January 22, 1971
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Though a celebrated and Tony-winning performer on Broadway, actress Katie Finneran did not receive her breakout role on television until 2013, some two decades after her small screen debut, when she was cast as Michael J. Fox's sister on "The Michael J. Fox Show" (NBC 2013-14). Finneran's professional career began in the early '90s, and while she advanced quickly from supporting performances on stage in "My Favorite Year" (1992) to a Tony-winning performance in the comedy "Noises Off" (2002), her screen performances were relegated to guest roles in features and on television in several failed series, including the critically praised "Wonderfalls" (Fox 2004). She claimed a second Tony in 2010 for a knockout performance in a revival of "Promises, Promises," which served as the launching point for her profile's rapid ascent: steady work on TV led to another hit musical, a 2012 revival of "Annie," which she departed to star on "The Michael J. Fox Show." Finneran's brassy, unfiltered turn on the series won her greater acclaim than the show itself enjoyed, and indicated that her many years in relative obscurity as a TV talent had finally paid off with stardom.Born January 22, 1971 in Chicago, Katie Finneran was raised in Miami, where she gave some of her first performances in Christmas pageants. She made acting her primary focus at Miami's New School of the Arts and Carnegie Mellon, which she attended for a year before leaving to study under Uta Hagen in New York. Stage and screen roles soon materialized for Finneran: she appeared on Broadway in "My Favorite Year" (1992) and "The Heiress" (1995) while appearing in bit and supporting roles in Nora Ephron's "You've Got Mail" (1998) and Barry Levinson's "Liberty Heights" (1999). Her Broadway career soon blossomed with substantial roles in major productions like "Cabaret" and the revival of Eugene O'Neil's "The Iceman Cometh" with Kevin Spacey, Paul Giamatti and Michael Emerson in 1999. Finneran reached a high-water mark in her career in 2002 with a Tony and Drama Desk Award for her comic turn as an accident-prone player in "Noises Off." The accolades provided a brief uptick for her television career, including work as a series regular on the short-lived sitcom "Bram and Alice" (CBS 2002) and the critically acclaimed, if equally brief fantasy "Wonderfalls," which cast her as the secretly gay sister of series lead Caroline Dhavernas. Finneran worked steadily, if anonymously, in features and television over the next half-decade while also balancing regular appearances in Off-Broadway shows. She was featured in two more series with short life spans - the crime drama "The Inside" (Fox 2005) and the car race action show "Drive" (Fox 2007) - and enjoyed minor roles in "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous" (2005) and "Bewitched" (2005), among other films. In 2010, she won her second Tony for her scene-stealing turn as the boozy Marge MacDougall in the Broadway revival of Neil Simon's "Promises, Promises." After departing the show in 2010 to give birth to her first child, Finneran co-starred as a nouveau Southern Belle on the comedy "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" (Fox 2011-2012). She then returned briefly to Broadway to play the broadly malevolent Miss Hannigan in a revival of "Annie" before leaving the show to join the cast of "The Michael J. Fox Show." Though the sitcom received mixed reviews, most critics and viewers singled out Finneran's turn as Fox's larger-than-life sister for praise.