As Good as It Gets

As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by James L. Brooks. The movie stars Jack Nicholson as a misanthropic and obsessive-compulsive novelist, Helen Hunt as a single mother with a chronically ill son, and Greg Kinnear as a gay artist. The screenplay was written by Mark Andrus and Brooks. The paintings were created for the film by New York artist Billy Sullivan.[2]

Nicholson and Hunt won the Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, making As Good As It Gets the most recent film to win both of the lead acting awards, and the first since 1991's The Silence of the Lambs. It is ranked 140th on Empire magazine's "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time" list.[3]

As Good as It Gets
As good as it gets
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames L. Brooks
Produced by
  • James L. Brooks
  • Bridget Johnson
  • Kristi Zea
Screenplay by
Story byMark Andrus
Starring
Music byHans Zimmer
CinematographyJohn Bailey
Edited byRichard Marks
Production
company
Distributed byTriStar Pictures
Release date
  • December 23, 1997
Running time
139 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$50 million[1]
Box office$314.1 million[1]

Plot

Melvin Udall is a misanthrope who works at home as a best-selling novelist in New York City. He has obsessive–compulsive disorder which, paired with his misanthropy, alienates nearly everyone with whom he interacts. He avoids stepping on sidewalk cracks while walking through the city due to a superstition of bad luck, and eats breakfast at the same table in the same restaurant every day using disposable plastic utensils he brings with him due to his pathological fear of germs. He takes an interest in his waitress, Carol Connelly, the only server at the restaurant who can tolerate his behavior.

One day, Melvin's apartment neighbor, a gay artist named Simon Bishop, is assaulted and nearly killed during a robbery. Melvin is intimidated by Simon's agent, Frank Sachs, into caring for Simon's dog, Verdell, while Simon is hospitalized. Although he initially does not enjoy caring for the dog, Melvin becomes emotionally attached to it. He simultaneously receives more attention from Carol. When Simon is released from the hospital, Melvin is unable to cope emotionally with returning the dog. Melvin's life is further altered when Carol decides to work closer to her home in Brooklyn so she can care for her acutely asthmatic son Spencer ("Spence"). Unable to adjust to another waitress, Melvin arranges through his publisher, whose husband is a doctor, to pay for her son's considerable medical expenses as long as Carol agrees to return to work. She is overwhelmed at his generosity.

Meanwhile, Simon's assault and rehabilitation, coupled with Verdell's preference for Melvin, causes Simon to lose his creative muse. Simon is approaching bankruptcy due to his medical bills. Frank persuades him to go to Baltimore to ask his estranged parents for money. Because Frank is too busy to take the injured Simon to Baltimore himself, Melvin reluctantly agrees to do so; Frank lends Melvin the use of his Saab 900 convertible for the trip. Melvin invites Carol to accompany them on the trip to lessen the awkwardness. She reluctantly accepts the invitation, and relationships among the three develop.

Once in Baltimore, Carol persuades Melvin to take her out to have dinner. Melvin's comments during the dinner greatly flatter—and subsequently upset—Carol, and she abruptly leaves. Upon seeing the frustrated Carol, Simon begins to sketch her semi-nude in his hotel room and rekindles his creativity, once more feeling a desire to paint. He briefly reconnects with his parents, but is able to tell them that he'll be fine.

After returning to New York, Carol tells Melvin that she does not want him in her life anymore. She later regrets her statement and calls to apologize. The relationship between Melvin and Carol remains complicated until Simon (whom Melvin has allowed to move in with him as he had to sell his apartment) persuades Melvin to declare his love for her. Melvin goes to see Carol, who is hesitant, but agrees to try and establish a relationship with him. The film ends with Melvin and Carol walking together. As he opens the door at an early morning pastry shop for Carol, he realizes that he has stepped on a crack in the pavement, but doesn't seem to mind.

Cast

Production

In 1996, James L. Brooks flew Geoffrey Rush from Sydney to Los Angeles to audition for the part of Simon Bishop, and offered him the role, but Rush declined it.[4]

Soundtrack

As Good as It Gets
Soundtrack album by
Hans Zimmer and various artists
ReleasedJanuary 13, 1998
LabelSony Records

The soundtrack features instrumental pieces composed by Hans Zimmer and songs by various artists. Zimmer's work was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score – Musical or Comedy.

