Mary Lucy Denise Henner
April 6, 1952
(m. 1980; div. 1982)
(m. 1990; div. 2001)
Mary Lucy Denise "Marilu" Henner (born April 6, 1952) is an American actress, producer, radio host, singer, podcaster, and author. She began her career appearing in the original production of the musical Grease in 1971, before making her screen debut in the 1977 comedy-drama film Between the Lines.
In 1977, Henner was cast in her breakthrough role as Elaine O'Connor Nardo in the ABC/NBC sitcom Taxi, a role she played until 1983 and received five Golden Globe Award nominations. She later had co-starring roles in films such as Hammett (1982), The Man Who Loved Women (1983), Cannonball Run II (1984), Johnny Dangerously (1984), Rustlers' Rhapsody (1985), Ladykillers (1988), L.A. Story (1991), and Noises Off (1992). She returned to television with a starring role in the CBS sitcom Evening Shade (1990–1994), and later had leading roles in many made-for-television movies.
Henner was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Loretta Callis (born Nikoleta Kalogeropoulos), who died of arthritis at age 58 and Joseph Henner (whose surname was originally Pudlowski), who died of a heart attack at age 52. Her maternal grandparents were Greek and her paternal grandparents were Polish. Henner was raised on the northwest side of Chicago in the Logan Square neighborhood. She is the third of six children. Her mother was president of the National Association of Dance and Affiliated Arts and ran the Henner Dance School for 20 years. Henner took her first dance class at age two then went on to teaching dance at her family's studio when she was 14 and choreographed shows at local high schools and colleges until leaving the Chicago area during her third year of college.
While a student at the University of Chicago in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Henner originated the role of "Marty" in the Kingston Mines production of Grease in 1971. When the show was discovered and moved to Broadway, she was asked to reprise the role; however, she chose instead to play "Marty" in the national touring company alongside John Travolta, who played "Doody". Additional Broadway credits for Henner include Over Here!, with Travolta, revivals of Pal Joey, Chicago, Social Security, and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. Her first film appearance was in 1977 sleeper-hit Between the Lines, co-starring then-unknowns Jeff Goldblum, Lindsay Crouse, John Heard, and Jill Eikenberry. Her second role was opposite Richard Gere in the 1978 film Bloodbrothers.
Henner came to prominence with the role of Elaine Nardo in the situation comedy Taxi, portraying a single mother working as a cabbie who aspired to be an artist. She was the leading lady in the 1982 film Hammett directed by Wim Wenders, produced by Francis Ford Coppola and starring her first husband Frederic Forrest. In 1983, Henner starred opposite Burt Reynolds in The Man Who Loved Women, directed by Blake Edwards. Reynolds then asked Henner to join the cast of Cannonball Run II later that year along with Shirley MacLaine and Dom DeLuise. She was the leading lady in the 1984 film Johnny Dangerously, playing the love interest to Michael Keaton. In 1985 she once again appeared alongside John Travolta in Perfect. In 1991 she appeared opposite Steve Martin in L.A. Story as Trudi, a role for which she received a nomination for an American Comedy Award as the Funniest Supporting Female in a Motion Picture. From 1990 through 1994, she appeared opposite Burt Reynolds in the situation comedy Evening Shade, which also starred Ossie Davis and Hal Holbrook. She also appeared in Noises Off (1992) and in Man on the Moon (1999), a film about her Taxi co-star Andy Kaufman. Henner played herself (as well as herself playing her Taxi character).
Henner guested on Match Game and Hollywood Squares. She provided the voice for Gotham City socialite Veronica Vreeland in Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1999), reprising the role in the animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998). In 1994, she hosted her own daytime talk show, Marilu, for 165 episodes.
Henner starred as the domineering mother of the bride in the Brooks & Dunn video "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl" in 2003.
In 2006 and 2007, Henner was the host of the television series America's Ballroom Challenge. Henner said on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in early 2008, that she has never actually danced ballroom and would like to go on a season of Dancing with the Stars, which would later come true in 2016 for the season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. She later hosted FitTV and The Discovery Channel's Shape Up Your Life, which is based on her books.
Henner was a contestant on NBC's first The Celebrity Apprentice, in 2008. She was fired by Donald Trump in the eighth episode but was brought back to help fellow contestant Trace Adkins in the final task of the show.
Henner, who has highly superior autobiographical memory, was a consultant for the CBS drama Unforgettable, which starred Poppy Montgomery as Carrie Wells, a woman with the same ability. Henner guest-starred as Carrie's aunt.
