Patricia Heaton

Patricia Heaton Headshot

Actress

Birth Name: Patricia Helen Heaton

Birth Date: March 4, 1958

Age: 66 years old

Birth Place: Bay Village, Ohio

Spouses: David Hunt

As Debra Barone, long-suffering wife of Ray Barone (Ray Romano) on the television series "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS, 1996-2005), actress Patricia Heaton put a fresh and realistic spin on the role of the sitcom wife, which earned her two Emmy Awards and countless fans. Heaton's popularity, which came after years on stage and in several failed TV series, allowed her to star in and produce several television movies, as well as a string of popular ads for the Albertson's supermarket chain. In 2007, she returned to television opposite Kelsey Grammer in "Back to You" (Fox). Almost as well known for her television work as her outspoken conservative views, Heaton was not one to shy away from expressing views that did not always fly in the liberal city in which she had made a career for herself.

Born Patrician Helen Heaton in Bay Village, OH, on March 4, 1958, Heaton's father was Chuck Heaton, a sportswriter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and her brother Michael - one of her four siblings - followed in his footsteps by contributing to the paper as an adult. To make her mark among her large family, Heaton was a self-described "actress from the start," who craved attention from her siblings and others.

The loss of her mother from a brain aneurysm when she was only 12 took away some of Heaton's steam. Not surprisingly, she struggled with depression for much of her teenage years. Her father encouraged her to pursue journalism while attending Ohio State University, but she soon found her way back to performing, graduating with a degree in drama in 1980.

Heaton was married briefly during this period, but ended in divorce in 1987.

Following the break-up of her marriage, Heaton relocated to New York and studied with acclaimed drama coach William Esper while pursuing theater jobs. She made her Broadway debut in 1987 as one of two white performers in the gospel musical "Don't Get God Started," which folded within a year.

Determined to make a go of acting, she partnered with several of her fellow students under Esper and formed an Off-Broadway troupe called Stage Three, which began attracting audiences and critics with their productions. One of them - "The Johnstown Vindication" (1989) - was such a success, that Heaton and the troupe traveled to Los Angeles to perform for West Coast audiences.

Her performances caught the eye of casting agents in Hollywood, which led to her television debut as an oncologist in six episodes of "thirtysomething" (ABC, 1987-1991). More guest shots followed, as well as small roles in the Chevy Chase comedy "Memoirs of an Invisible Man" (1992) and "Beethoven" (1992).

Heaton took another stab at nuptials, marrying British actor David Hunt in 1990 and settling in Los Angeles.

A regular role on a television series seemed inevitable for Heaton in the early 1990s, but her first three attempts - "Room For Two" (1992), with Heaton as a TV producer at odds with Linda Lavin as her mother and a guest commentator on her show; "Someone Like Me" (NBC, 1994), as the mother of precocious Gaby Hoffman; and "Women of the House" (CBS, 1995) - a spin-off of "Designing Women" (CBS, 1986-1992) - all perished during their first seasons.

A pair of appearances on "Party of Five" (Fox, 1994-2000) as the birth mother of Jennifer Love Hewitt failed to scare up any consistent work. Heaton would later note in interviews that it was at that point in her stagnant career, when she was clipping coupons to stretch her budget, that she received word about an audition for a new comedy series based on the stand-up career of Ray Romano.

Heaton arrived at the audition flustered over problems with a babysitter at home, which apparently struck the producers as the right sort of tone for Debra Barone. Romano also favored her because she was the only actress who would kiss him during her audition.

Heaton was soon cast, and after a slow start, the show - produced by David Letterman's Worldwide Pants production company - gradually developed into one of the network's biggest hits. Heaton was singled out by critics and fans for her portrayal.

Not just her funny husband's foil, her Debra was smart and flawed, and her emotions and desires often drove episodes as much as Romano and the rest of the characters, including Brad Garrett, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts. For her efforts, Heaton was nominated for seven Emmys during the series' network run and won twice - in 2000 and 2001.

She also took home two Q Awards from the Viewers for Quality Television and a Screen Actors Guild Award (shared with the entire cast) in 2003.

Despite working on the series full time - and giving birth to four sons between 1994 and 1997 - Heaton still found time to appear top-billed in several TV movies, including "Miracle in the Woods" (1997), "A Town Without Christmas" (2001), and a likable remake of Neil Simon's "The Goodbye Girl" (2004) with Jeff Daniels and Alan Cumming for director Richard Benjamin. She also starred in a string of comic commercials for Albertsons supermarkets and Pantene hair products, and penned an autobiography, Hollywood and Motherhood: How to Get a Job like Mine in 2002.