Release

Box office

As Good as It Gets was also a box office hit, opening at number three at the box office (behind Titanic and Tomorrow Never Dies) with $12.6 million,[5] and eventually earning over $148 million domestically and $314 million worldwide.[1] It is Jack Nicholson's second highest earning film, behind Batman.[6]

Critical reception

Chicago Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote that what director James Brooks "Manages to do with (the characters) as they struggle mightily to connect with one another is funny, painful, beautiful, and basically truthful—a triumph for everyone involved."[7]

Praise for the film was not uniform among critics. While Roger Ebert gave the film three stars (out of four), he called the film a "compromise, a film that forces a smile onto material that doesn't wear one easily," writing that the film drew "back to story formulas," but had good dialogue and performances.[8] The Washington Post critic Desson Howe gave a generally negative review of the film, writing that it "gets bogged down in sentimentality, while its wheels spin futilely in life-solving overdrive."[9]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 85% of professional critics gave the film a positive review based on 78 reviews.[10] Metacritic, a web site that evaluates films by averaging their overall critical response, gave the film a score of 67 out of 100, based on reviews from 30 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews.[11]

Accolades

The film was nominated for and received many film awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture[12] and a Golden Globe award for Best Picture-Music or Comedy.

Organization Category Recipients Result
Academy Awards[12] Best Actor in a Leading Role Jack Nicholson Won
Best Actress in a Leading Role Helen Hunt Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Greg Kinnear Nominated
Best Editing Richard Marks Nominated
Best Picture James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea Nominated
Best Original Score – Musical or Comedy Hans Zimmer Nominated
Best Screenplay – Original Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks Nominated
ALMA Awards Outstanding Actress in a Film Lupe Ontiveros Nominated
Czech Lion Awards Best Foreign Language Film James L. Brooks Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Film – Wide Release Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Jack Nicholson Won
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Helen Hunt Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Greg Kinnear Nominated
Best Director James L. Brooks Nominated
Best Film – Musical or Comedy Won
Best Screenplay Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Performance – Female Helen Hunt Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Jack Nicholson Won
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Helen Hunt Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical or Comedy Cuba Gooding Jr. Nominated
Greg Kinnear Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Musical or Comedy Shirley Knight Nominated
Best Film – Musical or Comedy James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea Won
List of awards from guilds
Guild Category Recipients Result
American Cinema Editors Best Edited Film Richard Marks Nominated
Casting Society of America Best Casting – Comedy Film Francine Maisler Nominated
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directing – Motion Pictures James L. Brooks Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors Best Sound Editing – Music (Domestic and Foreign) Nominated
Producers Guild of America Motion Picture Producer of the Year James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson and Kristi Zea Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role Jack Nicholson Won
Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role Greg Kinnear Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role Helen Hunt Won
Writers Guild of America Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks Won

References

  1. ^ a b c "Box office statistics for As Good As It Gets (1997)" Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  2. ^ "As Good As It Gets (1997) - James L. Brooks - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie".
  3. ^ "Empire Features". Empire. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  4. ^ Douglas Aiton, "10 Things You Didn't Know About Geoffrey Rush", Weekend Australian Magazine, 4–5 September 2004, p. 12
  5. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for December 26–28, 1997". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  6. ^ "Batman (1989)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on June 11, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  7. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (December 22, 1997). "As Good as It Gets". Chicago Reader. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 22, 1997). "As Good as It Gets". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Howe, Desson (December 23, 1997). "'As Good as It Gets': Saving the Worst for Last". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  10. ^ "As Good as It Gets". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "As Good as It Gets". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "'Titanic' cruises into Oscars lead". CNN. Time Warner. February 10, 1998. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013.

External links

Awards
Preceded by
The Silence of the Lambs
Academy Award winner for Best Actor and Best Actress Succeeded by
No film has achieved this since
2nd Golden Satellite Awards

The 2nd Golden Satellite Awards, given on February 22, 1998, honored the best in film and television of 1997.

55th Golden Globe Awards

The 55th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and television for 1997, were held on January 18, 1998. The nominations were announced on December 18, 1997.

70th Academy Awards

The 70th Academy Awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), took place on March 23, 1998, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles beginning at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST. During the show, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories honoring films released in 1997. The ceremony, which was televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Gil Cates and directed by Louis J. Horvitz. Actor Billy Crystal hosted the show for the sixth time. He first presided over the 62nd ceremony held in 1990, and he had hosted the previous year's gala. Nearly a month earlier in an event held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on February 28, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Ashley Judd.

Best Supporting Actress nominee Gloria Stuart was born in 1910, which made her the last female acting nominee to be born in the 1910's.