In August 2012, Henner won $25,000 for the charity Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) as a celebrity contestant on Live! with Kelly "Grilling with the Stars" contest for her Healthy/Easy Grilled Mushroom and Heirloom Tomato dish.
Henner has written nine books on diet, health and memory, the most prominent being Total Health Makeover, in which she explains the virtues of a non-dairy diet in conjunction with food combining and exercise. She leads monthly classes on her website, www.marilu.com, designed to help people integrate these steps into a healthier, more active lifestyle. Both of her parents died in their 50s, which prompted her to lead a healthier lifestyle. Henner has also been host of television's The Art of Living, produced by United States Media Television.
Henner rejoined the cast for its 13th season on The All-Star Celebrity Apprentice where she was joined by fellow Apprentice alumni. She played for her charity The Alzheimer's Association and won over $50,000 for the cause. She returned, after being eliminated, for the final task to assist Trace Adkins. In 2013, Henner made a guest appearance on Brooklyn Nine-Nine for 5 episodes.
Henner is now the host of The Marilu Henner Show. It airs every weekday morning on more than a dozen radio stations across America. The show is distributed by Sun Broadcast Group, in conjunction with GCN radio. The Marilu Henner Show can also be heard live at Marilushow.com, where she features guest physicians, health experts, celebrity guests, and friends.
On August 30, 2016, Henner was revealed as one of the celebrities who would compete on season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. She was partnered with professional dancer Derek Hough. Henner and Hough were eliminated on the ninth week of competition and finished in sixth place.
On July 10, 2018, she appeared as a "guestpert" on the podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me. In 2018, Henner appeared on the first season of “The Neighborhood”, CBS series starring Cedric the Entertainer, Tichina Arnold and Beth Behrs. Henner appeared in episode 8 of the first season titled, “Welcome to Thanksgiving”.
In her autobiography By All Means, Keep on Moving, Henner discussed her romances with actor John Travolta and Taxi costars Judd Hirsch and Tony Danza. Her first two marriages, to actor Frederic Forrest and director Robert Lieberman, ended in divorce. She married Michael Brown, a former college classmate, on December 21, 2006, before 100 people in her Los Angeles home. It was the second marriage for Brown, who has three children (Cassia Brown, Carine Brown and Michael Brown). Henner has two sons, Nicholas Morgan and Joseph Marlon, from her marriage to Lieberman.
Henner has hyperthymesia or total recall memory; she can remember specific details of virtually every day of her life since she was a child. On December 19, 2010, the CBS News program 60 Minutes aired a segment that featured six individuals thought to have this condition. As a longtime friend of 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, Henner was included on the show. Henner also discussed her superior memorization abilities on other programs, such as CBS's The Early Show, NBC's The Today Show, ABC's The View, and Howard Stern's Sirius XM show. Her ninth book, Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future, was released on April 24, 2012. To promote Total Memory Makeover, she appeared on Anderson Live (then known as simply Anderson), The View, Piers Morgan Tonight, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The Talk, The Dr. Oz Show, and numerous other radio and TV media outlets. She was also on episode 414 of the podcast My Brother, My Brother, and Me on July 9, 2018.
