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Bebe Neuwirth Actress

Bebe Neuwirth

Bebe stars as Assistant District Attorney "Tracy Kibre" on NBC's new drama series "Law & Order: Trial By Jury." Dick Wolf, creator and executive producer of the four “Law & Order” series said, "Bebe is one of today's only true stars of stage, screen and television. I have no doubt that her presence in such a talented ensemble cast will help to seamlessly usher in the new series." Neuwirth first gained notice for her portrayal of Lilith Sternin-Crane on "Cheers" from 1986-93, where she won two Emmy Awards as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She also earned Tony Awards as Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for "Sweet Charity" in 1986 and as Best Actress in a Musical for "Chicago" in 1997. In addition, Neuwirth often reprised her Lilith character as a guest star in "Frasier" and has appeared in such feature films as "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," "Summer of Sam," "Malice," "Bugsy," "Liberty Heights," "Green Card" and "The Big Bounce." Neuwirth also starred in the TV movies "Dash and Lilly" and "Cupid & Cate." Among her many other Broadway credits are "Damn Yankees," "A Chorus Line," "Dancin'" and "Fosse." She just completed a successful run of "Here Lies Jenny" off-Broadway at the Zipper Theater.

A versatile actress who has displayed a talent for both comedy and drama, Bebe Neuwirth is also a gifted dancer and vocalist who has won acclaim for her work on the musical stage, though she's still best known to television viewers as Lilith Sternin, Frazier Crane's tightly wound girlfriend (and later wife) on the popular comedy Cheers. Born Beatrice Neuwirth on New Year's Eve, 1958, she was raised in Princeton, NJ, where her father, Lee Neuwirth, was a mathematician and her mother, Sydney Anne Neuwirth, was an artist. Bebe began taking dance lessons at the age of five, and, while a student at Princeton High School, she began appearing in local ballet productions and community theater productions. After high school, Neuwirth studied dance at New York's prestigious Juilliard School, and in 1980 she made her professional debut as Shelia, a once-famous dancer looking to make a comeback, in a touring production of the long-running musical A Chorus Line. In 1982, Neuwirth hit Broadway in two different shows, Dancin', directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, and Little Me. In 1986, Neuwirth won the starring role in another Fosse musical, a revival of Sweet Charity, which later earned her a Tony award and cemented her reputation on Broadway. That year also marked Neuwirth's television debut (not counting a brief appearance as a member of the Whitney Dance Theater on the daytime drama The Edge of Night in 1981) with her first appearance as Lilith Sternin on Cheers; Lilith soon became a regular fixture on Cheers and Neuwirth won two Emmy awards for her work until Lilith was written out of the show (at Neuwirth's request) in 1992, to allow Neuwirth to pursue film and stage work. Lilith, however, occasionally made return visits to Cheers, and later on Kelsey Grammer's spin-off series, Frasier. Neuwirth made her feature-film debut in 1989 with a small role as a guidance counselor in Say Anything..., and while a steady stream of supporting roles followed in such films as Bugsy, Green Card, and Jumanji, she had a hard time finding screen roles which suited her edgy charm. She continued to have better luck on-stage, and in 1997 her performance in the Broadway revival of Chicago won her the Tony and Drama Desk awards. After scoring meatier roles in the films Summer of Sam and Liberty Heights, Neuwirth returned to episodic television in the well-reviewed but short-lived drama series Deadline, in which she worked alongside Oliver Platt, Lili Taylor, and Tom Conti. In 2002, Neuwirth finally scored a film role that truly suited her talents as Diane, a sexy fourtysomething woman who seduces her best friend's teenage son in the independent comedy.

Bebe's biggest fan following rests upon her frequent appearances between 1986 and 1992 as Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane, the uptight, politically correct psychologist wife of Frasier Crane on the long-running comedy series Cheers, a role that won the actress Emmys in both 1990 and 1991. The role unfortunately stuck to Bebe, who at times will get called by her character name rather than her own. "I don't like to be called Lilith on the street; I'll actually ignore someone who does that, unless I feel they might hurt me. I don't like to be recognized. And I'll say 'no' if people ask, 'are you...?'-- especially if it's going to cause a scene or somebody is trying to win a bet. It can be completely dehumanizing, and I'm way too sensitive." In 1992, she requested that her character be written out of Cheers so that she could focus her energies on feature film work.

Though Lilith divorced Frasier during the course of Cheers, Bebe did return as the character in a couple of Kelsey Grammer's spin-off sitcom Frasier. Yet through her many roles, she has proven time and again that can portray a wide variety of characters.

