Brett Butler Biography (Personal Life, Career)

Brett Butler is an American actress and stand up comedian best known for her role as Grace Kelly in the hit comedy Grace Under Fire. The early years were not gentle with her, but with her talent and passion for comedy, she became a very popular and appreciated stand up comedienne.

Personal Life

She was born Brett Anderson, on January 30, 1958 in Montgomery, Alabama being the oldest of five sisters. Brett’s childhood wasn’t easy due to her parent’s relationship. Her mother left her father after reportedly suffering years of abuse. She later remarried and Brett took her stepfather’s last name, Butler. But this marriage wasn’t a happy one either; her mother divorced her second husband and stared raising her five daughters on her own.

At age 20, soon-to-be stand up comedienne Brett Butler started a marriage of her own with Charles Wilson, but he didn’t have much luck. Like her mother, she found herself in an abusive relationship, but found the courage to leave, in 1981, and move with her mother in Houston where she got a job as a waitress. Stand up comedienne Brett Butler remarried in 1987 with Ken Zieger, just as her career started rising, but he divorced again in 1999.

Brett Butler has always been open about her struggles with alcoholism and marijuana abuse, which originated prior to her television show. During Grace Under Fire she became addicted to prescription painkillers and went into rehab to try to address the problem.

Shortly after Brett Butler and her mother moved to Houston, the stand up comedienne started a waitress job. Sassy and smart, she soon became known for her sharp remarks to her customers. With some encouragement, she tried stand-up comedy. It wasn’t long before Butler was performing in clubs around the South.

Whit a promising career in stand up comedy, Brett Butler moved to New York in order to take her career to higher level. There, she made her first notable appearances on Dolly Parton's ill-fated 1987 variety series, Dolly. Parton subsequently hired Butler as a writer for the remainder of the show's season, before it was cancelled.

Brett Butler really presented her deep-voiced, sharp-talking southern accent when she made her first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1987. After this appearance, her career really took of and in 1992 producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner watch her act and wanted to cast her in a new television sitcom called Grace Under Fire. The comedy show suited Butler quite well. Her character, Grace Kelly, was divorced from an abusive, alcoholic husband, and had a working-class background. Unlike Butler, Grace Kelly had three children, but she still convincing played the role of a nurturing yet funny mother. The show became popular with television viewers quickly; they were drawn in by its humor and genuine, believable characters. The show premiered in 1993 on ABC.

After 5 years, in 1998, the show got cancelled because of the comedienne’s erratic behavior stemming from substance abuse. She sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers in 1996 and again in 1997. Also, there were reports that she lashed out at one of the show’s producers during a show taping, so they decided it would be better for her to take some time and solve her personal issues.

Stand up comedienne Brett Butler also wrote an autobiographical book called Knee Deep in Paradise, in 1996. Started before attaining her celebrity status, the book candidly addresses much of this time frame, ending the autobiography before Grace Under Fire's television debut.

With her appearance on the Grace Under Fire comedy series, Brett Butler stayed of the radar for some time. She returned to performing stand-up, including her 2003 Gravel Throated Harpy Tour. Over the years, Butler has also made a few television appearances, guesting on My Name Is Earl in 2006 and having a supporting role in the action thriller Vampire Bats (2005) and a small part in the drama Mrs. Harris (2005).

In 2008, stand up comedienne Brett Butler headlined at an arts fundraiser and spoke freely with a reporter about her depression, past drug addiction, television work and current life on a farm. She also expressed interest in writing another book.

In 2009, Brett Butler alongside Pat Brown, Trish Suhr, Lisa Landry, Sarah Tiana stared in a stand up comedy show called The Sothern Belles of Comedy. Released on the market in September 22, 2009, by Vanguard Cinema and has a run time of 78 minutes the stand up comedy show features southern, sexy, strong-minded, simply irresistible and surely hysterically funny stand up comediennes.

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