Harriet Sansom Harris

Harriet Sansom Harris Headshot

Actress

Birth Date: January 8, 1955

Age: 69 years old

Birth Place: Fort Worth, Texas

An in-demand character actress in both film and televison possessed of devislish comedic timing, Harriet Sansom Harris is perhaps best known for a pair of recurrring TV roles, first as Frasier Crane's gleefully unscrupulous agent Bebe Glazer on the NBC sitcom "Frasier," then as Wisteria Lane resident Felicia Tilman on ABC's hit primetime drama "Desperate Housewives."
Raised in Fort Worth, Texas, Harris began in the theater after graduating from Juilliard, spending three years as a member of The Acting Company. She also appeared in regional theater productions at the Long Wharf and Yale Rep. In 1986, Harris was Ophelia to Kevin Kline's "Hamlet" (with future "Frasier" co-star David Hyde Pierce as her brother Laertes). Paul Rudnick wrote the female roles in his 1993 Off-Broadway hit "Jeffrey" especially for the actress. (She also appeared in the L.A. premiere). By the late 1980s, Harris had broken into TV, appearing in episodic guest shots on such series as "Doctor, Doctor" and "Law & Order." In 1993, Harris made her TV-movie debut in "Dead Drunk: The Kevin Turrell Story" for HBO. Her feature appearances, however, have been limited. Harris briefly appeared as one of the mothers whose children were attending camp in "Addams Family Values" (1993), scripted by Rudnick, and was secretary to producer Dan Enright (David Paymer) in Robert Redford's Oscar-nominated "Quiz Show" (1994). Harris' profile escalated dramatically when she took on the role of the conniving Bebe during "Frasier's" first season in 1993, making regular appearances throughout the series' 11-year run. She then started snaring regular roles, playing the obnoxious class-conscious daughter-in-law Vivian Buchanan on clever but low-rated sitcom "The Five Mrs. Buchanans" (CBS, 1994-95), returned to the weekly series format as Suzanne, an embittered real estate agent, on the NBC sitcom "Union Square" (1997-98), had a recurring roll on the short-lived sitcom "Stark Raving Mad" (NBC, 1999-2000) and appeared in the brief ABC journalism drama "The Beast" (2001) as Mrs. Sweeny, the primary manager of the life of the head of a 24-hour TV news network, whose edgy wit and brutal honesty keeps the staff in tow. She next appeared as a regular on "It's All Relative" (ABC, 2003) as the blue-collar mother who's son is in love with a woman raised by two gay men. In between gigs, Harris racked up dozens of guest-starring credits o n a slew of televison comedies and dramas, including "The X-Files," "Murphy Brown," "Sisters," "Chicago Hope," "The Practice," "Ally McBeal," "Six Feet Under" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." At the end of 2004 she began a string of appearances on the smash hit "Desperate Housewives" as a character who may hold answers to the mysteries that drove the series. Televison wasn't the only medium to embrace Harris. She appeared in a diverse array of feature films, including Baz Luhrrman's eye-popping modernization of Shakespeare, "Romeo + Juliet" (1996), the appealing dark comedy "Nurse Betty" (2000), Christopher Nolan's inventively told thriller "Memento" (2000), the Jet Li action-fest "The One" (2001) and the Jennifer Lopez-Jane Fonda comedy "Monster-In-Law" (2005). Her busy Hollywood schedule was balanced with a steady roster of stage work. She appeared in the Roundabout Theater Company's 2000 New York revival of the classic Kaufman-Hart comedy "The Man Who Came to Dinner" about a famous (and famously acid-tongued) theater critic who is forced to stay in a Midwestern couple's home. Harris appeared opposite Nathan Lane and Jean Smart as Maggie Cutler, Lane's devoted secretary and Smart's nemesis, and one of the performances was broadcast live on PBS's "Stage on Screen" program. Harris took home 2001-02 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for her work as Mrs. Meers in the stage version of "Thoroughly Modern Millie," and she made her debut with the New York Philaharmonic in April 2003 in the role of Beatrice,in the concert staging of Berlioz's opera "Beatrice and Benedict" opposite her "Frasier" co-star David Hyde Pierce.

Credits

Werewolf by Night in Color

Actor
Verusa
Show
2023

JulesStream

Actor
Sandy
Movie
2023
85%

Magazine Dreams

Actor
Patricia Waldron
Movie
2023
84%

Werewolf by NightStream

Actor
Verusa
Movie
2022
89%

Licorice PizzaStream

Actor
Mary Grady
Movie
2021
90%

RatchedStream

Actor
Ingrid
Series
2020
62%

Baby

Actor
Movie
2020

Phantom ThreadStream

Actor
Barbara Rose
Movie
2017
91%

Deadly Trust

Actor
Movie
2016

Her Last Will

Actor
Dina Cotton
Movie
2016

Love Is Strange

Actor
Honey
Movie
2014

Shake It UpStream

Guest Star
Dr. Pepper
Series
2010

Moonlight Serenade

Actor
Angelica Webster
Movie
2009

Help Me Help You

Guest Star
Show
2006

Sex, Love & Secrets

Guest Star
Show
2005

Ghost WhispererStream

Guest Star
Series
2005

American DadStream

Guest Voice
Mrs. Reagan
Series
2005

Desperate HousewivesStream

Guest Star
Felicia Tilman
Series
2004
72%

Quintuplets

Guest Star
Show
2004

It's All Relative

Actor
Audrey O'Neil
Show
2003

The Beast

Actor
Mrs. Sweeny
Show
2001

Six Feet UnderStream

Guest Star
Catherine Collins
Series
2001
81%

The Man Who Came to Dinner, Live From Stage on Screen

Actor
Show
2000

CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationStream

Guest Star
Series
2000

God, the Devil and Bob

Guest Voice
Show
2000

MementoStream

Actor
Mrs. Jankis
Movie
2000
94%

Love & Money

Guest Star
Show
1999

Stark Raving Mad

Guest Star
Show
1999

Family Law

Guest Star
Series
1999

Maggie

Guest Star
Show
1998

Show & Tell

Actor
Frances
Movie
1998

Union Square

Actor
Series
1997

Ally McBeal

Guest Star
Series
1997
61%

The PracticeStream

Guest Star
Series
1997

Murder, She Wrote: South by Southwest

Actor
Millie Ogden
Movie
1997

Millennium

Guest Star
Series
1996

The Care and Handling of Roses

Actor
Susan
Movie
1996

Space: Above and Beyond

Guest Star
Series
1995
70%

Caroline in the CityStream

Guest Star
Series
1995

The Crew

Guest Star
Show
1995

Mensonge et trahison

Actor
Movie
1995

An Element of Truth

Actor
Movie
1995

The 5 Mrs. Buchanans

Actor
Vivian Buchanan
Show
1994

Chicago Hope

Guest Star
Series
1994

EllenStream

Guest Star
Series
1994

Diagnosis MurderStream

Guest Star
Series
1993

FrasierStream

Guest Star
Bebe Glazer
Series
1993
95%

The X-FilesStream

Guest Star
Dr. Sally Kendrick/Eve 6
Series
1993
74%

Law & OrderStream

Guest Star
Series
1990

Doctor Doctor

Guest Star
Series
1989

Highway to HeavenStream

Guest Star
Ruth Ann Kifer
Series
1984

Gimme a Break!

Guest Star
Series
1981

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