Messing, Debra 1968–

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Messing, Debra 1968–


Original name, Debra Moessing; born August 15, 1968, in Brooklyn, New York, NY; raised in RI; daughter of Brian (a sales executive) and Sandy (a singer, real estate agent, and travel agent; maiden name, Simons) Moessing; married Daniel Zelman (an actor and writer), September 3, 2000; children: Roman Walker. Education: Brandeis University, B.A. (summa cum laude); New York University, M.F.A., 1993; trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and with British European Studio Group, London.

Addresses: Agent—The Gersh Agency, 232 North Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Manager—Molly Madden, 3 Arts Entertainment, 9460 Wilshire Blvd., Seventh Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Publicist—An-nett Wolf, Wolf/Kasteler/Van Iden and Associates Public Relations, 335 North Maple Dr., Suite 351, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

Career: Actress. Appeared in advertisements. Rhode Island Junior Miss, 1986. Worked at a catering company, as a nanny, and as a coat checker. Involved with nonprofit organizations, including the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), Best Friend's Pet Sanctuary, and Gay Men's Health Crisis.

Member: Screen Actors Guild.

Awards, Honors: Q Award nomination, best actress in a quality comedy series, Viewers for Quality Television, 2000, Screen Actors Guild awards (with others), outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series, 2000 and 2001, American Comedy Award nominations, funniest female performer in a leading role in a network, cable, or syndicated television series, 2000 and 2001, Emmy Award nominations, outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, 2000, 2001, and 2002, Golden Globe Award nominations, best performance by an actress in a television comedy or musical series, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, TV Guide Award, actress of the year in a comedy series, 2001, Teen Choice Award nominations, choice television actress, 2001, and choice television actress in a comedy, 2002, Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series, 2001 and 2004, Golden Satellite awards, best performance by an actress in a comedy or musical series, International Press Academy, 2002 and 2003, Screen Actors Guild Award nominations (with others), outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, Emmy Award, outstanding actress in a comedy series, 2003, People's Choice Award nominations, favorite female television performer, 2003 and 2004, and Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a musical or comedy series, 2004, all for Will and Grace; Lucy Award, Women in Film, 2005.


Television Appearances; Series:

Stacey Colbert Dorsey, Ned and Stacey, Fox, 1995–97.

Dr. Sloan Parker, Prey (also known as Hungry for Survival), ABC, 1998.

Grace Adler, Will & Grace, NBC, 1998–2006.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Mary Magdalene, Jesus (also known as Die Bibel—Jesus and La bibbia: Jesus), CBS, 1999.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Fox Fall Preview Party, Fox, 1995.

NBC 75th Anniversary Special (also known as NBC 75th Anniversary Celebration), NBC, 2002.

(In archive footage) Grace Adler, Will on Will & Grace, 2003.

TV Guide's Greatest Moments, ABC, 2003, 2004.

Grade Adler, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, NBC, 2004.

Grace Adler and herself, Will & Grace: Backstage Pass, Lifetime, 2005.

Grace Adler and herself, Will & Grace: Say Goodnight Gracie, NBC, 2006.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 51st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Fox, 1999.

Presenter, TV Guide Awards, Fox, 1999.

Presenter, The 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, ABC, 2000.

The First Annual Laureus Sports Awards, TNT, 2000.

The Stars Come Out: The GLAAD Awards, E! Entertainment Television, 2000.

Presenter, The 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, CBS, 2001.

Seventh Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, TNT, 2001.

The 2001 TV Guide Awards, Fox, 2001.

Host, VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards, VH1, 2002.

The 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, NBC, 2002.

Presenter, The 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Fox, 2003.

Presenter, Ninth Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (also known as Screen Actors Guild Ninth Annual Awards), TNT, 2003.

10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (also known as Screen Actors Guild 10th Annual Awards), TNT, 2004.

Presenter, The 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, CBS, 2005.

Presenter, The 31st Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 2005.

