Most recently, Lahti recently starred in the television movie "The Book of Ruth," based on the book of the same name, a featured selection on Oprah¿s Book Club. Other recent credits include "The Pilots Wife," based on the best-selling book of the same name by Anita Shreve, which aired in 2002, and the ensemble Showtime feature "Women Vs. Men," opposite Joe Mantegna. She also starred in the television movie "Open House," with Daniel Baldwin and Eva Marie Saint in early 2003, and captivated audiences in Showtime's acclaimed "Out Of The Ashes," as Gisella Perl, a Jewish doctor who survived the Holocaust.
In 2000, Lahti took another challenging step in her career by directing her first feature film, "My First Mister." The film, which stars Albert Brooks and Leelee Sobieski, was chosen as the opening night presentation at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The poignant dark comedy focuses on the relationship that develops between an engaging older man and a young woman.
In 1995, Lahti won an Academy Award for her direction of the Live Action Short Film "Lieberman in Love," in which she also starred. She has also directed several episodes of "Chicago Hope," in which she starred for four years as Doctor Kathryn Austin. For her work on "Chicago Hope," Lahti was awarded both the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.
As an actress, Lahti's work in motion pictures is equally varied. Her credits include "Leaving Normal," directed by Ed Zwick; "The Doctor" with William Hurt; the romantic comedy "Funny About Love;" "Gross Anatomy" and Sidney Lumet's "Running on Empty," for which she received the 1988 Los Angeles Film Critic's Award, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. She starred in Bill Forsyth's now classic "Housekeeping," which was voted one of the Ten Best Films of 1987 by many of America's film critics. She also starred in the films "Just Between Friends," "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" and "...And Justice For All." As Goldie Hawn¿s best friend in the WWII comedy "Swing Shift," directed by Jonathan Demme, Ms. Lahti was honored with the Best Supporting Actress Award from the New York Film Critics' Circle, as well as Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.
Lahti starred in "An American Daughter" for Lifetime. Based on the critically acclaimed play by Wendy Wassertein, Lahti portrayed a Surgeon General nominee whose life is thrown into chaos by the sudden political scrutiny foisted upon her. Prior to that, Lahti starred in "The Ellie Nessler Story" for the USA Network. Based on a true story, Lahti starred as the California mother who gunned down a man during his 1993 trial on charges that he sexually molested her 7-year-old son.
Lahti's varied appearances on television include "No Place Like Home," for which she was nominated for an Emmy and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Movie; "Amerika," for which she received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations; "The Executioner's Song" and "The Last Tenant," with Lee Strasberg. She starred in the TNT movie "Crazy From the Heart," for which she won the Cable Ace Award for Best Actress; "The Fear Inside," for Showtime and "The Good Fight" for the Lifetime Television Network.
A highly esteemed stage actress, Lahti starred in "Three Hotels," co-starring with Richard Dreyfuss at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. This presentation was a reprisal of her successful run in the play, which premiered at New York's Circle Rep. Theater. She also received a Drama Desk nomination for her role. Prior to her role in "Three Hotels," she was seen on the New York stage as Heidi Hollard in Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer-Prize winning play "The Heidi Chronicles."
She received an Obie Award for her performance as Patsy Newquis in the Second Stage revival of Jules Feiffer's "Little Murders." Other New York stage credits include Michael Weller's "Loose Ends," Noel Coward's "Present Laughter," with George C. Scott; successful off-Broadway revivals of John Guare's "Landscape of the Body" and Clifford Odet's "The Country Girl," with Hal Holbrook; David Mamet's "The Woods," for which she received a Theater World Award; Ted Tally's "Hooters" and Steve Tisch's "Division Street" on Broadway.
Regionally, she has been seen in two Tennessee Williams classics: as Maggie in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven and as Alma in "Summer and Smoke" at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. Lahti has also appeared on stage in both New York and Los Angeles in A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters." At the Williamstown Theater Festival, she appeared as Josie in "Moon for the Misbegotten" and in Beth Henley's "The Lucky Spot."
Lahti and her husband, filmmaker Thomas Schlamme, reside in Los Angeles with their children.