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Brenda Vaccaro
Brenda Vaccaro.JPG
Vaccaro in Where It's At (1969)
Brenda Buell Vaccaro

(1939-11-18) November 18, 1939 (age 84)
Education Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre
Occupation Actress
Years active 1961–present
Martin Fried
(m. 1965; div. 1970)
William Bishop
(m. 1977; div. 1978)
Charles Cannizzaro
(m. 1981; div. 1982)
Guy Hector
(m. 1986)
Partner(s) Michael Douglas (1971–1976)

Brenda Buell Vaccaro (born November 18, 1939) is an American stage, television, and film actress. In a career spanning over half a century, she received one Academy Award nomination, three Golden Globe Award nominations (winning one), four Primetime Emmy Award nominations (winning one), and three Tony Award nominations.

Early life

Vaccaro was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian-American parents Christine M. and Mario A. Vaccaro, a restaurateur. She was raised in Dallas, Texas, where her parents, in 1943, founded Mario's Restaurant, and where she graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School.

At 17, she returned to New York City to study acting under the guidance of Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse, and made her Broadway debut in the short-lived 1961 comedy Everybody Loves Opal, for which she won a Theatre World Award.


Vaccaro's Broadway credits include The Affair (1962), Cactus Flower (1965), the musical How Now, Dow Jones (1967), The Goodbye People (1968), the female version of The Odd Couple (1985), and Jake's Women (1992). The husky-voiced actress is a three-time Tony Award nominee, for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Cactus Flower), Best Actress in a Musical (Dow Jones), and Best Actress in a Play (The Goodbye People). She was featured on the May 29, 1970 cover of Life magazine.

Vaccaro appeared with Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight in the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. She played Ethel Rosenberg in Stanley Kramer's Judgment: The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1974, and for her performance in the 1975 film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's Once Is Not Enough, she gained an Academy Award nomination and won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

Additional screen credits include Airport '77; Capricorn One; The Pride of Jesse Hallam, Supergirl; The Mirror Has Two Faces; Heart of Midnight; Zorro, The Gay Blade; and Death Weekend, also known as House by the Lake.

Her television credits include the title role in the 1976 series Sara, a number of television movies, and a regular role in the short-lived 1984 series Paper Dolls, in addition to guest appearances on Banacek, The Fugitive, The Defenders, Coronet Blue, The Name of the Game, Marcus Welby, M.D., McCloud, The Streets of San Francisco, The Love Boat, St. Elsewhere, Murder, She Wrote, The Golden Girls, Columbo, Touched by an Angel, Friends (as the mother of Matt LeBlanc's "Joey"), The King of Queens, and Nip/Tuck. She was nominated for an Emmy Award three times and won for Best Supporting Actress in Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music for The Shape of Things in 1974.

Vaccaro was lampooned by Andrea Martin on SCTV for a groundbreaking 1980 commercial appearance for feminine hygiene products.

She supplied the voice for Johnny Bravo's mother Bunny Bravo in the animated cartoon series. She was the first voice of Jay's (Jon Lovitz)'s ex-wife Ardeth on The Critic. She made an appearance on The Smurfs as Scruple, an apprentice of Gargamel, opposite Paul Winchell.

After ill health forced Valerie Harper to bow out of the production of Nice Work If You Can Get It at the Ogunquit Playhouse (Maine), Vaccaro took over the role of Millicent Winter for the remaining performances of the limited run from August 4–15, 2015.

She played Al Pacino's sister in You Don't Know Jack (2010). She plays Gloria Marquette in the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That...

Personal life

She entered a nearly seven-year relationship with Summertree co-star Michael Douglas in 1971. She guest-starred in two episodes of The Streets of San Francisco, the TV crime drama in which Douglas co-starred from 1972 to 1977.

She has been friends with Barbra Streisand since they both appeared on Broadway in the early 1960s. Streisand directed her in The Mirror Has Two Faces.



Year Title Role Notes
1969 Where It's At Molly Hirsch Nominated—Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
1969 Midnight Cowboy Shirley Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1970 I Love My Wife Jody Burrows
1971 Going Home Jenny
1972 Summertree Vanetta
1975 Once Is Not Enough Linda Riggs Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1976 Death Weekend Diane Released in the USA under the title House by the Lake
1977 Capricorn One Kay Brubaker Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1977 Airport '77 Eve Clayton
1979 Fast Charlie... the Moonbeam Rider Grace Wolf
1980 First Deadly Sin, TheThe First Deadly Sin Monica Gilbert
1981 Zorro, The Gay Blade Florinda
1984 Supergirl Bianca
1985 Water Dolores Thwaites
1988 Heart of Midnight Betty
1989 Ten Little Indians Marion Marshall
1989 Cookie Bunny
1990 Lethal Games Stella Hudson
1991 Masque of the Red Death Elaina Hart
1994 Love Affair Nora Stillman
1996 Mirror Has Two Faces, TheThe Mirror Has Two Faces Doris
2002 Sonny Meg
2003 Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure Mrs. Hirsch
2005 Boynton Beach Club Marilyn
2016 Kubo and the Two Strings Kameyo Voice
2017 The Clapper Ida Krumble
2017 30-Love Hellen
2019 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Mary Alice Schwarz


