Laura has been nominated for five Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards: from 1997-2001 she was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for her work on ER. She won the award in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Due to using a cane for 10 years in her portrayal of Kerry Weaver on ER, Laura Innes developed a curve on the bottom of her spine. This comes from the raising of her one hip over the years.
While starring in ER, Laura appeared in 2 public service announcements for NBC's The More You Know. Her topics were teen pregnancy and parental involvement.
Laura was the longest lasting ER character to date, first appearing in the 1995 2nd season premier and lasting until the middle of the 13th season.
When interviewed by the UK's Radio Times in 2002, Laura revealed that her least enjoyable job was working at a vet's and cleaning up after the animals.
In a 2002 Radio Times interview, Laura stated that if she could control the world for one day, she would immediately destroy all nuclear weapons.
If Laura were not an actress, her chosen job would probably be teaching; in a 2002 Radio Times interview, she stated that the idea of influencing children's minds is inspiring to her.
In a press release distributed on October 26, 2006, Laura revealed that 10 years of portraying crutch-dependant Dr. Kerry Weaver on the NBC show ER has actually damaged Laura's own spine. The actress began receiving chiropractic treatments on her back after becoming aware of regular pain there. Laura's real life problems arrived just as her character finally had surgery to dramatically improve her own condition.
Laura was first hired to appear in just six episodes of ER. However, she wowed the writers enough that they had her guest star in 14 episodes and then made her a regular cast member.
In 1999, ER co-star Anthony Edwards first suggested to Laura that she try her hand behind the camera. She did, and went on to direct many episodes of the hit show, including the critically acclaimed "Be Still My Heart." Following her succesful directing on the hit medical drama, producer John Wells invited Laura to direct an episode of another one of his shows, The West Wing. The second episode she directed on that series, "Shibboleth," garnered her an Emmy Award nomination in 2001 for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
Laura is a casual spokeperson for the National Marrow Donor Program, and is also listed on their bone marrow registry. She became aware of the importance of the registry through information shared by other parents in the international organization Families With Children From China (in 2002 Laura and husband David Brisbin adopted a one-year-old girl from China).
According to People magazine, Laura dated an aspiring actor while she was a student at Northwestern. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he was shot and killed in a parking dispute in 1980.
During the filming of one of the final scenes of the East Coast version of ER's live episode, "Ambush," Laura forgot the trademark crutch that her character, Dr. Kerry Weaver, walks with. She corrected her mistake when the West Coast version was filmed three hours later. Producers used the West Coast version of the episode in the Season 4 DVD release, thereby minimizing Laura's embarrassment.
Laura's character on ER, Dr. Kerry Weaver, walks with a crutch. However, neither Laura nor the producers of the series knew the precise reason for Kerry's disability for ten whole seasons of the show. The storyline was finally fleshed out in the Season 11 episode " Just As I Am."
In 2001, Laura was voted one of People magazine's "Ten Most Beautiful People" in its yearly online poll.
Laura married actor David Brisbin in 1988. They have two children together: son Cal, born in 1990, and daughter Mia, adopted as a one-year old from China in April 2002.
Laura has received three Emmy Award nominations: in 1997 and in 1998 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Dr. Kerry Weaver on ER, and in 2001 for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for her work on The West Wing episode "Shibboleth."
Laura originally auditioned for the ER role of Dr. Ross's girlfriend, Diane Leeds.
Laura has had a series of hospital stays: as a one-year-old she swallowed a piece of acorn shell that moved in and out of her air passage for three years and required three tracheotomies before doctors found the fragment; in 1987 her appendix ruptured just days after meeting her present husband, David Brisbin (David stayed with her during her hospitilization, which made a very positive impression of Laura and led to their marriage within a year); and while pregnant with son Cal in 1990, Laura was hospitalized for three months before labor was induced (the baby was born eight weeks premature, weighing a mere 3 lbs., 2 ozs., but had no problems other than being very small).
Laura drew inspiration for her portrayal of a physically challenged person from her sister Kathy, who contracted polio at the age of five and as a result was left without the use of her left arm.
Laura is a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
Laura is 5'4" tall.
Laura Innes: (describing directing) It gives me the biggest buzz. The crass way of putting it is to say that it gives you complete control, but beyond that it's extremely creative. You're creating something from scratch but you're not alone, you're a part of a community. When it's working well, you feel like a great parent, trying to bring out the best in everybody. But it's hard work—nothing worth while is easy. (Radio Times; March 2–8, 2002)
Laura Innes: (on why she believes medical dramas are so popular) Viewers can put themselves in the shoes of every character. They can imagine themselves as a doctor or a patient or a relative. Every episode hinges on a life-or-death situation. The moment people walk into a hospital, their lives are often altered for ever. Medical drama is like Greek tragedy—it's a very basic story about blood and tears and heroes and humanity. All human life is there—in all its glory and all its horror. (Radio Times; March 2–8, 2002)