Debra Messing

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Debra Messing

Messing in 2008
Born Debra Lynn Messing
August 15, 1968 (1968-08-15) (age 45)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Residence New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Education Degree in theater arts
Alma mater Brandeis University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1994 – present
Spouse Daniel Zelman
(m. 2000-present)
Children Roman Walker Zelman
Parents Brian Messing
Sandra (née Simons)
Awards Satellite Award for Best Actress - TV Series Musical or Comedy
2002 Will & Grace
2003 Will & Grace

Debra Lynn Messing (born August 15, 1968) is an American actress. She has been nominated eight times for the Golden Globes. Her work includes acting as Grace Adler in the NBC television series Will & Grace, and Molly Kagan in the USA television series The Starter Wife.

Early life[change | change source]

Messing was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.[1] She is the daughter of Sandra (née Simons), who has worked as a professional singer, banker, travel agent and real estate agent, and Brian Messing, a sales executive for a costume jewelry packaging manufacturer.[2] The Messing family is Jewish, and descends from Russia and Poland.[3][4][5] When Messing was three, she moved with her parents and her older brother, Brett, to East Greenwich, a small town outside Providence, Rhode Island.[6]

During her high school years, Messing acted and sang in a number of high school productions. For example, she was a main character in the musicals Annie and Fiddler on the Roof. Messing took lessons in dance, singing, and acting. While her parents encouraged her dream of becoming an actress, they also urged her to finish a liberal arts education before deciding on acting as a career. Following their advice, Messing attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. During her junior year, she studied theater at the well-known London-based British European Studio Group program. This experience made her sure that she wanted to be an actress.

In 1990, Messing graduating from Brandeis University with a bachelor's degree in theater arts She then gained admission to the Graduate Acting Program at New York University. This was a very hard thing to do, because the program only accepts around fifteen new students every year. She earned a Master's Degree in Fine Arts there after three years.

Career[change | change source]

In 1993, Messing was praised for her acting in the pre-Broadway workshop production of Tony Kushner's play Angels in America: Perestroika.[1] After that, she appeared in several episodes of the television series NYPD Blue during 1994 and 1995.

In 1995, Messing made her film debut in Alfonso Arau's A Walk in the Clouds. She was playing the unfaithful wife of main character Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves). Fox Network thought she did well, so they made her the co-star of the television sitcom, Ned and Stacey. The series lasted for two seasons, from 1995 to 1997. In 1996 and 1997, Messing appeared as Jerry Seinfeld's date in two episodes of the series Seinfeld. Messing turned down a starring role in another television sitcom so she could appear in Donald Margulies's two-character play Collected Stories. The play opened at the Off-Broadway Manhattan Theater Club. She also co-starred in McHale's Navy in 1997.

In 1998, Messing played a lead role as the bio-anthropologist Sloan Parker on ABC's dramatic science fiction television series Prey. During this time, her agent want to her with the script for the first episode of the television show Will & Grace. Messing was at first wanted to take some time off, but the script get her interest. She auditioned for the role of Grace Adler. She got the part, beating out Nicollette Sheridan. Sheridan later guest-starred on the show as a romantic rival of Grace's. Will & Grace became a ratings success, and Messing gained fame.[1]

In 2002, Messing was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People Magazine. TV Guide picked her as its "Best Dressed Woman" in 2003. Messing was cast by director Woody Allen in a small role in his 2002 film Hollywood Ending. Her film roles since then include a happily married but ill-fated wife in the thriller The Mothman Prophecies (2002) and a supporting role in Along Came Polly (2004). The Wedding Date (2005) was Messing's first leading role in a high-profile film. It received mixed reviews but performed fairly well at the box office. Messing was featured as a judge on the season finale of the second season of Bravo's reality show, Project Runway. She also starred in the television mini-series The Starter Wife, which was nominated for ten Emmy awards including one for Messing for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.

Messing returned to her role as Molly Kagan in a second season of ten episodes of The Starter Wife in 2008. In February 2009, USA Network announced that The Starter Wife will not be back for another season.

Personal life[change | change source]

Messing met actor and screenwriter Daniel Zelman, on their first day as graduate students at NYU in 1990. They married on September 3, 2000, and live in New York City. On April 7, 2004, Messing gave birth to a son, Roman Walker Zelman.[7]

Filmography[change | change source]

Year Title Role Other notes
1995 A Walk in the Clouds Betty Sutton
Ned & Stacey Stacey Colbert TV Series
1997 McHale's Navy Lt. Penelope Carpenter
1998 Will & Grace Grace Adler TV Series
1999 Jesus Mary Magdalene TV Movie
2002 The Mothman Prophecies Mary Klein
Hollywood Ending Lori Fox
2004 Along Came Polly Lisa Kramer
Garfield Arlene Voice only
2005 The Wedding Date Kat Ellis
2006 Open Season Park Ranger Beth Voice only
2007 Lucky You Suzanne Offer
The Starter Wife Molly Kagan TV miniseries
Purple Violets Kate
2008 The Women Edith Potter
The Starter Wife Molly Kagan TV series
Nothing Like the Holidays Sarah

Awards[change | change source]

Golden Globe Awards[change | change source]

Emmy Awards[change | change source]

  • 2000: nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2001: nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2002: nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2003: won - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2006: nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2007: nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie - The Starter Wife

Screen Actors Guild Awards[change | change source]

  • 2001: nominated - Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2001: won - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2002: nominated - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2003: nominated - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2004: nominated - Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace'
  • 2004: nominated - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2005: nominated - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Will & Grace
  • 2008: nominated - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries - The Starter Wife

Teen Choice Awards[change | change source]

  • 2001: nominated - Choice TV Actress: Comedy - Will & Grace
  • 2002: nominated - Choice TV Actress: Comedy - Will & Grace
  • 2006: nominated - Choice TV Actress: Comedy - Will & Grace

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]