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Amy Brenneman Biography

BORN: Amy Frederica Brenneman in
Hartford, Connecticut, June 22, 1964.

EDUCATION: Attended Harvard University in
Cambridge, Massachusetts. Majored in
comparative religion (BA). Took one
semester off to study native dance in Nepal.



TV series creator

MILESTONES: 1990: Appeared in the
Cornerstone Theater Company's production,
"The Video Store Owner's Significant Other",
an adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca's
farce, "The Shoemaker's Prodigious Wife" in

1992: Starred in "Saint Joan of the
Stockyards", a Cornerstone Theater
Company production at Yale Repertory
Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut

1992: First cast as a regular on the
acclaimed but short-lived CBS
comedy-drama series, "Middle Ages"; played
role of Blanche

1993-1994: Played Officer Janice Licalsi on
the ABC police drama series, "NYPD Blue",
appearing in a groundbreaking nude scene;
earned back-to-back supporting actress
Emmy nominations; future husband Brad
Silberling directed episodes

1995: Co-starred in the divorce-themed
comedy-drama "Bye Bye, Love"

1995: Played Christina Ricci's deceased
mother in "Casper" directed by Silberling

1995: Featured opposite Robert De Niro in
Michael Mann's "Heat"

1996: Appeared in the stalker thriller "Fear"

1996: Starred opposite Sylvester Stallone in
the actioner "Daylight"

1997: Had leading role in the Off-Broadway
play "God's Heart"

1997: Co-produced and co-starred in the
independent film "Nevada", a Western with a
predominently female cast

1998: Starred as a unhappily married woman
in Neil LaBute's "Your Friends and

1998-1999: Had recurring role as a love
interest to Kelsey Grammer's "Frasier" on
that NBC sitcom

1999: Starred as the titular painter in the HBO
biopic "Mary Cassatt: American

1999: Played the longtime girlfriend of a
has-been rocker in Donal Lardner Ward's
"The Suburbans"

1999: Featured in the independent police
drama "Lesser Prophets" with fellow "NYPD
Blue" veteran Jimmy Smits

1999: Starred as a loose cannon field agent
in the ABC TV movie "ATF"

1999-: Returned to series TV as a jurist and
single mother in the CBS drama series
"Judging Amy"; role based in part on her
mother; husband Brad Silberling directed the
pilot; also credited as one of the executive
producers and one of the series' creators

2000: Acted in the Sundance screened
feature "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking
at Her"

