Will & Grace Herself Episode: "No Sex 'N' the City"
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit A.D.A. Tracey Kibre Episode: "Night"
2005–2006 Law & Order: Trial by Jury A.D.A. Tracey Kibre 13 episodes
2009–2011 Bored to Death Caroline Taylor 3 episodes
2010 The Late Show with David Letterman Morticia Addams Episode: "17.117"
The Cleveland Show Sarah Friedman Voice, episode: "Brotherly Love"
2012–2013 The Good Wife Judge Claudia Friend 3 episodes
2013 Browsers Julianna Mancuso-Bruni Unsold TV pilot
2013–2019 Blue Bloods Kelly Peterson 9 episodes
2014–2017 Madam Secretary Nadine Tolliver 71 episodes
2014 Over the Garden Wall Margueritte Grey Voice, episode: "Mad Love"[24]
2017 New York Is Dead Sylvia Episode #1.1
The President Show Herself Episode: "I Came Up with Christmas – A President Show Christmas"
2018–2021 The Good Fight Judge Claudia Friend 2 episodes
2020 DuckTales Emma Glamour Voice, episode: "Louie's Eleven!"[24]
The Flight Attendant Diana Carlisle Recurring role
2021 Ultra City Smiths Lady Andrea The Giant Voice, 5 episodes
2021–present Teenage Euthanasia Baba Voice, 17 episodes
2022 Duncanville Patricia (voice) 2 episodes
2022–present Julia Avis DeVoto Main role
2023 Captain Fall Alexis Fall Voice; 3 episodes[26]
Frasier Dr. Lilith Sternin Episode: "Freddy's Birthday"


Year Title Role Notes
1980 A Chorus Line Sheila, u/s Cassie Broadway
1981 Dancin' Replacement
1982 Little Me Boom Boom Girl
Upstairs at O'Neals Performer Off-Broadway
1986 Sweet Charity Nickie, Charity standby Broadway
1992 Chicago Velma Kelly Los Angeles
Kiss of the Spider Woman Spider Woman/Aurora West End
1994 Damn Yankees Lola Broadway
1995 Pal Joey Melba Snyder Encores!
1996 Chicago Velma Kelly Encores!
1999 The Threepenny Opera Jenny Diver ACT San Francisco
2001 Fosse Various Broadway
Everett Beekin Anna/Nell Off-Broadway
2002 Funny Girl Fanny Brice Concert
The Exonerated Sunny Jacobs Off-Broadway
2003 Writer's Block Sheila
2004 Here Lies Jenny Jenny
2006 Chicago Roxie Hart Broadway
2009 The Addams Family Morticia Addams Chicago
2010 Broadway
2012 A Midsummer Night's Dream Hippolyta/Titania Off-Broadway
Golden Age Maria Malibran
2014 Chicago Matron "Mama" Morton Broadway
2018 Hey, Look Me Over! Mimi Encores!
2022 The Bedwetter Nana Atlantic Theater Company
2024 Cabaret Fräulein Schneider Broadway


Year Title Role Production company
2020 The Sandman The Siamese Cat Audible

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1986 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Sweet Charity Nominated
Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Musical Won
1990 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Cheers Won
Viewers for Quality Television Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Nominated
1991 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Won
Viewers for Quality Television Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Nominated
1995 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Frasier Nominated
1997 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Actress in a Musical Chicago Won
Tony Awards Best Actress in a Musical Won
1999 American Comedy Awards Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a Television Series Frasier Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Dash and Lilly Nominated
2000 American Comedy Awards Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a Television Series Frasier Nominated
2003 Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Tadpole Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Bebe Neuwirth". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Bloom, Nate (June 25, 2004). "Celebrity Jews: Bebe and Lilith". J. San Francisco Jewish Community Publications. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Bjorklund, Dennis (2014). Cheers TV Show: A Comprehensive Reference. Praetorian Publishing. p. 99. ISBN 9780967985237. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  4. ^ The Ulitimate New Jersey High School Year Book. The Star Ledger. 1998. p. 76.
  5. ^ a b Bjorklund, p. 100.
  6. ^ a b c d Dulin, Dann (December 2011). "Bebe Neuwirth". A&U. Archived from the original on February 9, 2019. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  7. ^ Painter, Jamie (February 21, 2001). "TO THE POINTE – Whether dancing, singing, or acting, Bebe Neuwirth applies the same discipline and focus". Backstage. Archived from the original on February 7, 2019. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Bebe Neuwirth at the Internet Broadway Database
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth (August 27, 2004). "Jenny Made Her Mind Up: Here Lies Jenny Will Extend One Last Time, to Oct. 3". Playbill. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Wallace, Debra (November 5, 2019). "Cheers Star Bebe Neuwirth's Life Lessons: "Come with an Open Heart, An Open Mind and Be Game for the Ride"". Parade: Entertainment, Recipes, Health, Life, Holidays. Archived from the original on September 18, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Bjorklund, p. 101
  12. ^ Bjorklund, p. 102.
  13. ^ a b c Bjorklund, p. 103.
  14. ^ Welkos, Robert W. (March 22, 1997). "'Dear Diary': How It Got an Oscar Nod". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  15. ^ "Academy Awards Database – AMPAS". Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  16. ^ Petski, Denise (October 23, 2017). "Bebe Neuwirth Exits CBS Drama Series 'Madam Secretary'". Deadline. Archived from the original on May 1, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  17. ^ a b c d Bjorklund, p. 104.
  18. ^ Green, Mary (May 5, 2009). "Frasier's Bebe Neuwirth Ties the Knot". People. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
  19. ^ a b c d e Akman, Terri (July 2015). "Person to Watch: Bebe Neuwirth". SJ. Archived from the original on February 9, 2019. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "Healing the Dancer Seminar Hosted by Bebe Neuwirth". Actors Equity. April 18, 2007. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  21. ^ "Neuwirth Returns To Chicago With A New Hip". World Entertainment News Network. January 6, 2007. Archived from the original on September 29, 2015.
  22. ^ "Board of Trustees". Actors Fund. February 11, 2016. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  23. ^ a b c Fischler, Brian (August 23, 2016). "Bebe Neuwirth Talks About Her Love of Cats and Animal Rescue". Catster. Archived from the original on February 9, 2019. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bebe Neuwirth (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved October 21, 2023. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.
  25. ^ Hood, Cooper (December 25, 2019). "Jumanji: The Next Level Brought Back Star Of Original Movie". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on December 25, 2019. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "Captain Fall: 'Captain Fall' set to premiere on Netflix in July; Check release date here – The Economic Times". The Economic Times. June 21, 2023. Archived from the original on June 25, 2023. Retrieved July 27, 2023.