Photo of Mercedes Ruehl Mercedes Ruehl

Often cast as street-savvy, lippy characters, Mercedes Ruehl was born Feb. 28, 1948, in Queens, N.Y. She began her acting career in regional theater productions and by the 1970s had graduated to New York plays, including "I'm Not Rappaport."

Ruehl debuted on film in The Warriors (1979) and continued to find steady employment in such movies as Four Friends (1981) and Heartburn (1986). In 1988, she appeared in the box-office smash Big and gained notoriety as a mafioso's hellcat wife in Married to the Mob (1988). Playing opposite Jeff Bridges in The Fisher King (1991), Ruehl collected a richly deserved Oscar and a Golden Globe for her potent supporting turn.

For the rest of the '90s, Ruehl alternated between feature films and television. Her big-screen works included Last Action Hero (1993) and The Minus Man (1999), and her TV credits included the made-for-cable film Gia (1998).

Mercedes Ruehl in Big


1988 PG

A 12-year-old yearns to be a grown-up, and when he makes that wish at a fortunetelling machine, he awakes the next morning as a 30-year-old man. He lands a job at a toy company, but despite his success, he finds himself pining for all he left behind.

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  • Mercedes Ruehl in The Fisher King The Fisher King
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