Dinah Manoff

Dinah Manoff
Born Dinah Beth Manoff
(1958-01-25) January 25, 1958[1]
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Santa Monica High School
Alma mater Actors Studio
Occupation Actress, television director
Years active 1975–present
Spouse(s) Jean-Marc Joubert (m. 1980; div. 1985)
Arthur Mortell (m. 1997)
Children 3
Parent(s) Arnold Manoff
Lee Grant

Dinah Beth Manoff (born January 25, 1958)[1] is an American stage, film, and television actress and television director best known for her roles as Elaine Lefkowitz on Soap, Marty Maraschino in the film Grease, Libby Tucker in both the stage and film adaptations of I Ought to Be in Pictures, for which she won a Tony award, and Carol Weston on Empty Nest. She has starred in numerous television movies and guest-starred on various television programs. She mostly appeared on TV during the 1990s, but she has been seen in more recent theatrical films such as The Amati Girls and Bart Got a Room and a co-starring role on State of Grace.

Manoff is the daughter of actress Lee Grant and screenwriter Arnold Manoff. Since 1997, Manoff has been married to Arthur Mortell and currently resides in Bainbridge Island, Washington. She had previously resided in Los Angeles and New York City.

Early life

Manoff was born in New York City to actress, director, and writer, Lee Grant, and screenwriter Arnold Manoff.[2] Her half-brother, Tom Manoff, is the classical music critic for NPR's All Things Considered and a notable composer. Her stepfather is producer Joseph Feury.[2] She spent her childhood and teenaged years in New York, and Malibu, California. She attended Santa Monica High School and later studied at the Actors Studio.[3]



Manoff's first project was the independent film Everybody Rides the Carousel, providing one of the voices. In 1976, she made her first television appearance on the PBS production of The Stronger. This was followed by a guest appearance on Welcome Back, Kotter in the episode "Sadie Hawkins Day", followed by an appearance in Visions. In 1977, she made a cameo appearance in her first TV movie, Raid on Entebbe. In 1978, Manoff got the role of Elaine Dallas (née Lefkowitz) on the ABC sitcom Soap and remained on the show until the end of the year. Manoff made her film debut in 1978 as Marty Maraschino, one of the Pink Ladies in the movie version of Grease.[4][5]


In 1980, Manoff made her Broadway debut as Libby Tucker in Neil Simon's Broadway play, I Ought to Be in Pictures. For her work in the play, she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, as well as the Theatre World Award.[6] She reprised that role for the film version in 1982, with Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret.[7] Later that year, Manoff appeared as Karen, the suicidal friend of Timothy Hutton's character, in the multiple Oscar-winning Ordinary People.[6]

In 1985, Manoff portrayed songwriter Ellie Greenwich in the Broadway jukebox musical Leader of the Pack. In 1988, she played Maggie Peterson in Child's Play, the first character to be killed by the murderous doll Chucky. Manoff then started a seven-year stint as Carol Weston on the NBC sitcom and Golden Girls spinoff Empty Nest, a role for which she is best known on television, and has appeared on every episode of the series. In 1989, Manoff appeared in minor roles in two films late in the year: Bloodhounds of Broadway and Staying Together.


In 1990, Manoff appeared in Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael, starring Winona Ryder and Jeff Daniels. After this, Manoff focused primarily on television work, appearing in a cameo role in an episode of Blossom entitled "Rockumentary" and TV movies such as Babies and Maid for Each Other, as well as continuing on Empty Nest as actress and director on two episodes until its ending in 1995; she also appeared on The Golden Girls twice as Carol Weston in this period. Manoff's subsequent TV appearances included Touched by an Angel, Cybill, and George & Leo.

In 1999, Manoff directed the 82nd episode of the television series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, titled "Prelude to a Kiss".


In 2000, Manoff appeared in the TV movie The Lost Child starring Mercedes Ruehl. Just a few months later in 2001, Manoff returned to film work by starring in The Amati Girls, the sole movie released theatrically in which her mother and she have appeared in together. The film also featured Mercedes Ruehl, Sean Young, and Lily Knight. Manoff appeared in a second 2001 movie, Zigs, starring Beverly Hills, 90210's Jason Priestley. From 2001 to 2002, Manoff co-starred in the cable television series State of Grace. In 2003, Manoff played Aunt Marla in A Carol Christmas, a variation on Charles Dickens' classic story.

In celebration of the poet Oscar Wilde's 150th birthday in 2004, Manoff read some of his works in the documentary Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde. After a four-year hiatus, Manoff appeared in the film Bart Got a Room in 2009, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, but was not released widely until the following year in which Dinah appeared in two episodes of Lose Yourself on Strike.TV.

