Susan Ruttan

Susan Ruttan
Susan Diane Dunsrud

(1948-09-16) September 16, 1948 (age 72)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1981–present
Mel Ruttan
( m. 1967; died 1970)

Joseph Warbis
( m. 1990; div. 1993)
Children 1

Susan Diane Ruttan (née Dunsrud; born September 16, 1948) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Roxanne Melman on L.A. Law (1986–1993), for which she was nominated four times for a Primetime Emmy Award.

Life and career

Ruttan was born in Oregon City, Oregon, the daughter of Helen Manis, a nurse, and Daryl Dunsrud, a logger.[1] She graduated from University of Oregon and University of California, Santa Cruz.[2]

Ruttan played Roxanne Melman on L.A. Law from 1986 to 1993, when the show was cancelled.[2] She reprised the role in 2002 for a TV reunion, L.A. Law: The Movie. She earned four nominations for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in show.[3]

Ruttan first attracted significant attention playing the scheming wife of George Jefferson's dry-cleaning archrival, Gil Cunningham, on The Jeffersons. Other television appearances included episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, AfterMash, Bosom Buddies, Third Rock from the Sun, Remington Steele, Yes, Dear, Newhart and Gilmore Girls. Buffy creator Joss Whedon cast numerous show alumni in 2008's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, including Ruttan who appeared briefly in a non-speaking role.

Ruttan had a small comedic role in the teen comedy feature film Bad Manners (aka: Growing Pains) (1984),[2] and the 1990 romantic comedy Funny About Love starring Gene Wilder. She played convicted killer Genene Jones in the television movie Deadly Medicine (1991). She has also appeared in an episode of Hannah Montana ("Promma Mia"). Her most dramatic role to date was in the 2004 remake of Helter Skelter, in which she played the mother of Linda Kasabian. In 2009, she appeared in the movie, Prayers for Bobby.

Personal life

Ruttan has been married twice. Her first marriage, to Mel Ruttan in 1967, ended with his death in a motorcycle accident three years later. She kept his surname as her professional name. Her second marriage, to Joe Warbis, lasted from 1990 to 1993. She is the mother of Jackson Ruttan (born May 19, 1993), whom she adopted.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1988 Bad Dreams Miriam
1990 Funny About Love Claire
1998 Krippendorf's Tribe Mrs. O'Brian
1998 Love Kills Lela
2004 The Sure Hand of God Lucy Trotter
2008 Half-Life Lorraine Parker
2009 Donna on Demand Rose
2009 Dead Air Maggie
2014 The Quota Lucy Short
2015 Come Simi Jeannie


