Jenny O'Hara

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Jenny O'Hara
Patricia Joanne O'Hara[1]

(1942-02-24) February 24, 1942 (age 79)
Years active1964–present
August Dorr Watkins
(m. 1968; div. 1974)

(m. 1986)

Patricia Joanne "Jenny" O'Hara (born February 24, 1942)[2] is an American film, television, and stage actress. She is best known for Dixie in My Sister Sam (1986–1988), Janet Heffernan in The King of Queens (2001–2007), and Nita in Big Love (2006–2009).

Personal life[edit]

O'Hara was born in Sonora, California.[2] Her father, John B. O'Hara, was a salesman, and her mother, Edith (née Hopkins), was a journalist and drama teacher, who founded and continues to run the storied 13th Street Repertory Company in New York City. Jenny, her singer/actress younger sister Jill O'Hara, and her singer/guitarist brother Jack O'Hara, grew up amid their mother's pursuit of a theatrical career. Her parents are divorced.[3] Edith O'Hara directed a children's theater in Warren, Pennsylvania, where the two daughters occasionally acted.[citation needed] Jenny O'Hara debuted on stage at age 5 at the Bushkill Playhouse in the Poconos.[4]


She spent a year at Carnegie Tech (now part of Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh and a summer playing in stock theater, and then came to New York to study with Lee Strasberg and Sanford Meisner.[citation needed] In 1964 she appeared on Broadway in the dramatic play Dylan[2] at the Plymouth Theatre opposite Sir Alec Guinness,[citation needed] and in 1969 appeared in the musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling[2] at the Broadhurst Theatre with Dorothy Loudon.[citation needed] Her other Broadway credits include Promises, Promises, The Iceman Cometh, and The Odd Couple.[2]

In 1970, O'Hara succeeded her younger sister, Jill (who had been nominated for a Tony Award) in the musical Promises, Promises. She graduated to television, both in series and made-for-TV features, including starring roles in: Brinks: The Great Robbery, The Return of the World's Greatest Detective, Blind Ambition and Blinded by the Light with Kristy McNichol.

She later worked in movies such as Career Opportunities, A Mother's Prayer, Mystic River, Matchstick Men, Extract and Devil; was part of the ensemble cast for the first season of The Facts of Life and the entire run of My Sister Sam; and had guest roles on television series such as Kojak, Charlie's Angels, Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (known in the United Kingdom as Twist in the Tale),[5][better source needed], Barnaby Jones, Barney Miller, Law & Order, The X-Files, Beverly Hills, 90210, NYPD Blue, ER, CHiPs, House M.D., Boston Legal, Reba, Six Feet Under, and Big Love. She has also made appearances over the years on various TV game shows.

On TV, O'Hara portrayed Ruth Manly on Black Beauty,[6] Lottie Murphy in Costello,[6]:211 Rebecca in Highcliffe Manor,[6]:460 Janet Heffernan in The King of Queens,[6]:565-566 Muriel Spiegleman in Live In,[6]:614 Dixie Randazzo in My Sister Sam,[6]:735 and Lucy Dexter on Secrets of Midland Heights.[6]:944–945 She also had roles in the 2009 film, Extract, and the 2010 horror film, Devil.[7]

O'Hara directed the off-Broadway play The Women Are No Different, which was about abuse of wives.[8] In 1973, she owned and operated Jacob O'Hara Inc., a plant business in New York. She auctioned off plants and provided advice to people about caring for their plants.[9]


