Christine Lahti

Actor, Director, Mime
Beginning in the late 1970s, acclaimed film, television and stage actress Christine Lahti carved out a niche for herself in an emerging field for Hollywood actresses - roles as professional, independent career women ... Read more »
Born: 04/03/1950 in Birmingham, Michigan, USA

Filmography

Actor (93)

Asthma 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hateship Loveship 2014 (Movie)

Eileen (Actor)

Lieberman in Love 2014 (Movie)

Shaleen (Actor)

Mania Days 2014 (Movie)

Sara (Actor)

Truck Stop 2014 (Movie)

Peg (Actor)

Hawaii Five-O 2012 - 2013 (Tv Show)

Actor

Petunia 2013 (Movie)

Felicia Petunia (Actor)

Flying Lessons 2012 (Movie)

(Actor)

Touchback 2012 (Movie)

(Actor)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2009 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Actor

Obsessed 2009 (Movie)

Reese (Actor)

The Cleaner 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

Yonkers Joe 2009 (Movie)

Janice (Actor)

Smart People 2008 (Movie)

Nancy (Actor)

The ACLU Freedom Files 2005 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

9th Annual Prism Awards 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip 2006 (Tv Show)

Actor

Jack & Bobby 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

The 10th Annual Critics' Choice Awards 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

The 6th Annual Family Television Awards 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

Open House 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Ally McBeal 1994 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

An American Daughter 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Intimate Portrait: Mary Steenburgen 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Narrator

Chicago Hope 1994 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Ellen 1994 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Influences: From Yesterday to Today 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Intimate Portrait: Christine Lahti 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

NFL All-Star Comedy Blitz 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Canned Ham: Deconstructing Harry 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

National Memorial Day Concert (1998) 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Screen Actors Guild 4th Annual Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The 52nd Annual Tony Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The National Hate Test 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Body Human 2000: Mysteries and Miracles 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

River Phoenix: The E! True Hollywood Story 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Subway Stories: Tales From the Underground 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The 1996 Emmy Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The 23rd Annual People's Choice Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Pie in the Sky 1996 (Movie)

Ruby (Actor)

Hideaway 1995 (Movie)

Lindsey (Actor)

Screen Actors Guild Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Frasier 1994 (Tv Show)

Actor

50th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The 14th Annual CableACE Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Leaving Normal 1992 (Movie)

Darly Peters (Actor)

The 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The Doctor 1991 (Movie)

Anne (Actor)

Funny About Love 1990 (Movie)

Meg (Actor)

The 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

At Rona's 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Gross Anatomy 1989 (Movie)

Rachel Woodruff (Actor)

Miss Firecracker 1989 (Movie)

Clara Archer (Actor)

Running on Empty 1988 (Movie)

Annie Pope (Actor)

Amerika 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Housekeeping 1987 (Movie)

Sylvie Fisher (Actor)

Stacking 1987 (Movie)

Kathleen Morgan (Actor)

Just Between Friends 1986 (Movie)

Sandy Dunlap (Actor)

Swing Shift 1984 (Movie)

Hazel Zanussi (Actor)

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains 1981 (Movie)

Aunt Linda (Actor)

Whose Life Is It Anyway? 1981 (Movie)

Dr Clare Scott (Actor)

And Justice For All 1979 (Movie)

Gail Packer (Actor)

The Harvey Korman Show 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

A Weekend in the Country (TV Show)

Actor

Crazy From the Heart (TV Show)

Actor

Dr. Scorpion (TV Show)

Actor

Hope (TV Show)

Actor

Love Lives On (TV Show)

Actor

No Place Like Home (TV Show)

Actor

Out of the Ashes (TV Show)

Actor

Single Bars, Single Women (TV Show)

Actor

The Book of Ruth (TV Show)

Actor

The Executioner's Song (TV Show)

Actor

The Fear Inside (TV Show)

Actor

The Four Diamonds (TV Show)

Actor

The Good Fight (TV Show)

Actor

The Henderson Monster (TV Show)

Actor

The Last Tenant (TV Show)

