Lesley Ann Warren
Warren in 2009
Born (1946-08-16) August 16, 1946 (age 77)
New York City, U.S.
Other namesLesley Warren
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1963–present
(m. 1967; div. 1975)
Ron Taft
(m. 2000)
Partner(s)Jeffrey Hornaday

Lesley Ann Warren (born August 16, 1946) is an American actress, singer and dancer.

She made her Broadway debut in 110 in the Shade in 1963. In 1965 she received wide recognition for playing the title role in the television musical production of Cinderella. She then had starring roles in the Disney musical films The Happiest Millionaire (1967) and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968).

In the 1970s, Warren worked mostly on television, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for playing Dana Lambert in the CBS drama series Mission: Impossible (1970–71). In 1978, she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series for the NBC miniseries Harold Robbins' 79 Park Avenue. In 1983, Warren was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Norma Cassidy in Victor/Victoria. She received two additional Golden Globe nominations for performances in Songwriter (1984) and Family of Spies (1990).

Her other film appearances include Race for the Yankee Zephyr (1981), A Night in Heaven (1983), Choose Me (1984), Clue (1985), Burglar (1987), Cop (1988), Life Stinks (1991), Pure Country (1992), Color of Night (1994), The Limey (1999), and Secretary (2002).

Early life

Warren was born on August 16, 1946, in Manhattan, the daughter of real estate agent William C. Warren (né Woronoff), and the former Carol Margot Dorothea Verblow, a nightclub singer who migrated to the US from Eastbourne.[1][2][3] She has a younger brother, Richard Lewis Warren.[4] Her family is Jewish, with roots in Russia on both sides.[5]

She attended the Professional Children's School at the age of six and The High School of Music & Art at the age of 13.[5]


1960s and 1970s

Warren as Cinderella in Cinderella (1965), pictured with Stuart Damon as the Prince.

Warren began training as a ballet dancer at the age of 14, entering the School of American Ballet in 1961. The following year she made a tape of herself singing the Queen of the Night aria from The Magic Flute (the first and only time she sang opera).[citation needed] She entered the Actors Studio at the age of 17 — reputedly the youngest applicant ever to be accepted. Her Broadway debut came in 1963 in the musical 110 in the Shade. She won the Theatre World Award for her performance in the 1965 flop musical Drat! The Cat![6]

Warren achieved her first major television success in the title role of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella in 1965.[3] Her television appearances through the decade included Dr. Kildare; Gunsmoke; The Mod Squad; Love, American Style; and The Carol Burnett Show.

Her film debut in the 1967 musical comedy The Happiest Millionaire was the last movie Walt Disney produced before his death. Warren would again share the screen with John Davidson the following year in the musical film The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. She placed No. 15 on the Laurel Awards list for Female New Face in 1968.[citation needed]

Warren with Mission: Impossible cast in 1970

Notable in television roles throughout the 1970s, Warren was leading lady Dana Lambert during the 1970–71 season of the CBS action drama Mission: Impossible. Her performance earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[7] Additional TV movies and miniseries of this time include The Daughters of Joshua Cabe (1972) and The Letters (1973).

Warren appeared in two feature films during the decade, Pickup on 101 (1972) and Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976). In between films, she returned to the stage to portray Scarlett O'Hara in the 1973 Los Angeles production of the musical Scarlett, though poor reviews prevented the intended Broadway run.[8]

Warren played a fatefully and fatally gullible psychiatric patient opposite Peter Falk and George Hamilton in the 1975 Columbo episode "A Deadly State of Mind". Warren also played Lois Lane in the 1975 TV special It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman, adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name. (Warren would screen test for the role of Lois Lane in the 1978 Superman film, ultimately cast with Margot Kidder.)

Additional television credits include The Legend of Valentino (1975), Betrayal (1978), and Pearl (1978). She received critical acclaim, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 1978, for the NBC miniseries Harold Robbins' 79 Park Avenue.[9] Warren delved into the antics of The Muppet Show as the guest star of a third season episode in 1979.

