Amy Brenneman

Biography: Actress Amy Brenneman, a tall hazel-eyed performer of stage and screen with a pale complexion, thick, dark hair and a wide smile, first garnered major attention for her groundbreaking bare-all turn on "NYPD Blue" (ABC) and went on to carve out a prolific career in film and television, often playing strong and unpredictable women. After studying comparative religion at Harvard, Brenneman appeared in Off-off- and Off-Broadway productions before beginning her successful small screen endeavors, cast as club chanteuse Blanche, a member of the diverse repertory of characters peopling CBS's acclaimed but short-lived comedy-drama series "Middle Ages" (1992).

Next up was a regular stint in the debut season of the controversial ABC crime series "NYPD Blue", playing Janice Licalsi, a cop with a shady past who becomes involved with both a fiery detective (David Caruso) and a Mafia don, eventually killing the latter. Although appearing on the long-running series for only the premiere
season (1993-94) and two episodes of the following season, Brenneman's turn was well-acted (she garnered two supporting actress Emmy nods), although probably best remembered for the controversial nude scene alongside Caruso in a 1993 episode. In 1995, Brenneman began the move into feature film work with supporting parts in "Casper", as Christina Ricci's mother, the romantic comedy "Bye Bye, Love", as Matthew Modine's ex-wife and "Heat", as Robert De Niro's love interest. She next teamed with William Petersen and Mark Wahlberg in the thriller "Fear" and starred opposite Sylvester Stallone in the disaster actioner "Daylight" (both 1996).

Brenneman was co-producer of the independent feature "Nevada" (1997), in which she also starred as part of an ensemble cast which included Kirstie Alley and Gabrielle Anwar. In 1998, she took on the morally ambiguous role of unhappily married and unfaithful Mary in the bleak "Your Friends and Neighbors", Neil LaBute's harsh look at sexual politics. Less memorable was her turn in Donal Lardner Ward's unremarkable directorial debut "The Suburbans" (1999), as the longtime girlfriend of a has-been rocker (Ward) whose titular band gets an unexpected second chance at stardom fifteen years after their lone hit. She was back among a host of strong actresses such as Holly Hunter, Glenn Close, and Calista Flockhart in the Sundance-screened "Things You Can Tell by Just Looking at Her" (2000).

While she began work in features following her departure from "NYPD Blue", her subsequent television work was more successful than many of her film credits. A memorable recurring guest role in the 1998-1999 season of NBC's "Frasier" as Faye, the strong-willed love interest of the radio psychiatrist, kept her in the public eye, as did work in TV-movies, notably as the feminist painter in HBO's biopic "Mary Cassatt: American Impressionist" and as a daring field agent in ABC's "ATF" (both 1999). Later that year, Brenneman returned to regular series work as creator, executive producer, and star of the CBS drama "Judging Amy". Inspired by the life of her own mother, Judge Frederica Brenneman, the series follows Judge Amy Gray (Brenneman), a recent divorcee who moves with her young daughter from New York City to her Hartford, Connecticut hometown, living in the family home with her mother and brother and pursuing a more satisfying job as a juvenile court judge. The show, likened to "Providence" in its theme and approach, as well as the coincidental physical similarities between Brenneman and "Providence" star Melina Kanakaredes, was an unexpected hit, and has proved a solid ratings leader in its time slot since its debut.

Her current starring role is in ABC's new primetime drama, a "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off "Private Practice."

Amy Brenneman's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average career score: 48
Highest Metascore: 76 Heat
Lowest Metascore: 17 88 Minutes
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 10
  2. Negative: 3 out of 10
10 movie reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
49 Words and Pictures May 23, 2014 Elspeth / Elspeth 6.6
51 The Face of Love Mar 7, 2014 Cast 6.5
19 Downloading Nancy Jun 5, 2009 Carol 7.1
17 88 Minutes Apr 18, 2008 Shelly Barnes 5.1
61 The Jane Austen Book Club Sep 21, 2007 Sylvia Avila 6.2
68 Off the Map Mar 11, 2005 Adult Bo 8.7
27 The Suburbans Oct 29, 1999 Grace tbd
70 Your Friends & Neighbors Aug 21, 1998 Mary 5.7
51 Fear Apr 12, 1996 Laura Walker 5.5
76 Heat Dec 15, 1995 Eady 8.7