Kathleen Erin "Kate" Walsh (born October 13, 1967) is an Italian-American film and television actress, currently known for her role as Dr. Addison Montgomery on the ABC dramas Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.
Walsh was born in San Jose, California, the daughter of Angela C. (née Bochetto) and Joseph P. Walsh. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona. She is Italian as well since her mother is Italian. Her mother lives in Nevada and Walsh has four older siblings. She has two sisters and two brothers, Sean and Joe, who are film-makers. Walsh graduated from Catalina Magnet High School and later studied at the University of Arizona for a while, where she got involved in regional theater. She now lives in Los Angeles. She was raised Roman Catholic.
Before modelling, Walsh worked at Burger King and Dairy Queen. She began as a model in Japan in the 1980s where she also taught English. Later she moved to Chicago and worked with the Piven Theatre Workshop. She also performed on National Public Radio in the production of the radio play Born Guilty. Walsh later moved to New York City and joined the comedy troupe Burn Manhattan on June 27, 1987, performing in a number of Off-Broadway plays.
After playing Cathy Buxton in the "Stakeout" episode of Homicide: Life on the Street in 1996, her first major television appearance was in 1997, when she appeared on The Drew Carey Show as Carey's character's girlfriend Nicki. She wore a fatsuit in some episodes of the show, as the Nicki character was a formerly obese woman who lost weight and slowly started to gain it back. She went on to portray Carol Nelson in HBO's The Mind of the Married Man television series, and played Norm Macdonald's romantic interest in the sitcom The Norm Show. Walsh also made a guest appearance on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as Mimosa, a transsexual. She sometimes appeared in sketches on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. She had a recurring role on Karen Sisco as Detective Marley Novak in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, she was cast in the ABC series, Grey's Anatomy, as Dr. Addison Montgomery, the estranged spouse of Derek Shepherd ("Dr. McDreamy", played by Patrick Dempsey).
It was announced in February 2007 that Walsh's Grey's Anatomy character Addison would be in a spin-off of Grey's Anatomy that began airing in September 2007. Taye Diggs, Tim Daly, Amy Brenneman, Chris Lowell and Audra McDonald have been cast in the spin-off, which has been given the name Private Practice. Walsh returned to Seattle Grace as a guest star for episode thirteen in Season 4 and episodes 15 and 16 in Season 5 of Grey's Anatomy. She also briefly returned for an episode of the sixth season of Grey's Anatomy to help Mark Sloan with his newfound daughter, who is pregnant. Later in season 7 she returned to operate on Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) because she had been in a car crash and needed an emergency c-section. Also she returned in the eighth season in the episode If/then.
She is currently playing the character of Addison Montgomery in the fourth season of Private Practice, for which ABC has ordered a full season of episodes. On January 10, 2011 ABC picked up "Private Practice" for the 2011–2012 fall season (5th season). Walsh guest-starred in the musical episode of Grey's Anatomy, season 7 episode 18, "Song Beneath The Song".
Beginning in September 2007, Walsh has appeared in television commercials for the 2008 Cadillac CTS. She is also the current spokeswoman for Caress' Exotic Oil Infusions body wash.
The crime drama Normal Life marked her film debut; she played the sister of a bank robber played by Luke Perry. She portrayed a kleptomaniac in the film Peppermills. Walsh also appeared in the cult movie, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part 2. She had her first significant role in a major Hollywood production as Will Ferrell's wife in the family comedy, Kicking & Screaming, alongside Robert Duvall and Mike Ditka. Walsh has also appeared in several other films with Ferrell, including Bewitched (also with Nicole Kidman) and an "alternate film" to Anchorman titled, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie.
In 2003, Walsh appeared in Under the Tuscan Sun, with Diane Lane and Sandra Oh. She played the partner of Sandra Oh's character. Regarding her various lesbian roles, Walsh said: "Do I give off a girl-on-girl vibe, I wonder? Or is it because I’m tall? I guess the chicks just dig me!"
