Potts also played Mary Jo Jackson Shively on CBS sitcom Designing Women (1986–1993), Dana Palladino on Love & War (1993-1995), for which she was nominated for Emmy Award, and Mary Elizabeth Sims in the Lifetime drama series Any Day Now (1998–2002), for which she was nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series. In 2012, she starred as Gigi Stopper on the ABC comedy-drama series GCB.
She currently stars as Stef's mother Sharon on, The Fosters.
Early Life and Education
Potts was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and grew up in Franklin, Kentucky, where she graduated from Franklin-Simpson High School. She is the daughter of Powell Grisette Potts and Dorothy Harris (Billingslea) Potts and has two older sisters, Mary Eleanor (Potts) Hovious, and Elizabeth Grissette ("Dollie") Potts. She received a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree (in theater arts) from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.
At the age of 21, Potts was the victim of a car accident which left nearly every bone below her waist broken.
Potts made her debut on the big screen in 1978 in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer comedy film Corvette Summer, with Mark Hamill. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 1979 for her role in the film. In 1982 she won Genie Awards for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress for role in the film Heartaches, about a young woman, married to a stock car racer and carrying his friend's child. In 1980, she played Edith Bedelmeyer, a woman who shared an attic apartment with three other women (played by Georgia Engel, Lorna Patterson and Francine Tacker) on the short-lived comedy series, Goodtime Girls.
Potts played receptionist Janine Melnitz in the Ghostbusters film series and then achieved fame as the pragmatic interior designer Mary Jo Shively on the CBS television sitcom Designing Women (1986–1993), and has had a wide variety of prominent roles in both television and film. She was nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1994 for role as Dana Palladino on Love & War (1993-1995). Other notable roles include Mary Elizabeth (O'Brien) Sims on the Lifetime Television drama series Any Day Now (1998–2002), for which she was nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, the voice of Little Bo Peep in the first two Toy Story films, a supporting role in John Hughes's Pretty in Pink as well as guest-starring roles on such CBS's television series as Magnum, P.I., Joan of Arcadia, Close to Home, Two and a Half Men and ABC' Men in Trees, Ugly Betty and Boston Legal. She played a recurring role as Sophie Devere in the NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit from 2005 to 2009.
Potts has done work on audio books, including as the narrator and heroine of Larry McMurtry's "Telegraph Days." She starred in the film version of McMurtry's Texasville, a sequel to The Last Picture Show. She made her Broadway debut upon joining the cast of the Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage on November 17, 2009, succeeding Hope Davis in the role.
In 2012 Potts starred as Elizabeth "Gigi" Stopper in ABC's Comedy-drama series GCB, with Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Aspen, Miriam Shor and Marisol Nichols. She says she based her portrayal of the character on Dixie Carter, adding, "Were she still alive, the role would have been hers and should have been."
Potts played a leading role in the 2012 Hallmark Channel original musical movie The Music Teacher, about a high school music teacher who is on the brink of losing her beloved school music program because of district budget cuts. In an effort to spare the program, Daley's former students band together to stage a musical to raise money to keep the program alive.
In March 2013, Potts signed on for the lead role of the ABC comedy-drama pilot Murder in Manhattan about mother and daughter who team up as amateur sleuths.
Potts has been married four times, currently to television director James Hayman. She is the mother of three sons, Clay (with third husband Scott Senechal, born 1981), and two with Hayman, James (called Doc, born 1992), and Harry (born 1996). She is a Board Member of Stephens College, and has been instrumental in fundraising efforts for the college for many years. Potts is currently a visiting professor of Drama at the college.
