If you are a fan of the hit sitcom Taxi then you’ll remember Marilu Henner who played Elaine O’Connor Nardo.
Marilu Henner has had a prolific career in the entertainment industry working across mediums and managing to appeal to different generations.
Her breakthrough role was in Taxi but she’s also given other memorable performances in film and television. Now in her seventies, she’s just as busy and ever and is committed to more projects to entertain her fans.
But how did Marilu Henner get her start? She’s had quite a fascinating journey working in film, television, and as a writer.
Join FactsVerse to learn about Marilu Henner’s life and career and how she became popular and what she’s up to today…
MARILU HENNER’S EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Marilu Henner was born as Mary Lucy Denise Henner was born on April 6, 1952, in Chicago. While she wasn’t from a show business background she was eager to become a star. When she was a student at the University of Chicago she joined a local production of Grease when she was 19.
She played the role of ‘Marty’ and absolutely loved it. She got the chance to take the role to the Broadway adaptation of Grease but instead decided to work for a touring company that was performing the play. She acted alongside John Travolta – though at this time he was playing ‘Doody’ rather than Danny.
She clearly had a great time working on Grease – as she never looked back and never considered anything else but working in show business.
Throughout the 1970s she continued to act in several plays before breaking into films.
She began her film career in the late 1970s. Her first film was in the now-classic film Between the Lines and she worked along great actors including with several prominent actors such as Jeff Goldblum and Lindsay Crouse – though, like her, they were just at the beginning of their careers at the time.
The film was a hit and this got Marilu more attention. She appeared in the TV movie Off Campus later that year as well. The following year she also snagged a role in the drama film BloodBrothers which starred Paul Sorvino and Richard Gere.
In that same year, she also got her big break…
Before we tell you more about Marilu Henner’s life and career and how she had jaws dropping with her ‘Taxi’ role, please like this video and subscribe to FactsVerse for more interesting stories about pop culture and your favorite celebrities and more fascinating biopics! Now, let’s get back to the video…
MARILU’S FILM AND TELEVISION CAREER
Marilu Henner was offered to appear in the film version of Grease. It seemed ideal as she had appeared in the play and had worked alongside John Travolta who was going to star in the film.
This would have been a great opportunity for her to launch to stardom.
And yet, she decided to take a different route altogether. She was given the opportunity to act in a TV show which she would have to dedicate herself to for a few years. While this might not seem like much of a risk today, the landscape was different in the 1970s.
While television was still popular among American audiences, there was still a greater respect given to film actors. Yet, Marilu decided to bite the bullet and join a ragtag group of actors to appear in a sitcom called Taxi.
In Taxi, she played Elaine O’Connor Nardo who was a single mother that decided to take up driving a taxi to support herself and her children. The show launched her to stardom and opened the door to more opportunities.
Over 40 years since she first appeared in Taxi, she still has many fond memories on the show.
She was one of the few female cast members on the show and she had flings with some of her co-stars. She dated her co-star Tony Danza for some time and later also dated co-star Judd Hirsch.
While Tony Danza and Judd Hirsch managed to date her, there were many other fans who fell head over heels in love with Marilu Jenner from the show. She loved working on the show and once reminisced about working on the show with former co-star Christopher Lloyd.
She played Elaine in a total of 114 episodes over 5 seasons. To this day, it’s remembered as one of the most popular American sitcoms of all time and it’s the show that made Marilu Henner into a major TV star.
After Taxi, it was only uphill from there.
When Taxi came to an end, she appeared in the feature film The Man Who Loved Women. She was part of an all-star ensemble that also included Burt Reynolds, Kim Basinger, and Julie Andrews.
This was a very successful romantic comedy film and showed that Marilu Henner had great range as an actress and could hold her own even when acting alongside A-list actors. It showed that she was equally comfortable on the small screen and the big screen.
She continued to get roles throughout the 80s and soon became one of the most prolific actresses of her generation.
In 1984, she appeared in the film Johnny Dangerously. Now considered a cult classic, she co-starred with Michael Keaton in this hilarious film about a goody-two-shoes who has to unwittingly turn to a life of crime. She also re-united with her former Taxi co-star Danny DeVito.
Throughout the 80s she also made guest appearances on popular TV shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Who’s The Boss, and The Tracy Ullmann Show. She also appeared in the TV movies Grand Larceny, Channel 99, and The Ladykillers.
She did some of her most interesting work in the 90s. In 1990, she re-united with her friend John Travolta to appear in the film Chains of Gold. This was a dark and gritty crime film and Marilu Henner showed that she could break away from her usual comedic and lighthearted films and TV shows to appear in such a harrowing film.
In 1991, she appeared in the film L.A. Story. This was a unique comedy and drama film which starred Steve Martin, Patrick Stewart, Victoria Tennant, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Richard E. Grant.
She won praise for her role in this ensemble piece, and she was lauded for being able to stand out even when working with so many acting legends in one film! It also showed that she had incredible taste in films and that she could take on different and unique projects.
In 1992, she appeared in the film Noises Off… which was directed by the iconic Peter Bogdanovich. The film also starred Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, and Denholm Elliot. This was a fun comedy film about a theater group and their mishaps – no doubt Marilu Henner had many memories from her theater experience to draw on for this film. Once again she won praise for being able to steal the show while starring alongside legendary stars.
Throughout the rest of the 90s she appeared in a slew of great films and TV shows as well as TV movies. One of these that particularly stood out was when she played Nancy Conn in Fighting For Justice: The Nancy Conn Story. This harrowing film was based on the true story of a woman who was in danger when her former stalker got released from prison. She won immense acclaim for her performance and fans could hardly believe this was the same Marilu Henner who almost 20 years earlier was making them laugh in Taxi.
The 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s, have also been great decades for Marilu Henner who didn’t seem interested in retiring from show business at all!
Her notable work from these decades include the feature film Enemies of Laughter, the TV movie Love Rules!, the TV movie Gone But Not Forgotten, and another TV movie: The Governor’s Wife.
In 2012 she appeared in the hit film Vamps and in 2018 she appeared in the films Imperfections and Life With Dog. She also made many guest appearances in TV shows from ER to Two and a Half Men to The Glades. She also had a recurring role in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
MARILU’S LIFE AND LEGACY
Marilu Henner is now in her 70s and she’s showing no sign of slowing down. Apart from her acting which she continues, she’s also authored 10 books and has also raised 2 children. She’s been married 3 times, first to Frederick Forrest from 1980 to 1982 when they divorced. She then married Robert Lieberman with whom she had 2 children. They were married for 11 years before their divorce.
She’s been married to Michael Brown since 2006. Her son Nick directs music videos and short films and her son Joe appeared in one episode of her popular cooking show.
Her most recent project was her work in a TV show called Aurora Teagarden Mysteries which wrapped in 2022. While we don’t know of any upcoming projects, we won’t be surprised if Marilu Henner has her schedule filled for 2023.
She’s one of the greatest actresses of her generation and can easily be described as a sex symbol. Marilu Henner had jaws dropping with her Taxi role…and that was only the beginning! The best, is still yet to come!
So, now let’s hear from you:
Are you a fan of Marilu Henner? Did you know about any of these facts about her life and career?
In fact, here’s what we want to know from you:
Do you think that she’s still remembered today by her role in Taxi?
Or do audiences more appreciate her film work that she’s done across the decades?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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