Melissa Leo (I)





9/14/1960 , New York City, New York, USA

Birth Name

Melissa Chessington Leo




A chameleon-like character actress who, by her own admission, enjoys burying herself totally into roles and not being a recognizable face Melissa Leo has turned in some great performances on television and in film. Leo was born in New York City in 1960 and graduated from SUNY Purchase before entering television. Her first break came in 1985 when she was cast as Linda Warner on the ABC soap All My Children, a role which won her a Daytime Emmy nod as "Best Young Female/Ingenue." After her year on AMC she did guest shots before landing her second big role as cook Emma Shannon on The Young Riders, also on ABC. She is best remembered as Sgt. Kay Howard on NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street for five seasons. Leo's character was very believeble as a tough, no-nonsense police veteran. To her credit Leo refused to "glam it up" and appeared with her natural and atypical beauty, heavy freckles and a shock of orange-red hair, unchanged. That look plus legal and personal troubles with ex-lover John Heard, with whom she has a son, led to her being let go from that show. Since then, she has contributed gues shots to shows such as CSI, Law & Order and Showtime's The L word in addition to some well-received film work.