Acting appearances in feature films
|1977||Between the Lines||Danielle|
|1982||Hammett||Kit Conger / Sue Alabama|
|1983||The Man Who Loved Women||Agnes Chapman|
|1984||Cannonball Run II||Betty|
|1984||Johnny Dangerously||Lil Sheridan|
|1985||Rustlers' Rhapsody||Miss Tracy|
|1987||Grand Larceny||'Freddy' Grand|
|1991||Chains of Gold||Jackie|
|1992||Noises Off||Belinda Blair / Flavia Brent|
|1998||Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero||Veronica Vreeland||Voice only; Direct-to-video|
|1999||Man on the Moon||Herself||Uncredited cameo|
|1999||The Titanic Chronicles||Mrs. Stuart While||Voice only|
|2000||Enemies of Laughter||Dani|
|2018||Life with Dog||Alice|
|2020||The Mimic||The Assistant Editor|
Acting appearances in television productions
|1977||Off Campus||Janet||Television film|
|1978||The Paper Chase||Susu (pizza girl)||Pilot episode|
|1978-83||Taxi||Elaine O'Connor Nardo||114 episodes|
|1981||Dream House||Laura Griffith||Television film|
|1983||Super Bowl XVII Pre-Game Show||Elaine Nardo||Television film|
|1985||Stark||Ashley Walters||Television film|
|1985||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Claire||Episode: "Method Actor"|
|1985||Great Performances||Louise||Episode: "Grown-Ups"|
|1986||Who's the Boss?||Diane Wilmington||Episode: "Angela's New Best Friend"|
|1986||Love with the Perfect Stranger||Victoria Ducane||Television film|
|1988||Channel 99||Susan McDowell||Television film|
|1988||Ladykillers||Samantha Flannery||Television film|
|1990-94||Evening Shade||Ava Evans Newton||Main role; 98 episodes|
|1992||The Legend of Prince Valiant||Lady Catherine||Episode: "The Trap"|
|1993-95||Batman: The Animated Series||Veronica Vreeland||Voice only; Recurring role; 4 episodes|
|1995||Cybill||Terry Belmont||Episode: "Since I Lost My Baby"|
|1995||Fight for Justice: The Nancy Conn Story||Nancy Conn||Television film|
|1996||My Son Is Innocent||Margaret Sutter||Television film|
|1996||For the Future: The Irvine Fertility Scandal||Debbie Challender||Television film|
|1997-98||The New Batman Adventures||Veronica Vreeland||Voice only; Episodes: "Holiday Knights", "Chemistry"|
|2000||A Tale of Two Bunnies||Miranda||Television film|
|2000||Rocket's Red Glare||Meg Baker||Television film|
|2002||Providence||Georgia||Episodes: "Great Expectations", "Things Have Changed"|
|2002||Greg the Bunny||Maggie DeMontague||Episode: "Blah Bawls"|
|2004||Center of the Universe||Sharon Singleton||Episode: "Alarmed and Dangerous"|
|2005||Living With Fran||Donna Martin||Episode: "Riley's Parents"|
|2005||Gone But Not Forgotten||Nancy Gordon||Television film|
|2005||The Comeback||Herself||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2006-07||America's Ballroom Challenge||Host||Reality-competition series|
|2008||Good Behavior||Sydney Lake||Unsold television pilot|
|2008||The Governor's Wife||Ann Danville||Television film|
|2008||My Boys||Pamela Newman||Episode: "John, Cougar, Newman Camp"|
|2009||ER||Linda||Episode: "And in the End..."|
|2009||Party Down||Pepper McMasters||Episode: "Pepper McMasters Singles Seminar"|
|2010||Numb3rs||Regina Landers||Episode: "And the Winner Is..."|
|2011||Accidentally in Love||Carol||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2011||Grey's Anatomy||Mrs. Moser||Episode: "Poker Face"|
|2011||Unforgettable||Aunt Evie||Episode: "Golden Bird"|
|2012||Holiday High School Reunion||Beverly Hunt||Television film|
|2012||Hitched for the Holidays||Maxine Greene||Television film|
|2013||Two and a Half Men||Linda||Episode: "Cows, Prepare to Be Tipped"|
|2013||The Glades||Joan Longworth||Episodes: "Fast Ball", "Tin Cup"|
|2014||June in January||Diana Blackwell||Television film|
|2014||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Vivian Ludley||5 episodes|
|2014||Signed, Sealed, Delivered||Glynis Rucker||Guest star; 2 episodes|
|2014||The Crazy Ones||Paige Roberts||Episode: "The Lighthouse" (last TV appearance of Robin Williams)|
|2015||A Bone To Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2015||Real Murders: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2016||In-Lawfully Yours||Naomi||Television film|
|2016||Three Bedrooms, One Corpse: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2016||Love on a Limb||Zee Roarke||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2016||Dancing with the Stars||Herself||Contestant on season 23|
|2016||The Julius House: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2017||Dead Over Heels: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2017||A Bundle of Trouble: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2018||Last Scene Alive: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2018||Reap What You Sew: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2018||The Disappearing Game: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2018||The Neighborhood||Paula||Episode: "Welcome to Thanksgiving"|
|2019||A Game of Cat and Mouse: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2019||An Inheritance to Die For: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2019||A Very Foul Play: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2020||Heist and Seek: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2020||Love, Lights, Hanukkah||Ruth||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2020||Bob Hearts Abishola||Trish Dolan||Episode: "There's My Nigerians"|
|2021||How to Con a Con: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2021||Til Death Do Us Part: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2021||Honeymoon, Honeymurder: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery||Aida Teagarden||Television film (Hallmark)|