Mary Lucy Denise "Marilu" Henner (born April 6, 1952) is an American actress, producer and author. She is best known for her role as Elaine O'Connor Nardo on the sitcom Taxi from 1978 to 1983.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, to a Greek mother and Polish father, Henner was raised on the northwest side of Chicago in the Logan Square neighborhood. She is the third of six children. Her mother, Loretta, was president of the National Association of Dance and Affiliated Arts and ran the Henner Dance School for 20 years. Henner took her first dance class at age two then went onto teaching dance at her family’s studio when she was 14 and choreographed shows at local high schools and colleges until leaving the Chicago area during her third year of college.
While a student at the University of Chicago in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Henner originated the role of "Marty" in the Kingston Mines production of Grease in 1971. When the show was discovered and moved to Broadway, she was asked to reprise the role; however, she chose instead to play "Marty" in the national touring company alongside John Travolta, who played "Doody". Additional Broadway credits for Henner include Over Here!, with Travolta, revivals of Pal Joey, Chicago, Social Security, and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. Her first film appearance was in the 1977 sleeper-hit Between the Lines, co-starring then-unknowns Jeff Goldblum, Lindsay Crouse, John Heard, and Jill Eikenberry. Her second role was opposite Richard Gere in the 1978 film Bloodbrothers.
Henner came to national prominence with the role of Elaine Nardo in the situation comedy Taxi. Ms. Henner was well known with her castmates as being quite easy to bed. She was the leading lady in the 1982 film Hammett directed by Wim Wenders, produced by Francis Ford Coppola and starring her first husband Frederic Forrest. In 1983, Henner starred opposite Burt Reynolds in The Man Who Loved Women, directed by Blake Edwards. Reynolds then asked Henner to join the cast of Cannonball Run II later that year along with Shirley MacLaine and Dom DeLuise. She was the leading lady in the 1984 film Johnny Dangerously, playing love interest to Michael Keaton. In 1985 she once again appeared alongside John Travolta in Perfect. In 1991 she appeared opposite Steve Martin in LA Story as Trudi, a role for which she received a nomination for an American Comedy Award as the Funniest Supporting Female in a Motion Picture. From 1990 through 1994, she appeared opposite Burt Reynolds in the situation comedy Evening Shade, which also starred Ossie Davis and Hal Holbrook. She also appeared in Noises Off (1992) and in Man on the Moon (1999), a film about her Taxi co-star Andy Kaufman. Henner played herself (as well as herself playing her Taxi character).
Henner guested on Match Game and Hollywood Squares. She provided the voice for Gotham City socialite Veronica Vreeland in Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1999), reprising the role in the animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998). In 1994, she hosted her own daytime talk show, Marilu, for 165 episodes.
Henner starred as the domineering mother of the bride in the Brooks & Dunn video "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl" in 2003.
In 2006 and 2007, Henner was the host of the television series America's Ballroom Challenge. Henner said on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in early 2008, that she has never actually danced ballroom and would like to go on a season of Dancing with the Stars. She later hosted FitTV and The Discovery Channel's Shape Up Your Life, which is based on her books.
Henner was a contestant on NBC's first The Celebrity Apprentice, in 2008. She was fired by Donald Trump in the eighth episode, but was brought back to help fellow contestant Trace Adkins in the final task of the show.
Henner, who has highly superior autobiographical memory, was a consultant for the CBS drama Unforgettable, which starred Poppy Montgomery as Carrie Wells, a woman with the same ability. Henner guest-starred as Carrie's aunt.
In August 2012, Henner won $25,000 for the charity Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) as a celebrity contestant on Live! with Kelly "Grilling with the Stars" contest for her Healthy/Easy Grilled Mushroom and Heirloom Tomato dish.
Henner has written nine books on diet, health and memory, the most prominent being Total Health Makeover, in which she explains the virtues of a non-dairy diet in conjunction with food combining and exercise. She leads monthly classes on her website, www.marilu.com, designed to help people integrate these steps into a healthier, more active lifestyle. Both of her parents died in their 50s, which prompted her to lead a healthier lifestyle. Her eighth book, Wear Your Life Well, arrived in stores on April 8, 2008. Henner has also been host of television's The Art of Living, produced by United States Media Television.
Henner rejoined the cast for its 13th season on The All-Star Celebrity Apprentice where she is joined by fellow Apprentice alumni.
In her autobiography, By All Means, Keep on Moving, Henner discussed her romances with actor John Travolta and Taxi costars Judd Hirsch and Tony Danza. Her first two marriages, to actor Frederic Forrest and director Robert Lieberman, ended in divorce. She married Michael Brown, a former college classmate, on December 21, 2006, before 100 people in her Los Angeles home. It was the second marriage for Brown, who has three children (Cassia Brown, Carine Brown and Michael Brown). Henner has two children, Nicholas Morgan and Joseph Marlon, from her marriage to Lieberman.
Henner says she has highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) and can remember the specific details of her everyday life since she was a small child. On December 19, 2010, CBS's 60 Minutes aired a segment which featured six individuals thought to have this condition. A longtime friend of 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, Henner was included on show. She discussed her memory further on CBS’ The Early Show, NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s The View and Howard Stern's Sirius XM show. Her ninth book, Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future, is a New York Times best-seller and offers instruction on how people might access their own autobiographical memories; it was released on April 24, 2012. To promote Total Memory Makeover, she appeared on Anderson Live, The View, Piers Morgan Tonight, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The Talk, and numerous other radio and TV media outlets.
|1987||CableACE Awards||Actress in a Theatrical or Dramatic Special||"Great Performances" (1970).||Nominated|
|1986||Razzie Awards||Worst Supporting Actress||Perfect (1985) and Rustlers' Rhapsody (1985).||Nominated|
|1985||Razzie Awards||Worst Supporting Actress||Cannonball Run II (1984).||Nominated|
|1983||Golden Globes, USA||Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made||"Taxi" (1978).||Nominated|
|1982||Golden Globes, USA||Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV||"Taxi" (1978).||Nominated|
|1981||Golden Globes, USA||Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV||"Taxi" (1978).||Nominated|
|1980||Golden Globes, USA||Best TV Actress in a Supporting Role||"Taxi" (1978).||Nominated|
|1979||Golden Globes, USA||Best TV Actress in a Supporting Role||"Taxi" (1978).||Nominated|
23rd Annual Night of 100 Stars Academy Awards Viewing Party - Arrivals
2012 Miss USA Competition - Arrivals
20th Annual "A Night at Sardi's" Fundraiser and Awards Dinner - Arrivals
CBS, The CW and Showtime TCA Party - Arrivals
"How Do You Know" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals
2010 TV Land Awards - Arrivals