11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (also known as Screen Actors Guild 11th Annual Awards), TNT, 2005.

The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2005.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Dana Abandando, "Double Abandando," NYPD Blue, ABC, 1994.

Dana Abandando, "Bombs Away," NYPD Blue, ABC, 1995.

Dana Abandando, "A Murder with Teeth in It," NYPD Blue, ABC, 1995.

Stacey, "City Hall," Partners, Fox, 1995.

Beth Lookner, "The Wait Out," Seinfeld, NBC, 1996.

Beth Lookner, "The Yada Yada," Seinfeld, NBC, 1997.

Voice of Mrs. Hilgren-Bronson, "Get Your Freak Off," King of the Hill (animated), Fox, 2002.

Television Guest Appearances; Episodic:

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1999, 2001.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2002, 2004, 2005.

Extra (also known as Extra: The Entertainment Magazine), syndicated, 2003.

Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 2003.

The Isaac Mizrahi Show, Oxygen, 2003.

Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, 2004.

Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (also known as Ellen and The Ellen DeGeneres Show), syndicated, 2004, multiple episodes in 2005.

The View, ABC, 2004, 2005.

The Late Show with David Letterman (also known as The Late Show and Late Show Backstage), CBS, 2005.

Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2005.

The Oprah Winfrey Show (also known as Oprah), syndicated, 2005.

Total Request Live (also known as Total Request with Carson Daly and TRL), MTV, 2005.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Stacey Colbert Dorsey, Ned and Stacey, Fox, 1995.

Dr. Sloan Parker, Prey (also known as Hungry for Survival), ABC, c. 1998.

Grace Adler, Will & Grace, NBC, 1998.

Film Appearances:

Betty Sutton, A Walk in the Clouds (also known as Caminando por las nubes and Un paseo por las nubes), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1995.

Lieutenant Penelope Carpenter, McHale's Navy, Universal, 1997.

Television reporter at Lupus Office, Celebrity, Miramax, 1998.

Lori Fox, Hollywood Ending, DreamWorks, 2002.

Mary Klein, The Mothman Prophecies (also known as Mothman and The Mothman), Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2002.

Lisa Kramer, Along Came Polly, Universal, 2004.

Voice of Arlene, Garfield (also known as Garfield: The Movie), Twentieth Century-Fox, 2004.

Kat Ellis, The Wedding Date, Universal, 2005.

Kate Scott, Purple Violets, Lucky Day Pictures/Marlboro Road Gang Productions, 2006.

Voice of forest ranger Beth, Open Season (animated), Sony Pictures Releasing, 2006.

Lucky You, Warner Bros., 2006.

Stage Appearances:

Anything Goes (musical), Hampton Playhouse, Hampton, NH, 1988.

No, No Nanette (musical), Hampton Playhouse, 1988.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Intiman Theatre, Seattle, WA, 1993.

Understudy for Brenda and Colette, Four Dogs and a Bone, Manhattan Theatre Club Stage II, New York City, 1993, then Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York City, 1993–94.

Lynette Marshall, The Naked Truth, Workshop of the Players Art Theatre, New York City, 1994.

Lisa Morrison, Collected Stories, Manhattan Theatre Club Stage I, New York City, 1997.

Appeared in Derek and A Matter of Wife and Death, both Berkshire Theatre Festival.



Narrator, Marion's Triumph, Seventh Art Releasing, 2003.

A Date with Debra: The Wedding Date DVD, Universal Home Entertainment, 2005.



Newsmakers, issue 4, Gale, 2004.


Entertainment Weekly, October 23, 1998, pp. 24-25.

Marie Claire, December, 2002, pp. 94-96.

Newsweek, January 31, 2005, p. 59.

Parade, April 4, 1999, p. 22.

People Weekly, May 14, 2001, p. 113; May 13, 2002, p. 170; June 3, 2002; February 14, 2005, p. 26.

TV Guide, March 29, 2003, pp. 20-23; April 18, 2004, p. 48.

USA Today, May 3, 2002.