In 1982 she met theater director Paul Droman, and in 1984 they were married. The two remained together for seven years.

Through the '90s she has successfully balanced work in television, film and theater, but it is on stage where she has received the attention she deserves. For her performance in the 1997 production of Chicago, she won Best Actress in a Musical, Most Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Best Female Dancer, and Most Distinguished Performance. However, Bebe often returns to the big screen as well and recent credits include How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), Le Divorce (2003) and The Big Bounce (2004).

More fun stuff about Bebe Neuwirth

Graduated from Princeton High School (Princeton, New Jersey) [1976]

Has won two Tony Awards: in 1986 as Best Actress (Featured Role - Musical) for playing Nicki in a revival of "Sweet Charity;" and in 1997 as Best Actress (Musical) for playing Velma Kelly in a revival of "Chicago."

Majored in dance at The Juilliard School (New York, New York) (1976-7)

She raises money to help stray cats and dogs.

Danced with the Princeton Ballet Company.

After the show went off the air, she got a lot of offers from TV and film essentially asking her to pretty much play the same character.

She claims the role of the hooker teaching Judy Davis how to perform oral sex on a banana in Woody Allen's Celebrity (1998) was written specifically for her.

Has won two Emmys, two Tonys, two Drama Desks, an LA Drama Critics Circle award, an Astaire Award, an Outer Critics Circle award, among others.

Her personal quotes:

"In a really well-written musical, you talk until you just can't talk anymore, you're going to have to sing. And when you're just so full you can't sing anymore, then you have to dance. It's a natural progression."

"If you have to ask how to be sexy after 40, you probably can't do it."

About her work: "I know when I'm bad, I know when I'm good, and I know when I'm everything in between. I don't have any delusions of grandeur or delusions of failure. In terms of my work, I've got a pretty cold honest eye."

(On her cameo in 'Celebrity'): "He offered me the hooker part with a great deal of respect. He wrote me, 'Please don't be offended.' That didn't offend me. I would do pretty much anything for him."

(About the film "Tadpole"): "It's more about who Oscar is that these women are falling in love with him than just his age. In that sense it's a little more European than we're used to."

"I've always loved to dance on stage. I've been doing ballet since I was five, on stage dancing since I was seven."

Bebe Neuwirth: 'Tadpole'

Playing a sexy, sensual siren in the indie comedy "Tadpole" wasn't much of a stretch for Bebe Neuwirth, the Broadway veteran who first bedazzled TV audiences as sharp-tongued, saucy Lilith on the popular '80s comedy "Cheers."

This time, she's a conniving chiropractor who ends up in bed with her best friend's (Sigourney Weaver) 15-year-old stepson, Oscar (Aaron Stanford). Quite the bizarre love triangle, to be sure, but Neuwirth handles the twists and turns with aplomb—with a little help from Laura Mercier, Azzedine Alaia and Brooks Brothers. "I thought I looked like a real person, and it helped me play the character," says the actress.

Hairstylist Anthony Veader was inspired by elegant 1940s movie icon Veronica Lake's sleek, simple locks. "We went with that look because Bebe was a woman about town, but in a good way," he says. "She was sultry and worldly, and I wanted a sexy, softer look." While Neuwirth's hair was wet, Veader first sprayed a tiny bit of Phytologie Phytodéfrisant to leave her tresses smooth and shiny.

Next, he dried her hair with a big, round brush and set it in spring rollers, because Velcro rollers will often pull out the setting solution in fine hair like Neuwirth's. After Neuwirth had her makeup done, Veader removed the rollers and gave Neuwirth a little extra support with a dab of Kérastase Nutritive Nutri-Liss smoothing treatment. "I want to see movement, so you just add a cream that has some hold to it, so you can always move your hair around," says Veader.

Makeup artist Evelyne Noraz honed in on Neuwirth's striking eyes and lips. "She's definitely very sexy, but in a classy way," she says. "She's a seductress who always wears makeup, and I wanted her to always use black liner and have color on the lips."

Noraz first prepped Neuwirth's skin with Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, then followed up with the line's moisturizing foundation in Warm Ivory. "Bebe has very beautiful skin," Noraz points out, "and you don't need to put a lot on her." She then dabbed Neuwirth's skin with T. LeClerc loose powder in Banane, and subtly brightened her cheeks with Nars blush in Orgasm.