Titanic won a record-tying eleven awards including Best Director for James Cameron and Best Picture. Other winners included As Good as It Gets, Good Will Hunting and L.A. Confidential with two awards, and The Full Monty, Geri's Game, Karakter, The Long Way Home, Visas and Virtue, Men in Black and A Story of Healing with one. The telecast garnered more than 57 million viewers in the United States, making it the most watched Oscars broadcast in history.

Communicate (The Feelers album)

Communicate, released on 12 October 2001, is the second album by New Zealand rock band The Feelers. Singles include "Communicate", "As Good As It Gets", "Astronaut", "Fishing for Lisa", "The Web" and "Anniversary". It has sold over twice platinum on the New Zealand music charts.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Cuba Michael Gooding Jr. (born January 2, 1968) is an American actor and comedian. After his breakthrough role as Tre Styles in Boyz n the Hood (1991), he appeared in A Few Good Men (1992), The Tuskegee Airmen (1995), Outbreak (1995), and Jerry Maguire (1996), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He gained later attention for his roles in Men of Honor (2000) as Carl Brashear, and in Michael Bay's WWII epic Pearl Harbor (2001) as Doris Miller. His other notable films include As Good as It Gets (1997), the ensemble farce Rat Race (2001), American Gangster (2007), Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013), and Selma (2014), playing civil rights attorney Fred Gray. In 2016, he portrayed O.J. Simpson in the FX drama series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and co-starred in the sixth season of the FX anthology series American Horror Story, subtitled Roanoke.

Deniece Williams

Deniece Williams (born June Deniece Chandler; June 3, 1951) is an American singer, songwriter and producer. Williams has been described as "one of the great soul voices" by the BBC. Williams has won four Grammys with twelve nominations altogether.

Greg Kinnear

Gregory Buck Kinnear (born June 17, 1963) is an American actor and television personality. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in As Good as It Gets.

Kinnear has appeared in many popular films, including Heaven Is for Real, Sabrina, You've Got Mail, Nurse Betty, We Were Soldiers, Stuck on You, Little Miss Sunshine, Someone like You, Robots, Invincible, Green Zone, The Last Song and television roles, such as Friends, Talk Soup, The Kennedys, Modern Family and Rake.

Helen Hunt

Helen Elizabeth Hunt (born June 15, 1963) is an American actress, director, and screenwriter. She is best known for starring as Jamie Buchman in the sitcom Mad About You (1992–1999), for which she won four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and for starring as Carol Connelly in the romantic comedy film As Good as It Gets (1997), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Hunt's other notable films include Twister (1996), Cast Away (2000), What Women Want (2000), Pay It Forward (2000), and The Sessions (2012). Hunt's performance in The Sessions garnered her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She made her directorial debut with the comedy-drama film Then She Found Me (2007). Hunt has also won four Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Jack Nicholson

John Joseph Nicholson (born April 22, 1937) is an American actor and filmmaker who has performed for over sixty years. He is known for playing a wide range of starring or supporting roles, including satirical comedy, romance, and dark portrayals of anti-heroes and villainous characters. In many of his films, he has played the "eternal outsider, the sardonic drifter", someone who rebels against the social structure.His most known and celebrated films include the road drama Easy Rider (1969); the dramas Five Easy Pieces (1970) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975); the comedy-dramas The Last Detail (1973), Terms of Endearment (1983), As Good as It Gets (1997), About Schmidt (2002), and The Bucket List (2007); the neo-noir mystery Chinatown (1974); the horror film The Shining (1980); the biopic Reds (1981); the fantasy comedy The Witches of Eastwick (1987); the superhero film Batman (1989) as the Joker; the legal drama A Few Good Men (1992); the romantic horror film Wolf (1994); the science fiction comedy Mars Attacks! (1996); the comedy Anger Management (2003); the romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give (2003); and the crime drama The Departed (2006). Nicholson has not acted in a film since How Do You Know in 2010, but does not consider himself to be retired. He has also directed three films, including The Two Jakes (1990), the sequel to Chinatown.

Nicholson's 12 Academy Award nominations make him the most nominated male actor in the Academy's history. Nicholson has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice – one for the drama One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and the other for the romantic comedy As Good as It Gets (1997). He also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the comedy-drama Terms of Endearment (1983). Nicholson is one of three male actors to win three Academy Awards. Nicholson is one of only two actors to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s; the other is Michael Caine. He has won six Golden Globe Awards, and received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2001. In 1994, at 57, he became one of the youngest actors to be awarded the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award.