In 2010, Grease was released a second time as a sing-along. Coinciding with its release, Manoff appeared at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Personal life

Manoff has been married twice and has three children. She married French designer Jean-Marc Joubert in 1980, which ended in divorce in 1985. In 1997, she married motivational speaker Arthur Mortell, with whom she has three children: Dashiell (born 1997) and twin boys.[5]

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1975 Everybody Rides the Carousel Stage 7 (voice) Voice
1976 The Stronger
1977 Raid on Entebbe Rachel Sager
1978 Grease Marty Maraschino
1980 Ordinary People Karen Aldrich
1982 I Ought to Be in Pictures Libby Tucker
1988 Backfire Jill Tyson
1989 Child's Play Maggie Peterson
1989 Bloodhounds of Broadway Maude Miligan
1989 Staying Together Lois Cook
1990 Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael Evelyn Whittacher
2001 The Amati Girls Denise
2001 Zigs Marge Alternative title: Double Down
2004 Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde Herself Documentary
2009 Bart Got a Room Mrs. Goodson
Year Title Role Notes
1976 Welcome Back Kotter Charmaine Episode: "Sadie Hawkins Day"
1976 Visions Gisella Farkas Episode: "The Great Cherub Knitwear Strike"
1976 Raid on Entebbe Rachel Sager Television movie
1977 Night Drive Attendant's Girlfriend Television movie
Alternative title: Night Terror
1977 The Possessed Celia Television movie
1978 Family Mara Episode: "Sleeping Gypsy"
1978 Soap Elaine Lefkowitz 16 episodes
1979 $weepstake$ Maggie Episode #1.2
1979 Lou Grant Joanie Hume Episode: Bomb"
1979 Mork and Mindy Kathy Episode: "Mork's Baby Blues"
1981 For Ladies Only Mary Louise Television movie
1982 Table Settings Television movie
1984 A Matter of Sex Glennis Television movie
1984 The Seduction of Gina Mary Television movie
1984 Celebrity Missy Craymore Miniseries
1984 Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac Priscilla Tirado Television movie
1984 Night Court Sister Sara Episode: "The Nun"
1984 Hot Pursuit Gillian Episode: "Gillian"
1984 Cagney & Lacey Jane Tanton Episode: "Fathers & Daughters"
1986 Classified Love Theresa Leonetti Television movie
1987 Murder, She Wrote Jenny Coopersmith Episode: "Murder in a Minor Key"
1987 CBS Summer Playhouse Franny Episode: "Sirens"
1987 Brothers Episode: "Penny and the Hard Hat"
1988-1995 Empty Nest Carol Weston 170 episodes
1989 The Cover Girl and The Cop Denise Danielovitch Television movie
1990 Babies Laura Television movie
1991-1992 The Golden Girls Carol Weston 2 episodes
1992 Maid for Each Other Tibby Bloom Television movie
1992 Nurses Carol Weston 2 episodes
1993 The John Larroquette Show Kelly Episode: "Newcomer"
1995 Touched by an Angel Callie Martin Episode: "Interview with an Angel"
1995 Sister, Sister
Director, Episode: "Weird Science"
1996 Cybill Amy Fitzpatrick 2 episodes
1996 Minor Adjustments
Director, Episode: "My Fair Darby"
1998 George & Leo Mary Episode: "The Other Bookstore"
1999 Brother's Keeper
Director, 3 episodes
1999 Movie Stars
Director, 2 episodes
1999 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Director, Episode: "Prelude to a Kiss"
2000 The Lost Child Helen Television movie
2002 State of Grace Evelyn Rayburn 6 episodes
2003 A Carol Christmas Aunt Marla Television movie


  1. 1 2 Some sources cite 1956.
  2. 1 2 Morehouse, Rebecca. "She Belonged To New York But Fell Out of Love With It". The Virgin Islands Daily News. Saint Thomas. p. 10. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  3. "Dinah 'Ought To Be In Pictures'". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota, Florida. September 16, 1981. p. 7B. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  4. "Grease Actors Visit S.L.". The Deseret News. Salt Lake Cit, Utah. June 12, 1978. p. C7. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  5. 1 2 Gliatto, Tom; O'Neill, Anne-Marie (April 13, 1998). "Grease Is the World". People. Time Inc. 49 (14). ISSN 0093-7673.
  6. 1 2 Rein, Richard K. (April 26, 1982). "She's Lee Grant's Daughter, but Dinah Manoff Figures She Ought to Be in Pictures Too". People. Time Inc. 17 (16). ISSN 0093-7673.
  7. "Dinah 'Ought To Be In Pictures'". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota, Florida. September 16, 1981. p. 6B. Retrieved March 2, 2015.

External links

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