Marissa Jaret Winokur (born February 2, 1973), sometimes credited as Marissa Winokur, is an American actress known for her Tony-winning performance as Tracy Turnblad in the highly successful Broadway musical adaptation of John Waters' film Hairspray, as well as her work on the Pamela Anderson sitcom Stacked. Some of her other TV credits include Curb Your Enthusiasm, Moesha, The Steve Harvey Show, Just Shoot Me!, Felicity, and Dharma & Greg.
Stage, screen and television
Winokur won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, Drama Desk Award, Theatre World Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in Hairspray. After she started her run in Hairspray, Winokur was diagnosed with cancer, but she informed none of her cast-mates or any of the members of the crew to prevent them from worrying about her. She underwent surgery later in 2003; after her recovery and declaration of being cancer-free, she was healthy enough to return to Broadway. It is said that while traveling to and from her cancer surgery she sang "Good Morning Baltimore," one of the musical's show-stoppers. She made her first appearance on Broadway after successfully undergoing cancer treatment. She had previously appeared on Broadway as "Pink Lady Jan" in the revival of Grease.
Winokur has also played roles in films such as American Beauty, Never Been Kissed, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, the send-up Scary Movie, Beautiful Girl (for ABC Family), Fever Pitch, and Fugly, and she provided one of the voices in Shrek the Halls, a CGI-animated holiday-oriented film.
Winokur co-starred in the TV series Stacked, which starred Pamela Anderson. She also appeared on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where she lost a physical fight with Larry David over the first appointment at a doctor's office. She was called Marissa Winokur in the episode, but was credited simply as "Woman In Elevator."
Marissa was set to star in a new comedy pilot for CBS titled Fugly, from the creator of My Name Is Earl. The show was originally pitched to FOX as a vehicle for Pamela Anderson, but was turned down in favor of Stacked. It was later revamped into a television film and aired to poor reviews in 2007. She returned to Hairspray on December 9, 2008 and played Tracy until the show's closing on January 4, 2009.
Winokur hosted the reality competition series Dance Your Ass Off on the Oxygen Network. In October 2010 she joined Julie Chen, Holly Robinson Peete, Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini, and Sara Gilbert in a new talk show, The Talk, that was intended to focus on stories of parenting, everyday life and events in the headlines. The program began airing on CBS October 18, 2010. On January 14, 2011, she announced via People Magazine that she would leave The Talk to focus on her clothing line and a new cable TV show she was developing.
She reprised the role of Tracy Turnblad in the Hollywood Bowl production of Hairspray, which ran from August 5–7, 2011.
Winokur joined the cast of TV Land's original sitcom Retired at 35, beginning in the second season. She acted out the role of Amy, David’s sister, a sharp-tongued, quick-witted successful saleswoman for a pharmaceutical company with a bubbly personality. The character was originated by Casey Wilson in the show's pilot, but made no other Season 1 appearances.