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Bebe Neuwirth

Lilith Crane

Beatrice "Bebe" Neuwirth was born in Newark and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, and was one of those kids who practically came out of the womb with dance shoes on her feet. She began formal dance classes at the age of 5, and performed with the local ballet while she was in high school. After high school, Neuwirth attended the prestigious Julliard School of the Performing Arts (as did fellow Cheers alum Kelsey Grammer) where she studied dance. She made her professional debut in 1980, while she was still in school, when she was cast as Sheila in a traveling production of A Chorus Line. Neuwirth subsequently dropped out to pursue a career on Broadway. In 1982 she was cast in Dancin' , which was directed and choreographed by famed choreographer Bob Fosse. Neuwirth worked with Fosse again in the 1986 production of Sweet Charity, for which she won her first Tony Award. In that same year, she was cast in her first major television role as the icy intellectual love interest for Fraiser Crane, Dr.Lilith Sternin, on NBC's Cheers.

Neuwirth won two Emmys for her work on the show, and her time on Cheers paved the way for her to make the transition to films. Her movie debut was in Say Anything (1989), and additional film credits include Bugsy (1991) and Malice (1993). In 1992 Neuwirth left Cheers to pursue film projects full time, appearing in Jumanji (1995), Celebrity (1998), Summer of Sam (1999), Liberty Heights (1999), Tadpole (2002), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), Le Divorce (2003) and The Big Bounce (2004). Neuwirth often appeared on Frasier, reprising her role as Fraiser's ex-wife. In 1997 she returned to Broadway and won a Tony for Best Actress for her work in the revival of Chicago. Neuwirth returned to TV after leaving Chicago and had a recurring role as A.D.A Tracey Kibre on the NBC series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, a role she resumed on spin-off Law and Order :Trial by Jury. Neuwirth and her husband Michael Danek reside in New York City.

Character Bio

Look up 'sangfroid' in the dictionary, and you might find a picture of Lilith Sternin-Crane. First introduced to the Cheers gang as Frasier's significant other (please, the term girlfriend is just too undignified!), everyone at the bar thinks this brilliant, uptight research psychiatrist should let her perpetually pulled back hair down and live a little. Whereas Frasier is a hands-on practitioner, Lilith is a dedicated scientist who's most content to spend her time conducting experiments on her beloved lab rats rather than dealing with other people's messy emotions. Lilith's not interested in abstract theories; rather she believes in the veracity of empirical evidence. Yes, there is something of the prison matron about her. Everything about her from her hair to her robotic demeanor to her daily uniform of drab suits and buttoned up shirts make her seem severe. It's enough to make one wonder what's she's keeping bottled up inside (perhaps the book she's authored, entitled Good Girls, Bad Boys,can provide some insights).

They say that still waters run deep, and perhaps that is the case with Lilith. It's easy to assume the reason she scrutinizes and dissects emotions is because that's the closest she'll allow herself to actually experiencing them. She may be a bit aloof, but Lilith is hardly heartless. She's a friend and confidante to Rebecca Howe (who surely needs both), and she's the woman who helps Frasier forget the heartache of Diane. As a couple, Lilith and Frasier get off to a rocky start. It could have something to do with her disdain for Freud, Frasier's hero, but more than likely it's because they're emotional opposites. Where Lilith is cool and detached, Frasier is given to fits of passion and emotional outbursts. They learn to overcome their differences, marry and have a son, Frederick. Lilith eventually has an affair with a work colleague (Dr. Pascal, a bad boy, presumably), with whom she runs off to the desert to live in an EcoPod, abandoning her marriage and her young son. When she returns from this flight of emotional fancy, her marriage is in shambles, and she and Frasier never recover from her betrayal. They divorce and he takes a job in Seattle, while Lilith and Frederick remain in Boston.