Lesley Ann Warren
Aug. 16th, 1946
New York City, New York, USA
Lesley Ann Warren's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2005 - Constellation
2005 - Deepwater
2002 - Secretary
2001 - The Quickie
2001 - Delivering Milo
2000 - Trixie
1999 - Teaching Mrs. Tingle
1999 - The Limey
1994 - Color of Night
1992 - Pure Country
1991 - Life Stinks
1989 - Worth Winning
1988 - Cop
1985 - Clue
1984 - Choose Me
1983 - A Night in Heaven
1982 - Victor Victoria
1967 - The Happiest Millionaire
Guest TV Roles
Bonda Jo Weaver
Lithe and lovely Lesley Ann Warren started gearing towards a life in show business right off the bat as a child ballerina; little did she know that Hollywood stardom would arrive on her doorstep in the form of a "Cinderella" story -- literally!
The New York-born actress (born in 1946) was the daughter of a realtor and a night club singer, Margot Warren, who gave up her own entertainment career for marriage and family. Lesley attended New York's Professional Children's School and eventually studied under Lee Strasberg at his Actors Studio, the youngest student to be accepted at the time (age 17). The freckled, talented hopeful gathered musical stage experience in such shows as "Bye Bye Birdie" playing swooning teen Kim McAfee. She made her illustrious Broadway debut in "110 in the Shade", the 1963 musical version of "The Rainmaker," and subsequently received the Theatre World Award for her work in the 1965 tunefest "Drat! The Cat!"
The attention she received immediately led to her capturing the beguiling title role in the Rodgers and Hammerstein TV musical production of Cinderella (1965) (TV). Although sweet-voiced stardom was certainly hers on a silver platter, she didn't necessarily carry the sweet tooth for it. Her impact as Cinderella led to her signing with the Walt Disney Studio as their principal ingï¿½nue. Co-starring in the rather blah musical showcases The Happiest Millionaire (1967) and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968) further convinced her that she needed to nip the saccharine stereotype in the bud if she was to grow as an actress and sustain some type of career longevity.
Rebelling against her studio-imposed image, she left Disney determined to pursue roles with more depth, drama and character. Changing her name temporarily to "Lesley Warren" to reinforce her goal, she replaced Barbara Bain in the long-running espionage series "Mission: Impossible" (1966) in 1970, but the audiences were quite cool in their reception to the "new and improved" Lesley and didn't buy her as a femme-fatale replacement for the cool and aloof Ms. Bain. After only one season, she left the show and sought greener pastures in the TV mini-movie market playing a wide range of vulnerable neurotics as well as sexy, worldly ladies. She made her mark in such sudsy 1970s material as Love Hate Love (1971) (TV) co-starring 'Ryan O'Neal (I)'; The Legend of Valentino (1975) (TV); the rags-to-riches story "Harold Robbins' 79 Park Avenue" (1977), for which she won a Golden Globe award; the epic WWII story "Pearl" (1978); Betrayal (1978) (TV); and Portrait of a Stripper (1979) (TV).
In the early 1980s, Lesley's movie career resurrected itself with a priceless performance as kingpin James Garner's whiny-voiced, peroxide-blonde spitfire Norma Cassady in the musical film slapstick Victor Victoria (1982). This scene-stealing turn led to a couple of other quality offbeat films: Choose Me (1984) and Songwriter (1984), along with the usual quota of TV projects. She also matured into a steamy, sexier "older woman" type and earned some worldly roles opposite various gorgeous young guns, including Christopher Atkins in the critically-drubbed A Night in Heaven (1983). Her riotous "dumb blonde" act, however, had Hollywood discovering her potential as a scatter-brained comedienne, an image she has reinforced over the years with recurring TV guest parts on such popular shows as "Will & Grace" (1998) and "Desperate Housewives" (2004) Lesley has a son, Christopher Peters (I), from her 1967-1977 union to makeup artist/hair stylist-cum-film producer Jon Peters (I). Since 2000, she has been married to advertising exec Ronald Taft, a former v.p. at Columbia and sometime actor. From Cinderella to sexy mamas, the effervescent Lesley is still going strong in a career now hitting four-and-a-half decades.
- Was supposed to play the role of Brenda in _Goodbye, Columbus (1969)_ (qv), but she got pregnant and had to be replaced. 'Ali MacGraw' (qv) then got the part.
- Was extremely upset at first about her performance as the gangster's moll in _Victor Victoria (1982)_ (qv) prior to its release, having thought she went horribly over the top. She did go over the top and the audiences loved her for it. Lesley was nominated for a "Supporting Actress" Academy Award, her only nod so far.
- Played Lois Lane in a television production of the musical _It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman (1975) (TV)_ (qv), and later screen tested for the role in _Superman (1978)_ (qv).
- Starred in an early 1970s busted TV pilot as "Cat Ballou," the role 'Jane Fonda' (qv) made famous on film.
- Says her favorite genre is the Musical.
- She has a son, 'Christopher Peters (I)' (qv), from producer 'Jon Peters (I)' (qv).
- Was originally offered 'Jean Seberg' (qv)'s role in _Paint Your Wagon (1969)_ (qv).
- 'Walt Disney' (qv) hand-picked Lesley for the ingénue role in the film _The Happiest Millionaire (1967)_ (qv) after her "Cinderella" success. This film was the last live-action movie Disney supervised before his death.