Fast Facts

  • Before pursuing acting, a profession she feared her late father would not have approved of, she enrolled in college to study psychology.
  • Received theater training in both New York and London.
  • Began her acting career in 1979, and made her Broadway (Loose Ends), TV (The Single Life) and film (Honky Tonk Freeway) debuts all within three years.
  • Has said that her role in the 1980s sitcom Alice hindered her film career. Although she had initially rejected the role, she admitted that "the money became so phenomenal that I just had to do it."
  • Beat out Delta Burke, Dianne Wiest and Kathy Bates to secure the role of Cameron's mother on the ABC sitcom Modern Family.


  • 1996, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Female: Nominee
  • 1997, Tony — Actress (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
  • 2001, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee


  • Attended Salem College, Winston-Salem, NC; attended Rose Bruford College of Theater and Performance, Kent, England; North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC (1973)

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  • Birth Place: Spartanburg, SC
  • Birthday: December 14, 1951, Sagittarius
  • Profession: Actor

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