Cynthia Stevenson was born in Oakland, California, to Al Stevenson, an upholstery warehouse owner and Gayle Stevenson née Boniface, an editor. She moved north with her mother and brother, Gregory, to Bellevue, Washington and then to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she spent most of her childhood.
Cynthia took her first step toward an acting career in the University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre Program. Cynthia returned to California to complete her training, attending the renowned American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, and the Drama Studio London at Berkeley.
After arriving in Los Angeles Cynthia found roles with an improv group and in two local theatre productions, one of which was a long-running hit, The Ladies Room, written and directed by Robin Schiff and produced by Aaron Spelling, which brought Cynthia critical acclaim for her comedic skills. Because of this work, she landed an immediate job on a TV sketch comedy, Off the Wall, where she was featured in 26 episodes.
Cynthia quickly built her resume with guest parts on popular sitcoms, including Empty Nest, Teddy Z., Newhart, Major Dad and others. Next came her first starring role as Jennifer Bass in My Talk Show, an original, offbeat nightly series, described as “the first cult hit” of the 1990s. It proved to be Cynthia’s big break, as director Robert Altman noticed and cast her as Bonnie Sherow, playing opposite Tim Robbins, in his Oscar nominated film, The Player.
Legendary TV producers, Cherie and Bill Steinkellner, chose her for a recurring guest spot on their iconic hit series, Cheers. The producers then tapped her for a co-starring role in their next sitcom, Bob, playing Bob Newhart’s daughter. That performance inspired the production team to create a new show – Hope & Gloria – especially for Cynthia. Cynthia was the center of a talented cast, including Jessica Lundy, Alan Thicke and Rico Colantoni. When talking about her career path, Cynthia is quick to point out that it was the Steinkellners who gave it direction.
With a versatility that moves easily between TV and film, Cynthia had leading roles in character-driven ensemble features, such as the David Brown produced Watch It, Julianna Lavin’s Live Nude Girls, Jodie Foster’s Home for the Holidays, Billy Crystal’s Forget Paris and Todd Solondz’s Happiness. She’s been a recurring guest on network and cable shows, including Ally McBeal, Monk, Six Feet Under, According to Jim and The L Word.
When Lifetime decided to enter into the half hour comedy business, they tapped Cynthia for the lead role in Susan Beavers’ Oh Baby, an innovative, first-person take on single motherhood which ran for two years. She then relocated to Vancouver (known as “Hollywood North”), where she starred as the troubled Joy Lass in the long-running Showtime favorite Dead Like Me. While working in Vancouver, Cynthia was featured in several family films, including Agent Cody Banks, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London and six Air Bud comedies for Disney and in Richard Benjamin’s A Little Thing Called Murder opposite Judy Davis. Her roster also expanded with roles in independent films such as Neverwas, Case 39 and Reunion.
Before returning to Southern California in 2008, Cynthia was a series regular, playing the feisty female sheriff on ABC’s Men in Trees, and also starred in Lifetime TV’s Christmas comedy, Will You Merry Me, I Love You Beth Cooper, Jennifer’s Body, and the long-awaited Dead Like Me (The Movie). Since relocating back to Los Angeles Cynthia has had guest and recurring roles on such shows as Life Unexpected, Grey’s Anatomy and Off the Map as well as co-starring in the ABC series, Surviving Suburbia. Cynthia recently completed the soon to be released feature film Tiger Eyes.
Cynthia lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and son.
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