Who is Teri Garr?
Teri Ann Garr was born in Lakewood, Ohio USA, on 11 December 1944 – her zodiac sign’s Sagittarius, and she holds American nationality. She’s a retired actress, comedienne and dancer, with more than 150 acting credits to her name, while she’s perhaps still known best for her portrayal of Sandy Lester in the critically acclaimed 1982 romantic comedy movie “Tootsie”, directed by Sydney Pollack, and which in which she starred alongside Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange. It follows unsuccessful actor Michael Dorsey who’s disguised himself as a woman, wanting to win a role in a new soap opera; the movie won 25 awards, including an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Jessica Lange), while it was nominated for 30 other awards.
Teri retired from acting in 2011, aged 66, and has since been leading a peaceful life in Los Angeles, California.
Early life and education
Teri was raised in Lakewood alongside her older brothers Phil and Ed, by their mother Phyllis Lind Garr who was born as Emma Schmotzer, and was a dancer, model and wardrobe supervisor, and their father Eddie Garr who was born as Edward Leo Gonnoud, and was an actor, comedian and dancer.
The family moved to New Jersey when Teri was around six years old, and then to Los Angeles, California not long after that; her father died from a heart attack when she was 11 years old; Teri revealed that her mother somehow managed to enroll all three children at college, and that her brother was a successful surgeon.
She became interested in ballet when she was around 13, and went on to dance several hours every day. Teri studied at North Hollywood High School, and it was during her four years there that she became interested in acting; she matriculated in 1963, and in the same year appeared in her first two movies: the drama “A Swingin’ Affair” and the musical comedy “Fun in Acapulco”.
Teri then enrolled at California State University, Northridge but dropped out two years later, wanting to pursue acting; she studied acting at both the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and the Actors Studio.
Roles in movies
Teri played Dancer in the popular 1964 musical comedy “Viva Las Vegas”, directed by George Sidney, and which starred Elvis Presley, Ann-Margaret and Cesare Danova. It follows a race-car driver who’s working as a waiter in Las Vegas, Nevada so that he could pay for his new engine, while he’s now fallen in love; the movie was nominated for three awards.
A couple of Teri’s following notable performances were in the 1964 musical drama “Roustabout”, the comedy “John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!” and the sports action drama “Red Line 7000”, both in 1965
In 1967, she played Dancer in the musical comedy “Clambake”, directed by Arthur H. Nadel, and which starred Elvis Presley, Shelley Fabares and Will Hutchins. It follows an oil fortune heir who’s switched places with a water-ski instructor, to see if girls are attracted to him only because of his money.
What marked the ‘70s for Teri was perhaps her portrayal of Amy in the 1974 mystery thriller drama “The Conversation”, written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and which starred Gene Hackman, John Cazale and Allen Garfield. It follows a surveillance expert who’s started to believe that the couple he’s surveying will be murdered; the movie won 14 of the 33 awards for which it was nominated, including three Oscar nominations. Also in 1974, Teri played Inga in the critically acclaimed comedy “Young Frankenstein”, which follows the grandson of the scientist who reanimated the body of Frankenstein; the movie won 11 of the 21 awards for which it was nominated, including two Oscar nominations.
A couple of Teri’s other notable performances in the ‘70s were in the 1976 comedy “Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood”, the 1977 science fiction drama “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, which won an Oscar for Best Cinematography (Vilmos Zsigmond) and the 1979 adventure sports drama “The Black Stallion”, which was nominated for two Oscars.
Perhaps the most popular movie in which Teri appeared in the ‘80s was the 1985 crime comedy drama “After Hours”, directed by Martin Scorsese, and which starred Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette and Verna Bloom. It follows a word processor who’s agreed to go on a date with a girl whom he’d met at a coffee shop; the movie won three of the 14 awards for which it was nominated.
A couple of Teri’s most notable performances in the ‘90s were in the 1994 comedy “Dumb and Dumber”, the 1995 mystery crime drama “Perfect Alibi”, and the 1999 animated science fiction action “Batman Beyond: The Movie” (voice role).
The year 2001 saw her play Ginnie in the comedy drama “Ghost World”, written and directed by Terry Zwigoff, and which starred Steve Buscemi, Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson. It follows two teenage girls who are planning to move in together, and the movie won 28 of the 85 awards for which it was nominated, including an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.
Three of Teri’s final roles in movies were in the romantic comedy drama “Expired”, the comedy “Kabluey” and the short comedy “God Out the Window”, all released in 2007.
Roles in TV series
Teri made her debut TV series appearance in the 1964 episode “How Does Your Garden Grow?” of the drama “Mr. Novak”, and the remainder of the ‘60s saw her appear in an episode or two of various series, such as the drama “Dr. Kildare”, the action adventure comedy “Batman”, and the drama “Insight”.
