Ellen Greene (born February 22, 1951) is an American singer and actress. Greene has had a long and varied career as a singer, particularly in cabaret, as an actress and singer in numerous stage productions, particularly musical theatre, as well as having performed in many films--notably Little Shop of Horrors--and television programs. She starred as Vivian Charles on the ABC series Pushing Daisies.
Greene was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother was a guidance counselor, and her father was a dentist. Greene is Jewish. She attended W. Tresper Clarke High School, in Westbury, New York. She spent summers at Cejwin Camps in Port Jervis, New York where she performed in musical theater productions, including the role of Tzeitel in a 1966 production of Fiddler on the Roof. She was first married to Tibor Hardik. She also had a relationship with Martin P. Robinson. She married Christian Klikovits on September 25, 2003, and the two have since divorced.
Greene's career began as a nightclub singer in clubs such as The Brothers and Sisters, Grand Finale and Reno Sweeney. She received rave reviews from critics such as Rex Reed, George Bell and John S. Wilson. Around this time she befriended the late Peter Allen. Her first starring role was as the lead in the notorious Broadway bomb, Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don't You Ever Forget It) in 1973, which co-starred Anita Morris.
She then won the starring role of Chrissy in Joseph Papp's production of In the Boom Boom Room. Her reviews brought her to the attention of Paul Mazursky who was at that time casting for Next Stop, Greenwich Village; she got the role of Sarah, her first starring role in a film. Continuing her work with Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, Greene next essayed the role of Jenny in The Three Penny Opera at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in Lincoln Center for which her performance was nominated for a Tony Award.
In addition to a number of other productions with the New York Shakespeare Festival as well as numerous other companies, Greene formed a close working relationship with the WPA Theatre, where she met Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, which led to a close, long-lasting friendship. This led, in turn, among other productions, to the role for which she is perhaps most-widely known, that of the hapless Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, a role she reprised in the film version opposite Rick Moranis.
Greene has worked extensively in theater, such as the part of Suzanne/The Little Rose in The Little Prince and the Aviator, as well as in films such as I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can, Léon, Talk Radio, and Pump Up the Volume. She has appeared on television in Miami Vice, Glory! Glory!, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Cybill, Law & Order, Suddenly Susan, The X-Files, Mystery Woman: Sing Me a Murder, Fielder's Choice and Heroes. In 1983 she was the voice of Creeping Ivy in the animated TV special The Magic of Herself the Elf.
Greene released an album in 2004 entitled In His Eyes, on which she was accompanied by her husband and musical director, Christian Klikovits. Her latest work includes the recurring role of Vivian Charles in the television series Pushing Daisies and the voice of Dolly Gopher in the animated Out of Jimmy's Head. Greene was also the voice of the Priscilla Presley type of character Goldie in the Don Bluth film, Rock-A-Doodle.
In the summer of 2009, Greene starred as Miss Adelaide in a concert version of the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls, which had a 3-day engagement at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California. Her co-stars included Scott Bakula as Nathan Detroit, theatre veteran and Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell as Sky Masterson, and Jessica Biel as Sarah Brown. In 2011, she appeared in five episodes of the soap opera The Young and the Restless as Primrose DeVille.
Greene performed in the musical Betwixt! at the Trafalgar Studios in London's West End from July 26 to August 20, 2011. She also recently appeared in two episodes of the new ABC Family show, Bunheads, alongside Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop. She also recently portrays Doctor Gale Macones in The Walking Dead Webisodes: The Oath
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
The Rock Rainbow
I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can
The Special Magic of Herself the Elf
Creeping Ivy (voice)
Little Shop of Horrors
Superman 50th Anniversary
Me and Him
Dinner at Eight
Pump Up the Volume
Fathers & Sons
Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult
Léon: The Professional
Killer: A Journal of Murder
An Occasional Hell
One Fine Day
Mrs. Elaine Lieberman
States of Control
Alex in Wonder
Mystery Woman: Sing Me a Murder
Dolly Gopher (voice)
Episode: "Made for Each Other"
CBS Summer Playhouse
Episode: "Road Show"
The Adventures of Pete & Pete
Episode: "Time Tunnel"
Law & Order
Episode: "Bitter Fruit"
Episode: "Above Reproach"
Episode: "The Break Up"
The X Files
Vicki Louise Burdick
Episode: "Secrets & Lies: Part 2"
Out of Jimmy's Head
Dolly Gopher / Golly Gopher (voice)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Mrs. Manface (voice)
Episode: "Night of the Huntress!"
The Young and the Restless
Gertrude Washburn (voice)
Episode: "Olaf in Love"
Doctor Gale Macones
Episode: Parts 2 and 3
Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don't You Ever Forget It) (1973) (never officially opened),
In the Boom Boom Room (1974) (Off-Broadway),
The Threepenny Opera (1976) (Broadway),
The Threepenny Opera (1977) (Delacorte Theater) (return engagement),
Funny Face (1978) (Studio Arena Theater),
Wake Up, It's Time to Go to Bed (1979) (Off-Broadway),
They're Playing Our Song (1979) (US national tour),
The Little Prince and the Aviator (1982) (never officially opened),
Little Shop of Horrors (1982) (Off-Off Broadway showcase, Off-Broadway and London),
Starting Monday (1990) (Off-Broadway),
Weird Romance (1992) (Off-Broadway),
Three Men on a Horse (1993) (Broadway),
A Broadway Diva Christmas (2005) (Women's Project),
Guys and Dolls (2009) (Hollywood Bowl),
Betwixt! (2011) (London),
Awards and nominations:
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
The Threepenny Opera
Drama Desk Award
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Little Shop of Horrors