April 12, 1952|
Maryedith Burrell (born April 12, 1952) is an American film and television producer, writer, actress and comedian, best known for her roles in the early 1980s late night sketch comedy series Fridays. She also had recurring roles in the television series Throb, Parenthood, The Jackie Thomas Show, Seinfeld and Home Improvement. She was one of the writers of the television comedy film Mr. St. Nick.
She was born and raised in Gilroy, a small farming town near Monterey, CA. After attending a Catholic girls high school on scholarship, she headed to UC Santa Cruz, working and studying simultaneously with American Conservatory Theater and The San Francisco Mime Troupe. After two terms at UCSC, She transferred to UC Los Angeles and as a student in its Theatre Arts Program, won the Hugh O'Brian acting award. One of the judges happened to be Jack Lemmon, who was impressed by her acting talents. He gave her his phone number and offered to help with her career. Lemmon helped her to appear on the TV shows Days of Our Lives and M*A*S*H working with Alan Alda. While still a college student she traveled to London and worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and director Peter Brook.
Early acting and writing
While working in the publicity department of Westwood Playhouse, she met Jason Robards, Gena Rowlands, Shelley Winters, and a number of writers and producers who taught her lessons about forming a career that would include writing as well as acting. She joined The Groundlings and it led to her first TV writing assignment. The Life and Times of Eddie Roberts was a new show by the creator of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Ann Marcus. She has also performed with other improv groups, including The War Babies, The Second City, The Comedy Store Players, Sills And Company and The Spolin Players where she learned her skills as an ensemble player.
She was selected for Fridays by the producers because of her experience in many improvisational roles. She became an important part of the Friday Edition news team as roving correspondent and special reporter with the recurring segment Friday Focus. She also added her comedic talent to a wide range of sketches on the show. She always appeared in the popular Battle Boy sketches as Battle Boy's mother, a chain-smoking, often abusive parent who yelled at Battle Boy whenever he set his sister's dolls on fire, harassed the neighbor kids, or made a mess in the yard. She co-starred with Mark Blankfield, Jack Burns, Melanie Chartoff, Larry David, Rich Hall, Darrow Igus, Brandis Kemp, Bruce Mahler, Michael Richards and John Roarke. The show completed in 1982.
She was approached by Shelley Duvall whom she had met on Fridays, to write five programs for the successful Faerie Tale Theatre. Unusual names in the film world, who would not normally work in TV, signed on for this venture, which made it especially interesting for Burrell. She watched actors and directors such as Carrie Fisher, Francis Ford Coppola, Lee Remick, Burgess Meredith, and Tim Burton bring life to her scripts. As the decades passed, she starred in more TV series and took some recurring and guest roles in many genres of acting. She acted in films, did voice-overs for cartoons, and wrote more movies. One of her movie assignments came from a former Groundlings colleague who had become head of TV movies for NBC. Impressed with the work she had done for Duvall’s series, he asked her to write the teleplay for her first TV movie, Little Match Girl.
Her successful career in film and television spans across writing, production, and acting. Notably, she signed a deal with Walt Disney Studios to create original TV programming. She has worked as a ghost writer for films that include The Little Mermaid and Casper. Since 2000, she has written a screenplay for Universal Studios and signed with Sony Pictures Entertainment to write the biography of Emily Post.
|1979||Barnaby Jones||Nurse||1 Episode|
|1979||Dallas||Nurse Barker||1 Episode|
|1980||Taxi||Hatcheck Girl||1 Episode|
|1980||Fridays||Ensemble Cast Member||54 Episodes|
|1982||Filthy Rich||Wanda Dean||1 Episode|
|1982||Kiss Me Goodbye||Mrs. Newman||Film|
|1983||Trapper John, M.D.||Mary Lamagra||1 Episode|
|1984||Last of the Great Survivors||Vie||TV Movie|
|1984||Faerie Tale Theatre||Beggar Woman||1 Episode|
|1984||Paper Dolls||Polly Loftus||1 Episode|
|1984||Newhart||Attorney Arleen||1 Episode|
|1985||Family Ties||Young May||1 Episode|
|1983–1986||Simon & Simon||Mary Johnson, Mary DeAngelo||2 Episodes|
|1984–1986||Remington Steele||Frances Piper||2 Episodes|
|1987||Little Match Girl||Rita||TV Movie|
|1988||Annie McGuire||1 Episode|
|1989||Those She Left Behind||Ann Hobson||TV Movie|
|1991||Eve of Destruction||Dawn Perlin||Film|
|1991||White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd||Patsy Kelly||TV Movie|
|1990–1991||Parenthood||Helen Buckman||12 Episodes|
|1991||Bad Attitudes||Katyana||TV Movie|
|1992||Samantha||Charlotte Otto / Mrs. Samantha||Film|
|1992–1993||The Jackie Thomas Show||Nancy Mincher||18 Episodes|
|1992–1993||Seinfeld||Maryedith / Mother||2 Episodes|
|1994||Camp Nowhere||Gwen Nowicki||Film|
|1996||Murder, She Wrote||Nattie Holt||1 Episode|
|1996||Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man||1 Episode|
|1996||Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman||Veronica Stewart||1 Episode|
|1996–1997||Home Improvement||Tracy||2 Episodes|
|1998||Chicago Hope||Dr. Louise Ginsberg||1 Episode|
|1998||Mike Hammer, Private Eye||Calvin's Neighbor||1 Episode|
|2000||Ready to Rumble||Nun #1||Film|
She moved to Asheville, NC and is a Master of Liberal Arts student at the University of North Carolina Asheville. She is currently writing fiction, producing a documentary, and creating a one-woman play, all while attending her MLA classes.