Ricki Lake: Wikis


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Ricki Lake

Ricki Lake in December 2007
Born Ricki Pamela Lake
September 21, 1968 (1968-09-21) (age 41)
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, television personality, television and film producer
Years active since 1987
Spouse(s) Rob Sussman (1994-2003) (divorced/annulled)

Ricki Pamela Lake (born September 21, 1968) is an American actress and television personality, best known for her talk show and starring role as Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray.


Early life

Lake was born to a Jewish family in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, the daughter of Jill, a housewife, and Barry Lake, a pharmacist.[1] She attended Ithaca College and the Professional Children's School.[2]


Talk show

Ricki Lake was a daytime tabloid talk show. The show specialized in sensationalist topics involving invited guests and incorporated questions and comments from a studio audience.

The show debuted in syndication on September 13, 1993 and ended first-run episodes on May 25, 2004.

In 2000, Lake told Rosie O'Donnell in an interview she had signed on for four additional years. Although Sony Pictures Television had many stations contracted through the 2004–2005 season, Lake decided to end the show in August 2004, citing (among other things) a desire to spend time with her family. She moved from Los Angeles to New York to tape the 11th season of the show, then returned to California when taping was complete.


Lake was in talks to star in an untitled CBS comedy, but no further episodes were commissioned after the filming of the pilot. Most recently, she has appeared in a recurring role on CBS's sitcom The King of Queens, playing Doug Heffernan's sister, Stephanie.

She has also appeared in the films Cabin Boy, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Cookie, Mrs. Winterbourne, and Inside Monkey Zetterland. She can often be seen playing small roles in John Waters films, such as Cecil B. Demented, Cry-Baby and Serial Mom; however, she was given the lead in his original Hairspray movie. She has also starred in the television movie Baby Cakes.

Lake made a cameo appearance in the 2007 movie musical Hairspray as a William Morris talent agent and teamed up with star Nikki Blonsky (who plays Tracy in the 2007 remake) and Marissa Jaret Winokur (who played Tracy in the Broadway musical was based on the original 1988 film) to record "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now" for the soundtrack, which is played at the film's end credits. She will reunite with original Hairspray co-star Deborah Harry for the upcoming film Grammercy Park Hotel, set for a 2008 release. In October 2007, Lake appeared in the Lifetime original movie with Holly Robinson Peete titled Matters with Life and Dating.

Current projects

Lake at The Business of Being Born premiere, 2007

According to Broadcasting & Cable magazine Lake was crafting a talk-show comeback, which would have been somewhat similar to The Ricki Lake Show, but more mature. Rumors suggested the new show might have launched as early as September 2006. However, there have been no more developments released publicly on any sort of deal, and Lake wasn't at NATPE 2006, where most new shows are pitched. An associate producer from The Ricki Lake Show stated Sony Pictures Television/Columbia TriStar, the company that syndicated her previous show, was not involved. Sources say other companies, including TelePictures, which syndicated Jenny Jones' show, were in play.

Lake was the host of CBS' Gameshow Marathon, which re-created classic game shows with celebrity contestants.[3] The series premiered on May 31, 2006 and ran through the end of June. She also inked a development deal with Gameshow Marathon production company FremantleMedia for other ventures, including creating and producing future programs and projects.

On March 16, 2007, several sources reported Lake was supposed to a star in a comedy produced by Warner Bros. Television for ABC titled The Middle, which was set to begin in 2007. The show centered on an extended lower-middle-class family in the Midwest; Lake would've played the central character and the narrator of the show, a harried but game mom. Also cast in the pilot is Brenna O'Brien as the family's middle child. ABC had green-lighted the pilot for the fall 2007–2008 TV season, only to pass on the project at first[4] but at the last minute changed its mind in July 2007 and might go forward as a possible midseason replacement.[5] Lake would be replaced by Patricia Heaton in the lead role after ABC announced it had greenlighted the series as a midseason 2009 replacement.[6]

In March 2007, at the World Poker Tournament, when asked, "What's happening currently?", Lake said,

"Now I have a documentary I have been working on for 3 (years) that's coming out in a couple months." "It's about the politics of birth, it's called The Business of Being Born, and it's my first executive producing gig." "It's been my passion for a long time since I had my children. In some ways I feel like it's the best thing I've ever done".[7]

The Business of Being Born, Lake's documentary about home birth and midwifery, was released in limited markets on January 18, 2008.[8] The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and Red Envelope released the film in New York, L.A. and San Francisco in October[9] and it also screened in Australia.[10] The Business of Being Born includes footage and details of her own "life changing" home birthing experience and follows a midwife going about her work. Tribeca called it "The Inconvenient Truth of Childbirth".[10] Lake describes it as her life's work for the last three years, hopes the film educates and empowers people to really know their choices in childbirth.[11]

In 2009, Lake returned to television. Her first project was in a CBS special that aired in January called Loving Leah. On February 5, it was announced that she will replace Sharon Osbourne as host for the third installment of VH1’s Charm School.[12] The new installment began May 11, 2009.[13] In addition to her hosting duties on Charm School, Lake has added author to her list of accomplishments. She wrote a book on the world of natural childbirth and birthing options, along with Abby Epstein and Jacques Moritz, called Your Best Birth, published by Wellness Central on May 1, 2009.[14] Lake and Abby Epstein also launched MyBestBirth.com, an online social network, powered by Ning, that allows parents and medical professionals to dialogue about varying birthing options and resources.

