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Debra Messing Bio
Following her graduation from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Messing had short-lived tenures on the Fox sitcom Ned & Stacey and the ABC sci-fi Prey. She rose to prominence in her role as Jewish interior designer Grace Adler on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, earning both commercial and critical success throughout the series’ eight season run. She also received critical acclaim for her work as Molly Kagan in the USA Network series The Starter Wife. She also played the lead role of Julia Houston in the musical-drama series Smash, before it was cancelled by NBC after two seasons.
Her film roles have included an unfaithful bride in Along Came Polly, followed by a more sympathetic role in The Wedding Date, and then Nothing like the Holidays. She has also voiced roles in several animated films such as Garfield and Open Season.
Messing has received a total of six Emmy nominations, winning one, eight Screen Actors Guild nominations, winning one, and eight Golden Globe nominations.
In 1993, Messing won acclaim for her acting in the pre-Broadway workshop production of Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America: Perestroika. Subsequently, she appeared in several episodes of the television series NYPD Blue during 1994 and 1995.
In 1995, Messing made her film debut in Alfonso Arau’s A Walk in the Clouds playing the unfaithful wife of main character Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves). This exposure led the Fox network to make her the co-star of the television sitcom, Ned & Stacey. The series lasted for two seasons, from 1995 to 1997. Messing appeared as Jerry Seinfeld‘s date in two episodes of the series Seinfeld: “The Wait Out” in 1996 and “The Yada Yada” in 1997. Messing turned down a starring role in another television sitcom to appear in Donald Margulies’s two-character play Collected Stories, which opened at the Off Broadway Manhattan Theater Club. She also co-starred in the Tom Arnold vehicle McHale’s Navy in 1997.
In 1998, Messing played a lead role as the bio-anthropologist Sloan Parker on ABC’s dramatic science fiction television series Prey. During this time her agent approached her with the pilot script for the television show Will & Grace. Messing was inclined to take some time off, but the script intrigued her, and she auditioned for the role of Grace Adler, beating out Nicollette Sheridan, who later guest-starred on the show as a romantic rival of Grace’s. Will & Grace became a ratings success, and Messing became a star.
In 2002, she was named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” by People Magazine. TV Guide picked her as its “Best Dressed Woman” in 2003. And Messing’s trademark curls on Will & Grace won her five Crown Awards from voters at the celebrity hair site Super-Hair.Net between 2000 and 2008.
Messing was cast by director Woody Allen in a small role in his 2002 film Hollywood Ending. Her film roles since include a happily married but ill-fated wife in the Supernatural thriller The Mothman Prophecies (2002) and a supporting role as the unfaithful bride in Along Came Polly (2004). The Wedding Date (2005) was Messing’s first leading role in a high-profile film. It received mixed reviews but performed fairly well at the box office. Messing was featured as a judge on the season finale of the second season of Bravo’s reality show, Project Runway. Also in 2005, along with Megan Mullally, she was awarded the Women in Film Lucy Award in recognition of her excellence and innovation in her creative works that have enhanced the perception of women through the Medium of television
She also starred in the 2007 television mini-series The Starter Wife, which was nominated for ten Emmy awards including one for Messing for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. In 2008, Messing reprised her role as Molly Kagan in the television series The Starter Wife, consisting of 10 episodes. In early 2010, Messing starred in the ABC comedy pilot Wright vs. Wrong for the 2010-2011 primetime season but the pilot was not picked up by ABC.
In 2011, Messing was ranked No. 22 on the TV Guide Network special, Funniest Women on TV. In early 2011, it was announced that Messing would star in a new NBC musical pilot called Smash for the 2011–2012 primetime season. In May 2011, it was reported that NBC picked up the show as a series for the 2011-2012 season. The show premiered on February 6, 2012. The show was later renewed for a second season. After two seasons, it was cancelled.
She made her Broadway debut in John Patrick Shanley’s play Outside Mullingar alongside Tony winner Brían F. O’Byrne, which began previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 3, 2014. Outside Mullingar was nominated for Best Play for the 2014 (68th Annual) Tony Awards.
Messing currently stars in The Mysteries of Laura, a police procedural television show that premiered in September 2014.
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