What marked the ‘70s for her was perhaps her portrayal of Sergeant Phyllis Norton and two other characters in the action crime drama “McCloud”, created by Herman Miller, and which starred Dennis Weaver, J. D. Cannon and Terry Carter. It follows the life of a New Mexico deputy marshal, the series aired from 1970 to 1977 (Teri left the cast in 1975) and won one of the 17 awards for which it was nominated, including six Primetime Emmy nominations.
Teri appeared in only a couple of TV series in the ‘80s, including the 1982 episode “The Tale of the Frog Prince” of the adventure family comedy “Faerie Tale Theatre”, a 1984 episode of the comedy “The New Show”, and all the five episodes of the 1986 comedy mini-series “Fresno”.
What was perhaps the most popular series in which she appeared in the ‘90s was the 1994 comedy “Good Advice”, created by Danny Jacobson, and which starred Shelly Long and Treat Williams. It follows marriage counselor Susan DeRuzza who’s fallen in love with recently divorced lawyer Jack Harold – the series aired in 1993 and 1994.
Three of Teri’s final TV series roles were in the 2005 episode “Starved” of the mystery crime drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, the 2006 episode “He Ain’t Hetero, He’s My Brother” of the comedy “Crumbs” and the pilot episode of the 2011 comedy “How to Marry a Billionaire”.
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— An Extremely Talented Ass-Clown (@ThatAgedWellPod) June 25, 2019
Teri sang the song “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life” in the 1974 movie “Young Frankenstein”, as well as the song “It Had to Be You” in the 1995 episode “North to Alaska” of the series “Women of the House”.
She received special thanks for the 2003 documentary video “Sex at 24 Frames Per Second”.
Teri’s been featured in many documentary films, including the 2005 “A Comic’s Climb at the USCAF”, “A Better Man: The Making of Tootsie” and “Young Frankenstein: It’s Alive! Creating a Monster Classic” both in 2008.
She’s made a guest appearance in a number of talk-shows, such as “Entertainment Tonight”, “Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Bonnie Hunt Show”.
Awards and nominations
Teri’s won one of the six awards for which she’s been nominated: a 1994 National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble, for her and her colleagues’ performance in the comedy movie “Ready to Wear” (original “Prêt-à-Porter”).
She was also nominated for a 1983 Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, for “Tootsie”.
Love life and relationships
Teri dated the late American actor and moviemaker Gene Wilder in 1974, and the late French movie director, producer and actor François Truffaut in 1976.
Sometime in the first half of the ‘80s, Teri began dating American film producer Roger Birnbaum, and the two were together for seven years.
Not long after she and Roger broke up, she began dating American physician David Kipper – while it was famous American actress Carrie Frances Fisher who had introduced the two; Teri and Roger were also together for seven years.
She dated famous American TV show host and comedian David Letterman in 1990.
On 11 November 1993, Teri married American building contractor and actor John O’Neil, and they adopted their daughter Molly O’Neil in the same year; Teri and John were there when Molly was born in November, but they divorced in 1996.
Teri hasn’t mentioned any men whom she’s perhaps been with since her and John’s divorce, and as of August 2022, she seems to be single, was once married to John O’Neil, and has an adoped daughter with him.
Hobbies and interesting facts
Teri’s a philanthropist, and has worked with numerous charity organizations, mostly with those that aim to improve the quality of life for underprivileged children. She’s also a supporter of the LGBT community, and took part in several events organized by the American non-profit organization The Trevor Project.
Teri was there during the protest against nuclear weapons testing in Mercury, Nevada in March 1988, and was arrested for trespassing.
She was physically highly active during her 20s and 30s, as it was important for her acting career to stay in shape.
Teri’s career’s taken her all around the world – her dream travel destination’s Paris, France.
Her favorite actor and actress are Al Pacino and Meryl Streep, while a couple of her favorite movies are “The Bridges of Madison County”, “Scent of a Woman” and “The Devil Wears Prada”.
Teri revealed in October 2002 that she’d been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, having kept this a secret for close to two decades. She explained in an interview that she began noticing symptoms while shooting for the 1982 movie “Tootsie”, and after having shared all of this with her fans, she became a national ambassador of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and a board member of the organization Society’s Women Against Multiple Sclerosis.
In November 2005, Teri revealed that her treatment for multiple sclerosis was steroid injections; she shared a lot about her struggle with multiple sclerosis in her 2006 autobiography “Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood”.
Teri suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in December 2006, and as a consequence was in a coma for a week; it then took her some time to regain her speech and motor skills.
Age, height and net worth
Teri’s age is 77. She has long blonde hair and blue eyes, her height is 5ft 7ins (1.7m) and she weighs around 145lbs (65kgs).
As of August 2022, her net worth’s been estimated at over $4 million.