Personal life

Lake met artist/illustrator Rob Sussman at a Halloween party in 1993. The couple married shortly after in Las Vegas.[15] Their two sons are Milo Sebastian Sussman (March 22, 1997) and Owen Tyler Sussman (June 18, 2001).[16] The two divorced in 2003 after ten years of marriage.

In early 2007, Lake pursued a "new routine" resulting in over 125 pounds of weight loss, taking her down to 120 pounds from a high of 260.[17] In November 2007, Lake cited sexual abuse as a child as a reason for her problems with obesity.[18]


Year Film Role Notes
1988 Hairspray Tracy Turnblad
The In Crowd Dancer Uncredited
Working Girl Bridesmaid
1989 Cookie Pia
Last Exit to Brooklyn Donna
1990 Cry-Baby Pepper Walker
1992 Where the Day Takes You Brenda
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Charlotte Uncredited
Inside Monkey Zetterland Bella the Stalker
1993 Skinner Kerry Tate
1994 Cabin Boy Figurehead
Serial Mom Misty Sutphin
1996 Mrs. Winterbourne Connie Doyle/Patricia Winterbourne
2000 Cecil B. Demented Libby
2006 Park Peggy
2007 Hairspray Talent agent
2008 The Business of Being Born
Executive producer
Year Title Role Notes
1987 Kate & Allie Teri 1 episode
1988 ABC Afterschool Special Carmen 1 episode
1989 Babycakes Grace Television movie
Starting Now Ricki Ross Television movie
1989-1990 China Beach Holly Pelegrino 13 episodes
1990 Gravedale High Cleofatra (Voice) Unknown episodes
1991 The Chase Tammie Television movie
Riders in the Sky Broadway Baby 1 episode
1992 Based on an Untrue Story Velour Television movie
1998 Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen Television movie
2000-2001 The King of Queens Stephanie Heffernan 6 episodes
2004 Higglytown Heroes Carpenter Hero 1 episode
2006 King of the Hill Lila (Voice) 1 episode
2007 The Middle Frankie Heck 1 episode
Matters of Life and Dating Linda Television movie
Executive producer
2009 Loving Leah Rabbi Gerry Television movie
Co-executive producer
Charm School with Ricki Lake Head-mistress

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1994 Daytime Emmy Awards Nominated Outstanding Talk Show Host Ricki Lake
1989 Independent Spirit Award Best Female Lead Hairspray


  1. ^ "Ricki Lake Biography". http://www.filmreference.com/film/95/Ricki-Lake.html.  
  2. ^ "Ricki Lake Biography". Yahoo! Movies. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1800073972/bio.  
  3. ^ Amy, Bonawitz (2006-06-15). "Ricki Lake Is Back In The Game". cbsnews.com. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/15/earlyshow/main1717535.shtml. Retrieved 2009-05-15.  
  4. ^ "Ricki Lake Is in The Middle at ABC". http://www.movieweb.com/tv/news/10/18410.php.  
  5. ^ "ABC Keeps Hold on Pilot Pair - Comedies 'Middle,' 'Hill' have options extended". Zap2it. http://www.zap2it.com/tv/news/zap-abcextendscomedyoptions,0,1345687.story?coll=zap-tv-headlines.  
  6. ^ "ABC Puts Patricia Heaton in 'The Middle'". zap2it.com. November 19, 2008. http://www.zap2it.com/tv/news/zap-abcgreenlightsheatonsmiddle,0,1657354.story.  
  7. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRNLTyA5KYY YouTube
  8. ^ "The Business of Being Born (2008) - Movie Details". Yahoo! Movies. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809861551/details.  
  9. ^ "Ricki Lake's The Business of Being Born to Be Released in October". http://www.movieweb.com/news/70/22370.php.  
  10. ^ a b "Benefit Screening: The Business of Being Born". http://www.rickilakedoco.net.  
  11. ^ "Ricki Lake: Ricki Lake On The Business Of Being Born". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ricki-lake/ricki-lake-on-the-bus_b_46002.html.  
  12. ^ "RICKI LAKE IS THE NEW HEADMISTRESS OF VH1'S THIRD INSTALLMENT OF CHARM SCHOOL". Futon Critic. February 5, 2009. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20090205vh101.  
  13. ^ "VH1's Charm School with Ricki Lake". http://www.vh1.com/shows/charm_school/season_3/series.jhtml.  
  14. ^ "Your Best Birth". Hachette Book Group. http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/books_9780446538138.htm.  
  15. ^ Castro, Peter (1994-05-23). "Down the Alleys With...Ricki Lake". People 41 (19). http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20108187,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-14.  
  16. ^ Silverman, Stephen M.. "Lake's Water Baby". people.com. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,622075,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-15.  
  17. ^ "Ricki Lake learned to lose weight the right way - Access Hollywood". MSNBC.com. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18494736/.  
  18. ^ "Ricki Lake blamed sexual abuse for weight issues". http://weightfitnessnews.blogspot.com/2007/11/ricki-lake-blamed-sexual-abuse-for.html.  

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