Marissa Jaret Winokur
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 bit part as a fast food restaurant employee in "American Beauty" (1999) that caught the eye of film and stage director Rob Marshall. The "Chicago" (2002) director recommended her for the role of Tracy Turnblad - the plus-sized heroine of the Broadway musical version of "Hairspray" - and the rest was history. For her performance in "Hairspray," Winokur brought home a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress. With several small guest roles already under her belt, Winokur was soon landing the lead in TV movies like "Beautiful Girl" (2003) and regular cast parts on such series as the Pamela Anderson sitcom, "Stacked" (Fox, 2005-06). An admirable run for the coveted disco ball trophy during the 2008-09 season of the popular competition series, "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ) led to other offers, including hosting duties on the daytime program "The Talk" (CBS, 2010- ). Winokur continued to act as well, taking on a regular cast role on the sitcom "Retired at 35" (TV Land, 2011- ) after departing from the daytime talk show. A multi-dimensional performer with bona fide audience appeal, Winokur brought her infectious upbeat charm to each new endeavor.