1980s and 1990s

In 1981, Warren returned to the big screen starring alongside Ken Wahl, George Peppard, and Donald Pleasence in Race for the Yankee Zephyr, a New Zealand suspense-action-thriller film directed by David Hemmings. The following year, she played ditzy gun moll Norma Cassidy in Blake Edwards' musical comedy Victor/Victoria for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[3] She went to star in the 1983 romantic drama A Night in Heaven with Christopher Atkins; critics widely panned the film.[10] Warren received another Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for starring opposite Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson in the 1984 musical comedy film Songwriter.[9] That same year, she had a leading role in the love triangle drama Choose Me with Keith Carradine and Genevieve Bujold.[11] She turned down a chance to audition for the Kathleen Turner role in Romancing the Stone.[12] In 1985, she starred as one of the prime murder suspects, Miss Scarlet, in the comedy film version of the popular board game Clue.[13]

Warren played supporting roles in a number of movies, including Burglar (1987) with Whoopi Goldberg, Cop (1988) with James Woods, Worth Winning (1989) with Mark Harmon, Life Stinks (1991) with Mel Brooks and Pure Country (1992) with George Strait. In Color of Night (1994) Warren played a nymphomaniac; the film was poorly received, and she was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress. However, it was successful on the home video market. On television, she went to star in Beulah Land (1980), Portrait of a Showgirl (1982), Evergreen (1985) and Baja Oklahoma (1988). She received Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film nominations for Family of Spies in 1990.[9] Warren also played Princess Jeanetta in the 1987 Faerie Tale Theatre episode "The Dancing Princesses", an adaptation of the fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses". In 1986, Warren was prominently featured in Bob Seger's popular music video for his hit song "American Storm". In 1989, she appeared in the Aerosmith video "Janie's Got a Gun", wherein she played Janie's mother. She was also featured in a video for the Eagles' "Life in the Fast Lane". In 1995, she co-starred opposite Ben Kingsley in the television film Joseph. She had a major role in Steven Soderbergh's The Limey (1999), starring Terence Stamp.

2000s and 2010s

Lesley Ann Warren in 2012

In 2000s, Warren appeared in a number of independent films, most notably the 2002 comedy-drama Secretary, playing the mother of the title character. She had recurring roles on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace from 2001 to 2006 as Will Truman's father's mistress and in 2005 in the ABC comedy-drama Desperate Housewives as Susan Mayer's mother.[3] Other television credits included Touched by an Angel, The Practice, Crossing Jordan and Less than Perfect. From 2008 to 2012, Warren played the role of Jinx Shannon, the lead character's alcoholic mother in the USA Network drama series In Plain Sight. While working on that show, Warren was offered Mary Steenburgen's role in Step Brothers (2008) but had to turn it down because of scheduling conflicts.

Warren appeared in the films Peep World (2010), Jobs (2013), I Am Michael (2015) and 3 Days with Dad (2019). In 2013, she reunited with Clue castmates Christopher Lloyd and Martin Mull when they guest-starred in an episode of Psych, and again with Martin Mull in 2015 guest-starring on Community. In 2016, she had a recurring role in the Starz comedy Blunt Talk and in 2018 appeared in the Netflix superhero series Daredevil as Esther Falb.[14] In 2019, she co-starred in the short-lived Lifetime comedy-drama series American Princess,[15] and appeared opposite Sarah Drew in the Lifetime Christmas movie Twinkle All the Way.[16]


In 2021, Warren guest-starred in an episode of the legal series All Rise on CBS. In 2022, she appeared as a regular cast member of the crime dramedy streaming series Panhandle, and had a featured role in the independent film It Snows All the Time.

Personal life

Warren married producer Jon Peters in 1967 and divorced him in 1975 after a two-year separation.[4][17] They have one son, Christopher Peters.[18][19]

From 1977 to 1985, she lived with choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday.[4][20] She also briefly dated producer Robert Evans, saxophonist David Sanborn, singers Bobby Darin and Paul Stanley, and actors Scott Baio, Robert Blake, Val Kilmer, and John Strasberg.[21][22]

Since 2000, Warren has been married to ad executive Ron Taft, whom she met at a hair salon[21] in 1991.[23]



Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Happiest Millionaire Cordy
1968 The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band Alice Bower Laurel Award for Female New Face (15th place)
1972 Pickup on 101 Nicky
1976 Harry and Walter Go to New York Gloria Fontaine
1981 Treasure of the Yankee Zephyr Sally
1982 Victor/Victoria Norma Cassidy Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
1983 A Night in Heaven Faye Hanlon
1984 Choose Me Eve
1984 Songwriter Gilda Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1985 Clue Miss Scarlet
1987 Burglar Dr. Cynthia Sheldrake
1988 Cop Kathleen McCarthy
1989 Worth Winning Eleanor Larimore
1991 Life Stinks Molly
1992 Pure Country Lula Rogers
1994 Color of Night Sondra Dorio Nominated — Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress
1995 Bird of Prey Carla Carr
1996 Natural Enemy Sandy
1997 Going All the Way Nina Casselman
1998 Love Kills Evelyn Heiss
1998 All of It Glenda Holbeck
1998 Richie Rich's Christmas Wish Regina Rich
1999 The Limey Elaine
1999 Twin Falls Idaho Francine
1999 Teaching Mrs. Tingle Mrs. Faye Watson Uncredited
2000 Ropewalk Charlie's mom
2000 Trixie Dawn Sloane
2001 Delivering Milo Anna
2001 The Quickie Anna
2001 Losing Grace Mary Reed
2001 Wolf Girl Dr. Klein
2002 Secretary Joan Holloway
2004 My Tiny Universe Vee
2005 Constellation Nancy Boxer
2005 When Do We Eat? Peggy Stuckman
2005 Deepwater Pam
2005 The Shore Mrs. Becky Harris
2006 Miracle Dogs Too Nurse Bleaker
2006 10th & Wolf Tina
2010 Stiffs Joy Tramontana
2010 A Little Help Joan Dunning
2010 Peep World Marilyn Meyerwitz
2013 Jobs Clara Jobs
2015 I Am Michael Susan
2015 The Sphere and the Labyrinth Wendy
2016 Between Us Elsa
2017 Ray Meets Helen Executive producer
2018 American Pets Judy
2019 3 Days with Dad Dawn
2020 Echo Boomers Author
2022 It Snows All the Time Anne
TBA Home Delivery Linda Templeton
TBA The Bay House Joan Brooks


Year Title Role Notes
1965 Cinderella Cinderella TV film
1965 For the People Terry "Dangerous to the Public Peace and Safety"
1966 Dr. Kildare Bonda Jo Weaver Guest role (4 episodes)
1966 Gunsmoke Betsy Payson "Harvest"
1966 Run for Your Life Julie Foster "The Last Safari"
1967 The Carol Burnett Show Herself "The Lost Episodes"
1969 The Mod Squad Virginia 'Ginny' Wells "A Run for the Money"
1969 Seven in Darkness Deborah Cabot TV film
1969 Love, American Style Tippi "Love and the Divorce Sale"
1970–71 Mission: Impossible Dana Lambert Main role (season 5)
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1971 Love Hate Love Sheila Blunden TV film
1971 Cat Ballou Cat Ballou TV film
1972 Assignment: Munich Cathy Lange TV film
1972 The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Mae TV film
1973 Dr. Simon Locke Laura March "Requiem for a Canary"
1973 Night Gallery Hyacinth "Death on a Barge"
1973 The Letters Laura Reynolds TV film
1973 Saga of Sonora Emmy Lou TV film
1975 It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman Lois Lane TV film
1975 Columbo Nadia Donner "A Deadly State of Mind"
1975 S.W.A.T. Linda "Deadly Tide: Parts 1 & 2"
1975 Doctors' Hospital Sybil Payson "Sleepless and Pale Eyelids"
1975 Harry O Gail Stephens "APB Harry Orwell"
1975 The Legend of Valentino Laura Lorraine TV film
1976 Snip Beverly Unsold TV series
1976 Jigsaw John Claudine "Too Much, Too Soon"
1977 79 Park Avenue Marja Fludjicki / Marianne TV miniseries
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
1978 Betrayal Julie Roy TV film
1978 Pearl Dr. Carol Lang TV miniseries
1979 The Muppet Show Herself Episode 3.15
1979 Portrait of a Stripper Susie Hanson TV film
1980 Beulah Land Sarah Pennington TV miniseries
1982 Portrait of a Showgirl Jillian Brooks TV film
1985 Evergreen Anna Friedman TV miniseries
1986 Apology Lily TV film
1986 A Fight for Jenny Kelsey Wilkes TV film
1987 Faerie Tale Theatre Jeanetta "The Dancing Princesses"
1988 Baja Oklahoma Juanita Hutchins TV film
Nominated — CableACE Award for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
1990 Family of Spies Barbara Walker TV miniseries
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
1990 American Playwrights Theater: The One-Acts Flora "27 Wagons Full of Cotton"
Nominated — CableACE Award for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
1990 Lola Lola Baltic TV film
1991 A Seduction in Travis County Melanie Evans TV film
1992 In Sickness and in Health Anita Mattison TV film
1992 Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story Wanda Holloway TV film
1993 A Mother's Revenge Carol Sanders TV film
1995 Murderous Intent Gayle TV film
1995 Joseph Potiphar's Wife TV Miniseries
1999 Jesse Susan "Momma Was a Rollin' Stone"
2000 Twice in a Lifetime Rhonda Finkelstein / Sadie Arnstein "Matchmaker, Matchmaker"
2001–2006 Will & Grace Tina Recurring role
2002 St. Sass Slim Kaplan TV film
2002–2005 Crossing Jordan Arlene Lebowski "Don't Look Back", "Locard's Exchange"
2003 Touched by an Angel Kelly Cartwright "As It Is in Heaven"
2003 The Practice Sylvia Bakey "Choirboys", "Special Deliveries"
2003 Recipe for Disaster Marie Korda TV film
2004 Less than Perfect Diane Steadman "Claude's Apartment"
2005–2011 Desperate Housewives Sophie Bremmer Recurring role
2008–2012 In Plain Sight Jinx Shannon Main role
2009 Bound by a Secret Jane Tetley TV film
2011 Working Class Barbara "Medieval Woman"
2013 Psych Leslie "100 Clues"
2015 Community Deb Perry "Lawnmower Maintenance & Postnatal Care", "Advanced Safety Features"
2015 Gigi Does It Tretchy Feinberg "Wart-a-Colors", "Whine"
2016 Blunt Talk Cornelia 3 episodes
2016–17 Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce Dina "No Means... No", "Let Them Eat Cupcakes"
2018 Daredevil Esther Falb Episode: "Reunion"
2019 The Cool Kids Kathleen Episode: "Charlie's Angel"
2019 American Princess Joanntha Klein 3 Episodes
2019 Twinkle All the Way Twinkle Harrison Television film
2020 Broke Alex McBride Episode: "Mom's Secret"
2020 Blind Psychosis Tabatha Burks Television film
2021 All Rise Samara Strong Episode: "Bette Davis Eyes"
2022 Panhandle Millicent Prescott Main role (8 episodes)


