Marcia Strassman

Marcia Strassman Headshot

Actress • Singer

Birth Name: Marcia Ann Strassman

Birth Date: April 28, 1948

Death Date: October 24, 2014

Birth Place: New York, New York

To music lovers, Marcia Strassman may be best known as the teen pop artist who recorded the 1967 single "The Flower Children." To fans of the small screen, she's likely remembered as Julie Kotter, the even-tempered wife of Gabe Kaplan on "Welcome Back, Kotter" (ABC 1975-79). And to cineastes the world over, she holds a special place as harried mother Diane Szalinski in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movies.

Marcia Strassman was born on April 28, 1948, in New York City, and raised in Passaic, New Jersey. She found her way onto the stage by age 15, joining the Off Broadway production of "Best Foot Forward" in 1963, and onto television just one year later. Strassman kicked off her small screen career with a recurring role on "The Patty Duke Show" (ABC 1963-66), appearing as various characters in three episodes through the first and second seasons of the kooky family sitcom.

While it wouldn't be for a number of years that Strassman would find true success in acting, the late '60s did usher of the multi-talented young woman into the music scene. In '67, Strassman pioneered her solo career with the single "The Flower Children," successful on the West Coast but an unremarkable performer nationwide. Her numbers to follow, "The Groovy World of Jack & Jill" and "Stargazer," were likewise unsuccessful, leading Strassman to leave the music industry behind in favor of acting.

It didn't take long before Strassman began to earn roles of note. She made her film debut with a small role in "Changes" (1969). In 1972, she enjoyed a six-episode stint through the first season of "M*A*S*H" (CBS 1972-1983), playing Army Nurse Margie Cutler. The character acted both as an partner in crime to the mischievous Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) and Trapper McIntyre (Pernell Roberts), and an occasional object of their affections. Like the men, she served as a foil (and nuisance) for the hardnosed characters Hot Lips Houlihan and Frank Burns.

Strassman's short-lived turn on "M*A*S*H" gave way to a number of one-off appearances on various sitcoms and TV dramas throughout the early '70s. Her first true hit, however, would come three years after her final episode as Cutler. In 1975, Strassman costarred in the pilot episode of "Welcome Back, Kotter" (ABC 1975-79), playing the wife and impossibly patient sounding board of high school teacher Gabe Kotter, the role occupied by series creator Gabe Kaplan. Her run on "Welcome Back, Kotter" lasted the duration of the series' lifespan despite a good deal of rumored turmoil on set.

Contemporaneous publications would detail reports of enmity between Strassman and Kaplan (one that, allegedly, split the "Sweathog" actors by alignments of loyalty). Backstage chaos aside, the sitcom would prove to be Strassman's most successful endeavor for many years following its cancelation in 1979. She did continue to pursue projects, notably the TV movie "Brave New World" (NBC 1980) and the little seen romantic comedy 'Soup for One' (1980), but wouldn't find veritable commercial success again for another decade. In 1984, Strassman married Robert Collector, himself a budding writer/director who'd go on to create films like "Red Heat" (1985) and "Believe in Me" (2005).

The two had one child, Elizabeth, and divorced in '89. That same year, Strassman landed what would prove to be a favorite among family audiences: "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (1989). Strassman starred as the put upon wife of Rick Moranis' zany scientist character, and the mother of the children who Moranis inadvertently shrinks with his latest invention. The box office hit sparked a like-themed sequel three years later: "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid" (1992), in which Strassman and Moranis reprised their roles.

Strassman would continue to work throughout the 1990s and 2000s, though would never quite land another high-profile part, relegated instead to one-off guest appearances and occasional recurring roles on television shows.

In 2007, Strassman was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, a disease that ultimately took her life on October 24, 2014.

Credits

Looking for Mr. Right

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Opal
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2014

Reeker

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Rose
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2005

TremorsStream

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2003

The Movie Hero

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Blake's Mom
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2003

Vent de panique

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Kim Nelson
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2002

Odd Man Out

Guest Star
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1999

Providence

Guest Star
Series
1999

Earth Minus Zero

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Debbie Heller
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1998

Le Monde merveilleux de Disney

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1996

The Rockford Files: Friends and Foul Play

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Dr. Trish George
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1996

Charlie Grace

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Show
1995

Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare

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Margaret McKenna
Movie
1995

Touched by an AngelStream

Guest Star
Series
1994

Another Stakeout

Actor
Pam O'Hara
Movie
1993

Honey, I Blew Up the Kid

Actor
Diane Szalinski
Movie
1992

RugratsStream

Guest Voice
Miss Appleby
Series
1991

Fast Getaway

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Lorraine
Movie
1991

And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird!

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Sarah Carson
Movie
1991

BookerStream

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Alicia Rudd
Series
1989

BaywatchStream

Guest Star
Rena Jaffe, Jordan's Mother
Series
1989

Honey, I Shrunk the KidsStream

Actor
Diane Szalinski
Movie
1989
76%

I Married Dora

Guest Star
Series
1987

Haunted by Her Past

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Rita Kamen
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1987

Vengeance au-delà du temps

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1987

Amazing StoriesStream

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Series
1985

Shadow Chasers

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Stella Pence
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1985

The Aviator

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Rose Stiller
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1985

Murder, She WroteStream

Guest Star
Terry Garman Holbert
Series
1984

E/R

Actor
Show
1984

Soup for One

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Maria
Movie
1982

Magnum, P.I.Stream

Guest Star
Dr. Karen Harmon
Series
1980

Brave New World

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Lenina Disney
Movie
1980

Fantasy Island

Guest Star
Series
1978

The Love Boat II

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Pat McFarland
Movie
1977

Brenda Starr

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Kentucky Smith
Movie
1976

Welcome Back, KotterStream

Actor
Julie Kotter
Series
1975

Journey From Darkness

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Nancy
Movie
1975

The Rockford FilesStream

Actor
Whitney Cox
Series
1974

The Rockford FilesStream

Guest Star
Whitney Cox
Series
1974

Police Story

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Jacqueline
Series
1973

M*A*S*HStream

Guest Star
Nurse Margie Cutler
Series
1972

The Paul Lynde Show

Guest Star
Karen
Show
1972

Changes

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Kristine
Movie
1969