Marissa Jaret Winokur is the Tony award-winning actress who is best known as Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway musical Hairspray. But, Marissa has also appeared on many television shows and she can now add “Dancing with the Stars” to that list! For Season 6 of “Dancing with the Stars,” Marissa will be paired with Tony Dovolani.
Marissa was born in New York City on February 2, 1973. She was a cheerleader at Fox Lane High School, but she was also a jock – she was the captain of her soccer team. After high school, she graduated from the integrated program at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
She was in the touring production of Grease between 1994 and 1995. In 1995, she played Pink Lady Jan in the Broadway production of Grease. In 2003, Marissa won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Hairspray. She says she still gets weepy when introduced as a “Tony Award winner.”
Marissa has also been featured in many movies including American Beauty, Never Been Kissed, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Scary Movie, and Fever Pitch. As for television, she has appeared on “Felicity,” “Malibu, CA,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “Stacked,” “Boston Public,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Moesha,” and “Dharma & Greg,” and “The Ellen Show.” She has done voiceovers for animated shows including “Higglytown Heroes,” “King of the Hill,” “American Dad,” and “Shrek the Halls.”
Marissa was diagnosed with cervical cancer when Hairspray was in the early development stages. Fearful of being replaced, she told no one about it but her family. She underwent treatment including a hysterectomy and she has made a full recovery.
Marissa has been working on a music album for children. Her version of “Baby Face” was on the soundtrack to the movie Son of the Mask. She also sang the song “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” with Nikki Blonsky and Ricki Lake for the Hairspray soundtrack.