Lisa Edelstein

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Lisa Edelstein
Lisa Edelstein crop.jpg
Edelstein at the Fox House Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2007, May 2007
Born (1966-05-21) May 21, 1966 (age 57)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation Actress, playwright
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Robert Russell (m. 2014)

Lisa Edelstein (/ˈlsə ˈɛdəlstn/; born May 21, 1966)[1][2][3] is an American actress and playwright best known for playing Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the Fox medical drama series House. She currently stars as Abby McCarthy in the Bravo series Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.

Early life

Edelstein was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Bonnie and Alvin Edelstein. Her father is a pediatrician at Chilton Memorial Hospital[4] (since retired). Her mother is a retired social worker. Her family is Jewish.[5] The youngest of three children, she was raised in Wayne, New Jersey,[6] and attended Wayne Valley High School, graduating in 1984.[7]

At 16, Edelstein was a cheerleader for the New Jersey Generals. Edelstein encountered trouble when she organized a protest, because the team was forcing the cheerleaders to stand in bars while wearing their uniforms. Edelstein said she felt this was "akin to prostitution" and started a cheerleader strike.[8]

She moved to New York City at the age of 18 to study theatre at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.[9] While living in New York, she became involved in the club scene (known there only as "Lisa E.") and caused enough of a stir in the community to be dubbed New York City's "Queen of the Night" by writer and fellow celebutante James St. James, who briefly refers to Edelstein in his 1999 book Disco Bloodbath.[10]



After being dubbed a "celebutante" by The New York Times magazine during her club kid days[6] Edelstein used her new-found celebrity to write, compose, and star in an original musical called Positive Me in response to the growing AIDS crisis of the 1980s. The play, performed at the La MaMa theatre in New York City, received many accolades.[6][11] After a regrettable experience hosting Awake on the Wild Side for MTV in 1990,[12] she appeared for a few seconds as a backstage make-up artist in the Jim Morrison biography The Doors followed by guest roles on several popular comedies, including Mad About You, Wings, and The Larry Sanders Show. On Sports Night, she played a sports reporter who claimed to be a former lover of Josh Charles's character whom he did not remember. On Seinfeld, she played George Costanza's frustrated girlfriend, the "Risotto Girl" (the only girlfriend of George's to appear in multiple episodes other than Susan Ross).

Edelstein picketed during the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike, which halted the production of House.

Bigger roles in TV dramas soon followed, among them the lesbian sister on ABC's Relativity (1996); a high-priced call girl turned Rob Lowe's date on The West Wing (1999); an assigned male at birth (AMAB) transgender woman on Ally McBeal (2000); and Ben Covington's (Scott Speedman) girlfriend on Felicity (2001). She also continued to land guest-star spots on such shows as ER, Frasier, Just Shoot Me!, Without a Trace, and Judging Amy, as well as small parts in the films What Women Want, Keeping the Faith, As Good as It Gets, and Daddy Day Care.

From 2004-2011, she portrayed her biggest and most notable role to date, Dr. Lisa Cuddy, the Dean of Medicine at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital and frequent adversary, friend, and eventual girlfriend of title character Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) on Fox's TV series House. Edelstein has often spoken fondly of her experiences on the show and fellow cast and crew, especially her friendship and strong working relationship with colleague Hugh Laurie.

In May 2011, Edelstein announced that she would not return for the eighth and final season of House.[13] In June 2011, she guest-starred in a three-episode arc of The Good Wife third season as attorney Celeste Serrano.[14] She guest-starred in Scandal in 2013, and later three episodes of the ABC series Castle.

She currently stars as the lead role of Abby McCarthy in the Bravo series Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, a one-hour-long comedy-drama loosely based on the book series by Vicki Iovine and scheduled to premiere on December 2, 2014.

She has lent her voice to several animated programs, including King of the Hill, American Dad!, Superman: The Animated Series (as Mercy Graves, Lex Luthor's bodyguard, a role she later reprised in several episodes of Justice League), Legend of Korra (as Kya, Tenzin's sister) and the video game adaptation of Blade Runner (1997).