After "Raymond" ended its series run in 2005, Heaton produced several projects through her FourBoys Films shingle, which she shared with her husband. Among their efforts was the documentary "The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania" (2005), about a beauty contest in a rural mining town, and "Amazing Grace" (2006), Michael Apted's period drama about slavery opponent William Wilberforce, which featured an impressive cast of performers including Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, and Ciaran Hinds.

She also spearheaded a pilot for a new series for ABC about a single mother juggling her physical therapy practice and raising her two sons, but the "Untitled Patricia Heaton Project" never came to fruition.

A lifelong Republican and Catholic, Heaton was a vocal proponent of the death penalty and the pro-life movement - but she was also on record as supporting gay rights and most birth control - and the honorary chair of Feminists for Life, a women's group that opposed abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Her appearance in a 2006 advertisement that opposed a Missouri constitutional amendment that supported stem cell research garnered much negative publicity for the well-liked performer, who later regretted that the spot aired shortly after one featuring actor Michael J. Fox in support of the research.

Heaton's advocacy became particularly visible during the debate regarding the 2005 Terri Schiavo case in Florida, in which she decried the idea of taking the vegetative woman off life support to any talk show that would listen - despite the fact that she was not close to the family on either side of the argument.

In 2007, Heaton's tenure as the voice and face of Albertson's came to an end when they discontinued her ad campaign. That same year, she returned to the New York stage in the Off-Broadway play "The Scene," co-starring longtime friend Tony Shalhoub. For her efforts, she received a Lucille Lortel Award nomination.

Heaton also came back to network television with Kelsey Grammer in "Back to You," a sitcom about a former newscasting team (and onetime romantic item) who find themselves working together again. The series, produced by Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan of "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004) fame and directed by James Burrows, scored huge ratings with its debut, but mediocre reviews helped send the show to 65th place by its fourth episode. Despite the dismal numbers, Fox picked up "Back to You" for a full season.

Credits

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2022

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2022

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2019
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2019

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2019

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Actor
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2019

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Guest
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2019

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2018

SmallfootStream

Voice
Mama Bear
Movie
2018
76%

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Guest
Talk
2017

The StarStream

Voice
Edith
Movie
2017
43%

Harry

Guest
Talk
2016

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Guest
News
2016

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Host
Series
2015

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
Talk
2015

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2014
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2013

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2013

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Guest
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2013

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2013

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2012

Live! With Kelly and Michael

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2012

CBS This Morning

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2012

The Christmas Heart

Executive Producer
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2012

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Guest
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2011

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2011

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2011

The Gayle King Show

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2010

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2010

The Nate Berkus Show

Guest
Talk
2010

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Guest
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2010

The MiddleStream

Actor
Frankie Heck
Series
2009

The Dr. Oz Show

Guest
Talk
2009

10th Annual A Home for the Holidays With Faith Hill

Guest
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2008

The Bonnie Hunt Show

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2008

The Doctors

Guest
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2008

The Wendy Williams Show

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Front Of The ClassStream

Actor
Ellen Cohen
Movie
2008

Back To YouStream

Actor
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Series
2007
40%

Today With Kathie Lee & Hoda

Guest
Show
2007

The Morning Show With Mike & Juliet

Guest
Show
2007

Thou Shalt Laugh

Host
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2006

Rachael Ray ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2006

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2006

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2006

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Guest
Talk
2005

The Engagement Ring

Actor
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Movie
2005

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Executive Producer
Movie
2005

Extreme Makeover: Home EditionStream

Guest
Reality
2004

The Goodbye Girl

Actor
Paula McFadden
Movie
2004

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

A Town Without Christmas

Actor
M.J. Jensen
Movie
2001

The Early Show

Guest
Show
1999

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

Contestant
Game Show
1999

The King of QueensStream

Guest Star
Series
1998

The ViewStream

Guest
Talk
1997

Miracle in the Woods

Actor
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Movie
1997

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Actor
Debra Barone
Series
1996

Women of the HouseStream

Actor
Natalie Hollingsworth
Series
1995
38%

Someone Like Me

Actor
Jean Stepjak
Show
1994

The New Age

Actor
Anna
Movie
1994

Late Night With Conan O'Brien

Guest
Talk
1993

Late Night With Conan O'Brien

Guest Star
Talk
1993

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

Guest
Talk
1992

Beethoven

Actor
Brie
Movie
1992

Shattered Dreams

Actor
Older Dotti
Movie
1990

thirtysomething

Guest Star
Dr. Silverman
Series
1987
83%

MatlockStream

Guest Star
Series
1986

Entertainment Tonight

Guest
News
1981

20/20Stream

Guest
News
1978

Good Morning America

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News
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1952

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