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Bosom Buddies Esther Crane "What Price Glory?"
1981 Quincy, M.E. Helen "Sugar and Spice"
1983 Amanda's Sister Mary Elizabeth "Oh, Promise Me"
1983 Packin' It In Mrs. Estep TV film
1983 After George Marge TV short
1983 AfterMASH Doris Gardena "September of '53/Together Again"
1984 Second Sight: A Love Story Robin TV film
1984 Buffalo Bill Katherine Zawicki Shub "A Hero", "Have Yourself a Very Degrading Christmas"
1984 Benson Rita "The Scandal"
1984 Remington Steele Miss Livermore "Lofty Steele"
1984 Scorned and Swindled Margie TV film
1984 Newhart Sarah "Georgie's Girl"
1985 Kicks Rosemary TV film
1985 The Jeffersons Mrs. Cunningham "That Blasted Cunningham"
1985 Do You Remember Love Julie Myers TV film
1985 What's Happening Now!! Jane "A Horse Is Not a Home"
1985 Murder: By Reason of Insanity Judge M. Tyson TV film
1985 Night Court Mrs. Blake "Wheels of Justice: Part 1"
1986 Under the Influence Ms. Morgan TV film
1986 The New Leave It to Beaver Mrs. Livermore "Heavy Metal", "A Day in Mayfield"
1986-93 L.A. Law Roxanne Melman Main role
1987 Bay Coven Debbi McGwin TV film
1988 Take My Daughters, Please Courtney TV film
1989 Fire and Rain Sandra Thompson TV film
1990 CBS Schoolbreak Special Ms. Morales "Malcolm Takes a Shot"
1990 A Quiet Little Neighborhood, a Perfect Little Murder Judy Hecker TV film
1990 Sweet 15 Mrs. Zavala TV film
1991 A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story Carol Blankenship TV film
1991 Deadly Medicine Genene Jones TV film
1992-96 Jack Reed Arlene Reed TV films
1993 Without Warning: Terror in the Towers Anne Marie Tesoriero TV film
1993 The Mommies Anne "Much I Do About Nothing"
1994 Touched by an Angel Joanne Peters "Cassie's Choice"
1995 Sweet Justice Marilyn Craig "Pledges"
1995 Courthouse Stefanie Dale "Mitigating Circumstances"
1995 Family Values Melody Huck TV film
1996-97 Chicago Hope Linda Fortin "Higher Powers", "Verdicts"
1997 Touched by Evil Madge Jaynes TV film
1997-98 Suddenly Susan Nectarine Stites "It's My Nana and I'll Cry If I Want To", "Oh, How They Danced: Parts 1 & 2"
1998 Life of the Party: The Pamela Harriman Story Janet TV film
1998 The Love Boat: The Next Wave Doris Werner "All Aboard"
1999 3rd Rock from the Sun Cathy "Citizen Solomon"
2000 The Ultimate Christmas Present Mrs. Claus TV film
2000 Popular Joy Ferrara "Citizen Shame", "Ur-ine Trouble", "Are You There God? It's Me Ann-Margret"
2001 Judging Amy Lyla Myles "Romeo and Juliet Must Die - Well, Maybe Just Juliet"
2001 Gideon's Crossing Dr. Grace Tarpon "The Lottery"
2001 Any Day Now Marietta Pryor "Blinded by the White"
2001 Yes, Dear Aunt Betty "Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner"
2002 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Doris Kroeger "Gone"
2002 Maybe It's Me Mrs. Finn "The Crazy-Girl Episode"
2002 L.A. Law: The Movie Roxanne Melman TV film
2002 The Agency Mrs. Barnes "Home Grown"
2004 The Division Mrs. Evans "Book of Memories"
2004 Helter Skelter Mrs. Kasabian TV film
2004 CSI: NY Mrs. Moreland "American Dreamers"
2005 Strong Medicine Dr. Offenbach "Differentials"
2005 Monk Mrs. Ledsky "Mr. Monk and Little Monk"
2005 Boston Legal Jeanie Biddle "Truly, Madly, Deeply"
2006 The Legend of Butch & Sundance Mrs. Place TV film
2009 Prayers for Bobby Betty Lambert TV film
2009 Private Practice Nora "Nothing to Fear"
2009 Ghost Whisperer Mrs. Blakelock "Thrilled to Death"
2009 Castle Mrs. Pike "Ghosts"
2009 Hannah Montana Grandma "Promma Mia"
2009 Hawthorne Dolores Kramer "Yielding"
2009-10 The Forgotten Horsemama "Railroad Jane", "Patient John"
2011 Grey's Anatomy Mrs. Swork "Disarm"
2013 Good Luck Charlie Mrs. Dobbs "Futuredrama", "Weekend in Vegas"
2015 Battle Creek Carole "Heirlooms"
2015 I Didn't Do It Ada "The Bite Club"
2015 Grimm Betty Frame "Clear and Wesen Danger"
2018 American Vandal Patricia McClain Netflix Series
2018 Mom Lucy Reoccurring role
2019 Weird City Linda Maxsome "The One"


  1. ^ Profile,; accessed April 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Susan Ruttan- Biography". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  3. ^ "Susan Ruttan at". Retrieved 2013-04-14.

External links