Walsh was also set to star opposite John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in the supernatural thriller 1408, but she had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Walsh starred alongside Dennis Quaid and Paul Bettany in the biblical horror film Legion, that was released on January 22, 2010. On May 9, 2011, she announced, via her Twitter, that she had begun filming The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
In May 2010, Walsh made her off-Broadway debut opposite Paul Sparks in Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Stephen Belber's Dusk Rings a Bell. The new play began previews on May 19 and opened May 27 at Atlantic Stage 2 and played through June 26. The New York Times called it "a sublime, beautifully acted drama."
She also had a long theater career in Chicago, which included roles in Happy Birthday Wanda June, The Danube, Moon Under Miami and Troilus and Cressida.
In New York, Walsh was a member of the improvisational comedy troupe Burn Manhattan and the New York City Players theater ensemble.
Kate Walsh founded Boyfriend LLC, a beauty and lifestyle company in 2010. The company launched its first product in November 2010: a perfume called "Boyfriend". HSN, a leading multichannel retailer, and Walsh partnered to launch the "Boyfriend" fragrance with live appearances by the actress/entrepreneur on HSN, November 11 and 12. Walsh's fragrance train case, including Boyfriend eau de perfume, pulse point oil and votive candles, sold out on day one exceeding sales expectations.
Leading up to the launch of Boyfriend, Walsh released 8 webimercials written and directed by the actress herself, relaying the sentiments the Boyfriend scent was developed to evoke. Launched via various social media channels, including Twitter, YouTube and select blogs, the Boyfriend webimercials have been viewed more than 200,000 times to date and were released by Walsh prior to her appearance on HSN to drive excitement and anticipation.
Walsh married movie executive Alex Young on September 1, 2007. They were married in the Ojai Presbyterian Church in Ojai, north of Los Angeles. On December 11, 2008, it was announced that Young filed for divorce after 15 months of marriage. On December 24, 2008, Walsh counterfiled for divorce, contesting the date of separation listed in Young's divorce papers. The divorce was finalized February 5, 2010.
In September 2009, Walsh launched her official website.
Social and political activism
Since the summer of 2007, Walsh has been the spokesperson for Narcolepsy Network, working to promote national awareness of narcolepsy through infomercials and DVDs.
In January 2008, Walsh participated in a video for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called, "Yes We Can", produced by will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas. She also campaigned for Obama in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
In July 2008, Walsh was nominated as a candidate on the Unite for Strength slate for a place on the national governing board of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in elections scheduled for 18 September 2008. On September 18, 2008, Walsh was elected to serve on the SAG board for a three year term. Walsh ran as a candidate with the Unite for Strength party who won 6 of the 11 Hollywood Division seats which were up for contention in the recent Screen Actor's Guild National Board elections.
Walsh supports pet adoption and frequently campaigns for the cause. On February 7, 2008, she cut the ribbon to a new dog adoption center named Pedigree(R) Dogstore in Times Square.
In 2005, Walsh joined the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)'s Board of Advocates, and in 2008 received the PPFA Maggie Award for an Artist who Stands Up for Reproductive Health and Freedom. Kate has participated in numerous Planned Parenthood activities, including national fundraisers, local Planned Parenthood affiliate events, the PPFA Awards Gala, and lobby day on Capitol Hill promoting the need for comprehensive sex education. In January 2009, Kate spoke at the Planned Parenthood Presidential Inauguration Brunch in Washington, DC.
As announced in late 2009, Walsh partnered with the ocean conservancy and advocacy group Oceana to call for increased sea turtle protections. She joined experts from the group on a trip to the Virgin Islands to witness the turtles' hatching and moving to the sea. In her own words: "I want to get the word out and make people aware about the challenges facing sea turtles. I also want to help get legislation enacted to keep harmful fishing techniques to a minimum and help protect the sea turtles."
Walsh referenced Oceana during a September 16, 2010 appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She told Leno that her dress was covered in sushi and sashimi as an homage to a dress made of beef worn by Lady Gaga at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. While she claimed it was sustainable seafood, Walsh later admitted via her twitter account that the sushi was fake.
She recently attended a meeting on Capitol Hill in which they marked the one year anniversary since the BP oil spill.