He has had a number of high-profile relationships, most notably with Anjelica Huston and Rebecca Broussard, and was married to Sandra Knight from 1962 until their divorce in 1968. Nicholson has five children – one with Knight, two with Broussard (including Lorraine Nicholson), and one each with Susan Anspach and Winnie Hollman.

James L. Brooks

James Lawrence Brooks (born May 9, 1940) is an American director, producer and screenwriter. While growing up in North Bergen, New Jersey, Brooks endured a fractured family life and passed the time by reading and writing. After dropping out of New York University, he got a job as an usher at CBS, going on to write for the CBS News broadcasts. He moved to Los Angeles in 1965 to work on David L. Wolper's documentaries. After being laid off he met producer Allan Burns who secured him a job as a writer on the series My Mother the Car.

Brooks wrote for several shows before being hired as a story editor on My Friend Tony and later created the series Room 222. Grant Tinker hired Brooks and Burns at MTM Productions to create The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970. The show, one of the first to feature an independent working woman as its lead character, was critically acclaimed and won Brooks several Primetime Emmy Awards. Brooks and Burns then created two successful spin-offs from Mary Tyler Moore in the shape of Rhoda (a comedy) and Lou Grant (a drama). Brooks left MTM Productions in 1978 to co-create the sitcom Taxi which, despite winning multiple Emmys, suffered from low ratings and was canceled twice.

Brooks moved into feature film work when he wrote and co-produced the 1979 film Starting Over. His next project was the critically acclaimed film Terms of Endearment, which he produced, directed and wrote, winning an Academy Award for all three roles. Basing his next film, Broadcast News, on his journalistic experiences, the film earned him a further two Academy Award nominations. Although his 1994 work I'll Do Anything was hampered by negative press attention due to the cutting of all of its recorded musical numbers, As Good as It Gets (co-written with Mark Andrus) earned further praise. It was seven years until his next film, 2004's Spanglish. His sixth film, How Do You Know, was released in 2010. Brooks also produced and mentored Cameron Crowe on Say Anything... (1989) and Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson on Bottle Rocket (1996).

In 1984, Brooks founded the television and film company, Gracie Films. Although he did not intend to do so, Brooks returned to television in 1987 as the producer of The Tracey Ullman Show. He hired cartoonist Matt Groening to create a series of shorts for the show, which eventually led to The Simpsons in 1989. The Simpsons won numerous awards and is still running. Brooks also co-produced and co-wrote the 2007 film adaptation of the show, The Simpsons Movie. In total, Brooks has received 47 Emmy nominations, winning 20 of them.

Laurence Mark

Laurence Mark (born ca. 1949) is an American producer of films such as Julie & Julia, Dreamgirls, I, Robot, As Good as It Gets and Jerry Maguire.

List of 1998 box office number-one films in Australia

This is a list of films which placed number-one at the weekend box office in Australia during 1998. Amounts are in Australian dollars.

(N.B.: Seemingly improper dates are due to holiday weekends or other occasions. N/A denotes information that is not available from Urban Cinefile nor Movie Marshal.)

Mark Andrus

Mark Andrus, born December 13, 1955 in Los Angeles, is an American screenwriter.After receiving a Master of Business Administration from UC Riverside, Andrus decided to take a creative writing class while waiting to hear from the law schools to which he had applied. Impressed by his work, instructor Tomás Rivera encouraged him to enroll in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California. Andrus later joined Castle Rock Entertainment, where he received his first screen credit for the 1991 romantic fantasy Late for Dinner.

Shortly after, Andrus wrote Old Friends, a screenplay about the vilest man in New York City and his gay neighbor. Initially Kevin Kline, Ralph Fiennes, Holly Hunter, and producer Laura Ziskin expressed interest, but after a lot of meetings the project fell into limbo for three years until James L. Brooks became involved. The two collaborated on a rewrite that became As Good as It Gets, which won the duo the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay. The two also shared nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay.

Andrus also wrote the original scripts Life as a House and Georgia Rule, which won him and director Garry Marshall the Entertainment Industries Council PRISM Award for Best Feature Film, and the adaptation of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Andrus lives in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Mrs Brown

Mrs Brown (also theatrically released as Her Majesty, Mrs Brown) is a 1997 British drama film starring Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer, Antony Sher, and Gerard Butler in his film debut. It was written by Jeremy Brock and directed by John Madden. The film was produced by the BBC and Ecosse Films with the intention of being shown on BBC One and on WGBH's Masterpiece Theatre. However, it was acquired by Miramax and released to unexpected success, going on to earn $9 million worldwide.

