MARIANNE MUELLERLEILE is a distinguished actress well regarded for her vast range of comedic and dramatic work in film, television, and stage. Perhaps best known for her role as “Gloria” on LIFE WITH BONNIE and the axe-wielding “Norma” on PASSIONS, Muellerleile’s credits number well over 500 and continue to increase as she remains one of the most sought after character actresses in Hollywood.
Born on November 26, in St. Louis, Missouri, Muellerleile was the fourth of five children born to Margaret Keaney and Cecil E. Muellerleile. Devout Catholics, Muellerleile attended Catholic school from pre-school through University, and was a natural for the performing arts; always in class plays, speech contests, debate club, and musicals. She received her undergraduate degree and teaching certificate from the Jesuit institution, St. Louis University, with every intention of becoming a high school drama teacher. Determined to learn as much about theatre as possible, Muellerleile enrolled at the University of Minnesota to obtain her masters of fine arts degree in Acting, and studied under the guidance of teacher, and legendary stage actor, Charles Nolte, PhD. It was here that Muellerleile’s horizons expanded and she realized that acting was her gift and her future career.
Dr. Nolte cast Muellerleile as “Eunice” in Tennessee Williams’ A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and invited the infamous playwright, who also happened to be his good friend, to see the production. In a newspaper interview following the performance, Williams called Muellerleile, along with her two co-stars, “the future of the American Theatre.” Soon after, Muellerleile was offered an Equity contract, and the direction of life took a dramatic turn.
She spent six seasons at the Meadow Brook Theater, just north of Detroit, Michigan where under the direction of Artistic Director Terence Kilburn, the original “Tiny Tim” in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Muellerleile performed Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, William Inge, Moliere and many more. During this time she moved to New York, working at other resident theaters and on Off- Off Broadway. While in the “Big Apple”, Muellerleile became the first “large” model to be signed at the original agency to feature plus size models and spent a year of runway, print and fit modeling.
Muellerleile soon headed to Los Angeles to expand her horizons and banked her first, and second, television auditions, garnering her guest-star roles on the hit series MAGNUM P.I. and THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO. These roles were the first of what has become an impressive list of illustrious credits for the actress.
In addition to her series regular roles on LIFE WITH BONNIE and PASSIONS, Muellerleile recurred as "Lucy" on THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN, “Sister Dominick” on Disney’s THE SUITE LIFE OF ZACK AND CODY and as “Nana” on the Disney XD hit ZEKE & LUTHER. Additionally, Muellerleile has guest-starred in over 150 television series including recent appearances on NCIS, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, CSI,THE MIDDLE, INSTANT MOM, MARON, KIRBY BUCKETS, RECOVERY ROAD and HEARTBEAT. She is currently recurring as "Connie" on MIKE & MOLLY.
Her most recent stage appearances have been in Brian Bedford’s company of THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL at the Mark Taper Forum and THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Hollywood Bowl.
As a member of the New Phoenix Theatre-Los Angeles, Marianne has appeared in workshops, readings and chamber theater presentations of ROMEO and JULIET, PHAEDRE, TWELFTH NIGHT, MEDEA, PRESENT LAUGHTER and LETTICE & LOVAGE.
She has also starred in numerous feature and made for television films including RETURN TO ME, LIAR, LIAR, THE TERMINATOR, SMOKIN’ACES, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, MEMENTO, PASSION FISH, A SMILE LIKE YOURS, DAMN FOREIGNERS and most recently, SOME KIND OF BEAUTIFUL.
Muellerleile’s exceptional acting ability to perform many accents and dialects, has also given her the opportunity to a have a stellar career in the voice over field. Her recent voice over credits include AMERICAN DAD, Mrs. Cleveland in THE ROBBER'S CAVE for the Lamplighter Theater, multiple voices for the video game FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS and Rachel Lynde on the national radio drama ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. She has starred in over 80 national commercials for companies including Pizza Hut, 7-Eleven, Nationwide Insurance, Frito Lay, IBM, Pepsi, Sprint, Hallmark, Discover Card and Chex Mix.
Married to Tom Norris (Lt. Col, USAF, Retired), since 1988, Muellerleile is an active philanthropist and when not acting, devotes her time and energy to a plethora of worthy causes. She currently is a trustee of the Msgr. Al George Endowment Trust Fund, a long time donor and volunteer for Heifer International, Founder and Past Chair of the Müllerleile Family Global Reunion and the Keaney Clan Global Reunion, Founder and Past President of California Visitation Academy Alumnae Chapter, Member and Past President of the Adams/Normandie Neighborhood Association and is a 40+year blood donor for the American Red Cross. She is a long standing Lay Minister and choir member at Christ the King Catholic Church. Marianne also volunteers for short term projects with Visitation Academy of St. Louis and the West Adams Heritage Association, among others.
Muellerleile and Norris make their home in the West Adams historic district of Los Angeles in a home built in 1905, which the couple have lovingly restored and registered as a historic landmark.