Born in Spring Valley (near New York City) as youngest of three daughters of a former dancer in American Ballet and an advertising writer. Until beginning high school in New Hampshire at 14, she lived several years with her family in Paris and in England. Obtained a B.A. degree in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where she appeared in several plays on campus. Until her first role in Out for Justice (1991) she jobbed as waitress. It took more than a year to find another role; during that time she managed to support herself from several regional theater productions and national TV ads. Until she became regular in "ER" (1994), she guest starred in several TV shows and a pilot.
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Nominated for 6 Golden Globes.