BIOGRAPHY: Actress Amy Brenneman, a tall,
raven-haired, hazel-eyed performer of stage
and screen with a pale complexion, thick,
dark hair and a wide smile, first garnered
major attention for her groundbreaking
bare-all turn on "NYPD Blue" (ABC) and went
on to carve out a prolific career in film and
television, often playing strong and
unpredictable women. After studying
comparative religions at Harvard, Brenneman
appeared in Off-off- and Off-Broadway
productions before beginning her successful
small screen endeavors, cast as club
chanteuse Blanche, a member of the diverse
repertory of characters peopling CBS's
acclaimed but short-lived comedy-drama
series "Middle Ages" (1992). Next up was a
regular stint in the debut season of "NYPD
Blue", playing Janice Licalsi, a cop with a
shady past who becomes involved with both
a fiery detective (David Caruso) and a Mafia
don, eventually killing the latter, on the
controversial ABC crime series. Although
appearing on the long-running series for only
the premiere season (1993-94) and two
episodes of the following season,
Brenneman's turn was well-acted, although
probably best remembered for the
controversial nude scene alongside Caruso
in a 1993 episode. (She garnered two
supporting actress Emmy nods.) While she
began work in features following her
departure from "NYPD Blue", her subsequent
television work was more successful than
many of her film credits. A memorable
recurring guest role as Faye, the
strong-willed love interest of the radio
psychiatrist, in the 1998-1999 season of
NBC's "Frasier" kept her in the public eye, as
did work in TV-movies, notably as the
feminist painter in HBO's biopic "Mary
Cassatt: American Impressionist" and as a
daring field agent in ABC's "ATF" (both
1999). Later that year, Brenneman returned to
regular series work, as creator, executive
producer, and star of the CBS drama
"Judging Amy". Based partially on the life of
her own mother, Judge Frederica
Brenneman, the series followed Judge Amy
Gray (Brenneman), a recent divorcee who
moves with her young daughter from New
York City to her Hartford, Connecticut
hometown, living in the family home with her
mother and brother and pursuing a more
satisfying job as a juvenile court judge. The
show, likened to "Providence" in its theme
and approach, (and also the coincidental
physical similarities between Brenneman
and "Providence" star Melina Kanakaredes),
was an unexpected hit, and CBS quickly
ordered a full season of episodes. In 1995,
Brenneman began the move into feature film
work with supporting parts in "Casper", as
Christina Ricci's mother, the romantic
comedy "Bye Bye, Love", as Paul Reiser's
ex-wife and "Heat", as Robert De Niro's love
interest. She next teamed with William
Petersen and Mark Wahlberg in the thriller
"Fear" and starred opposite Sylvester
Stallone in the disaster actioner "Daylight"
(both 1996). Brenneman was co-producer of
the independent feature "Nevada" (1997),
which she additionally starred in as part of
an ensemble cast of actresses including
Kirstie Alley and Gabrielle Anwar. In 1998
she took on the morally ambiguous role of
unhappily married and unfaithful Mary in the
bleak "Your Friends and Neighbors", Neil
LaBute's harsh look at sexual politics. Less
memorable was her turn in Donal Lardner
Ward's unremarkable directorial debut "The
Suburbans" (1999), as the longtime girlfriend
of a has-been rocker (Ward) whose titular
band gets an unexpected second chance at
stardom fifteen years after their lone hit. She
was back among a host of strong actresses
(e.g., Holly Hunter, Glenn Close, Calista
Flockhart) in the Sundance screened "Things
You Can Tell by Just Looking at Her" (2000).


Father: Russell L Brenneman. Attorney.

Mother: Frederica S Brenneman. Judge.
Served on Connecticut State Supreme Court.

Brother: Andrew Brenneman. Interactive
software maker.

Brother: Matthew Brenneman. Attorney. Born
c. 1960; practices in Maryland.


Husband: Brad Silberling. Aka Bradley
Silberling. Director. Directed the feature
"Casper" (1995); married on September 30,


Brenneman is one of the co-founders of the
Cornerstone Theater Company, an acclaimed
Los Angeles-based touring troupe that
recruits non-professional actors from varied
walks of life, adding unique flavor to their
productions "When people get upset you
know something is happening. But why do
something if you're not going to touch a
nerve?" --Amy Brenneman in USA TODAY,
February 22, 1994 "People always talk about
how they don't like shooting love scenes. I
really don't mind it. I don't know what that
says about me." --Brenneman to US, February
1995 Brenneman on the roles she takes,
generally tough and complex women and her
decision to co-star in the Sylvester Stallone
action vehicle "Daylight": "It may be
contradictory on the surface, but that's
closer to who I like to think I am. It could be
due to my traditional upbringing or my stage
background, but if there's a choice between
playing stereotypical female roles or hitching
my wagon to a big male star to get a really
fun, strong character, there's no contest"
--quoted in INTERVIEW, December 1995 On
her role as producer for "Judging Amy": "I do
find it's a very different part of my brain that
works. Producing is the bird's-eye-view, the
big picture, while acting is purely
moment-to-moment. "It helps cut down on the
paranoia that actors usualyy feel that things
are going on they don't know about. It's about
information, when I don't have information, I
can go into a paranoid, grouchy place, you
can kind of breathe easier." --Amy
Brenneman to DAILY NEWS, October 13, 1999
Brenneman on some critics' assertion that
"Judging Amy" is too much like NBC's hit
drama "Providence": "What's infuriating is,
why can't there be two shows about women?
There can be a bunch of shows about male
cops and nobody thinks twice about it."
--quoted in USA TODAY, November 2, 1999