as Grace Adler
Debra Messing understands the unique bond of friendship that exists between her character, interior decorator Grace Adler, and the character of Will Truman: “Grace is very dedicated and disciplined when it comes to her professional life,” says Messing. “But her personal life isn’t nearly so together, and Will is her stabilizing force. She’s a little neurotic, and she knows Will is the only person who understands her and can help her put things in perspective. But Grace is also a lot of fun, and her humor helps balance Will’s more serious personality. They’re the kind of best friends who know each other’s history and can finish each other’s sentences.”
Messing, who was nominated for Emmy Awards in 2000 and 2001 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, recently completed shooting “The Moth Man Prophecies,” alongside Richard Gere as well as an untitled feature-film project starring and directed by Woody Allen. Messing’s other feature film credits include Allen’s “Celebrity,” having been handpicked for the part by the director, and Alfonso Arau’s romantic love story “A Walk in the Clouds,” in which she played the wife of Keanu Reeves. She also appeared opposite Tom Arnold and Tim Curry in “McHale’s Navy.”
Born in Brooklyn, Messing and her older brother were raised in a quiet community outside Providence, Rhode Island. She received her liberal arts education at Brandeis University where she majored in theater arts. She spent half of her junior year studying in a London program which featured dramatic arts teachers recruited from various distinguished institutions such as the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Cambridge University and Oxford University. Upon graduating summa cum laude from Brandeis, she was accepted into New York University’s elite Graduate Acting Program and received her master of fine arts degree.
On the New York stage, Messing garnered praise for her performance in the pre-Broadway workshop of Tony Kushner’s Tony Award-winning play “Angels in America: Perestroika.” She appeared as Cecily in a Seattle production of “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Upon returning to New York, she was cast as both Mary Louise Parker’s and Polly Draper’s understudy in the off-Broadway premiere of John Patrick Shanley’s “Four Dogs and a Bone.” She also co-starred in Paul Rudnick’s “The Naked Truth” and co-starred with Maria Tucci in the acclaimed two-woman production of Donald Margulies’ “Collected Stories,” which was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
On television Messing starred for two seasons in the comedy “Ned & Stacey” opposite Thomas Haden Church. She had a recurring role on “NYPD Blue” as Gail O’Grady’s conniving sister, Dana Abandando. On “Seinfeld” she played Jerry’s ideal, but elusive, love, Beth Lookner. She also starred as the young bioanthropologist Sloan Parker in the drama series “Prey” and recently starred in the miniseries “Jesus” as Mary Magdalene.
Messing lives with her husband in Los Angeles. During her free time, she supports charities such as the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, AmFAR and Best Friend’s Pet Sanctuary. Her birthday is August 15.