Other appearances

Edelstein is a passionate supporter of Best Friends Animal Society, of which she is an Ambassador. She supports human rights organizations and is a patron of the arts. She has appeared in numerous magazines, including the September 2010 cover of H magazine.[15] She posed for PETA in an ad promoting vegetarianism, a diet she has followed for most of her life.[16]

Personal life

On May 25, 2014, Edelstein married artist Robert Russell in Los Angeles.[17]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 The Doors Makeup artist
1997 As Good as It Gets Woman at table
1998 Susan's Plan Penny Myers
1998 L.A. Without a Map Sandra
1999 30 Days Danielle
2000 Keeping the Faith Ali Decker
2000 What Women Want Dina
2003 Daddy Day Care Crispin's mother
2005 Say Uncle Sarah Faber
2013 She Loves Me Not Amy[18]
2016 Joshy Claudia


Year Title Role Notes
1992 L.A. Law Francine Flicker Episode: "My Friend Flicker"
1992 Mad About You Lynne Stoddard Episode: "Out of the Past"
1993 Good Advice Robin Episode: "The Kiss"
1993 Seinfeld Karen 2 episodes
1993 Wings Marsha Peebles Episode: "Labor Pains"
1994 The Larry Sanders Show Diane French Episode: "The Mr. Sharon Stone Show"
1994 Wild Oats Unknown Episode: "Pilot"
1995–97 Almost Perfect Patty Karp 9 episodes
1995 Partners Cindy Wolfe Episode: "Who's Afraid of Ron and Cindy Wolfe?"
1995 Superman: The Animated Series Mercy Graves 8 episodes
1996 Ned & Stacey Janine Episode: "Friends and Lovers"
1996–97 Relativity Rhonda Roth 17 episodes
1997 ER Aggi Orton Episode: "Ambush"
1998 Just Shoot Me! Erin Simons Episode: "Sewer!"
1998 Frasier Caitlin Episode: "Frasier Gotta Have It"
1998 Indiscreet Beth Sussman Television movie
1999 Sports Night Bobbi Bernstein 3 episodes
1999–2000 The West Wing Laurie "Brittany" Rollins 5 episodes
2000 Grosse Pointe Shawn Shapiro Episode: "Satisfaction"
2000–01 Ally McBeal Cindy McCauliff 5 episodes
2001 Black River Laura Television movie
2001–02 Felicity Lauren 6 episodes
2002 Obsessed Charlotte Television movie
2002 Leap of Faith Patty 6 episodes
2003 A Date with Darkness: The Trial and Capture of Andrew Luster Maeve Fox Television movie
2003 Without a Trace Dr. Lianna Sardo Episode: "Moving On"
2003 The Practice Diane Ward 2 episodes
2003 Justice League Mercy Graves 2 episodes
2004 Judging Amy Sylvia Danforth Episode: "The Quick and the Dead"
2004–11 House Lisa Cuddy 153 episodes
People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Drama Actress
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
2005 Justice League Unlimited Mercy Graves Episode: "Clash"
2005 Fathers and Sons Irene Television movie
2007 King of the Hill Alexis Episode: "The Powder Puff Boys"
2007–11 American Dad! Sharri Rothberg 6 episodes
2008 Special Delivery Maxine Carter Television movie
2011 Childrens Hospital Herself/Lisa Cuddy Episode: "Run, Dr. Lola Spratt, Run!"
2011 The Good Wife Celeste Serano 3 episodes
2011 Paul The Male Matchmaker Jillian Episode: "Know When You Are Not Ready"
2012 Blue-Eyed Butcher Kelly Siegler Television movie
2012 Elementary Heather Van Owen Episode: "The Long Fuse"
2013 House of Lies Brynn 2 episodes
2013 Scandal Sarah Stanner Episode: "Top of the Hour"
2013 Castle Rachel McCord 3 episodes
2013–14 The Legend of Korra Kya 14 episodes
Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce Abby Lead role; 13 episodes

Video Games

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Blade Runner Crystal Steele


  • In 2005, she accepted the award for Television Series drama at the 10th Annual Satellite Awards for her portrayal of Dr. Lisa Cuddy on House, M.D.
  • In 2011, she won the People's Choice Award for Best Drama Actress in a TV Series for her portrayal of Dr. Lisa Cuddy on House, M.D.[19]


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  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Vaughan, Bonnia. "Small-Screen GemLisa Edelstein – The actress talks about her role on Relativity", Entertainment Weekly, October 6, 2008. Retrieved March 31, 2011. "Thanks to Relativity – and her role as lovelorn lesbian Rhonda – the Wayne, N.J., native has another opportunity to set a strong example."
  7. Rohan, Virginia. "North Jersey-bred and talented too", The Record (Bergen County), June 18, 2007. Retrieved June 25, 2007. "Lisa Edelstein: Class of 1984, Wayne Valley High School"[dead link]
  8. Lisa Edelstein Talks About Being a Cheerleader for Donald Trump (VIDEO) [1]
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  10. James St. James. Party Monster. Simon & Schuster, 2003.
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  15. Edelstein on the cover of the September 2010 H mag at H's official site; Retrieved September 17, 2010
  16. Christina Everett, "'House' Star, 44, Poses Nude for PETA," NY Daily News, April 18, 2012.
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External links