Peg Phillips

Actor, Accountant
Charming character actor who, after spending a career as an accountant and raising four children as a single mother, retired at age 65 and returned to school at the University of Washington to study acting. Previously ... Read more »
Born: 09/19/1918 in Everett, Washington, USA

Filmography

Actor (10)

ER 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

7th Heaven 1995 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Boston Common 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Suddenly Susan 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Northern Exposure 1989 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Dogfight 1991 (Movie)

Older Cafe Customer (Actor)

Waiting For the Light 1990 (Movie)

Iris (Actor)

Chase (TV Show)

Actor

Dangerous Affection (TV Show)

Actor

How the West Was Fun (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Charming character actor who, after spending a career as an accountant and raising four children as a single mother, retired at age 65 and returned to school at the University of Washington to study acting. Previously experienced in community theater, Phillips secured herself an agent and very soon thereafter appeared in the TV-movie "Chase" (1985). She acted in several other projects including the feature film "Waiting for the Light" (1990) and received her big break when cast for a one-time appearance on the series premiere of the Alaska-set CBS comedy-drama "Northern Exposure" that same year. Phillips was subsequently hired to reprise her role as crusty, no-nonsense but sensible and compassionate store owner Ruth-Anne in a recurring slot, and her likably weathered features and relaxed warmth soon proved to be such an indelible part of the ensemble that she was made a series regular.

As fiesty in real life as she was on screen, Phillips often penned her own dialogue, such as in one episode in which her character was criticized for smoking: "I've been smoking since I was 13 years old, and during the Eisenhower administration I peaked at three packs a day. I'm not about to stop now." She also bucked convention at the Emmys when she arrived as a best supporting actress nominee in 1993 in blue jeans, a red and white checked blouse, blue suspenders and brown sandals. After "Northern Exposure" folded in 1995, Phillips continued to appear frequently on network television in guest spots on such series as "Touched by an Angel," "ER," "Suddenly Susan" and "Boston Common." In 1997 she made her first appearence as Mrs. Hinkle on the WB's family-friendly series "Seventh Heaven" and would reprise the role again on several subsequent episodes. At age 81 the actress was struck by a car and suffered a broken hip and wrist, but bounced back admirably. An unrepentant smoker, Phillips died in 2002 of lung disease at age 84.

EDUCATION

University of Washington

Seattle , Washington
returned to school to study acting at age 65

The Juilliard School

New York , New York
studied piano there for a time

Milestones

1997

Began recurring role as Mrs. Hinkle on "Seventh Heaven"

1996

Guest-starred on "Suddenly Susan" and "Boston Common"

1994

Guest-starred on "Touched by an Angel" and "ER"

1994

Appeared as Natty in telepic "How the West Was Fun"

1990

Made feature film debut in small supporting role in "Waiting for the Light", starring Shirley MacLaine and Teri Garr

1990

Cast as Ruth-Anne Miller, the crusty storeowner on "Northern Exposure"

1985

First TV-movie, "Chase"

1984

Returned to school to study acting at age 65; got an agent her freshman year (date approximate)

Later lived in Southern California and Hawaii; was residing in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941

Lived in New York City for a time while she was studying piano at Juilliard

Was raised in Washington State

Worked as an accountant while raising four children in the Bay area of San Francisco; acted on the side in community theater

Bonus Trivia

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At 74, she continues a 60-year smoking habit. Stop? Nah. "I pull a clean chest X-ray every time." Of course, she says, she has gone to a milder cigarette--Winston Lights instead of non-filter Lucky Strikes. Why? Because when you wake up the next day after sucking on Luckies "you don't have a hangover, you have a chestover." --From USA TODAY, January 25, 1993

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For the last 18 years (as of 1993), Philips has lived in a 100-year-old log cabin in Washington, 20 minutes away from the "Northern Exposure" set. She never owned a TV set until CBS gave her one. Philips never watches her show when it's broadcast because she goes to bed at 8 p.m. (Her daughter tapes it for her.)

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