Leila Kenzie stars as Kate DiResta, the wise and headstrong wife of transit cop John DiResta and mother of their two young children, in UPN's new comedy series "DiResta."
"Kate and John have fun chemistry because she thinks first, whereas he's impulsive," says Kenzie, who together with her co-star, John DiResta, have been compared to Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows. "The DiRestas' long history together lets them second-guess each other. But sometimes they're not even close to the same wavelength."
Kenzie was born in Patchogue, Long Island, and raised in Rutherford, New Jersey, one of three daughters of an electrical-supply salesman and an antique dealer. She earned her B.F.A. in theater from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
Her big break came when she was cast as a stripper in the original off-Broadway production of "Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding." In 1989, she went to Los Angeles, still unsure of her calling as an actress, but quickly found work doing pilots. She also appeared in the feature film "Other People's Money" and had a recurring part as the sister of Fran Drescher's character in the series "Princesses." Eventually, she was cast as Fran, the best friend of Helen Hunt's character, Jamie, on "Mad About You," a role she played for five seasons. Kenzie also starred in the television movie "All She Ever Wanted," with Marcia Cross, and in the family film "Dogmatic."
Kenzie is proud of her recent role as first-time producer of the short film "Bigger Fish," a dark comedy that was written and directed by her husband Neil Monaco. The film was on the festival circuit and received 12 first place awards including Best Short Film at South Carolina's Worldfest Charleston and Houston's Annual Worldfest. Her production company, Second Hand Smoke, is producing several other feature projects to be directed by her husband.
Kenzie enjoys antique shopping, yoga, swimming and reading murder mysteries. She lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband.
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