To maximize her eyes, Noraz used Revlon Timeliner for Eyes in Ebony on Neuwirth's top lids, inside rims and lower lids.
Noraz painted Neuwirth's pucker either reddish-brown with Nars Gipsy lipstick or fiery fuchsia with Yves Saint Laurent Pure lipstick No. 19 Fuchsia Pink. "Lips and liner should be enough," says Noraz, who cautions against using too much color on your face. "So line your eye tops and bottoms lightly, use a bright lipstick and a very, very light blush."

The fur really flew when it came to dressing Neuwirth, as costume designer Suzanne Schwartzer learned. Schwartzer wanted the star to wear lots of furs and leather, for "a predatory but sensual appearance." She explains, "Fakes don't translate as well, so if you're going to do it, do the real thing." The actress, a committed anti-fur activist, initially refused to go the animal route. "But they twisted my arm for a long, hard time," says Neuwirth. "And it is true that this woman wears fur." Using animal skins as her primary fashion influence, Schwartzer clad Neuwirth in a mink fur from Ben Kahn and a snakeskin leather jacket by Danier Leather.

In fact, Schwartzer stuck to warm, rich tones for the entire movie, dressing Neuwirth in maroons, corals, browns and subtle camel hues. But don't let her fancy duds fool you. Most of Neuwirth's clothes were bought at Loehmann's, and one favorite halter top came from Brooks Brothers. Another hot purple one was from the Gap. In fact, says Schwartzer, all of Neuwirth's looks are totally real and attainable. "You can buy all these things less expensively if you shop right," she says. "You just need lots of leather skirts, sexy tank tops, halter tops and gold jewelry. It's stuff everyone has in their closets."

Broadway's Bebe Neuwirth To Star with Jerry Orbach on New "Law & Order" Spinoff

Tony Award winner and current Here Lies Jenny star Bebe Neuwirth joins the cast of the upcoming "Law & Order" spinoff "Trial by Jury," joining fellow stage stalwart Jerry Orbach.

The new NBC drama series is slated to broadcast in 2005 according to an network release.

In "Law & Order: Trial by Jury," Neuwirth will play a "tough career Manhattan assistant district attorney" named Tracy Kibre. Orbach, a long-standing member of the original series, will reprise his role as Detective Lenny Briscoe.

"Bebe is one of today's only true stars of stage, screen and television," show creator Dick Wolf stated. "I have no doubt that her presence in an ensemble that already includes Jerry (Orbach) and Fred (Thompson) will help to seamlessly usher in the new series."

Neuwirth earned Tony Awards for her performances on Broadway in Sweet Charity and Chicago. The Broadway baby has also appeared in stagings of A Chorus Line, Little Me, Damn Yankees and Fosse. The actress also made a name for herself, earning two Emmy Awards on television in the role of Lilith Sternin-Crane on "Cheers" and repeat appearances on that show's spinoff "Frasier." Her film credits include "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," "Summer of Sam," "Bugsy," "Tadpole," "Liberty Heights" and "The Big Bounce."

The Piano's Hot: Bebe Neuwirth Sings in Concert in West Palm Beach

Tony Award-winner Bebe Neuwirth, who spent the summer heating up Off-Broadway in the Kurt Weill musical experience called Here Lies Jenny, warms up to West Palm Beach, Florida, Dec. 29 for a concert with orchestra.

Neuwirth, of Broadway's Sweet Charity (1987) and Chicago (1996), will sing and dance a newly created concert show called Vamps at Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. Concert Hall in the Kravis Center. The show is at 8 PM.

Expect songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb ("All That Jazz" and more) and Kurt Weill (including highlights from Here Lies Jenny).

In addition to winning Tonys for Sweet Charity (Featured Actress) and Chicago (Leading Actress), Neuwirth is an Emmy Award winner for playing Lilith Sternin on "Cheers."

There will be a free pre-performance discussion by Julie Gilbert at 6:45 PM.

The evening is directed by Roger Rees, who helmed Here Lies Jenny, and has musical direction by that show's musical director, Leslie Stifelman.

The songs in the evening include "Bilbao Song," "Je ne t'aime pas," "Saga of Jenny," "Stranger Here Myself," "Surabaya Johnny," "Susan's Dream," "Sailor's Tango," "The Tale of the Soldier's Wife," "Tchaikovsky," "All That Jazz," "And the World Goes 'Round," "Cabaret," "Class," "How Lucky Can You Get?," "Mein Herr," "A Quiet Thing," "Razzle Dazzle," "Ring Them Bells" and "Roxie."

The Dreyfoos concert hall is the Kravis Center's main performance venue with 2,193 seats on five levels.


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