Ruttan, Susan 1948(?)–

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RUTTAN, Susan 1948(?)–


Original name, Susan Dunsrud; born September 16, 1948 (some sources say 1950), in Oregon City, OR; daughter of Daryl Dunsrud (a logger) and Helen Manis (a nurse); married Mel Ruttan, c. 1966 (died); married Randy MacDonald (a boom microphone operator), 1990 (divorced, 1993); children: Jackson (adopted). Education: Attended University of Oregon and University of California, Santa Cruz.

Addresses: Agent— Peter Young, The Gersh Agency, 232 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210–5302; Innovative Artists, 1505 Tenth St., Santa Monica, CA 90401. Manager— Opus Entertainment, 5225 Wilshire Blvd., #905, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

Career: Actress. Staircase Repertory Company, Santa Cruz, CA, member of company, 1974–78; Universal Studios Casting, worked in productions department; also worked as a secretary and bar manager. Started an interior design business, 2000.

Awards, Honors: Emmy Award nominations, best supporting actress, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, Q Award, best supporting actress in a quality drama series, Viewers for Quality Television, 1988, Golden Globe Award nominations, best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a series, miniseries, or motion picture made for TV, 1989, 1990, all for L. A. Law.


Film Appearances:

Second nurse, Independence Day (also known as Follow Your Dreams), Warner Bros., 1983.

Biker, Bad Manners (also known as Growing Pains), New World, 1984.

Herself, "Put It on My Bill," Funny, 1988.

Miriam, Bad Dreams, 1988.

Woman in bookstore, Chances Are, TriStar, 1989.

Claire Raskin, Funny about Love, Paramount, 1990.

Lela, Love Kills, 1998.

Mrs. O'Brien, Krippendorf's Tribe, Buena Vista, 1998.

Wish You Were Dead, 2002.

Television Appearances; Series:

Roxanne Melman, L. A. Law, NBC, 1986–1993.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Marge, After George, CBS, 1983.

Roxanne Melman, L. A. Law, NBC, 1986.

Melody Huck, Family Values, UPN, 1995.

Dreamweavers, syndicated, 2000.

Mrs. Place, The Legend of Butch & Sundance, NBC, 2004.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Prudish woman, Dropout Father, CBS, 1982.

Hostess, The Fighter, CBS, 1983.

Mrs. Joan Estep, Packin' It In, CBS, 1983.

Portsmouth nurse, Thursday's Child, CBS, 1983.

Robin, Second Sight: A Love Story, CBS, 1984.

Margie, Scorned and Swindled, CBS, 1984.

Judge M. Tyson, Murder: By Reason of Insanity (also known as My Sweet Victim), CBS, 1985.

Rosemary, Kicks, ABC, 1985.

Julie Meyers, Do You Remember Love?, CBS, 1985.

Ms. Morgan, Under the Influence, CBS, 1986.

Mrs. McGwin, Bay Coven (also known as The Devils of Bay Cove, Eye of the Demon, and Strangers in Town), NBC, 1987.

Courtney Page, Take My Daughters, Please, NBC, 1988.

Sandra Thompson, Fire and Rain, USA Network, 1989.

Judy Hecker, A Quiet Little Neighborhood, A Perfect Little Murder (also known as Darling, Let's Kill the Neighbors, Honey, Let's Kill the Neighbors, and A Perfect Little Murder), NBC, 1990.

Mrs. Zavala, Sweet 15, PBS, 1990.

Genene Jones, Deadly Medicine, NBC, 1991.

Carol Blankenship, A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story, CBS, 1991.

Arlene Reed, Jack Reed: Badge of Honor, NBC, 1993.

Anne Marie Tesoriero, Without Warning: Terror in the Towers, NBC, 1993.

Arlene Reed, Jack Reed: A Search for Justice, NBC, 1994.

Arlene Reed, Jack Reed: One of Our Own, 1995.

Helen Preston, Justice for Annie: A Moment of Truth Movie, NBC, 1996.

Arlene Reed, Jack Reed: Death and Vengeance, 1996.

Arlene Reed, Jack Reed: A Killer amongst Us, NBC, 1996.

Madge, Touched by Evil, ABC, 1997.

Janet, Life of the Party: The Pamela Harriman Story (also known as Life of the Party: Pamela Harriman), Lifetime, 1998.

Mrs. Claus, The Ultimate Christmas Present, The Disney Channel, 2000.

Roxanne Melman, L. A. Law: The Movie, NBC, 2002.

Mrs. Kasabian, Helter Skelter, CBS, 2004.

Lucy Trotter, The Sure Hand of God (also known as Sinners Need Company), Lifetime, 2004.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Arlene Reed, Deadly Matrimony (also known as Shattered Promises), NBC, 1992.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Marian, "Gwendolyn," NBC Presents the AFI Comedy Special, NBC, 1987.

Jay Leno's Family Comedy Special, NBC, 1987.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, 1988.

55th Annual King Orange Jamboree Parade, NBC, 1988.

Judge, The Miss Universe Pageant 1988, CBS, 1988.

