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Wendie Jo Sperber

Mostly Credited As: Wendie Jo Sperber
Birth Name: Wendie Jo Sperber
Date Of Birth: September 15, 1958 (Age 47)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Hollywood, California
Date Of Death: November 29, 2005
Cause Of Death: Breast Cancer (Sherman Oaks, California)

Wendie Jo Sperber


Though she was known for draw laughs as whiny, excitable characters throughout her raucous film and TV career in the late 70s, 80s and 90s, actress/comedienne Wendie Jo Sperber showed a brave, compassionate and inspired human side in the last years of her life that, in the end, outweighed most of her professional work. The Los Angeles-born character performer developed a driving passion for acting in her teen years. She went on to attend the Summer Drama Workshop at California State University, Northridge. Producer Allan Carr discovered this comic bundle when she invited him to see her in an L.A. stage review. He gave her an unbilled part in the John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John smash musical Grease (1978) and she was off and running. Other films quickly fell into place, notably I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) as a no-holds-barred Beatles fanatic, and the role of Linda McFly in Back to the Future (1985) and one of its sequels. Other films included Corvette Summer (1978), Steven Spielberg's 1941 (1979) and Bachelor Party (1984) starring Tom Hanks. Often some of her tongue-in-cheek film roles were beneath her, particularly when they used her 200+ poundage as the butt of a cruel joke, but the actress proved game anyway in such lowbrow, youth-oriented comedies as Moving Violations (1985) and Stewardess School (1986).

It was with a then somewhat unknown Hanks and Peter Scolari that she earned her biggest laughs during the two-year run of the sitcom "Bosom Buddies" (1980), which launched a number of inferior drag film/TV imitations. She also had series co-leads in _"Private Benjamin" (1982)_ (gv), "Women in Prison" (1987), the plus-sized "Babes" (1990) and "Hearts Afire" (1992). In between were roles on the L.A. stage, including "Pizza Man," "Isn't It Romantic," "Reality and Other Nightmares" and Shakespeare's "As You Like It" starring Ron Silver.

At age 39, Wendie was diagnosed with breast cancer. While her career momentum was certainly damaged, the comedienne continued to pursue roles. She even appeared on a poignant breast cancer episode of "Murphy Brown." She had a remission at one point but the cancer returned in 2002 with a vengeance and spread throughout her body. Refusing to give in, Wendie instead reached out and founded weSPARK Cancer Support Center in Sherman Oaks, California, in which free services, including support groups, information on the latest research and classes, provided invaluable aid to cancer patients, their families and friends. Her selfless determination throughout her illness to help others did not go unnoticed and she earned her several honors. Eight years later, on November 29, 2005, Wendie lost her battle. She was survived by her parents and two children from a former marriage.

TV Appearances

Main cast 
Hearts Afire (1992)As: Mavis Davis (S01)
Babes (1990)As: Charlene Gilbert
Women in Prison (1987)As: Pam
Private Benjamin (1981)As: Pvt. Kouchalakas (S03)
Bosom Buddies (1980)As: Amy Cassidy
Episode Cast Credits 

American Dad! (2005) 
  Roger 'n Me 01x20: (Apr/23/2006) Voiced  Herself (Best Buddiez Host) 

8 Simple Rules (2002) 
  The Teachers Lounge 03x22: (Apr/01/2005) As Mrs. Wells 
  Premiere 02x01: (Sep/23/2003) As Louise 
  Career Woman 01x23: (Mar/28/2003) As Rachel 
  Kerry's Big Adventure 01x15: (Jan/21/2003) As Christina's Mom 

Touched by an Angel (1994) 
  And A Nightingale Sang 09x14: (Feb/08/2003) As Tricia 

JAG (1995) 
  Standards of Conduct 08x13: (Jan/21/2003) As Landlady 

Home Improvement (1991) 
  The Long And Winding Road (1) 08x25: (May/18/1999) As Sue 

Will & Grace (1998) 
  My Fair Maid-y 01x12: (Feb/02/1999) As April 

Married ... with Children (1987) 
  I Who Have Nothing 06x13: (Dec/22/1991) As Sandy 

Marblehead Manor (1987) 
  Madame Butterfat 01x03: (Oct/03/1987) As Madame 

Brothers (US) (1984) 
  Life's Too Short to be Delicate 02x04: (May/16/1985) As Connie Pappola 

Knots Landing (1979) 
  Step One (a.k.a.) Husbands and Lovers 02x06: (Jan/01/1981) As Ellie 

The Stockard Channing Show (1980) 
  A No. 3 with Sprouts to Go, Hold the Ptomaine 01x04: (Apr/14/1980) As Wendy Simon 
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