  1. ^ "When Do We Eat?" (PDF). Whendoweeat.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 26, 2021. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  2. ^ "Lesley Ann Warren on Victor Victoria and The Actors Studio". The A.V. Club. July 4, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "Overview for Lesley Ann Warren". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Buchalter, Gail (April 19, 1982). "The Real Victor in 'victor/ Victoria' Is a Newly Confident Lesley Ann Warren". People.
  5. ^ a b Hill, Michael (February 24, 1985). "Lesley Ann Warren". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 18, 2020.
  6. ^ "Lesley Ann Warren – Broadway Cast & Staff". IMDb. Archived from the original on July 2, 2022.
  7. ^ "Lesley Warren". Golden Globes.
  8. ^ Mandelbaum, Ken (August 15, 1992). Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops (reprint ed.). Macmillan. pp. 180–182. ISBN 978-0-3120-8273-4. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
  9. ^ a b c "Lesley Ann Warren". Golden Globes.
  10. ^ "A Night in Heaven (1983)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  11. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 1, 1984). "Screen:'choose Me'". The New York Times.
  12. ^ "Lesley Ann Warren: "If you've made it this far, you've got something unique and special"". Film Talk. February 18, 2016.
  13. ^ Marrero, Pedro (March 15, 2020). "Meet Cast of Cult Movie 'Clue' 35 Years after Its Release". AmoMama.
  14. ^ Goldman, Eric. "Lesley Ann Warren Joins 'Marvel's Daredevil' Season 3". Marvel Entertainment. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
  15. ^ Petski, Denise (May 24, 2018). "'American Princess': Lesley Ann Warren & Max Ehrich Set To Recur In Lifetime Series". Deadline Hollywood.
  16. ^ Mazzeo, Esme (November 24, 2019). "Twinkle All The Way Review: Sarah Drew's Lifetime Christmas Movie Is Three, Two, One, Magic". Tell-Tale TV.
  17. ^ Haber, Joyce (November 26, 1973). "Jon, Barbra More Than Patron, Client". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ "Producer Jon Peters Wants Ex-Wife Evicted". Fox News. July 19, 2006. Archived from the original on October 10, 2020. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  19. ^ Windeler, Robert (February 28, 1977). "Lesley Ann Warren Washed Jon Peters Out of Her Hair, but Barbra Is Her Soulmate". People. Vol. 7, no. 8. Archived from the original on October 10, 2020. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  20. ^ Dreifus, Claudia (April 1987). "A Surprising Interview with Lesley Ann Warren". New Woman. Vol. 17, no. 4. pp. 71–76. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
  21. ^ a b "Lesley Ann Warren Recalls Meeting Husband Ron Taft at a Hair Salon: 'It Was Love at First Sight!'". Closer. October 13, 2019.
  22. ^ "Lesley Ann Warren - The Film Scene with Illeana Douglas" (Podcast). December 23, 2016.
  23. ^ Lisanti, Tom; Paul, Louis (April 10, 2002). Film Fatales: Women in Espionage Films and Television, 1962–1973. McFarland. pp. 301–304. ISBN 978-0-7864-1194-8 – via Google Books.