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Bebe Neuwirth


Beatrice "Bebe" Jane Neuwirth (/ˈbiːbi ˈnjuːwɜːrθ/ BEE-bee NEW-wurth; born December 31, 1958) is an American actress, singer, and dancer. Known for her roles on stage and screen, she's received two Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, and a Drama Desk Award.


Neuwirth made her Broadway debut in the musical A Chorus Line in 1980. She went on to receive two Tony Awards, the first for Best Featured Actress in a Musical playing Nickie in the revival of Sweet Charity (1986) and received her second for Best Actress in a Musical for Velma Kelly in the revival of Chicago (1996). She has also starred as Lola in the revival of Damn Yankees (1994) and Morticia Addams in The Addams Family (2010).


On television, her breakthrough role was as Dr. Lilith Sternin, Frasier Crane's wife, on both the sitcom Cheers (in a starring role) and its spin-off Frasier (in a recurring guest role). The role won her two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Neuwirth was cast as Bureau Chief/ADA Tracey Kibre in NBC's Law & Order: Trial by Jury which ran from 2005 to 2006. She starred as Nadine Tolliver in the CBS political drama Madam Secretary from 2014 to 2017. She also appeared in Blue Bloods (2013-2019), and The Good Fight (2018-2021).


Neuwirth was born in Newark, New Jersey. Her father, Lee Neuwirth, was a mathematician who taught at Princeton University and also designed an encryption device while working at the Institute for Defense Analyses.


 Her mother, Sydney Anne Neuwirth, is a painter who also danced as an amateur for the Princeton Regional Ballet Company. She has an older brother Peter, a mathematician and actuary who graduated from Harvard

In her youth, Neuwirth rebelled against authority, being placed in custody for smoking marijuana when she was 13.


Neuwirth started taking ballet lessons at the age of five, a year after viewing a production of The Nutcracker with her mother. She desired to be a ballet dancer until her early teens when she realized how restricted her technique was, as well as the standard of ballet education where she lived. 


Upon viewing the musical Pippin in Manhattan at 15, she changed her future plans from becoming a ballerina to being a Broadway musical dancer. After graduating from Princeton High School in 1976, she attended the Juilliard School for dance and left after only a year, disliking the school for having a "stifling creative environment" and no Broadway-style dance training.

 Immediately after leaving Juilliard in 1977, she took singing and jazz classes at a New York City-based YWCA, one of them taught by Joan Morton Lucas, who appeared in the film Singin' in the Rain (1952) and the original Broadway production of Kiss Me Kate. She performed with the Princeton Ballet Company in Peter and the Wolf, The Nutcracker, and Coppélia, also appearing in community theater musicals.

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Jumanji as Nora Shepherd