“It is a big deal that I look good and not dumpy. It’s important to me that I look good on television because, let’s face it, I’m single and you want somebody to watch the show and fall in love with you. After all, that is the goal of being on TV, isn’t it? It’s all about bein’ loved.” Camryn Manheim
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actress Camryn Manheim garnered critical acclaim for her role of Ellenor Frutt on ABC’s legal drama "The Practice" (1997-2004). In 2005, she received an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Gladys Presley in the CBS miniseries "Elvis" (2005). Manheim, who had recurring roles on "Law & Order" and "The L Word," now plays real estate agent Delia Banks on CBS’ supernatural thriller series "Ghost Whisperer."
On the big screen, Manheim could be seen in the films "The Bonfire of the Vanities" (1990), "Eraser" (1996), "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" (1997), "Fool's Gold" (1998), "Mercury Rising" (1998), "What Planet Are You From?" (2000), "The Laramie Project" (2002), "Scary Movie 3" (2003), "Twisted" (2004), "Dark Water" (2005) and "An Unfinished Life" (2005). Next, she will appear in the upcoming films "Peck," "Hanging Out Hooking Up Falling in Love" and "Dirty Girl."
“I have lived my life in a culture that hates fat people. Every billboard, every magazine, and every commercial tells me I should hate my body. There are billion-dollar industries invested in me hating my body: the fashion industry, the diet industry, the nutrition industry, and the cosmetic surgery industry are all invested in my hating my body. If women of my size were to actually enjoy being their size, those industries would collapse.” Camryn Manheim
The 5' 10" full-figured blue-eyed blonde, who weighs more then 200 pounds and wears 12 earrings in her right ear and has a tattoo of Pegasus on her ankle, won an E! Golden Hanger award for Female Fashion Breakthrough in 1998 and was one of the "10 Best Dressed" of “People” magazine in 1999.
Childhood and Family:
Born in Caldwell, New Jersey, on March 8, 1961, Debra Frances Manheim grew up in Illinois, Michigan and California. The youngest daughter born to Jerry, a math professor, and Sylvia Manheim, a school teacher, Manheim has one older brother named Karl Manheim and an older sister named Lisa Manheim. Debra Frances Manheim changed her name to Camryn Manheim at the age of 20.
Manheim, who developed an interest in acting after attending a Renaissance fair at the age of sixteen, studied drama at Cabrillo Junior College, in Santa Cruz, California, and received a BFA degree in theater from the University of California in 1984. She went on to receive an MFA degree in drama from New York University, in New York, New York, in 1987. She would later study acting at the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School in Chelsea, which was founded by David Mamet and William H. Macy. She is currently a member of the Atlantic Theater.
Manheim, who reportedly dated late actor, singer, dancer, and choreographer Gregory Hines in summer 1998, gave birth to a son, Milo Jacob Manheim, on March 6, 2001, but refuses to identify the child's father.
Manheim is an avid human rights activist and focuses on women rights, fat acceptance, and gay rights. She has made contributions to a variety of charities, most notably RAINN. She has also been involved with the Los Angeles based charity Bet Tzedek Legal Services - The House of Justice, serving as a co-chair for their annual fundraiser, The Justice Ball.
“My parents are so proud and while they are not really willing to take responsibility for some of the things they said in the past, they do, in their silence, make some apology for it. I think they choose not to really confront the issue of me growing up fat and how they, in their attempts to protect me from other people, actually caused me a whole other set of sorrows. They were afraid that I would suffer a lot because the world hates fat people. Our culture, to be more specific, really hates fat people. Or were they just embarrassed that I wasn’t the perfect child? Well, they’re certainly not embarrassed anymore. They get so much pride and enjoyment out of my success, which I am happy to share with them. Despite what they did or didn’t do regarding my body image, to me, it’s all outweighed by what they did do, which was to give me unconditional love and support for my passion for the arts.” Camryn Manheim
Wake Up, I'm Fat
Bitten by the acting bug after attending a Renaissance fair at the age of 16, Camryn Manheim sharpened her craft at Cabrillo Junior College, in Santa Cruz, California, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and New York University. She also studied acting at the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School in Chelsea, which was founded by David Mamet and William H. Macy.
