Franklin, Kentucky native Annie Potts attended Stephens College in Missouri where she received a BFA in drama and worked in summer stock theater. She began her professional career with roles on local radio and television programs in the Midwest, beginning her stage career at the Community Theatre of Santa Fe. At the age of 20 she married her college sweetheart Steven Hartley. Only a short time later she and her husband were in a serious automobile accident in New Mexico --- their Volkswagen bus was demolished by two drivers who were drag racing. Steve lost a leg, and Annie had multiple fractures (resulting in a traumatic arthritis that still persists).
Annie came to Hollywood in the early 1970s and continued her theater education at the California Institute of the Arts. Several months later, she appeared in Cymbeline and The Merchant of Venice at the Los Angeles Globe Theatre. In 1976, Annie joined the road company of Charley's Aunt with Vincent Price and Roddy McDowall. When the troupe returned to Los Angeles, McDowall was influential in introducing Potts to casting directors and her career took off.
Early roles were primarily in television, such as Black Market Baby in 1977, but her presence moved up with an appearance in the megahit Ghostbusters in 1984 and a seven-year stint as Mary Jo Shively on the wildly popular Designing Women. Other television credits include her role as gourmet chef Dana Palladino on the comedy series Love & War --- for which she received an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, tough Marine-turned-inner-city teacher Louanne Johnson on ABC's highly acclaimed dramatic series Dangerous Minds, and a starring role opposite Tim Curry in the very short-lived sitcom for ABC called Over the Top.
Another smash hit series, the Lifetime Television original Any Day Now, starred Annie as Mary Elizabeth, a married homemaker, and Lorraine Toussaint (Leaving LA) as Rene, a single and highly successful attorney. The series dealt with the timeless issues of friendship, race, family, and social injustice by connecting two time periods, 1963 and 1998. The episodes wove parallel story lines using occasional flashbacks to the friendship of the women as two little girls, one black and one white, best friends living in the South during the civil rights movement. Any Day Now chronicled moments in civil rights history, and presented the turbulent '60's through the eyes of these girls and through their lives in the world today.
In addition to Ghostbusters, Annie has appeared on the big screen in King of the Gypsies, Corvette Summer, Crimes of Passion, Pretty in Pink, Pass the Ammo, Ghostbusters II, Breaking the Rules, Texasville, and Who's Harry Crumb? Ms. Potts also supplied the voice of Little Bo Peep lamp in Disney's popular Toy Story movies.
Ms. Potts received a Genie Award --- the Canadian equivalent of an Academy Award --- for best performance by a foreign actress for her starring role in the comedy film Heartaches. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her feature debut role in Corvette Summer.
For LIFETIME, Annie starred in the telefilm, Defending Our Kids: The Julie Posey Story, based on the true story of a mother's crusade to save teenagers from Internet predators. In 2004, Annie also joined the cast of the hit CBS series Joan of Arcadia, and she continues to make key guest appearances in episodic television.
Outside of her busy career, she makes time for her family in Los Angeles --- her husband, producer/director James Hayman, and their three sons, Clay, "Doc" and Harry.
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