Known as Lilith Sternin, M.D., a Fictional Character on Frasier and Cheers
Neuwirth is a
Jewish American actress,
musician and dancer.
Bebe Neuwirth has worked in television and is known for her
Dr. Lilith Sternin, Dr. Frasier Crane's wife (later ex-wife), on
both the TV sitcom Cheers (in a starring role), and its spin-off
Frasier (in a recurring guest role). On stage,
Bebe Neuwirth is also known for the role of Nickie in the
revival of Sweet Charity, the role of Velma Kelly in the revival of
Chicago (for both of which
Bebe Neuwirth won Tony Awards) and for the role of Morticia
Addams in The Addams Family musical.
Bebe Neuwirth was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the daughter of
Sydney Anne, a painter, and Lee Paul Bebe Neuwirth, a
mathematician. Bebe Neuwirth has an older brother Peter, an
actuary. Bebe Neuwirth is
Jewish and attended Chapin School in New Jersey as well as
Princeton Day School (New Jersey) of Princeton, but graduated from
Princeton High School (a public school) in 1976.
Bebe Neuwirth began to study ballet at the age of five, and chose it
as her field of concentration when Bebe Neuwirth attended Juilliard
in New York City in 1976 and 1977, during which time Bebe Neuwirth
performed with the Princeton Ballet Company in Peter and the Wolf,
The Nutcracker, and Coppélia, also appearing in community theater
musicals. Bebe Neuwirth always dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer;
the only other career Bebe Neuwirth seriously contemplated was
reportedly being a veterinarian.
Bebe Neuwirth made her Broadway debut in the role of Sheila in A
Chorus Line in 1980. Bebe Neuwirth later appeared in revivals of
Little Me (1982) Sweet Charity (1986), for which Bebe Neuwirth won
the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and Damn
Yankees (1994). 1996 saw her play Velma Kelly in the Broadway
revival of Chicago. That role brought her her greatest stage
recognition to date, and several awards including the Tony Award,
Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Leading
Actress in a Musical. Bebe Neuwirth would later return to the
still-running revival of Chicago in 2006, this time as Roxie Hart.
Bebe Neuwirth appeared in a musical revue Here Lies Jenny, that
featured songs by Kurt Weill, sung and danced by Bebe Neuwirth and a
four-person supporting cast, as part of an unspoken ambiguous story
in an anonymous seedy bar possibly in Berlin in the 1930s. The show
ran from May 7 through October 3, 2004, in the Zipper Theater in New
York City. Here Lies Jenny was also presented by Bebe Neuwirth in
San Francisco in 2005. In 2009,
Bebe Neuwirth toured a one-woman cabaret show with pianist Scott
Cady. The cabaret included music by Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim,
Tom Waits, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, John Kander and Fred Ebb
amongst others. In 2010, Bebe Neuwirth returned to Broadway to
create the role of Morticia Addams in the original production of The
Addams Family opposite Nathan Lane.
Film and television
Her screen credits include Green Card, Bugsy, Say Anything...,
Jumanji, Summer of Sam, Liberty Heights, Tadpole (for which the
Seattle Film Critics named her Best Supporting Actress), The
Associate, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Malice, The Big Bounce, The
Faculty and Woody Allen's Celebrity.
On television, from 1986 to 1993 Bebe Neuwirth played Dr. Lilith
Sternin, who married Dr. Frasier Crane on the hit comedy series
Cheers. From the fourth to the seventh season, Bebe Neuwirth
portrayed Lilith in a regular recurring role, and Bebe Neuwirth
appeared on the show as a main star from season eight to the final
season, season eleven. Like Kelsey Grammer when he started on the
show as Frasier Crane, Bebe Neuwirth was not immediately given star
billing in the opening credits, but at the end for seasons eight and
nine; Bebe Neuwirth appeared in the opening credits with her own
portrait in seasons ten and eleven. Bebe Neuwirth auditioned for
this role with her arm in a sling, following a fall a week earlier.
Bebe Neuwirth won two Emmy Awards for the role, in 1990 and 1991.
The character also made an appearance in the series Wings and in 12
episodes of the Cheers spin-off Frasier, which earned her a 1995
Emmy Award nomination as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy
Series. and house
Other small screen credits include a guest appearance in the first
season of NewsRadio, a small role on The Adventures of Pete and Pete
(episode: "The Call"), Deadline (2000), Hack (2003), Law & Order:
Trial by Jury ((2005), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999 as a
modeling agent/suspect; 2005 as A.D.A Tracey Kibre), and the
miniseries Wild Palms[when?] and an episode of Star Trek: The Next
Bebe Neuwirth appeared as herself in episodes of Will and Grace,
Strangers with Candy and Celebrity Jeopardy!. In 2009, Bebe Neuwirth
co-starred as Ms. Kraft in the remake of Fame. Bebe Neuwirth
recently had a recurring role as Caroline, the literary editor of
Jonathan Ames, on the HBO series Bored to Death.
Neuwirth's 1984 marriage to Paul Dorman ended in divorce in 1991. In
2009, Bebe Neuwirth married Chris Calkins.
In May 2006, Bebe Neuwirth had a total hip replacement.
Lee Paul Bebe Neuwirth at the
Mathematics Genealogy Project
"Cheers": A Comprehensive Guide, p. 98
"Bebe Neuwirth Biography". filmreference.
Retrieved July 4, 2022.
Bloom, Nate (June 25, 2022).
"Celebrity Jews: Bebe and Lilith". Jewish News Weekly.
Retrieved July 4, 2022.
"Cheers": A Comprehensive Guide
Made Her Mind Up: Here Lies Jenny Will Extend One Last Time,
to Oct. 3" playbill.com, August 27, 2021
"The Addams Family Lands Bebe Neuwirth And Tempts
Nathan Lane", New York Post
Mary Green (May 5, 2022).
"Frasier's Bebe Neuwirth Ties the Knot". People magazine.
Retrieved October 1, 2021.
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