In the late '80s, Camryn made her New York stage debut in Tony Kushner's "Hydriotaphia" (1987) and her screen debut in the early '90s with a tiny part in Brian De Palma's film adaptation of Tom Wolfe's novel, "The Bonfire of the Vanities" (1990; starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, and Melanie Griffith).
“The confidence I built from working with great directors and writers gave me the balls to write my own show, which really brought me into the public eye intensely.” Camryn Manheim
After guest-starring on NBC’s drama "Law & Order," Manheim starred in the one-person Off-Broadway show "Wake Up, I'm Fat" (1993), which earned her a contract to write a book tentatively titled "Wake Up, I'm Fat." She also co-starred as Bridget Fonda's friend in Alan Parker's film version of T. Coraghessan Boyle's 1993 novel, "The Road to Wellville" (1994; also starring Anthony Hopkins, Matthew Broderick, and John Cusack).
Following her TV-movie debut in "Deadly Whispers" (CBS; 1995), Manheim began playing the role that would make her famous, associate attorney Ellenor Frutt on ABC’s Emmy winning legal drama "The Practice." She stayed on the show during its seven-year run, from 1997 to 2004. Her performance in the show won a Golden Satellite Award in 2000 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Series, Drama, a Golden Globe Award in 1999 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture, a Viewers for Quality Television Award in 1999 for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series, and an Emmy Award in 1998 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She was also nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards three times (1999; 2000; 2001) for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Her character, Ellenor Frutt, was later named number 76 on "Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters."
Manheim played a small role in David Mirkin's film adaptation of Robin Schiff's play, "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" (1997; with Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow, Janeane Garofalo, and Alan Cumming), and won a National Board of Review (NBR) Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble for her work in "Happiness" (1998), a drama/comedy by writer/director Todd Solondz in which she co-starred with Jane Adams, Jon Lovitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dylan Baker, and Lara Flynn Boyle. She also won a Lucy Award from Women in Film Lucy in 1999.
Hitting the new millennium, Manheim played Snow White in the television mini series "The 10th Kingdom" (2000) and appeared in "A Girl Thing" (2001), alongside Kate Capshaw, Stockard Channing and Mia Farrow. She was cast in "The Laramie Project" (2002), a fact-based story about an American town in the wake of the murder of Matthew Shepard, and the comedy "Scary Movie 3" (2003), which was written by the Wayans brothers. She also appeared in a print advertisement for Target Stores (2001).
After "The Practice" ended in 2004, Manheim appeared in Lasse Hallström's "An Unfinished Life" (2005, with Robert Redford and Jennifer Lopez) and received an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Gladys Presley in the CBS miniseries "Elvis" (2005). That same year, she could also be seen in the films "Dark Water" and "An Unfinished Life," as well as the recurring role of Veronica Bloom in Showtime’s "The L Word."
In 2006, Manheim joined CBS’ supernatural thriller series "Ghost Whisperer," playing real estate agent Delia Banks. The show will begin its 4th season on Friday, October 3, 2008.
On working with Jennifer Love Hewitt on "Ghost Whisperer," Manheim commented, “J Love, that's what I call her! I have never in my career met someone more conscientious of the crew and cast and people around her. She's the first actress I know who, after you shoot her close-up, doesn't turn around and go back to her trailer and then make you wait for her to come back. Sometimes I say, 'Can you just be a little bitchy because (otherwise) I look like the bad one!’”
Manheim is currently working on her upcoming films projects, "Peck," "Hanging Out Hooking Up Falling in Love" and "Dirty Girl." She will also appear in a new TV movie called "Jesse Stone: Thin Ice."
"You can either destroy your spirit or you can accept and love yourself just the way you are." Camryn Manheim
Golden Satellite: Best Performance by an Actress in a Series, Drama, "The Practice," 2000
Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture, "The Practice," 1999
Viewers for Quality Television: Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series, "The Practice," 1999
Women in Film Lucy: Lucy Award, 1999
Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, "The Practice," 1998
National Board of Review (NBR): Best Acting by an Ensemble, "Happiness," 1998