Actor

The Pilot's Wife (TV Show)

Actor

The Wild West (TV Show)

Voice

WOMEN vs. MEN (TV Show)

Actor
Director (2)

Lieberman in Love 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

My First Mister 2001 (Movie)

(Director)

Biography

Beginning in the late 1970s, acclaimed film, television and stage actress Christine Lahti carved out a niche for herself in an emerging field for Hollywood actresses - roles as professional, independent career women. Uninterested in wasting her dedication to acting on thinly-written supporting roles as girlfriends and wives, Lahti was in the right place at the right time and gave strong showings in character-driven films like "Whose Life is it Anyway?" (1981), "Swing Shift" (1984) and "Running on Empty" (1988), for which she earned an Academy Award nomination. In between film roles as smart, compassionate doctors, lawyers, and educators, Lahti was a constant television presence with her Golden Globe-winning run on the medical drama "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000) and award-winning telepics like the homeless family chronicle "No Place Like Home" (CBS, 1989). Throughout her career, Lahti regularly revisited her roots as a theater actress, notably in several plays by Wendy Wasserstein, and also branched out to direct episodic TV and films, making her one of the most respected women in Hollywood and one with a palpable commitment to quality storytelling.

Relationships

Paul Lahti

Father
of Finnish ancestry (Lahti means "bay of water" and is also the name of a town north of Helsinki)

Elizabeth Lahti

Mother
had six children by Paul Lahti of Finnish ancestry died on December 23, 1995 of unreported causes at age 75

Thomas Schlamme

Husband
married on September 4, 1983 father of three children

Emma Schlamme

Daughter
born on August 3, 1993 twin of Joseph

Joseph Schlamme

Son
born on August 3, 1993 twin of Emma

Wilson Schlamme

Son
born on July 5, 1988 in Jackson MI

EDUCATION

Neighborhood Studio

New York , New York
studied with William Esper

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor , Michigan 1972
enrolled in 1968 as a language student but later switched to speech and drama

Florida State University

Tallahassee , Florida
did a year towards graduate degree in fine arts; left school in 1973

Herbert Berghof Studio

New York , New York
studied under Uta Hagen; school now known as HB Studio

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor , Michigan 1972
enrolled in 1968 as a language student but later switched to speech and drama

Milestones

2009

Will play a recurring role on "Law & Order: SVU" (NBC) as assistant district attorney

2006

Cast as a minister and bible scholar in the Playwrights Horizons production of Keith Bunin's "The Busy World is Hushed"

2004

Cast as Grace McCallister in the WB drama "Jack and Bobby"; received Golden Globe (2004) and SAG (2005) nominations for Best Actress in a Drama Series

2003

Cast in lead role of a female Jewish doctor who survived the Holocaust in the Showtime biopic "Out of the Ashes"

2001

Feature directorial debut, "My First Mister", screened at Sundance

2000

Had leading role of a US Senator's daughter nominated to be Surgeon General in the Lifetime adaptation of "An American Daughter" based on Wendy Wasserstein's play

1999

Signed to make feature directorial debut with "My First Mister"

1997

Starred in TNT movie "Hope", directed by "Swing Shift" co-star Goldie Hawn

1995

Replaced Mandy Patinkin as a star of CBS drama "Chicago Hope", playing ambitious cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr Kathryn Austin; left series in spring of 1999

1995

Directorial debut, "Lieberman in Love", earned her an Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Film; also starred opposite Danny Aiello; film aired on Showtime cable network

1992

Was atypically insufferable in the female buddy flick "Leaving Normal"

1992

Starred with Ron Rifkin in the Off-Broadway production of Jon Robin Baitz's "Three Hotels"

1991

Won a CableACE Award for Best Actress for her performance in the TNT movie "Crazy from the Heart", directed by husband Thomas Schlamme

1991

Acted opposite William Hurt in "The Doctor"

1989

Appeared on Broadway (replacing Joan Allen) in Wendy Wasserstein's "The Heidi Chronicles"

1988

Starred with River Phoenix and Judd Hirsch in Sidney Lumet's "Running on Empty"

