Like so many great Hollywood success stories, Marissa Jaret Winokur's ascent to fame started with a chance discovery by a top talent, which led to the role of a lifetime. In Winokur's case, it was a b...
New York City, New York, USA
|Beautiful Girl||Actor||Becca Wasserman||7|
|Retired at 35||2011 2009 - 2011||Actor||Amy Robbins||20117|
|Good Girls Don't||2003 2002 - 2003||Actor||Mistress Persephone||20037|
|The Talk||2014 2009 - 2014||Host||Co-Host||20145|
|Guys With Kids||2012 2011 - 2012||Actor||Linda Allmendinger||20127|
|Shake It Up!||2012 2009 - 2012||Actor||Miss Nancy||20127|
|It Was One of Us||2007 2006 - 2007||Actor||Dr. Theodora "Teddy" Hohn||20077|
|Hot in Cleveland||2013 2008 - 2013||Actor||Kim||20137|
|Melissa & Joey||2013 2009 - 2013||Actor||Theresa||20137|
|The Cleveland Show||2012 2008 - 2012||Voice||Full-Sized Woman||20126|
|Stacked||2005 2003 - 2005||Actor||Katrina||20057|
|Dance Your Ass Off: The Weight is Over||2008 2007 - 2008||Host||n/a||20085|
|American Dad||2014 2003 - 2014||Voice||Jewel/ Teary Woman||20146|
|Curb Your Enthusiasm||2010 1999 - 2010||Actor||Woman in Elevator||20107|
|Dance Your Ass Off Reunion||2009 2008 - 2009||Host||n/a||20095|
|Celebrity Blackjack||2004 2002 - 2004||Actor||Contestant (Episode 2)||20047|
|On Edge||1999||Actor||Wendy Wodinski||19997|
|Jack & Bobby||2004 2003 - 2004||Actor||n/a||20047|
|Dancing With the Stars||2013 2003 - 2013||Actor||Celebrity Participant||20137|
|The 12th Annual A Home for the Holidays||2010 2009 - 2010||Presenter||n/a||1|
|The Ellen Show||2001 2000 - 2001||Actor||Tina||20017|
|Shrek the Halls||Voice||Bookstore Girl||6|
|Major Crimes||2013 2010 - 2013||Actor||Karaoke Contestant||20137|
|Boston Public||2003 1999 - 2003||Actor||n/a||20037|
|Dance Your Ass Off||2009 2007 - 2009||Host||n/a||20095|
|On the Edge||Actor||("Happy Birthday")||7|
|Role of a Lifetime||Actor||Flower Girl||7|
|Stand Up to Cancer||2010 2009 - 2010||Actor||n/a||20107|
|The 2005 Billboard Music Awards||2005 2004 - 2005||Actor||n/a||20057|
|The 58th Annual Tony Awards||2003 2002 - 2003||Actor||Presenter||20037|
|Never Been Kissed||1999||Actor||Sheila||19997|
|Celebrity Ghost Stories||2012 2008 - 2012||Actor||n/a||20127|
|Scary Movie||2000||Actor||Garage Victim||20007|
|The Steve Harvey Show||2001 1995 - 2001||Actor||Kimmie||20017|
|Moesha||2000 1994 - 2000||Actor||Theresa||20007|
|City Guys||2001 1996 - 2001||Actor||n/a||20017|
|Dharma & Greg||2001 1996 - 2001||Actor||Anita||20017|
|Felicity||2001 1997 - 2001||Actor||n/a||20017|
|Nikki||2001 1999 - 2001||Actor||Lizzy||20017|
|Beautiful Girl||Co-Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|Son of the Mask||2005||Song Performer||("Baby Face")||1|
|Hairspray||2007||Song Performer||("Mama, I'm A Big Girl Now")||1|
|Appeared on an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO) as a woman who tangles with Larry David over a doctor's appointment|
|Joined the Broadway revival of "Grease" as Pink Lady Jan|
|Cast in the national touring company of "Grease"|
|Feature debut, the Drew Barrymore comedy, "Never Been Kissed"|
|Made series regular debut in the FOX series, "Stacked" as an accident-prone bookstore employee|
|Appeared opposite Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon in the baseball comedy "Fever Pitch"|
|Played the lead (also executive produced) in the ABC Family TV movie "Beautiful Girl"|
|Cast on the ABC reality series "Dancing with the Stars" as a celebrity contestant|
|Had a memorable role as a fast food counter girl in "American Beauty"|
|Hosted the first season of "Dance Your Ass Off" on the Oxygen Network|
|Joined Nikki Blonsky and Ricki Lake in singing "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now" on the Hairspray soundtrack|
|Featured on an episode of "The Steve Harvey Show" (WB|
|Hired by Rob Marshall for the role of Tracy Turnblad; Marshall later left the production and was replaced by Jack O'Brien|
|Played the lead role of Tracy Turnblad in the musical adaptation of cult director John Waters' film, "Hairspray"|
Born Feb. 2, 1973 in New York City and raised in Bedford Village by her architect father and educator mother, Winokur's early years included stints on the cheerleading squad and captain of the soccer team at Fox Lane High School. Winokur began pursuing her theater dreams as a student in the integrated program at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. By the early 1990s, she was making inroads on stage and on camera; a role in the national touring company of "Grease" in 1994 led to her casting as Pink Lady Jan in its 1995 Broadway incarnation. She was also able to log small but noticeable parts on "The Steve Harvey Show" (The WB, 1996-2002) and in features like the Drew Barrymore comedy "Never Been Kissed" (1999).
