Oscar Actors: Huffman, Felicity (Nominee)–Social Background, Career, Awards (Cum Advantage, Emmy Award and Noms, Globe Award and Noms)

Research in Progress: June 7, 2021
Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance: No

Social Class: Upper middle; father banker

Family: divorce when she was 1. six siblings

Education: NYU, RADA


Radio Debut:

TV Debut:

Stage Debut: 1982; aged 20

Broadway Debut: 1988; aged 26

Film Debut: 1997, Spanish Prisoner; aged 35

Oscar Role: Transamerica, 2005; aged 43

Other Noms:

Film Debut and Nom Gap: 8 years

Other Awards: Emmys, Globes, SAG

Screen Image:

Last Film:

Career Output:

Film Career Span: 1997-present

Marriage: William C. Macy, actor

Politics: Democrat

Death: NA

Felicity Huffman wins the best actress award at the 2005 Tribeca Film Fest, for the feature of Transamerica, launching her road to winning the Golden Globe and landing first and only Best Actress Oscar nomination.

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Her role in this indie melodrama as a transgender also earned her a SAG nomination.

However, she’s still better known for her role as Lynette Scavo, the hectic busy Super-Mom on the ABC hit show Desperate Housewives, which earned her an Emmy Award.

Huffman was born December 9, 1962 in Bedford, New York. She’s the daughter of Grace Valle, an actress, and Moore Peters Huffman, a banker. Her parents divorced, and she was raised by her mother. She has six sisters and one brother.

She graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. After high school she went on to New York University where she graduated in 1988 from the Tisch School of the Arts, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama.

On TV, she has also appeared in the dramedy Sports Night, and has had guest starring roles on Frasier, The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Huffman has appeared in films such as Raising Helen and Christmas with the Kranks. In 2003 she starred in Showtime’s dramedy Out of Order.

Huffman won an Emmy for her work on Desperate Housewives (Comedy Series), and two 2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards (Best Actress-Comedy Series and part of Best Ensemble-Comedy Series).

Huffman is also the co-author of the self-help book, A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend. She has appeared in all three TV shows created by Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip).

In 1997, Huffman married actor William H. Macy, with whom she has two daughters, Sofia Grace and Georgia Grace.

Felicity Kendall Huffman (born December 9, 1962) is the recipient of many accolades including a Primetime Emmy, a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Oscar nomination.

Huffman began her career in theatre, and in the 1990s had many supporting roles in film and television. She starred as Dana Whitaker in the comedy-drama Sports Night from 1998 to 2000, which earned her Globe nomination.

She is best known for her role as Lynette Scavo in the ABC serio-comedy Desperate Housewives (2004–2012), for which she earned Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the debut season, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three consecutive Globe nominations.

Huffman drew critical praise for her performance as a transgender woman in the film Transamerica (2005). The role earned her a Golden Globe Award, Independent Spirit Award, National Board of Review, and Best Actress Oscar nod.

Huffman has also starred in Reversal of Fortune (1990), The Spanish Prisoner (1997), Magnolia (1999), Path to War (2002), Georgia Rule (2007), Phoebe in Wonderland (2008), Rudderless (2014), and Cake (2014).

From 2015 to 2017, she starred in a third ABC series, American Crime, for which she received critical acclaim, 3 Emmy Award nominations, 2 Golden Globe nominations and Screen Actors Guild nomination.

Huffman was arrested on March 12, 2019, for her involvement with a nationwide college entrance exam cheating scandal, charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, and released on $250,000 bail. On May 13, Huffman pleaded guilty to federal charges for paying $15,000 to have proctor correct SAT questions answered incorrectly by her daughter.

On September 13, she was sentenced to 14 days in prison, a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service and one year supervised release for her part in the scandal.

Huffman was born in Bedford, New York, into a wealthy family, the daughter of Grace Valle and Moore Peters Huffman, a banker and partner at Morgan Stanley.

Her parents divorced a year after her birth, and she was raised by both of them. When Huffman was a young teenager, she discovered that her biological father was Roger Tallman Maher, who was a family friend. She has six sisters and a brother. In the 1970s, Huffman’s mother left New York and bought property in Snowmass, Colorado, where Felicity and her siblings spent their youth. Her great-grandfather was Gershom Moore Peters (1843–1919), founder of the Peters Cartridge Company and prominent Baptist minister, author of The Master. Another great-grandfather, Frederick Berthold Ewing, graduated from Yale University and became a prominent St. Louis businessman.

