Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Every Princess Has a Royal Villain Rapunzel's Villain Donna Murphy

Every Princess Has a Royal Villain

Rapunzel’s Villain

Donna Murphy

March 7th, 1958


Donna Murphy (born March 7, 1958) is an American stage, film, television actress and singer. Murphy has won two Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical for her roles in Passion as Fosca and in The King and I as Anna Leonowens. She received three more Tony Award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical for her performances in Wonderful Town as Ruth Sherwood, LoveMusik as Lotte Lenya and The People in the Picture as Raisel/Bubbie.

She is known, most recently, for her role as Mother Gothel in the animated Disney film Tangled (2010), Anij, Captain Jean-Luc Picard's love interest, in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and her numerous stage roles in musical theatre.

Personal life

Murphy, the eldest of seven children, was born in Corona, Queens, New York, the daughter of Lucinda (nee Fink) and Robert Murphy, an aerospace engineer. Murphy is of Irish, French, German, and Czech ancestry. Her family moved to Hauppauge, Long Island, New York. At age three, she asked for voice lessons, and she put on shows as a child in Hauppauge. She later moved to Topsfield, Massachusetts and graduated from Masconomet Regional High School in 1977.

Murphy has been married to actor and singer Shawn Elliott since 1990. She is the stepmother of Elliott's two daughters. In 2005, they adopted a daughter from Guatemala, Darmia Hope.


Murphy dropped out of the New York University drama program in her sophomore year when she was cast to understudy the three backup singers in the 1979 Broadway musical They’re Playing Our Song. In a 2007 interview, Murphy explained, "At the end of my sophomore year, I took a leave of absence. I needed to audition without cutting classes." She also studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute.

She appeared in many Off-Broadway productions, including the musical Francis in 1981 at the York Theatre at St. Peter's, The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 1985 at the Public Theater's Delacorte Theatre, Birds of Paradise in 1987 (Promenade Theatre), Privates on Parade (Roundabout Theatre) in 1989, the musical Song of Singapore in 1991, the Michael John La Chiusa musical Hello Again at the Lincoln Center Mitzi Newhouse Theatre in 1993, Twelve Dreams at the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre in 1995, and Helen at the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival in 2002.

On Broadway, after They're Playing Our Song (1979), she was an understudy in the musical/opera The Human Comedy in April 1984 and played various roles in The Mystery of Edwin Drood from 1985 to 1987. She also played Audrey in Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's Little Shop of Horrors. In 1994, she played the role of Fosca in Stephen Sondheim's and James Lapine’s Passion, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. A year later she appeared in Lapine's revival, Twelve Dreams. In 1996, she played Anna Leonowens in the revival of The King and I alongside Lou Diamond Philips. The role earned her a second Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She appeared as Ruth Sherwood in a revival of Wonderful Town from 2003 to 2005 (having previously performed in the New York City Center Encores! 2000 staged concert of that musical), and was nominated for the Tony Award, Best Actress in a Musical and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. In 2007, she appeared in LoveMusik as Lotte Lenya, opposite Michael Cerveris as Kurt Weill, receiving nominations for Tony and Drama Desk Awards. She appeared in the 2007 New York City Center Encores! staged concert of Follies as Phyllis. She is appearing in the Roundabout Theatre production of a new musical, The People in the Picture, which opened on April 28, 2011 and is closing on June 19, 2011. She was nominated for a 2011 Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical for her role in the production.

Murphy's film roles include Kathleen, Vera Farmiga's sister in Higher Ground (2011) and Mother Gothel in the animated musical film Tangled (2010). She played Anij, Captain Jean-Luc Picard's love interest, in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), Scarlett Johansson's mother in The Nanny Diaries and Rosalie Octavius, wife of Dr. Otto Octavius, the film's villain, in Spider-Man 2 (2004). She appeared in the film Center Stage as a ballet teacher in 2000 and in Darren Aronofsky's 2006 film The Fountain as Betty, a surgical research assistant.

On television, Murphy has appeared in the NBC soap opera Another World from 1989 through 1991 as District Attorney Morgan Graves. She has also had roles in a number of television series. She played a recurring character in Liberty! The Revolution (as Abigail Adams) (1997), Murder One (1995–1996), Law & Order as Carla Tyrell in a recurring role (2000), Hack (2002–2003) and Trust Me (2009).


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