O'Hara was married to August Dorr Watkins, an interior designer and former actor, from 1968 until their 1974 divorce.[3] Since 1986,[citation needed] she has been married to British-born American actor Nick Ullett. They have two adult daughters.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 The Last Married Couple in America Dancing Lady at First Party
1980 Heart Beat Betty Bendix
1991 Career Opportunities Dotty Dodge
1994 Angie Kathy
1997 Wishmaster Wendy Derleth
1999 Love Happens Gwen
2003 Mystic River Esther Harris
2003 My Name is Yu Ming Extra Short
2003 Matchstick Men Mrs. Schaffer
2004 Mommy Mommy Short
2005 Forty Shades of Blue Celia
2006 Right at Your Door Lexi's Mom
2006 Two Weeks Julia
2007 The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey Mrs. Hickey
2008 The Closer Patricia Simmons
2009 Extract Joel's Secretary
2010 How to Make Love to a Woman
2010 Devil Old Woman
2010 Heavy Lifting Alice Short
2011 ''Hit List Phil's Mother
2012 As High as the Sky Aunt Barbara (voice)
2012 Sassy Pants Grandma Pruitt
2012 The Sacred Ms. Jenson
2014 BFFs Suzie
2014 In the Privacy of Your Own Home Peg Short
2015 Martha Martha Short
2015 A Kind of Magic Great Grandmother
2017 Who Decides Women Short film
2018 30 Nights Dorothy
2018 Duck Butter Nathalie
2018 Poor Greg Downing Patricia In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1975 The Wide World of Mystery Shelley Episode: "Rock-a-Die Baby"
The Streets of San Francisco Angela Atkinson Episode: "Dead Air"
The Rockford Files Operator Episode: "The Reincarnation of Angie"
1976 Brink's: The Great Robbery Maggie Hefner Television film
The Return of the World's Greatest Detective Dr. Joan Watson Television film
Charlie's Angels Bloody Mary Barrows Episode: "Hellride"
Police Story Joyce Triplett 2 episodes
1976–1979 Barnaby Jones Dororthy Warner / Katherine Tyler / Angie Harding / Joanie Enders 5 episodes
1977 Westside Medical Georgia Episode: "King Solomon's Kid"
Good Against Evil The Woman Television film
Kojak Ann Murray Episode: "Laid Off"
The Hunted Lady Carol Arizzio Television film
1977–1984 Tales of the Unexpected Mary Ann / Pearson's Wife 2 episodes
1978 Black Beauty Ruth Manly Television mini-series
A Fire in the Sky Ann Webster Television film
1978–1979 Barney Miller Sgt. Holly Scofield / Teresa Schnable 2 episodes
1978–1980 Family Miss Chase / Miss Montebello 2 episodes
1979 Highcliffe Manor Rebecca 6 episodes
David Cassidy: Man Undercover Vickie Episode: "Teammates"
Starsky & Hutch Marianne Owens Episode: "Ballad for a Blue Lady"
Blind Ambition Liz Garfield Television mini-series Part 1, 2, 3, & 4
The Facts of Life Miss Emily Mahoney 4 episodes
Letters from Frank Patty Miller Television film
The Edge of Night Lilac Episode: "#1.6144" Uncredited
1979–1981 CHiPs Lina Beck / Cora Gilford 2 episodes
1980 Mrs. Columbo Episode: "Love, on Instant Replay"
The Women's Room Mrs. Martinelli Television film
The Last Song Deb Pierce Television film
Blinded by the Light Rose Television film
1980–1981 Secrets of Midland Heights Lucy Dexter 9 episodes
1981 Simon & Simon Ann McDaniels Episode: "Trapdoors"
McClain's Law Episode: "Let the Victims Beware"
1982 Bret Maverick Samantha Dunne Episode: "The Mayflower's Women Historical Society"
Quincy, M.E. Jane Snyder Episode: "Deadly Protection"
1983 Another Woman's Child Peggy Television film
Remington Steele Amy Fogelson / Agnes Fowley Episode: "Steele in the News"
The Mississippi Miranda Adams Episode: "The Trial of Ben Walker"
For Love and Honor Mrs. Hagedorn Episode: "N.O.K. Hagedorn"
1983–1984 Trapper John, M.D. Emily McCall / Christina Kulyn 2 episodes
1984 St. Elsewhere Sue Follett Episode: "Drama Center"
V: The Final Battle Jenny Television mini-series
Tales of the Unexpected Ruth Pearson Episode "The Dirty Detail"
1985 Our Family Honor Jo Episode: "Lone Justice"
1986 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Millicent McDonald Episode: "Dead Men Leave No Trails"
1986–1988 My Sister Sam Dixie Randazzo 44 episodes
1988 The Secret Life of Kathy McCormick Lisa Television film
Winnie Miriam Television film
Murphy Brown Lisa Episode: "Baby Love"
1989 Live-In Muriel Spiegelman 9 episodes
1990 The Young Riders Sally Tompkins / Shining Eyes Episode: "Pride and Prejudice"
L.A. Law Dr. Sarah Evans Episode: "Lie Harder"
Married People Delia Episode: "Partners"
1991 ABC Afterschool Special Irene Harmon Episode: "The Less Than Perfect Daughter"
Empty Nest Mrs. Kravitz Episode: "Lonely Are the Brave"
1991–1992 Beverly Hills, 90210 Pam Scanlon 2 episodes
1993 Law & Order Carol Janssen Episode: "Promises to Keep"
At Home with the Webbers Mrs. Nelson Television film
1995 A Mother's Prayer Val Television film
The Drew Carey Show Judge White Episode: "Drew in Court"
1996 Terminal Margaret Desmond Television film
