Daughter of real-life sportswriter Chuck Heaton, Patricia Heaton portrayed Debra Barone, the wife of sportswriter Ray Barone, for nine seasons on Everybody Loves Raymond. A Cleveland native who became a New York stage actress, Heaton made her Broadway debut in the gospel musical Don't Get God Started. As one of the founders of theatre company Stage Three, she traveled to L.A. with the company's show The Johnstown Vindicator and made her mark. Some of her first TV roles were on Thirtysomething, the Designing Women spin-off Women of the House and Party of Five. She may have lost the role of Elaine on Seinfeld, but she beat out Jane Sibbett (Ross's ex-wife on Friends) for the role of Debra Barone, thanks to being the only actress who would kiss Ray Romano - at least according to Romano.
Her work as Debra Barone earned her seven Emmy nominations, including her 2000 and 2001 wins as Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Nominated with her fellow cast members for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series seven times, they won in 2003. She was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series five times. In 2004, she received acclaim (and another SAG Award nomination) for her role in the TV remake of Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl. After Everybody Loves Raymond ended in 2005, Heaton found herself in a pilot the next year, and then opposite Kelsey Grammer as nightly news co-anchors in the Fox comedy Back To You. Incidentally, Heaton had worked in a real newsroom before as a college student, editing news footage at a Cleveland TV show.
In 2009, Heaton became another TV mother: Frankie Heck in ABC's sleeper hit The Middle. She is also the author of Motherhood and Hollywood: How to Get a Job Like Mine. She and her husband reside in L.A. with their four sons.
Raised in Connecticut to wealthy, cultured parents, Debra Whelan was a PR exec at Madison Square Garden until a fateful day when Ray Barone delivered her futon. And even though she was "one of them," she fell in love with him. They got married and had a daughter, but when she was due with twins, they needed a bigger place. So when Ray's parents found a house across the street, Debra thought it would be a good idea to move near her in-laws.
Big mistake. Over the nine years we got to see the Barones, we were witness to Debra's valiant struggle to get her husband to take more responsibility at home, to weather her mother-in-law's "suggestions", and Debra's occasional - well, frequent - outbursts, most famously to her son's teacher about the "freak show that set up their tent right across the street." She and Marie are in constant competition. Debra is not known to be the best cook or housekeeper (as her mother-in-law Marie will happily tell you), but she does have some triumphs, thought not the time she makes fish for Thanksgiving.
Her sister is a nun and her parents' supposedly happy marriage ends in a divorce. She sleeps on the side of the bed closer to the bathroom.