Irish-American actress Katie Finneran (b. Chicago, 22 January 1971), who has been appearing on and off Broadway since she was nineteen, is now a two-time Tony Award winner and winner of two Drama Desk Awards. Hers is also a familiar face on television, as Kate in the series “Bram and Alice” (2002), Sharon Tyler in “Wonderfalls” (2004), and Special Agent Melody Sim in “The Inside” (2005), and in various spots on “Sex and the City” (1998), “Frasier” (1999), “Oz” (2001), “Mercy” (2010), “Damages” (2010), and other shows. Her first film was Night of the Living Dead in 1990, but she has played happier, if shorter, roles in You’ve Got Mail (1998), Liberty Heights (1999), Bewitched (2005), Firehouse Dog (2007), and Baby on Board (2009).
Kathleen Finneran grew up in Miami, Florida, and went to high school at the New World School of the Arts. She attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for a year before leaving for New York to study acting with Uta Hagen. While preparing for her career, she worked many day jobs to support herself – as a ringside girl at a boxing ring, as a waitress, and – the worst – spraying perfume on customers at Bloomingdale’s.
Finneran first worked on Broadway in 1991 as an understudy in three very short-lived plays, and in a small role in the equally short-lived Two Shakespearean Actors (1992). Her first musical, in which she was a member of the ensemble and an understudy, was My Favorite Year (1992). She played Maria in the 1995 revival of The Heiress, and Sammi, a pinup girl, in Neil Simon’s Proposals in 1997. She played Cora the call girl in the revival of The Iceman Cometh (1999) with Kevin Spacey, and for three months in 2000, sang and danced as Sally Bowles in the 1998 revival of Cabaret.
She shot to stardom in 2001 as Brooke Ashton in the revival of Michael Frayn’s Noises Off, winning the 2002 Tony Award® for Best Featured Actress in a Play as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress. She left the show in July 2002 to turn to television, initially on the series “Bram and Alice.”
Television series absorbed most of Finneran’s efforts until 2007, when she returned to Broadway in Mauritius, which lasted for only 61 performances. She has more than made up for that disappointment, however, with her hysterical performance as Marge MacDougall in the 2010 revival of Promises, Promises with Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes. She was awarded both the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress.
Finneran has appeared in regional theater with Kate Burton in Hedda Gabler at the Bay Street and Williamstown Theatre Festival, and in The Smell of the Kill at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Her off-Broadway appearances have included roles in Pig Farm, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Arms and the Man, Edith Stein, Bosoms and Neglect, You Never Can Tell, A Fair Country, and the Encore! production of Lil’ Abner.
She is apparently just as witty offstage as she is on: playing a lesbian immigration attorney on fourteen episodes of “Wonderfalls” in 2004, she was asked if she felt nervous about it. Finneran replied, “I’d rather have people think that I’m a lesbian than a lawyer.”
In her off hours, says Katie Finneran, “I’m a goldsmith , , . I make jewelry, and I love it. I am obsessed with it because it’s dirty and there’s fire involved. I have videos of me melting gold. It’s the most exciting, dirty, yummy, industrial-feeling job. It’s a wonderful hobby.”
On the night of the Tony Awards she revealed to her friends that she is engaged to marry actor Darren Goldstein.