As a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, Mooney played Blanche Dubois in the classic play A Streetcar Named Desire. The play's author, Tennessee Williams, made a surprise visit to Minneapolis to attend the performance and decided that not only should Mooney move to New York, saying, "Honey, we need you there," but that she was his favorite Blanche. In writing about her in The New York Times, Williams said, "I have recently seen Blanche played with great wit and pathos by a young actress named Debra Mooney at the University of Minnesota. She made me howl with laughter at my own work."
Her additional Broadway performances include The Price with Eli Wallach, the female version of The Odd Couple with Sally Struthers and Brenda Vacarro, and Talley's Folley with Judd Hirsch. She also appeared opposite Dustin Hoffman as Linda Loman in the critically acclaimed Death of a Salesman. Most recently, Mooney played Mary Phillips in Michael Chepiga's Getting and Spending, a timely play about insider trading.
In movies, Mooney was featured in Dead Poets Society, Domestic Disturbance, Napoleon, Chapter Two, and Tootsie, again working with Hoffman. Mooney fondly recalls a memorable scene with Hoffman when she caught him off-guard with her improvised line, "I can't act with this," which made it into the movie's final cut.
Mooney's television credits include a regular role in Davis Rules starring Randy Quaid and Jonathan Winters, and recurring roles on Roseanne and The Practice. For the latter, she recently completed production on an episode for this season in which she reprises her recurring role as Judge Spindle alongside guest star Sharon Stone. She has guest-starred on the top-rated comedies Murphy Brown, Mad About You, Seinfeld, Just Shoot Me, Will & Grace, Everybody Loves Raymond and the season finale of Joan of Arcadia.
Mooney resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Porter Van Zandt, a well-known stage producer/director, and daughter, Kirstin, who worked in the art department on many major feature films. Even Mooney's cats - Sagamore, who has appeared in commercials, and Lydia, who has a book written on her behalf called Lydia Mewses - are in "the business."
While on the set in Utah, Mooney hopes to try snowshoeing and spend more time on the motorcycle her character rides around town in the series. She also enjoys playing the piano and cross-stitching.… Collapse
Debra Mooney's Scores