Julia Duffy

Petite, pretty blonde leading actress and character comedienne of network television who, after a modest start in theater, soap operas and feature films ("Cutter's Way" 1981, "Wacko" 1983), played up her role of the snooty, self-centered, sickeningly cutesey yuppie Stephanie to considerable acclaim opposite Peter Scolari on the popular sitcom, "Newhart." After that show ended its run, Duffy replaced first choice Connie Sellecca as the lead of "Baby Talk," a comedy series inspired by the success of the feature film, "Look Who's Talking" (1989). Production, however, encountered problems and Duffy, unhappy with her role and the series, left to join the cast of the popular CBS sitcom, "Designing Women," where her flair for comic bitchiness, made harder and less coy this time around, was unsuccessfully tried for one season as a substitute for the milder brand the departing Delta Burke has previously displayed. The actress was well-cast as the annoyingly perfect neighbor Barb Ballantine in the sit-com "The Mommies" (NBC, 1993-1995), and she essayed a similar recurring role on "Grace Under Fire" (ABC, 1993-1998). She would make frequent TV guest appearances during the late 1990s and early 2000s, most notably in a recurring role as high school principal Mrs. Hodge on Reba McEntire's popular WB sit-com "Reba" beginning in 2001. The year 2003 saw Duffy, still shockingly youthful-looking, take on her first big screen roles in some time, appearing in the forgettable prequel "Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd" and, to better effect, as one of Catherine Zeta-Jones' ultra-rich divorcee gal pals in the Coen brothers' "Intolerable Cruelty."