Born in Memphis and raised in Philadelphia, Wendy started making student films in the summer of 1969 and began acting because she wanted to be able to write for and direct other actors. She discovered a love of acting that became a lifetime commitment, but only turned into a full-time pursuit when Jonathan Demme came to town to follow up his Academy Award with a groundbreaking drama about AIDS starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington.
Although she ended up on the cutting room floor of the movie "Philadelphia," the experience gave her her SAG card and convinced her that it was time to leave behind her career as an arts administrator (co-founder of CineKyd, executive director of The Clay Studio, and various managerial jobs at People's Light and Theatre Company) and pursue acting full-time. Two weeks after arriving in Los Angeles, she was cast in a new musical, "Lulu," for which she received a Drama-Logue Award, the first of many awards to come. Within a year, she had landed her first TV job, an appearance on "Murphy Brown."
She continued to work regularly in TV and in theatre (helping to found Theatre Neo with Kathryn Joosten, Josh Schiowitz, and others), playing a wide range of roles from the murderous Lunch Lady on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (which earned her an appearance on her own trading card) to a recurring role as the formidable Margaret Camaro on "Ally McBeal," "Foodzilla" on "Even Stevens," and Miss Westmore ("The Wicked Witch of the Westmore"), teacher to the Olsen Twins on their most recent series, "So Little Time."
She also began to make her mark in feature films, including a memorable turn as a lascivious casting director in "LA Twister" and Lenore, a high school receptionist described as "cheerful and dumb as a stump" in the upcoming drama "In the Valley of Elah," written and directed by Academy Award winner Paul Haggis ("Crash") and appearing opposite Tommy Lee Jones.
Wendy has the distinction of having played small roles in four different Tom Hanks movies: "Philadelphia" (don't look for her there, though, as she was edited out), "Cast Away" (in which she played one of Helen Hunt's aunts joining in the Christmas dinner early in the film), "Catch Me If You Can" (a quick turn as a receptionist at TWA in a scene with Leonardo DiCaprio), and the soon-to-be-released "The Great Buck Howard" (in the memorable role of "Oregon Woman").
Wendy is also a talented and experienced theatre director (her BA from Temple University, awarded summa cum laude, is in Radio-TV-Film) and a singer. And, although she grew up there, she does not have a Philadelphia accent - but she can do one on request.
- On the cutting room floor of a number of big movies (joining the unofficial Kevin Costner Nonappearance Film Club), including Jonathan Demme's "Philadelphia," Jake Kasdan's "Walk Hard," and Paul Haggis' "In the Valley of Elah".