Year Title Role Notes
1961 Naked City Rosa Alloro Episode: "The Corpse Ran Down Mulberry Street"
1963 Fugitive, TheThe Fugitive Joanne Spencer Episode: "See Hollywood and Die"
1966 Vacation Playhouse Jenny Penny Episode: "My Lucky Penny"
1969 The F.B.I. Gerri Coates, the waitress Episode: "Scapegoat"
1971 What's a Nice Girl Like You...? Shirley Television Movie
1972 Marcus Welby, M.D. Marilyn Hoffman Episode: "House of Mirrors"
1972 Streets of San Francisco Police Officer Sherry Reese Episode: "Act of Duty"
1972 McCloud Police Officer Margaret Sereno Episode: "The Park Avenue Rustlers"
1972 Banacek Sharon Clark Episode: "To Steal a King"
1973 Honor Thy Father Rosalie Bonnano Television Movie
1974 The Shape of Things Unknown role Television Movie
Primetime Emmy Award for Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program
1974 Streets of San Francisco Hit Woman Sidney (AKA Sally Banning) Episode: "The Most Deadly Species"
1976 Sara Sara Yarnell 12 Episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
1976 Territorial Men Sara Yarnell Television Movie – compiled from footage shot for the television series Sara
1979 Dear Detective Det. Sgt. Kate Hudson 4 episodes
1980 Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones Jane Briggs Television Movie
1981 A Long Way Home Lillian Jacobs Television Movie
1981 The Star Maker Dolores Baker Television Movie
1981 The Pride of Jesse Hallam Marion Galucci Television Movie
1983 Fame Herself Episode: "Blood Sweat & Circuits"
1984 Paper Dolls Julia Blake 13 Episodes
1984 St. Elsewhere Rose Orso Episode: "The Women"
1984 Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Eleanor Savage 2 Episodes
1985 Deceptions Helen Adams Television Movie
1985 Care Bears Auntie Freeze 2 Episodes; uncredited
1986–1989 The Smurfs Scruple, Additional Voices 16 Episodes
1987 Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, TheThe Jetsons Meet the Flintstones Didi Television Movie
1988 Murder, She Wrote Mimi Harcourt Episode: "Just Another Fish Story"
1990 Murder, She Wrote Didi Blair Episode: "The Fixer-Upper"
1990 Murder, She Wrote Sheila Kowalski Finley Episode: "The Family Jewels"
1990 Golden Girls, TheThe Golden Girls Angela Petrillo Episode: "Ebbtide's Revenge"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
1990 Columbo Jess McCurdy Episode: "Murder in Malibu"
1990 Stolen: One Husband Lisa Jarrett Television Movie
1992 Civil Wars Actress Episode: "Oceans White the Phone"
1992 Red Shoe Diaries Martha Television Movie
1994 Following Her Heart Cecile Television Movie
1994 The Critic Ardeth 5 Episodes
1995 Friends Gloria Tribbiani Episode: "The One with the Boobies"
1996 Touched by an Angel Al Episode: "Out of the Darkness"
1997 What a Cartoon! Melissa Episode: "Johnny Bravo and the Amazon Women"
1997 Ally McBeal Karen Horowitz Episode: "The Attitude"
1997–2004 Johnny Bravo Bunny Bravo, Nunchuck Chicks, Sally, Lady (1), Waitress (1), Robo Mama, Woman (11) 55 Episodes
1998 King of Queens, TheThe King of Queens Sheila Rednester Episode: "Paternal Affairs"
2001 Becker Bob's Mother Episode: "The Ghost of Christmas Presents"
2002 Just a Walk in the Park Selma Williams Television Movie
2004 Just Desserts Lina Television Movie
2005 American Dad! Club Manager Episode: "Stan Knows Best"
2006 Nip/Tuck Beatrice Madsen Episode: "Diana Lubey"
2006 War at Home, TheThe War at Home Barbara Episode: "The West Palm Beach Story"
2010 You Don't Know Jack Margo Janus Television Movie
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
2017 Gypsy Claire Rogers 8 Episodes
2017 Superior Donuts Ellen Episode: "Get It, Arthur"
2018 Summer Camp Island Godmonster Episode: "Monster Visit"
2021–2022 And Just Like That... Gloria Marquette 3 Episodes


Year Title Role(s) Venue Notes Ref.
1961 Everybody Loves Opal Gloria Longacre Theatre Broadway debut
1962 The Affair Laura Howard Henry Miller's Theater
1963 Children From Their Games Melissa Peabody Morosco Theatre
1965 Cactus Flower Toni Royale Theatre Tony Award nomination
1967 The Natural Look Reedy Harris Longacre Theatre
1967 How Now, Dow Jones Cynthia Lunt-Fontanne Theatre Tony Award nomination
1968 The Goodbye People Nancy Scott Ethel Barrymore Theatre Tony Award nomination
1971 Father's Day Louise John Golden Theatre
1985 The Odd Couple Olive Madison Broadhurst Theatre
1992 Jake's Women Karen Neil Simon Theatre
2015 Nice Work If You Can Get It Millicent Winter Ogunquit Playhouse

See also

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