If you’re a fan of classic TV, you already know who this Blue Bloods character is. You recognize the face, the voice, and possibly her dancer’s legs.
The fabulous Bebe Neuwirth portrayed Kelly Peterson on Blue Bloods. Peterson is the former inspector general for the NYPD who later became a prosecutor and then an attorney for the city. Neuwirth was a recurring character on Blue Bloods for nine episodes from 2013-19. She often met with NYPD commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck).
Former Blue Bloods Star Hit TV Big-Time on Cheers
Now, where do you know Neuwirth from? Big hint, from a place where everybody knows your name. Yes, it’s Cheers, although the crowd who hung out at the bar thought Neuwirth was a robotic snoot in a 1980s power suit.
Neuwirth played Lilith Sternin. When she joined Cheers, she was known for her work on Broadway, where she danced and sang. Neuwirth studied ballet as a kid, but decided she wanted to dance on Broadway. After a year at Julliard, she tried to realize her Broadway goals. She earned a spot on Broadway in 1980. When she auditioned for Lilith, she never had any intentions of joining a TV series on a full-time basis. She was supposed to play the date of Frasier Crane in a one-off episode. But the audiences (and show writers) loved Lilith, who like Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) was a psychiatrist. The two characters became an official couple in season five, then got married. Lilith stuck with the show until the final season.
Lilith and Frasier divorced. But she popped up in a dozen episodes in Seattle to visit her ex-husband on Frasier, the Cheers spinoff.
Playing Lilith was a career boon for the future Blue Bloods standout. Neuwirth won two Emmys for Best Supporting Actress during her time on Cheers. She earned another Emmy nomination as a guest star on Frasier. The Emmys pair nicely with her two Tony Awards.
“I was just doing a great part on a great show and having a great time,” Neuwirth told the New York Post in November.
Neuwirth Also Starred in Another CBS Drama
While Neuwirth played a recurring character on Blue Bloods, she also was a member of the Madam Secretary cast. Like Blue Bloods, Madam Secretary was a CBS drama. Neuwirth was Nadine Tolliver, the chief of staff to Tea Leoni’s Elizabeth McCord. Madam Secretary writers also incorporated Neuwirth’s dancing skills into Nadine’s back story. Nadine was a chorus girl before she went to Yale Law School. Neuwirth also played a judge on The Good Fight, a CBS drama for its streaming service Paramount+.
Neuwirth has stayed busy, post Blue Bloods. Her last episode on the show was “My Brother’s Keeper,” which ran in February, 2019.
She’s now a part of the cast of Julia. That’s an HBO Max drama about the life of Julia Childs. Coincidentally, David Hyde Pierce also is in the cast. He played Lilith’s former brother-in-law, Niles Crane, in Frasier.
Blue Bloods currently is on an Olympics hiatus. The show returns with a new episode, Feb. 25.