Huffman’s great-great-grandfather was Joseph Warren King, founder of the King Mills Powder Company. She has German, English, Scots-Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian, and Irish ancestry.

Huffman attended The Putney School, a private boarding high school in Putney, Vermont, and graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan in 1981.

She attended New York University, Circle in the Square Theatre School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

Huffman made her stage debut in 1982 and in the 1980s and 1990s worked as a rule on stage productions.

In 1988, she debuted on Broadway in the role as Karen in David Mamet’s play Speed the Plow. In 1995, Huffman won Obie Award for her performance in the play The Cryptogram by David Mamet. In 1999 she starred in the premiere of David Mamet’s play Boston Marriage, about the daringly intimate relationship between two turn-of-the-century women, as well as in several other major theatrical productions.

Huffman debuted on the big screen in 1988 with a small role in Mamet’s film Things Change. Two years later, she appeared as Minnie, a Harvard law school student in the courtroom drama Reversal of Fortune.

Other credits include 1992 thriller Quicksand: No Escape with Donald Sutherland and Tim Matheson, The Water Engine opposite William H. Macy, and supporting roles on The Heart of Justice (1992), Hackers (1995), Harrison: Cry of the City (1996) and The Underworld (1997).

Huffman starred on the TV mini-series Golden Years, based on the novel by Stephen King in 1991.

In 1994, she starred in the ABC pilot Thunder Alley as Ed Asner’s daughter, but was replaced by Diane Venora when the series began. During the 1990s, she appeared in guest roles on The X-Files, Early Edition, Chicago Hope and Law & Order. In 1997, she starred in Mamet’s film The Spanish Prisoner.

From 1998 to 2000, she portrayed Dana Whitaker in the series Sports Night, for which she received awards and nominations, including Globe Award for Best Actress – Television. After the completion of Sports Night, she gave birth to her first child and soon returned to work.

In 2001, she starred on the not picked up CBS pilot Heart Department In 2003, she starred in Showtime’s miniseries Out of Order.

In 1999, she appeared in the Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble drama Magnolia and TV adaptation of 1938 movie A Slight Case of Murder along with William H. Macy.

In 2002 she played Lady Bird Johnson in the HBO winning movie Path to War and made a cameo in Door to Door, which starred, and was written by her husband. She also starred in Snap Decision (2001) with Mare Winningham, Raising Helen (2004) as Kate Hudson’s character’s older sister, and Christmas with the Kranks (2004), as best friend of Jamie Lee Curtis.

After a recurring role on the NBC sitcom Frasier, Huffman landed a leading role in an ABC comedy series Desperate Housewives, co-starring with Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, and Eva Longoria. Huffman won an Emmy Award for her work on Desperate Housewives (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series) in 2005, as well as two 2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards (Best Actress – Comedy Series and part of Best Ensemble – Comedy Series) in 2006 and received several other awards. A report in November 2010 suggested that Huffman, along with co-star Teri Hatcher, would be quitting Desperate Housewives, but ABC denied the claim.[20] The series ended in May 2012, after eight seasons.

In 2005, Huffman starred in the indie drama Transamerica, playing Bree, a pre-operative transgender woman who, on the brink of her transforming surgery, discovered that in her youth she had fathered a son. who is now a troubled teen hustler on the run. Huffman’s performance in Transamerica was praised by many critics and garnered her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, as well as nominations for Best Actress (Screen Actors Guild) and Best Actress (Academy Awards), and several other awards and nominations. Huffman is now a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In 2007, Huffman starred in Garry Marshall’s Georgia Rule with Jane Fonda and Lindsay Lohan, and 2008 on independent drama Phoebe in Wonderland. She made a film, Lesster, as a writer, director and actress in 2010.

After seeing her as Lynette Scavo on Housewives for 8 years, it was difficult for audiences to think of her as anything else. That’s why she was eager for a role that’s a distinctive departure. After Desperate Housewives finale, Huffman reunited with playwright David Mamet in the comedy play November. The play debuted on September 26 and ended on November 4, 2012. In 2012, she  appeared in the ensemble cast movie, Trust Me, opposite Clark Gregg.