Host, All–American Sports Nuts, NBC, 1988.

The Valvoline National Driving Test, CBS, 1989.

Cohost, Thanks for Giving, USA Network, 1989.

The Test Tube, ABC, 1990.

Rich and Famous: 1990 World's Best, syndicated, 1990.

Ms. Morales, "Malcolm Takes a Shot," CBS Schoolbreak Special, CBS, 1990.

The "L. A. Law" 100th Episode Special, NBC, 1991.

Soap Opera Digest Awards, NBC, 1992.

In Search of the Oregon Trail, PBS, 1996.

Story First: Behind the Unabomber, Lifetime, 1996.

Interviewee, L. A. Law: The E! True Hollywood Story (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 2001.

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

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Ester, "What Price Glory?," Bosom Buddies, 1981.

"The New Jail," Best of the West, ABC, 1981.

Waitress, "Our Man Barry," It's a Living, 1981.

Helen, "Sugar and Spice," Quincy, 1981.

Bus driver, "Jackal," The Powers of Matthew Star, NBC, 1982.

"Where's My Paycheck," Night Court, NBC, 1984.

"The Scandal," Benson, ABC, 1984.

"Adventure in Hong Kong," Benson, ABC, 1984.

Katherine Zawicki Shrub, "Have Yourself a Very Degrading Christmas," Buffalo Bill, NBC, 1984.

Katherine Zawicki Shub, "A Hero," Buffalo Bill, NBC, 1984.

Sarah, "Georgie's Girl," Newhart, CBS, 1984.

Miss Livermore, "Lofty Steele," Remington Steele, NBC, 1984.

Mrs. Cunningham, "That Blasted Cunningham," The Jeffersons, CBS, 1985.

Mrs. Blake, "Wheels of Justice: Parts 1 & 2," Night Court, NBC, 1986.

"A Day in Mayfield," The New Leave It to Beaver, TBS, 1986.

Late Night with David Letterman, 1987.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, syndicated, 1988.

Improv Tonight, 1988.

Joanne Peters, "Cassie's Choice," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1994.

Stefanie Dale, "Mitigating Circumstances," Courthouse, 1995.

Linda Fortin, "Higher Powers," Chicago Hope, CBS, 1996.

Linda Fortin, "Verdicts," Chicago Hope, CBS, 1997.

Nectarine, "It's My Nana and I'll Cry If I Want To," Suddenly Susan, NBC, 1997.

Nectarine, "Oh, How They Danced: Parts 1 & 2," Suddenly Susan, NBC, 1998.

Doris Warner, "All Aboard," Love Boat: The Next Wave, UPN, 1998.

Kathy, "Citizen Solomon," 3rd Rock from the Sun, NBC, 1998.

"Older Women, Younger Men," Safe Harbor, The WB, 1999.

Mother, "Nobody Knows the Difference," Chicken Soup for the Soul, PAX, 1999.

"Angels Once and a While/Carrie's Gift/A Secret Promise," Chicken Soup for the Soul, PAX, 1999.

Hairstylist's angry client, "Stealing Home," Family Law, CBS, 2000.

Pooh's mother, "Well Solved Sherlock," Brutally Normal, The WB, 2000.

Mrs. Donovan, "A Clown's Prayer," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 2000.

Joy Ferrara, "Citizen Shame," Popular, The WB, 2000.

Joy Ferrara, "Ur–ine Trouble: Part 2," Popular, The WB, 2000.

Joy Ferrara, "Are You There God? It's Me, Ann–Margaret," Popular, The WB, 2000.

Dr. Grace Tarpon, "The Lottery," Gideon's Crossing, ABC, 2000.

Lyla Myles, "Romeo and Juliet Must Die—Well, Maybe Just Juliet," Judging Amy, CBS, 2001.

Bed & Breakfast wife, "The Road Trip to Harvard," Gilmore Girls, The WB, 2001.

Marietta Pryor, "Blinded by the White," Any Day Now, Lifetime, 2001.

Aunt Betty, "Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner," Yes, Dear, CBS, 2001.

Mrs. Irene Rafferty, "When Irish Eyes Are Smilin'," The Fighting Fitzgeralds, NBC, 2001.

Doris Kroeger, "Gone," Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, UPN, 2002.

Mrs. Finn, "The Crazy–Girl Episode," Maybe It's Me, The WB, 2002.

"Home Grown," The Agency, CBS, 2002.

"Book of Memories," The Division, Lifetime, 2004.

Also appeared in The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (also known as Lobo), NBC; "Oh, Promise Me," Amanda's; as Marilyn Craig, Sweet Justice; Anne, The Mommies; Marge, Empire, CBS.

Stage Appearances:

Appeared in Hot L Baltimore, Staircase Repertory Productions, Santa Cruz, CA.


Taped Readings; Contributor:

American Rhapsody by Joe Eszterhas, New Millennium, 2000.

Video Games:

Voice of Carolyn Drake, Code Blue, 2000.



People Weekly, November 18, 1991; November 29, 1993, p. 91.

Weight Watchers Magazine, May, 1989, p. 41.