Debra Messing - Biography & Career
Debra Messing was born in Brooklyn on August 15, 1968, and raised in a quiet community just outside Providence, Rhode Island. Messing majored in theater arts at Brandeis University, where she received her liberal arts degree. Half of her junior year was spent in London's prestigious B.E.S.G.L. program. Upon graduating from Brandeis, Debra was accepted into New York University's Graduate Acting Program and received a master's degree in fine arts three years later.
Messing's talents were quickly noticed when she received praise for her performance in the pre-Broadway workshop of Tony Kushner's award-winning play, Angels in America: Perestroika. Debra also enjoyed success playing the role of Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, and she appeared in other productions such as Four Dogs and a Bone, The Naked Truth and Collected Stories, which was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Debra soon moved on to television, where she starred as Stacey for two seasons of the NBC comedy Ned and Stacey (from 1995 to 1997), and had a recurring role on NYPD Blue playing Dana, Gail O'Grady's sister. In 1998, Debra starred as young bioanthropologist Dr. Sloan Parker on the short-lived sci-fi series Prey. She also appeared as Beth on two episodes of Seinfeld -- "The Wait Out" and "The Yada Yada."
In the meantime, Debra was also appearing on the big screen, in Alfonso Arau's love story A Walk in the Clouds (1995), in which she played Keanu Reeves' wife, and in Woody Allen's Celebrity (1998).
That same year, Debra beat out Nicollette Sheridan for the role of neurotic interior decorator Grace Adler on NBC's popular sitcom Will & Grace, co-starring Eric McCormack. Debra is so good at portraying Grace that she won an Emmy Award in 2003 as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (she had been nominated three times before, in 2000, 2001 and 2002).
However, her award-winning role hasn't stopped her from appearing on the big screen in movies like The Mothman Prophecies (2002), Hollywood Ending (2002), Along Came Polly (2004), voice work in Garfield (2004), and The Wedding Date (2005).
In late 2005, she can add Lucky You to her resume, before lending her voice to 2006's Open Season.
Debra is currently married to actor and writer Daniel Zelman, with whom she had a son, Roman Walker Zelman, in April 2004. She also spends a lot of her free time supporting charities such as AmFAR, Gay Men's Health Crisis, and Best Friend's Pet Sanctuary.