This classically-trained blonde actress became a recognizable primetime face and earned four Emmy nominations as breast cancer survivor Nurse Helen Rosenthal on "St. Elsewhere" (NBC, 1983-88), Christina Pickles found a new venue in the 1990s in the recurring role of Judy Geller, the mother of Monica (Courteney Cox) and Ross (David Schwimmer) on the hit NBC sitcom "Friends".
Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Pickles reportedly was accepted at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at age 15. After stage appearances in London and the USA, she settled in NYC and soon found work in daytime television, appearing on the soap operas, "The Guiding Light" (CBS) in 1970-71 and as the Countess de Poulignac on "Another World" (NBC) for two years (1977-79). In 1979, Pickles migrated to Southern California, where she almost immediately found work in the stage productions of "Cloud Nine" and "Darlinghissima" and as a guest performer on such series as "Lou Grant" and "The White Shadow". She was still a relatively little known performer when she landed her breakthrough role of Nurse Rosenthal. Once an established player, Pickles went on to appear in other small screen projects including the CBS miniseries "James Michener's Space" (1985), the syndicated TV-movie "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" (1984), and as a Jewish woman terrorized in "The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro" (NBC, 1989). She was particularly effective as the long-suffering wife of a Midwestern businessman caught up in the decadence of Tinseltown in the 1988 "Golden Land" installment of PBS' "Tales From the Hollywood Hills". In 1989, Pickles displayed her comedic flair as the disapproving sister-in-law on the short-lived CBS sitcom "The People Next Door" and later as the potential mother-in-law to Booger in "Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love" (Fox, 1994). In addition, she has lent her distinctive talents as narrator of the 1989 TBS documentary "Abortion: For Survival" and host of the special "Abortion: Denied" (TBS, 1990).
While Pickles' big screen appearances has been sporadic, she has often shone. The actress debuted opposite Jonathan Frid as a married couple caught up in a series of games that turn deadly in Oliver Stone's directorial debut, "Seizure" (1974). She camped it up as an evil sorceress in "Masters of the Universe" (1987), but lent a patrician air to her brief role as the estranged wife of Anthony Hopkins in "Legends of the Fall" (1994). After making a relative brief appearance in Allison Anders' "Grace of My Heart", she played Leonardo DiCaprio's mother, Mrs. Montague, in Baz Luhrmann's modern-day spin on "William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'" (both 1996). Pickles rounded out that year with a small but telling portrayal as the clueless mother of an AIDS-stricken man in "No Easy Way". Pickles went on to co-star with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in the comedy "The Wedding Singer" (1998).