A bit part as a fast food counter girl who gets an earful from a stressed-out Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty" stuck in the memory of director Rob Marshall, who was involved in the early stages of a musical adaptation of cult director John Waters' most approachable film, "Hairspray" (1988). Marshall suggested that Winokur meet with him and the play's composer and lyricist, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The meeting convinced them that the young actress was right for the role of Tracy Turnblad, the show's spunky, civil rights-minded leading lady, but were hesitant to sign her without seeing other auditions as well. An agreement was struck between the production team and Winokur, which brought her on board to work with them, but stipulated that she could be replaced at a later date. After Winokur agreed to the proposal, disaster struck.
Winokur was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Terrified that she would lose the role of a lifetime if her condition was made public, she underwent treatment (including chemotherapy and a hysterectomy) and continued to work on the project. Only her family knew the true extent of her situation. Thankfully, her health improved over time, but another stumbling block presented itself; Marshall's participation in "Hairspray" was entirely dependent on the progress of a film version of "Chicago," and when that project was greenlit, he departed the stage musical and was replaced by Jack O'Brien ("The Full Monty") and choreographer Jerry Mitchell ("Legally Blonde: The Musical"). Winokur was told that she would need to audition for the role of Tracy, which would have put her up against hundreds of fellow actresses. However, her brassy vocals and comic and dance abilities also convinced the new team that she was born to play Tracy.
During the exhaustive pre-production phase of the play's inception, Winokur also kept busy with a host of guest shots on television and in film, including repeat appearances on "Dharma and Greg" (ABC, 1997-2002) and "Moesha" (UPN, 1996-2001). She also enjoyed a memorable cameo on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000- ) as a woman who tangles with Larry David over a doctor's appointment. But by 2002, Winokur's time was devoted almost exclusively to "Hairspray," which transferred from Seattle to Broadway in 2002. The production was a runaway success, winning eight Tony Awards and countless other Broadway laurels. Winokur herself brought home the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, finding herself the toast of the Great White Way.
Following her huge win with "Hairspray," Winokur began landing more substantive parts on television. She was top-billed and served as executive producer for the ABC Family TV movie "Beautiful Girl" (2003), a breezy dramedy about a plus-sized teacher who enters a beauty contest to win money for her wedding. And in 2005, she made her debut as a series regular with "Stacked" (Fox, 2005-06), a short-lived comedy which cast her as an accident-prone employee at a bookstore that has hired a voluptuous new employee (Pamela Anderson). That same year, she contributed vocals to the song "Baby Face" for "Son of the Mask" (2005), and turned up in the Drew Barrymore/Jimmy Fallon baseball comedy "Fever Pitch" (2005), as well as several TV episodes. The following year, Winokur married Judah Miller, a former writer for "Stacked."
In 2007, Winokur was cast opposite Nikki Cox as identical twins for the comedy pilot "Fugly" (CBS, 2007). She also joined the original cinematic Tracy Turnblad's - Ricki Lake, and Nikki Blonsky - for the song "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now" in the 2007 film version of the "Hairspray" musical. She also lent her voice to the TV holiday special "Shrek the Halls" (2007). The following year, she joined the sixth season cast of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ) as one of its celebrity contestants. Although she was off to a rocky start, by the third week of the competition, Winokur was consistently picking up high scores from the judges panel. Despite being a fierce competitor, she was eventually knocked off the show in the semi-final round.
Winokur did, however, parlay her "Dancing with the Stars" experience into work as the host of the reality dance/weight loss competition, "Dance Your Ass Off" (Oxygen, 2009-2010). Moving on after one season, she was next seen as the "mother on the street" in segments of the daytime chat-fest, "The Talk" (CBS, 2010- ). This, too, lasted but a season when by mutual decision with the producers of "The Talk," Winokur left the show due to a lack of airtime. Beginning in its second season, the actress picked up a regular cast role on the sitcom "Retired at 35" (TV Land, 2011- ), as Amy, the successful sister of David Robbins (Johnathan McClain), a young man looking to drop out of the rat race and reconnect with his parents (George Segal and Jessica Walter) at their Florida retirement community.
|Judah Miller||Husband||Met when she co-starred on "Stacked" (FOX) and he was a writer on the show; married October 7, 2006|
|Zev Miller||Son||Carried to term by a surrogate mother and born on July 22, 2008; father, Judah Miller|
|The American Musical and Dramatic Academy|
|Fox Lane High School|
|During the early development stages of "Hairspray," Winokur was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She underwent treatment for the disease, including a hysterectomy, without revealing her condition to anyone except her immediate family out of fear that she would be replaced in the musical.|
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