Starting acting at regional theater in Chicago with Piven Theatre Workshop and the Chicago Shakespeare Repertory, Kate Walsh subsequently transitioned into television; beginning with a guest spot in an episode of NBC hit medical drama “ER” in 1994. She received wider attention as Nicki Fifer (1997-2002), Drew Carey's ex fiancee, a woman struggling with her weight and appearance on ABC long-running sitcom "The Drew Carey Show" before landing on her biggest breakout role to date, as Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd (2005-2007), a highly regarded neo-natal surgeon who came between intern Meredith Grey and Dr. “McDreamy” Shepherd, on ABC award-winning primetime medical drama "Grey's Anatomy."
On the big screen, the 5' 10'' tall natural blonde who was a runway model in Japan during the early 1980s could be seen in such films as The Family Man (2000), Under the Tuscan Sun (2003), Kicking & Screaming (2005) and Bewitched (2005). She will soon complete her upcoming film, One Way to Valhalla, a drama film by writer-director Karen Goodman.
Childhood and Family:
Born in San Jose, California on October 13, 1967, Kathleen Erin Walsh grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Her mother, an Italian, is a breast cancer survivor. Kate attended Catalina High school in Tucson, Arizona, before going to University of Arizona, where she got involved in regional theater. She later joined Piven Theatre Workshop, Chicago and Chicago Shakespeare Repertory.
While studying at the university, Kate Walsh did regional theater before moving to Chicago and working at the renowned Piven Theatre Workshop, and then at the Chicago Shakespeare Repertory. Her notable theater stint in Chicago include starring roles in productions of "Flesh and Blood," "Moon under Miami,” William Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida," “A Pinter Landscape,” Kurt Vonnegut's “Happy Birthday, Wanda June,” and "Born Guilty." She later headed for the Big Apple where she joined the comedy improv group Burn Manhattan and performing in Off-Broadway productions of “Flight Courier” and “The Four Twins.”
In 1994, Walsh arrived on television, as a guest on an episode of NBC hit medical drama “ER.” And after her guest spots on NBC highly-acclaimed cop drama "Homicide: Life on the Street" and in the short-lived crime-thriller "Swift Justice" in 1996, Walsh made her first film appearance in John McNaughton's crime drama starring Ashley Judd and Luke Perry, Normal Life (also in 1996; she played Perry’s sister). She then went to appear in Isabel Hegner's 12-minute Berlin Film Festival-winning film Peppermills, starring as a kleptomaniac, and writer-director Phillip Koch's low-budgeted project, Night of the Lawyers (both in 1997). She also guest starred in an October 1997 episode of legal drama "Law & Order."
From 1997 to 2002, Walsh donned a fat-suit while playing Nicki Fifer, a real estate agent and Drew Carey's ex fiancee, a woman struggling with her weight and appearance on ABC long-running sitcom "The Drew Carey Show." During her “Drew Carey” years, Walsh also appeared in writer-director Chuck Parello's horror/thriller film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part 2, Simon Aeby's drama Three Below Zero, and Scott Reynolds' adaptation of Chad Taylor's novel, Heaven (starring Martin Donovan and Joanna Going). She was also spotted as a guest in an episode of ABC dramedy “Cupid” and played a recurring role in the short-lived crime-drama series “Turks.”
Walsh’s improvisational comedy training later helped her to nabbed more prominent roles, on NBC sitcom "The Mike O'Malley Show" (1999), ABC sitcom “The Norm Show” (2000-2001) and HBO's "The Mind of the Married Man" (2001; as the bawdy Carol Nelson). She also appeared in Brett Ratner film starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni, The Family Man (2000), Audrey Wells' take on the 1996 novel by American author Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun (2003; starring Diane Lane), playing the lesbian lover of Sandra Oh's character, and in Brett Ratner's thriller movie starring Pierce Brosnan, After the Sunset (2004). Meanwhile, TV viewers could catch her playing a guest role as a transsexual called Mimosa in a November 2004 episode of CBS popular, Emmy Award-winning crime drama series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
2005 saw Walsh supported Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall in Jesse Dylan's comedy movie Kicking & Screaming (she played Ferrels's wife), appeared in writer-director David Ogden's drama thriller Inside Out, and reunited with Ferrell in Nora Ephron's film version of the classic television series, Bewitched (also starring Nicole Kidman). That year also marked Walsh with her biggest career breakthrough to date when she won the regular role of Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd (2005-2007), a highly regarded neo-natal surgeon who came between intern Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo) and Dr. “McDreamy” Shepherd (played by Patrick Dempsey), on ABC Golden Globe and Emmy-winning primetime medical drama "Grey's Anatomy."
“It’s a very realistic portrayal of what would actually happen if somebody cheated on their spouse and tried to work it out. Everybody initially says, ‘Of, if anybody ever cheated on me, I’d dump them immediately and leave’. Realistically, you try to save the relationship.” Kate Walsh (on the Shepherd/Meredith love triangle on “Grey’s Anatomy”).
Movie-goers recently watched Walsh in Arturo Ruiz-Esparza's family fantasy movie Veritas, Prince of Truth (2006). She will soon complete her upcoming film, a drama film by writer-director Karen Goodman, One Way to Valhalla.