Family & Companions
A petite, attractive brunette, Kathryn Erbe has alternated between the stage and screen. Unlike some, she has made motherhood her first priority, and by living on the East Coast has averted the glare of publicity. Despite giving several fine performances, Erbe has remained an underappreciated talent.
Raised in Massachusetts, Erbe trained at NYU and right after graduation was cast in her first film role as an 11-year-old in the teen drama "Runaway Dreams" (1989). She found bit roles on daytime TV and worked onstage, most notably in "The Speed of Darkness" in 1991, which brought her a Tony Award nomination. By 1993, she had become a member of the ensemble of the Steppenwolf Theater and delivered a memorable turn as Stella Kowalski in the company's 50th anniversary staging of "A Streetcar Named Desire" which was directed by her husband, Terry Kinney.
Erbe first enjoyed attention as Richard Dreyfuss' daughter in the comedy "What About Bob?" (1991) and shone as the troubled daughter of a runaway mother (Jill Clayburgh) in the little-seen "Rich in Love" (1993). 1995 saw the actress play the sister of an ill-fated Helen Hunt in the remake of "Kiss of Death" as well as student who succumbs to a vampire attack in the stylish "The Addiction." Erbe was superb as Kevin Bacon's patient wife in the thriller "Stir of Echoes" (1999). Subsequently, she appeared in the ensemble of "Speaking of Sex" (lensed 2000) and supported Kevin Costner in "Dragonfly" (lensed 2000-2001).
While "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" gave her a chance to play off Vincent D'Onofrio and display a feistier side, Erbe was no stranger to TV. Early in her career she had been cast as Lynn Redgrave's daughter on the disastrous ABC sitcom "Chicken Soup" (1989). Additionally, she has such prestigious "Hallmark Hall of Fame" productions as "Breathing Lessons" (CBS, 1994) and "The Runaway" (CBS, 2000) on her resume. Still, Erbe developed a cult following as death row inmate Shirley Bellinger, one of the rare female prisoners portrayed on "Oz," HBO's brutal look at life inside a jail. From 1998 until her character finally was executed in 2000, the actress created an eerily memorable portrait of a troubled woman who had killed her child and was sentenced to die.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Film debut, "Runaway Dreams"
Played supporting role in ABC sitcom "Chicken Soup"
Acted on Broadway in the Steppenwolf production of "The Grapes of Wrath"
Earned a Tony nomination for "The Speed of Darkness"
Co-starred as Richard Dreyfuss' daughter in "What About Bob?"
Breakthrough film role as the unhappy daughter of a runaway mom in "Rich in Love"
Appeared in the CBS "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production "Breathing Lesson"
Had supporting role in the remake of "Kiss of Death"
Played Stella in the 50th Anniversary production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" at Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago; play staged by Terry Kinney
Played recurring role of death row inmate Shirley Bellinger in the HBO series "Oz"; husband Terry Kinney co-starred
Featured in the CBS "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production "The Runaway"
Played supporting role in "Speaking of Sex"; premiered at the Chicago Film Festival
Had regular role as edgy detective Alexandra Eames in the NBC spin-off "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"