1987

Her Emmy nomination (Best Supporting Actress) was perhaps the lone high point of the ABC miniseries "Amerika", a ponderous 14-hour epic which incurred the wrath of the UN and USSR before airing

1987

Delivered a wonderful performance as the free-spirited aunt in the underrated Housekeeping"

1984

Breakthrough film role in "Swing Shift" earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination

1982

Played Brenda Nicol in NBC miniseries "The Executioner's Song", based on the Norman Mailer book

1981

Turned in excellent portrayal of a doctor in John Badham's feature "Whose Life Is It Anyway?"

1980

Made Broadway debut in Steve Tesich's "Division Street"

1979

Feature film acting debut in "... And Justice For All"

1979

Succeeded Roxane Hart opposite Kevin Kline in Michael Weller's Off-Broadway play, "Loose Ends"

1978

TV debut as Tania Reston in live-action, comic book adventure (movie-series pilot) "Dr Scorpion"

1978

Had regular role as Harvey Korman's daughter in short-lived ABC sitcom "The Harvey Korman Show"

1977

First Off-Broadway appearance as the female lead opposite Chris Sarandon in David Mamet's "The Woods" at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theater

1973

Moved to New York City; supported herself as a waitress by day and performed off-off Broadway by night; even worked as a mime for a while in Central Park, battling an imaginary wind as her roommate honked inexpertly on a clarinet

Worked as a singing waitress one summer during college; travelled to Scotland as a member of the Ann Arbor Mime Troupe, then went to London, appearing in a mime production of Shakespeare's "The Tempest"

Appeared in commercials first for rug shampoo Spray 'n Vac, then for eight other products including Sominex and Joy dishwashing liquid

Bonus Trivia

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For the 1989 CBS movie "No Place Like Home", directed by Lee Grant, Lahti earned Best Actress honors at the Third Annual FIPA (Festival International da Programmes Audiovisuels) in Cannes, France.

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"I love to play these crazy, neurotic and vulnerable women."---Christine Lahti to The New York Post, 1980.

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"I think the way my career has gone has been absolutely right. It's been slow and steady. Because I'm not a big star, I've been able to take risks."---Christine Lahti quoted in the "The Baby Boomers" by James Robert Parish and Don Stanke, 1992.

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Lahti once turned down a plum national TV commercial, rather than have sex . . . with two directors [the price for her big break]: "I should have done it. It would have saved me a lot of time. When I turned him [the casting agent] down he told me, 'You're not that special. You're not that gorgeous. You don't know anybody in the business. You'll never make it any other way. This is the way women have to do it.' It was such an eye-opener for me. So insulting. And it never occurred to me that I wouldn't be taken seriously for my talent. So that day I became a feminist. Since then my whole determination, my whole career has been to gain respect. It was never about fame. Never. I wanted to be respected as an actor, and now that I am, I could use a little fame and fortune."---Christine Lahti to TV Guide, August 19, 1995.

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On taking a lackluster "earnest mom" role in "Hideaway" (1995): "At the time, I needed to get back to work. I had just had the twins. I needed to make some money, so I'm glad I did it. But I thought, 'I'm being wasted and I don't want to do that anymore.' I'm at my prime creatively, and suddenly I'm in an industry where I'm supposed to be invisible. Or less valuable. When I feel I'm at the peak. My peak."---Christine Lahti to The Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1995.

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"I know there are things about her that people don't like, but I don't care. I just love her. I think she has a great heart; she just makes mistakes. You know, she's human."---Lahti on her "Chicago Hope" character to The New York Times, February 15, 1998.

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In a memorable, show-stopping absence that generated considerable publicity, Lahti ended up in the ladies' room at the exact instant she was to accept her 1997 Golden Globe Award as best actress in a drama series for her role as Dr Kathryn Austin on "Chicago Hope". Enjoying the moment when she eventually hit the stage wearing a black Herve Leger gown and wide-screen grin, she grabbed a dinner napkin from Robin Williams and used it nonchalantly to dry her hands.

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