THIS TALENTED STAR OF “THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA” IS ALSO OUTSPOKEN, DISARMING AND INTELLECTUAL, A RARE MIX OF MOXIE, BEAUTY AND BRAINS.
By Linda Marx
For a funny lady with a successful acting career, award-winning Debra Messing, 47, is also a deep and serious thinker. The former co-star, with Eric McCormack, of TV’s eight-season comedy Will & Grace, and more recently of her own NBC show The Mysteries of Laura, is candid about her favorite issues. She addresses the equal representation of women working in the arts, and being smart and tough, she is not afraid to address controversy by ranting, even about repulsive men who send her unsolicited pictures of their private parts through social media accounts.
Debra Messing made her name playing Grace Adler, the interior designer in Will & Grace, a ratings gold mine which earned her both critical and commercial success. She recently told Huffington Post Live that Will & Grace came at a time when being openly gay was not widely accepted (McCormack’s role was of a gay lawyer).
“Over eight years, it made an impact,” Messing said of the show that she wished had never ended. “I’m most proud of this and of making people laugh. It made an impact, a powerful social and political impact.”
The actress also had other TV roles in shows like Ned & Stacey, The Starter Wife and Smash before landing the lead in The Mysteries of Laura, a police procedural comedy-drama that premiered in 2014. She plays New York Police Department homicide detective Laura Diamond, a cool cop who works with her ex-husband and also takes care of her two kids.
The role is not that far away from her real life gig as a single mom to Roman Walker Zelman, who will turn 12 in April. Four years ago, Messing filed for divorce from his father Daniel Zelman, a writer, actor and producer, whom she met at New York University while a graduate student. They married in 2000.
“I juggle a lot and relate to chaos,” she said, while discussing how she works 12-hour days and admits that life does imitate art. She tries to keep her life balanced despite a myriad of daily responsibilities, believing the duality brings depth and texture to her character. “I am a single mom, a working mom in real life,” she told CBS News. “And I try to be the best employee and the best mom when I can. That’s what I key into and bring to the character.”
Born in Brooklyn, Messing is the daughter of a sales executive for a jewelry manufacturer, and a singer, banker and travel agent. At age three, the actress moved with her family to East Greenwich, Rhode Island, where she was raised. Eager to act even then, she starred in high school productions, including Annie, Grease and Fiddler on the Roof.
In 1990, she graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts. Three years later, she earned a Master’s in Fine Arts, then auditioned and worked on a variety of shows and films.
In 1998, while playing the lead role as the bio-anthropologist Sloan Parker on ABC’s dramatic science fiction series Prey, she was approached with the pilot script for Will & Grace. That show intrigued her and greatly changed her life, putting her name in lights.
In 2002, she was named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in The World. The following year, TV Guide named her Best Dressed Woman.
Throughout her career, Debra Messing, who also does stage work, has received a total of six Emmy nominations, winning one, eight Screen Actors Guild nominations, winning one, and eight Golden Globe nominations.
According to published reports, Messing is a wealthy woman with millions in net worth from acting, smart investing, endorsements including the drug Zyrtec, which has helped her fight severe allergies, and advertising work, which includes gracing many magazine covers around the country.
“Throughout her career, Debra Messing, has received a total of six Emmy nominations, eight Screen Actors Guild nominations and eight Golden Globe nominations.”
But her real Fabergé egg is the coveted time spent with her son. The former soccer mom calls Roman her “favorite person.” They go to New York Rangers hockey games and to the park. He plays baseball and teaches his mom how to live in the moment.
She likes everything about their relationship.
“My son has changed me in the most fundamental way,” she told Huffington Post. “I think what he teaches me is to really, really look at the world in this moment. He is learning and changing so much, and he’s forming opinions about the world. And those opinions are changing because he is growing up—it’s a reminder that everything changes. Don’t stay stuck.”