On February 15, 2013, Huffman signed on for the lead role of the Fox drama pilot Boomerang, directed by Craig Brewer. The show centers on Margie Hamilton, a spy and master of disguise, who is the matriarch of the Hamilton clan, a “briskly professional assassin who can kill and dispose of a suspected terrorist in the afternoon – then switch to wife and mother mode without a hitch”. However, Fox did not pick up Boomerang as a new series.

In 2013, Huffman starred in the indie drama Rudderless, and in the adventure film Big Game opposite Samuel L. Jackson. She also starred in another indie Stealing Cars, and was cast in the comedy film Zendog.

In April 2014 she appeared in the indie drama, Cake, starring Jennifer Aniston.

In 2014, Huffman was cast as the lead in the ABC anthology legal drama pilot American Crime created by John Ridley. The pilot was picked up to series in May 2014. On October 2, 2014, it was announced that Huffman would be star and executive producer alongside Carol Mendelsohn in her untitled drama about a special agent (Huffman) who is the fearless leader of a team of young agents on the New York City Joint Terrorism Task Force. The project was developed for ABC, but was not green-lighted for 2015–16 television season. American Crime debuted on ABC in March, 2015 and Huffman received critical acclaim for her performance as an antagonistic character.

In 2018, Huffman starred in the second season of Epix serio-comedy, Get Shorty.

In 2019, Huffman starred in Netflix projects: the Ava DuVernay’ miniseries When They See Us about the famous Central Park jogger case from 1989 in which a jogger was attacked in Central Park in New York City and in the comedy-drama film Otherhood based on the novel Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe, She also starred in the drama film Tammy’s Always Dying directed by Amy Jo Johnson. which had its world premiere at the Toronto Fest in September 2019.

Huffman dated actor William H. Macy on and off for 15 years before they married on September 6, 1997. They have two daughters, Sophia and Georgia. She has appeared on TV, movies, and on stage many times with her husband; the couple each received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 7, 2012.

Huffman identifies as pro-choice, and has campaigned for women’s rights on behalf of NARAL. In 2005, Huffman revealed that she had suffered from both anorexia and bulimia in her late teens and twenties.

Huffman is the co-author of the self-help book A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend. On March 1, 2012, Huffman launched What The Flicka, a website dedicated to women and mothers where she was a regular contributor. In March 2019, the website was reportedly deactivated.

In 2016, Huffman voiced support for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In 2018, Huffman donated $400 to Kamala Harris’s campaign in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Felicity Huffman has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Actors Branch since 2006.

Involvement in 2019 College Admissions Bribery Scandal

Huffman was among dozens charged by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office on March 12, 2019, in a nationwide college entrance exam cheating scandal. Prosecutors alleged that Huffman’s $15,000 donation to the Key Worldwide Foundation, ostensibly a charitable contribution, was in fact payment to a person who pretended to be Huffman’s daughter Sophia and took the SAT for her, receiving a score greatly improved from Sophia’s score on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT).

Huffman was arrested at her California home on March 12 and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud. She appeared on March 13 in Los Angeles Federal Court, where federal agents took her passport and the court released her on $250,000 bail. At her court appearance in Boston on April 3, she acknowledged her rights, charges, and maximum possible penalties; she waived a pretrial hearing, signed conditions of her release, and was allowed to leave.[66] On April 8, she agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Huffman pleaded guilty to honest services fraud on May 13, 2019, and on September 13 she was sentenced to 14 days in jail, one year of supervised release, fined $30,000 and ordered to undertake 250 hours of community service.

On October 15, 2019, Huffman reported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, to begin her sentence. She was released on October 25, 2019, two days early because October 27 fell on a weekend.


1988: Things Change (as The Wheel of Fortune Girl)
1990: Reversal of Fortune (part of Dershowitz’s Student Staff)
1991: Golden Years as Terry Spann
1993: The X-Files–“Ice” as Dr. Nancy Da Silva
1995: Hackers as Prosecuting Attorney
1997: The Spanish Prisoner as Pat McCune
1998-2000: Sports Night (TV) as Dana Whitaker
1999: Magnolia as Cynthia
2003: House Hunting as Sheila
2004-Present: Desperate Housewives (TV) as Lynette Scavo
2004: Raising Helen as Lindsay Davis
2004: Christmas with the Kranks as Merry
2005: Transamerica as Sabrina ‘Bree’ Osbourne
2007: Georgia Rule as Lilly
2008: Phoebe in Wonderland
2008: The Politician’s Wife (pre-production)