A Case for Life Television film
ER Nurse Rhonda Sterling 2 episodes
An Unexpected Family Harriet Rothman Television film
1996–1997 Dangerous Minds Jean Warner 4 episodes
Life's Work Constance 'Connie' Minardi 6 episodes
1997 Smart Guy Principal Whitfield Episode: "Trial and Error"
1998 Costello Lottie Murphy 5 episodes
Pumpkin Man Mrs. Shadboldt Television short
Michael Hayes Phyllis Burdick Episode: "Under Color of Law"
Chicago Hope Dorothy Carlson Episode: "Objects Are Closer Than They Appear"
An Unexpected Life Harriet Rothman Television film
The Color of Courage Dorothy Renfrew Television film
1999 Party of Five Sylvia Wringler 2 episodes
The Practice Louise Morgan Episode: "Bay of Pigs"
2000 Norm Mrs. Ford Episode: "Norm vs. the Wedding"
If These Walls Could Talk 2 Marge Carpenter Segment 1961
The Truth About Jane Beth Television film
Roswell Ida Crawford 2 episodes
2001 Strong Medicine Nancy Episode: "Child Care"
NYPD Blue Mrs. Follender Episode: "Hit the Road, Clark"
2001–2007 The King of Queens Janet Heffernan 15 episodes
2002 Philly' Nora Temple Episode: "Brotherly Love"
The Court' Eleanor Episode: "Snakes in the Grass"
Nancy Drew Hannah Green Television film
2003 Reba Grammy Elizabeth Hart Episode: "And the Grammy Goes To..."
Judging Amy Mrs. Costin – Grandmother Episode: "Tricks of the Trade"
2004 Nip/Tuck Rachel Rosenberg Episode: "Rose and Raven Rosenberg"
2005 Inconceivable Lucy Episode: "Sex, Lies and Sonograms"
Six Feet Under Garland Duncan Episode: "Static"
Twins Ms. Rowan Episode: "Model Student"
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Sandra Walkey Episode: "Secrets & Flies"
Ghost Whisperer Margaret Devine Episode: "Hope and Mercy"
Grey's Anatomy Nadia's Mother Episode: "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
2006 Boston Legal Judge Kimberly Ohlund Episode: "Squid Pro Quo"
Cold Case Frances Campbell Episode: "Fireflies"
2006–2009 Big Love Nita 5 episodes
2007 House Fran Episode: Airborne"
2008 The Closer Karen Silva Episode: "Speed Bump"
NCIS Alice Brodie Episode: "Last Man Standing"
2009 Drop Dead Diva Carla Shane Episode: "What If?"
2010 Childrens Hospital Georgene Lefkowits Episode: "The End of the Middle"
2011–2014 Franklin & Bash Nanette 3 episodes
2012 Unfair and Imbalanced Cleo Television film
Rizzoli & Isles Sister Winifred Callahan 2 episodes
2013 Emily Owens, M.D. Julia Episode: "Emily and... The Leap"
2013–2015 Newsreaders Grandma Jordan / Mrs. Van Cleef 2 episodes
2014 Meme Weavers Fern Television film
Supernatural Julia Wilkinson Episode: "Mother's Little Helper"
2014–2017 The Mindy Project Dot 17 episodes
2015 Mike & Molly Mickey Episode: "Molly's Neverending Story"
The McCarthys Elaine Episode: "Hall of Fame"
Hot in Cleveland Helen Episode: "Cleveland Calendar Girls"
2015–2017 Transparent Bryna 12 episodes
2016 Recovery Road Episode: "My Loose Thread"
Son of Zorn Roberta Episode: "The Battle of Thanksgiving"
2017 The Fosters Woman at Hospital Episode: "Dream a Little Dream"
American Housewife Mrs. Smith Episode: "Then and Now"
Chicago Fire Ellie Episode: "Carry Me"
2018 The Resident Shirley Harris Episode: "Identity Crisis"
9-1-1 Nora Episode: "Full Moon (Creepy AF)"
2019 Atypical Elsa's mother 2 episodes
2020 Perry Mason June Pitlick 2 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 Bayonetta Umbran Elder / Additional Voices English version, voice
2012 The Secret World Eleanor Franklin
2014 Bayonetta 2 Umbran Elder English version, voice


  1. ^ Birth name as per California Births, 1905 – 1995. Family Tree Legends Records Collection (Online Database). Pearl Street Software, 2004–2005.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Jenny O'Hara". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on March 22, 2020. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Sarasota Journal – Google News Archive Search". Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  4. ^ Wilson, Earl (March 15, 1964). "Jenny OHara Featured In Hit Drama, 'Dylan'". The Morning Call. Pennsylvania, Allentown. p. 66. Retrieved March 22, 2020 – via
  5. ^ "CTVA US Anthology – "Tales of the Unexpected" (Quinn Martin/NBC)(1977)". Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  7. ^ M. Night's Devil Gets a Date
  8. ^ Pace, Constance (December 19, 1986). "Jenny O'Hara has been doubling as a director". Mason Valley News. Nevada, Yerington. Compulog. p. 59. Retrieved March 22, 2020 – via
  9. ^ "She's An Actress, A Plant Doctor, And An Auctioneer With Moxie". The Evening Sun. Maryland, Baltimore. New York Times News Service. September 18, 1973. p. 11. Retrieved March 22, 2020 – via
  10. ^ No, David (April 29, 2009). "Theater veteran takes the direct route". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. p. 73. Retrieved March 22, 2020 – via

External links[edit]