According to "Daytime TV Yearbook" from 1975, Fran Brill is from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. [p.73 of the magazine] Varied other sources (including the October 19-25, 1974 issue of "TV Guide") indicate that Fran received a B.F.A. from Boston University, then moved to New York City. Her Broadway debut was in the Jay Broad/Don Tucker show "Red, White and Maddux," which ran from January 26 to March 1, 1969 at the Cort Theatre on 48th Street.
Other stage appearances include:
- playing Tzeitel in "Fiddler on the Roof," with Leonard Nimoy as Tevye, 1974.
- playing Maggie Wylie in James M. Barrie's 1908 play, "What Every Woman Knows," at the Roundabout, 1976.
- performing in Pirandello's play, "Naked," at the Stage Two Theater, from October 6 to December 31, 1977.
- playing in "Dusa, Fish, Stas & Vi" at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles with the Center Theater Group, October 19 to December 3, 1978.
- playing Beth in Simon Gray's "Otherwise Engaged," at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, January 9 to February 4, 1978, with Roddy McDowall as the lead character, Simon Hench.
- playing Helena Charles in the Roundabout Theater Company's "Look Back in Anger," 1980, off-Broadway.
- playing Varya in Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard," at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, 1983, with Pippa Scott, Michael Egan and Brent Spiner.
- performing in "Quartermaine's Terms" by Simon Gray, at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1992.
- playing Emilia in Paula Vogel's "Desdemona," at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY, 1993.
- reading the part of Margaret Glover in the Penelope Koechl screenplay, "Call Me Henry," for the Fifth Night Screenplay Reading Series at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, New York City, May 5, 1996.
- performing in an A.R. Gurney play at the Hutensky Theater in Hartford, Connecticut, May 28 to 31, 1998.
Fran won an award for Best Actress in an Individual Sequence at the Third Annual Afternoon TV Writers & Editors Awards, for her portrayal of Fran Bachman in the daytime serial, "How to Survive a Marriage." Specifically, Fran won for her performance as the wife of a dying man, David Bachman. Her award was presented by the late Val Dufour.
The October 19-25, 1974 issue of "TV Guide" had an article on Fran, centering on her role as the widowed Fran Bachman. The article, "Take it From a Widow..." by Jane Hall, quotes Fran discussing how her personal experiences come into play when she's acting. "The pain you experience in life is all stored inside you, but it's very hard to use that when you're acting -- saying other words. Thinking about your own experience is something you do in preparation for a role. But when I'm acting, I try to totally believe those words and that situation." The article ends with praise for Fran's acting, saying if we were to judge "from the condolence cards Fran received and the advice [she got] from real widows," it would be clear that "others believed as well."
Fran won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress, for her work in the James M. Barrie play "What Every Woman Knows," during the 1975-76 season.
Fran won another Drama Desk Award, this time for Outstanding Featured Actress for her work in the play "Knuckle," in the 1980-81 season.
Fran has given voice to many Sesame Street characters over time, and as such, has sung in the following Sesame Street vinyl records, music cassettes or CDs:
* "Sesame Street: Ernie's Hits," as Prairie Dawn, 1974.
* "Sesame Street: Merry Christmas," as Prairie Dawn, 1975.
* "Sesame Street: Happy Birthday!" as one of The Anything Muppets, 1977.
* "Sesame Street: Sleepytime Bird," as Little Bird, 1977.
* "Sesame Street: Platinum: All-Time Favorites," as Prairie Dawn, 1995.
* "Sesame Street: Sesame Road," as Prairie Dawn and Roxie Marie, 1995.
* "Sesame Street: A Sesame Street Christmas," as Prairie Dawn and Zoe, 1996.
* "Sesame Street: Bert and Ernie's Greatest Hits," as Prairie Dawn, 1996.
* "Sesame Street: Dreamytime Songs," as Prairie Dawn, 1996.
* "Sesame Street: Sing the Alphabet," as Prairie Dawn and A Little Girl, 1996.
* "Sesame Street: Sing-Along Travel Songs," as Prairie Dawn, Roxie Marie and Zoe, 1996.
* "Sesame Street: Elmo Saves Christmas," as Prairie Dawn, Zoe, and The Countess, 1997.
* "Sesame Street: Hot! Hot! Hot! Dance Songs," as Prairie Dawn, 1997.
* "Sesame Street: The Best of Elmo," as Zoe, 1997.
* "Sesame Street: Kids' Favorite Songs," as Prairie Dawn, Zoe and Polly Darton, 1997.
* "Sesame Street: Platinum Too," as Prairie Dawn, 1997.
* "Sesame Street: Elmo Says Boo!" as Zoe, 1998.
* "Sesame Street: Elmo's Lowdown Hoedown," as Polly Darton, 1998.
* "Sesame Street: Kids' Favorite Songs 2," as Prairie Dawn and Zoe, 2001.
* "Sesame Street: Elmo and the Orchestra," as Signora Barbara F. Seville and Penelope Pinfeathers, 2001.
Along with her work on Sesame Street, Fran's voice productions include:
- reading the Hans Christian Anderson stories, "The Ugly Duckling," "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Princess on the Pea," and "The Little Match Girl" in the DoverPublications audiobook Listen and Read The Ugly Duckling.
- reading Dive to the Coral Reef, a children's book on audio tape for the PBS show, "Reading Rainbow."
- providing vocals for the computer strategy game, "Lords of Magic."
In addition to her voiceover work, and work in films, television shows and on stage, Fran Brill has appeared in television commercials. One such appearance was in 1998 for Pam cooking-oil spray, and another was in 1997 for Capzasin arthritis medication.
In 1998, Fran was one of the panelists for a seminar at the Museum of Television and Radio, called "Creating Children's Programming."
In 2001, Fran participated in an art exhibition at the non-profit New Century Artists gallery in SoHo, titled "Reflections on the Holocaust: Works by Holocaust Survivors, Family Members and Friends." She was one of thirty-five artists whose work was included in the exhibition.
On April 12, 2003, Fran and Sesame Street Muppet Zoe (whose voice Fran provides) were the Masters of Ceremonies for the Festival of Performing Arts in Torrington, Connecticut. The event honored the Susan B. Anthony Project (of Torrington, CT) for its twenty years of service to victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.