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Felicity Huffman Bio
Felicity Huffman (born December 9, 1962) is an American film, stage, and television actress.
Huffman began her acting career in theatre and in 1990s also had many supporting roles in film and television. She starred as executive producer Dana Whitaker in the critically acclaimed ABC comedy-drama Sports Night from 1998 to 2000, which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination. She is best known for her role as Lynette Scavo in the long-running ABC comedy-drama Desperate Housewives (2004–2012), for which she earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the debut season of the series and three Screen Actors Guild Awards overall.
Huffman drew critical praise for her performance as a transgender woman in the independent film Transamerica (2005). The role earned her a Golden Globe Award, Independent Spirit Award, National Board of Review, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Huffman has also starred in such films as Reversal of Fortune (1990), The Spanish Prisoner (1997), Magnolia (1999), Path to War (2002), Georgia Rule (2007), Phoebe in Wonderland (2008), Rudderless (2014) and Cake (2014). Since 2015, she has started in a third ABC series, the anthology crime drama American Crime, for which she has received critical acclaim including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie nomination. Additionally, she has been nominated on three more occasions for a Golden Globe Award, and has also won an Obie.
Early career in theatre
Huffman made her debut on stage in 1982 and in the 1980s and 1990s worked as a rule on stage productions. In 1988, she debuted on Broadway in the role as Karen in David Mamet‘s play Speed the Plow. In 1995, Huffman won Obie Award for her performance in the critically successful play The Cryptogram by David Mamet. In 1999 she starred in the premiere of David Mamet’s play Boston Marriage, about the daringly intimate relationship between two turn-of-the-century women, as well as in several other major theatrical productions.
Earliest television and film roles
Huffman debuted on the big screen in 1988 with a small role in the Mamet’s film Things Change. Two years later, she appeared as Minnie, a Harvard law school student in the courtroom drama, Reversal of Fortune. Her other credits include 1992 thriller Quicksand: No Escape with Donald Sutherland and Tim Matheson, The Water Engine opposite William H. Macy, and supporting roles on The Heart of Justice (1992), Hackers (1995), Harrison: Cry of the City (1996) and The Underworld (1997).
Huffman starred on the television mini-series Golden Years, based on the novel by Stephen King in 1991. In 1994, she starred in the ABC pilot Thunder Alley as Ed Asner‘s daughter, but was replaced in subsequent episodes by Diane Venora when the series began. During the 1990s, she appeared mostly in guest roles on such shows as The X-Files, Early Edition, Chicago Hope and Law & Order. In 1997, she starred in Mamet’s critically acclaimed film The Spanish Prisoner.
From 1998 to 2000, she portrayed Dana Whitaker in the critically acclaimed series Sports Night, for which she received several awards and nominations, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy. After the completion of Sports Night, she gave birth to her first child and soon returned to work. In 2001, she starred on not picked up CBS pilot Heart Department In 2003, she starred in Showtime‘s miniseries Out of Order.
In 1999, she appeared in the Paul Thomas Anderson‘s ensemble drama Magnolia and television adaptation of 1938 movie A Slight Case of Murder along with William H. Macy. In 2002 she played Lady Bird Johnson in the HBO award-winning movie Path to War and made a cameo appearance in the Door to Door, which starred, and was written by, her husband. She also starred in Snap Decision (2001) with Mare Winningham, Raising Helen (2004) as Kate Hudson‘s character’s older sister, and Christmas with the Kranks (2004), as the best friend of Jamie Lee Curtis‘s character.
Desperate Housewives and other work
After a recurring role on the NBC sitcom Frasier, Huffman landed a leading role in an ABC comedy series Desperate Housewives, co-starring with Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, and Eva Longoria. Huffman won an Emmy Award for her work on Desperate Housewives (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series) in 2005, as well as two 2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards (Best Actress – Comedy Series and part of Best Ensemble – Comedy Series) in 2006 and received several other awards. A report in November 2010 suggested that Huffman, along with co-star Teri Hatcher, would be quitting Desperate Housewives, but ABC denied the claim. The series ended in May 2012, after eight seasons.
In 2005, Huffman starred in the independent drama Transamerica, playing Bree, a pre-operative transsexual who, on the brink of her transforming surgery, discovered that in her youth she had fathered a son – who is now a troubled teen hustler on the run. Huffman’s performance in Transamerica was praised by many critics and garnered her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, as well as nominations for Best Actress (Screen Actors Guild) and Best Actress (Academy Awards), and several another awards and nominations. Huffman is now a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 2007, Huffman starred in Garry Marshall‘s Georgia Rule with Jane Fonda and Lindsay Lohan, and 2008 on independent drama Phoebe in Wonderland. She made a film, Lesster, as a writer, director and actress in 2010.
Huffman says that after seeing her as Lynette Scavo on “Housewives” for eight years it’s difficult for audiences to think of her as anything else. She says that’s why she was eager for a role that’s a distinctive departure. After Desperate Housewives finale, Huffman reunited with playwright David Mamet in the comedy play November. The play debuted on September 26 and ended on November 4, 2012. In 2012, she also appeared in the ensemble cast independent movie, Trust Me, opposite Clark Gregg.
On February 15, 2013, Huffman signed on for the lead role of the Fox drama pilot Boomerang, directed by Craig Brewer. The show centers on Margie Hamilton, a spy and master of disguise, who is the matriarch of the Hamilton clan, a “briskly professional assassin who can kill and dispose of a suspected terrorist in the afternoon – then switch to wife and mother mode without a hitch.” However, Fox did not pick up Boomerang as a new series.
In 2013, Huffman starred in the independent drama Rudderless, and in the adventure film Big Game opposite Samuel L. Jackson. She also starred in another independent drama Stealing Cars, and was cast in the comedy film Zendog. In April 2014 she was cast in independent film Cake opposite Jennifer Aniston.
In 2014, Huffman was cast as lead in the ABC anthology legal drama pilot American Crime created by John Ridley. The pilot was picked up for a series on May 2014. On October 2, 2014, it was announced that Huffman will be star and executive producer alongside Carol Mendelsohn in her untitled drama about a special agent (Huffman) who is the fearless leader of a team of young agents on the New York City Joint Terrorism Task Force. The project was developed for ABC, but was not green-lighted for 2015–16 television season. American Crime debuted on ABC in March, 2015 and Huffman received critical acclaim for her performance as antagonistic character. Robert Bianco from USA Today said in his review “A triumph for Oscar winner John Ridley, who created, produced and directed American Crime, and a reconfirmation that Felicity Huffman is one of the best actors we have… In no case is that truer than with Huffman’s Barb, who is the morally questionable center of the story. Barb is a Lifetime movie heroine: a tough, divorced mother who raised her children alone, and is fighting now to bring her son’s murderer to justice. Except this isn’t that kind of show, and Barb’s battles have not just made her stronger; they’ve made her hate all the people she’s felt she had to fight. Which is why Huffman’s gut-wrenching performance is so startling. A bundle of barely concealed fury, Huffman forces us to invest in a woman who thinks her bigotry makes her not just right, but noble.”
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