Debra Messing was born in Brooklyn, New York to Sandra Simmons and Brian Messing. The Messing family are Jewish and of Russian and Polish descent. When Debra was three, the family moved from Brooklyn to East Greenwich, a small town outside Providence, RI. While in high school, she performed in many high school productions and took vocal, acting, and dance lessons growing up. Messing became Rhode Islandâ€™s Junior Miss in 1986, and even competed in the America Junior Miss scholarship program in Mobile, Alabama. Her parents were extremely supportive of her passion for the arts, but they felt very strongly about her receiving a college degree before taking on acting as a career. Debra took their advice and attended the prestigious Brandeis University in Massachusetts. During her junior year, she had the opportunity to study abroad at the world-famous London based British Studio Group Program. This experience solidified her desire to become an actress. Messing graduated Brandeis in the spring of 1990, and in the fall began her masters program at NYU, which she completed in three years. It was on her first day of classes at NYU that she met her now husband, actor and screenwriter Daniel Zelman. The couple was married in 2000, and currently has one son. Debra made her film debut in 1995 in A Walk in the Clouds playing the wife of Keanu Reeveâ€™s character. Because of her work in this film, FOX Network made her the co-star of their sitcom Ned and Stacey, which lasted from 1995 through 1997. Messing made many guest appearances on Seinfeld as well. In 1998, Messing played a lead role as bio anthropologist Sloan Parker on ABCâ€™s series Prey. It was during this time, her agent approached her with the script for the pilot of Will and Grace. She fell in love with the script and immediately auditioned for the role of Grace Adler. She show was an instant success and ran from 1998 through 2006. This became Debraâ€™s breakthrough role and shot her to the A-list. Director Woody Allen cast Messing in a small role for his 2002 film Hollywood Endings. Her other films include the 2002 thriller The Mothman Prophecies and a supporting role in the 2004 comedy Along Came Polly. In 2005 Messing had her first leading film role in The Wedding Date, which did fairly well in the box office. Messing also starred in the 2007 and 2008 drama The Starter Wife. The series was nominated for a Golden Globe and picked up by NBC in early 2009. People Magazine named her one of the â€œ50 Most Beautiful Peopleâ€ in 2002 and TV Guide named her â€œBest Dressed Womanâ€ in 2003.
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