The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and released in the United Kingdom on 5 September 1997. Dench was nominated for many awards for her performance, including the Academy Award for Best Actress, but lost to Helen Hunt for her role in As Good as It Gets.

National Board of Review Awards 1997

The 69th National Board of Review Awards, honoring the best in filmmaking in 1997, were announced on 9 December 1997 and given on 9 February 1998.

Richard Sakai

Richard Sakai (born January 28, 1954) is an American television and film producer. He is best known for his work on the animated sitcom The Simpsons, for which he is one of the original producers. In 1997, Sakai was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture for his work on the film Jerry Maguire (1996).Sakai began his career as an assistant to James L. Brooks in 1977. In 1984, Brooks invited Sakai to become a producer in his new film production company, Gracie Films. Sakai ultimately produced many of Brooks' films, such as Jerry Maguire, As Good as It Gets (1997), and Spanglish (2004). Sakai also produced Bottle Rocket (1996) and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001). Additionally, he was a producer for The Simpsons Movie (2007).

As a television producer and director, Sakai has worked on many different shows. He has directed episodes of Taxi, Newhart, and Who's the Boss?. He has also produced episodes of The Tracey Ullman Show, The Critic, Phenom, and What About Joan? in addition to his work on The Simpsons, for which he has won several Emmy Awards.

On The Simpsons, Sakai has been animated several times, most notably as: a karaoke singer in the episode "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish"; an escaping prisoner in a commercial about "revolving door prisons" in "Sideshow Bob Roberts"; and a jazz vibraphone player in "Jazzy and the Pussycats".

Sakai is currently president of Gracie Films.

Shirley Knight

Shirley Knight Hopkins (born July 5, 1936) is an American actress who has appeared in more than 50 feature films, made-for-television movies, television series, and Broadway and Off-Broadway productions in her career playing leading and character roles. She is a member of the Actors Studio.

Knight has been nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962). In the 1960s, she had leading roles in a number of Hollywood movies such as The Couch (1962), House of Women (1962), The Group (1966), The Counterfeit Killer (1968), and The Rain People (1969). She also received Volpi Cup for Best Actress for her role in the British film Dutchman (1966).

In 1976 Knight won a Tony Award for her performance in Kennedy's Children. In later years, she played supporting roles in many films, include Endless Love (1981), As Good as It Gets (1997), Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002), and Grandma's Boy (2006). For her performances on television, Knight eight times was nominated for Primetime Emmy Award (winning three), and has also received a Golden Globe Award.

Writers Guild of America Awards 1997

The 50th Writers Guild of America Awards, given on 21 February 1998, honored the best writers in film and television of 1997.

Yeardley Smith

Martha Maria Yeardley Smith ( YARD-lee; born July 3, 1964) is an American actress, voice actress, writer and artist, best known for her long-running role as Lisa Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons.

She was born in Paris on July 3, 1964 and moved with her family to Washington, D.C., in 1966. As a child, Smith was often teased because of her voice. She became a professional actress in 1982 after graduating from drama school and moved to New York City in 1984, where she appeared in the Broadway production of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing. She made her film debut in 1985's Heaven Help Us, followed by roles in The Legend of Billie Jean and Maximum Overdrive. She moved to Los Angeles in 1986 and received a recurring role in the television series Brothers. In 1987, she auditioned for a role in a series of animated shorts about the Simpson family on The Tracey Ullman Show. Smith intended to audition for the role of Bart Simpson, but the casting director felt her voice was too high, so she was assigned the role of Lisa, instead. She voiced Lisa for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, and in 1989, the shorts were spun off into their own half-hour show, The Simpsons. For her work as the character, Smith received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992.

Alongside The Simpsons, Smith appeared in the sitcom Herman's Head as Louise, and had recurring appearances as Marlene on Dharma & Greg and Penny in two episodes of Dead Like Me. She has appeared in several films, including City Slickers, Just Write, Toys and As Good as It Gets. In 2004, Smith performed her own off-Broadway one-woman show entitled More at the Union Square Theatre in New York City. Aside from The Simpsons, Smith has recorded few voice-over parts, only commercials and the film We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. Smith starred in and served as executive producer for the independent romantic comedy Waiting For Ophelia, which had its world premiere at the Phoenix Film Festival in April 2009.

Smith was married to actor Christopher Grove from 1990 to 1992 and Daniel Erickson from 2002 to 2008. She enjoys writing and painting. During the first season of Herman's Head, Smith taught herself to paint by copying other artists. She released a children's book titled I, Lorelei in 2009 and her story "The Race" was included in the book Just Humor Me.

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