Ricki Lake, actress & talk show host, signing copies of “Your Best Birth”
* 5/4/09 7:00 PM at Borders Books – Columbus Circle. New York, NY.
* 5/12/09 7:00 PM at Book Soup – Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA.
Ricki Pamela Lake (born September 21, 1968) is an American actress and media personality, best known for her long-running talk show and starring role as Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray. Find Ricki Lake books.
Lake was born to a Jewish family in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, the daughter of Jill, a housewife, and Barry Lake, a pharmacist. She attended Ithaca College and the Professional Children’s School. She also attended Farragut Middle School.
She met artist/illustrator Rob Sussman at a Halloween party in 1993. The couple was married shortly after in Los Angeles. Their two sons are Milo Sebastian Sussman (March 22, 1997) and Owen Tyler Sussman (June 18, 2001). The two divorced in 2003 after 10 years of marriage. The New York Post reported on April 23, 2003 that Ricki was moving to California in hopes of finding “that next big thing.” Ricki recently dated trainer Appollo Yiamouviannis; however, they split in early 2007 after going out for three years.
In early 2007, after years of ballooning weight, Lake pursued an intense “new routine” resulting in over 125 pounds of weight loss, taking her to 120 pounds, down from a high of 260 pounds. In November 2007, Lake cited sexual abuse as a child as a reason for her problems with obesity.
Lake resides in Los Angeles, California with her two children.
Ricki Lake debuted on September 13, 1993. A typical show might present several lower middle class women, each claiming to be “all that” (the show’s catchphrase for someone with high fashion and personal appeal) with others debating the assertion. Other shows would present someone in an obviously bad relationship and have Lake recommend, “Dump that zero and get yourself a hero!” Once Lake became a mother, feel-good mother-and-child shows became common.
Lake’s talk show has often been the butt of satire. It was repeatedly parodied during the 1990s on Saturday Night Live, with male cast member Jay Mohr impersonating Lake in drag. In addition, it was mentioned in the chorus of the hit 1998 song “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” by The Offspring: “So if you don’t rate, just overcompensate, at least you’ll know you can always go on Ricki Lake.”
In 2000, Lake told Rosie O’Donnell in an interview that she had signed on for four additional years. Although Sony Pictures Television had many stations contracted through the 2004–2005 season, Lake decided to end the show in August 2004, citing (among other things) a desire to spend time with her family. She moved from Los Angeles to New York to tape the 11th season of the show, then returned to California when taping was complete.
Several Minisodes of the show are available to view for free on Crackle.
Lake was in talks to star in an untitled CBS comedy, but no further episodes were commissioned after the filming of the pilot. Most recently, she has appeared in a recurring role on CBS’s long-running sitcom The King of Queens, playing Doug Heffernan’s sister, Stephanie.
She has also appeared in the films Cabin Boy, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Cookie, Mrs. Winterbourne, and Inside Monkey Zetterland. She can often be seen playing small roles in John Waters films, such as Cecil B. Demented, Cry-Baby and Serial Mom; however, she was given the lead in his original Hairspray movie. She has also starred in the TV movie Baby Cakes.
Lake has also made a short appearance as an agent in the 2007 remake of Hairspray. In October 2007, Lake appeared in the Lifetime original movie with Holly Robinson Peete titled “Matters with Life And Dating”.