|1977||Black Market Baby||Linda Cleary|
|1978||Corvette Summer||Vanessa||Nominated - Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress|
|King of the Gypsies||Persa|
|1979||Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers||Flatbed Annie|
|1981||Heartaches||Bonnie Howard||Genie Awards for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress|
|1982||Something So Right||Sunday|
|It Came Upon the Midnight Clear||Cindy Mills|
|Crimes of Passion||Amy Grady|
|1986||Pretty in Pink||Iona|
|Jumpin' Jack Flash||Liz Carlson|
|1987||The Man Who Fell to Earth||Louise|
|1988||Pass the Ammo||Darla|
|1989||Who's Harry Crumb?||Helen Downing|
|Ghostbusters II||Janine Melnitz|
|1992||Breaking the Rules||Mary Klinglitch|
|1995||Her Deadly Rival||Kris Lansford|
|Toy Story||Bo Peep||voice|
|1999||Toy Story 2||Bo Peep||voice|
|2003||Defending Our Kids: The Julie Posey Story||Julie Posey|
|2004||Elvis Has Left the Building||Shirl|
|2007||The Sunday Man||Mrs. Culp|
|2008||Queen Sized||Joan Baker|
|2012||The Music Teacher||Alyson Daley|
|2013||Chu and Blossom||post-production|
|1977||Bustin' Loose||Helene||3 episodes|
|1978||Family||Caddy Wilde||1 episode|
|1980||Goodtime Girls||Edith Bedelmeyer||13 episodes|
|1983||Remington Steele||Annie Carpenter||1 episode|
|1985||The Twilight Zone||Cathy Lowery||1 episode|
|1983-1986||Magnum, P.I.||Tracy Spencer||2 episodes|
|1987||CBS Schoolbreak Special||Kathy Sanders||1 episode|
|Amazing Stories||Mrs. Bev Binford||1 episode, voice|
|1986–1993||Designing Women||Mary Jo Shively||163 episodes|
|1993-1995||Love & War||Dana Palladino||44 episodes|
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1994)
|1996-1997||Dangerous Minds||LousAnne Johnson||17 episodes|
|1997||Over the Top||Hadley Martin||12 episodes|
|1998||Hercules||Syrinx the Muse||1 episode, voice|
|1999||Johnny Bravo||Wrangler||1 episode|
|1998-2002||Any Day Now||Mary Elizabeth 'M.E.' Sims||88 episodes|
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (1999)
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (2000)
|2003||Stuck in the Middle with You||TV Pilot|
|2004||Huff||Doris Johnson||4 episodes|
|2004-2005||Joan of Arcadia||Lieutenant Lucy Preston||11 episodes|
|2005||Close to Home||Dr. Marla Dodds||1 episode|
|2006||Julie Reno, Bounty Hunter||Angel||TV Pilot|
|2007||Men in Trees||Mary Alice O'Donnell||4 episodes|
|2008||Ugly Betty||Linda||1 episode|
|Boston Legal||Joy Espenson||1 episode|
|2005-2009||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Sophie Devere||4 episodes|
|2009||Two and a Half Men||Lenore||1 episode|
|2010||Marry Me||Vivienne Carter||TV mini-series|
|2012||GCB||Gigi Stopper||10 episodes|
|2012||Animal Practice||Virginia Coleman||2 episodes|
|2013||Murder In Manhattan||Blythe Sutton|
|2013-2016||The Fosters||Sharon||10 episodes|
|2009||Ghostbusters: The Video Game||Janine Melnitz||Video Game, voice|
|2009-2010||God of Carnage||Annette||Broadway Play|
|2010||Toy Story 3: The Video Game||Bo Peep||
Video Game, voice
- Three sons: Clay Senechal (b. 1981), Doc (b. 1992), & Harry (b. 1996).
- Stephens College in Missouri is the same one Joan Crawford attended in the 1920s before beginning her career as an actress.
- Original choice for Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction (1987), but dropped out to star in the TV series Designing Women (1986). Glenn Close eventually took the part.
- Born at 8:30 AM (CST).
- Returning to Stephens College and joining students in a production of "A Little Night Music" [December 2003]
- Currently starring in the production "Diva" at the Pasadena Playhouse running January 13-February 19th, 2006 [January 2006]
- Click here to see Annie's gallery.