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Stars That Died

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who is Ricki Lake?

Who is Ricki Pamela Lake? The entertainment and acting world knows her as Ricki Lake, she is an American actress and television host, best known for her starring role as Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray and for her talk show.

Early life

Lake was born Sepetember 21, 1968, to a Jewish family in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, the daughter of Jill, a homemaker, and Barry Lake, a pharmacist.[4] She attended Ithaca College and the Professional Children's School.[5]


Notable acting roles

Lake made her film debut as Tracy Turnblad, the lead character in John Waters' 1988 film Hairspray. She appeared in several other Waters films including Cecil B. Demented, Cry-Baby, and Serial Mom. She also appeared in such films as Mrs. Winterbourne, Cabin Boy, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Cookie, Inside Monkey Zetterland, and the television movie Baby Cakes.
In 1989, Lake joined the cast of the Vietnam War drama series China Beach as Red Cross volunteer Holly. She later went on to have recurring role as Doug's sister Stephanie on the TV series King of Queens. She has also guest-starred on television series including Drop Dead Diva and a voice role on King of the Hill.
Lake made a cameo appearance in the 2007 movie musical Hairspray as a William Morris talent agent, and teamed up with star Nikki Blonsky, who had reprised the role of Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 movie musical remake, and Marissa Jaret Winokur, who had reprised the role of Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway musical based on the original 1988 film, to record "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now" for the soundtrack, which is played at the film's end credits. She later reunited with original Hairspray co-star Deborah Harry for the film Grammercy Park Hotel which was released in 2008. In October 2007, Lake appeared in the Lifetime TV movie Matters with Life and Dating. She performed in a CBS television special, Loving Leah, that aired in January 2009.
Ricki Lake was originally cast in the TV show The Middle, but she was replaced by Patricia Heaton after ABC announced it had greenlighted the series as a midseason 2009 replacement.[6]

Talk show

Ricki Lake was a daytime talk show. The show specialized in topics involving invited guests and incorporated questions and comments from a studio audience.[7][8]
The show debuted in syndication on September 13, 1993 and ended first-run episodes on May 25, 2004.
In 2000, Lake told Rosie O'Donnell in an interview she had signed on for four additional years. Although Sony Pictures Television had many stations contracted through the 2004–2005 season, Lake decided to end the show in August 2004, citing (among other things) a desire to spend time with her family. She moved from Los Angeles to New York to tape the 11th season of the show, then returned to California when taping was complete.

Other projects

After her talk show was canceled, Lake went on to host the 2006 CBS limited series Gameshow Marathon, which re-created classic game shows with celebrity contestants.[9] She also signed a development deal with Gameshow Marathon production company FremantleMedia for other ventures, including creating and producing future programs and projects.
The Business of Being Born, Lake's documentary about home birth and midwifery, was released in limited markets on January 18, 2008.[10] The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and Red Envelope released the film in New York, L.A. and San Francisco in October[11] and it also screened in Australia.[12] The Business of Being Born included footage and details of Lake's own "life-changing" home-birthing experience and followed a midwife going about her work. Tribeca called it "The Inconvenient Truth of Childbirth."[12] Lake described it as her life's work for the last three years and expressed hopes that the film educated and empowered people to really know their choices in childbirth.[13]
In 2009, Lake returned to television. On May 11, 2009 she replaced Sharon Osbourne as host for the third season of VH1’s Charm School.[14][15]
Lake also jointly wrote a book on the world of natural childbirth and birthing options, along with Abby Epstein and Jacques Moritz, called Your Best Birth, published by Wellness Central on May 1, 2009.[16] Lake and Epstein also launched, an online social network, powered by Ning, intended to allow parents and medical professionals to dialogue about varying birthing options and resources.
On November 10, 2010, Lake joined fellow talkers Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, and Montel Williams as guests of Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Winfrey Show. This marked the first time that these talk show hosts ever appeared together on one show since their programs left the air.[17]
In March 2011 it was reported that three television studios, Twentieth Television, Universal Media Studios and CBS Television Distribution, were interested in bringing Lake back to Talk TV in 2012. This after Lake began appearing on various programs in which she expressed a desire to return to the genre.[18] On April 20, 2011, Lake signed with Twentieth, which will develop her new talk show, for a September 2012 launch. It will have more of an "Oprah"-like format than her previous series.[19]

Personal life

Ricki Lake and ex husband Rob Sussman
Lake met artist/illustrator Rob Sussman at a Halloween party in 1993. The couple married shortly after in Las Vegas.[20] Their two sons are Milo Sebastian Sussman (March 22, 1997) and Owen Tyler Sussman (June 18, 2001).[21] The couple divorced in 2003 after 10 years of marriage.
In early 2007, Lake pursued a "new routine" resulting in over 125 pounds of weight loss, taking her down to 120 pounds (55 kg) from a high of 260 (118 kg).[22] In November 2007, Lake cited sexual abuse as a child as a reason for her problems with obesity.[23]
On September 18, 2010, Lake's rented Malibu home was destroyed by fire. She and her sons escaped without injury.[24]
On January 15, 2011, Lake finished in sixth place in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Luxury Ladies Poker Event, collecting $5,587 of the prizepool.[25]


Year↓ Film↓ Role↓ Notes↓
1988 Hairspray Tracy Turnblad
1988 The In Crowd Dancer Uncredited
1988 Working Girl Bridesmaid
1989 Cookie Pia
1989 Baby Cakes Grace
1989 Last Exit to Brooklyn Donna
1990 Cry-Baby Pepper Walker
1992 Where the Day Takes You Brenda
1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Charlotte Uncredited
1992 Inside Monkey Zetterland Bella the Stalker
1993 Skinner Kerry Tate
1994 Cabin Boy Figurehead
1994 Serial Mom Misty Sutphin
1996 Mrs. Winterbourne Connie Doyle/Patricia Winterbourne
2000 Cecil B. Demented Libby
2006 Park Peggy
2007 Hairspray Talent agent
2008 The Business of Being Born

Executive producer
Year↓ Title↓ Role↓ Notes↓
1987 Kate & Allie Teri 1 episode
1988 ABC Afterschool Special Carmen 1 episode
1989 Baby Cakes Grace Television movie
1989 Starting Now Ricki Ross Television series pilot
1989–1990 China Beach Holly Pelegrino 13 episodes
1990 Gravedale High Cleofatra (Voice) Unknown episodes
1991 The Chase Tammie Television movie
1991 Riders in the Sky Broadway Baby 1 episode
1992 Based on an Untrue Story Velour Television movie
1998 Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen Television movie
2000–2001 The King of Queens Stephanie Heffernan 6 episodes
2004 Higglytown Heroes Carpenter Hero 1 episode
2006 King of the Hill Lila (Voice) 1 episode
2007 The Middle Frankie Heck 1 episode
2007 Matters of Life and Dating Linda Television movie
Executive producer
2009 Loving Leah Rabbi Gerry Television movie
Co-executive producer
2009 Charm School with Ricki Lake Head-mistress 10 episodes
2010 Drop Dead Diva
1 episode
2010 The Oprah Winfrey Show Herself Guest, "Talk Show Reunion"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1994 Daytime Emmy Awards Nominated Outstanding Talk Show Host Ricki Lake
1989 Independent Spirit Award Best Female Lead Hairspray


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