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Lisa Gerritsen

Personal information
Birth dateDecember 21, 1957(age 58)
Place of birthLos Angeles, California,
United States

     Home | American actors | Lisa Gerritsen

Lisa Gerritsen (born December 21, 1957) is an American former child actor, later a computer systems consultant/networking specialist, and more recently, possibly, as an independent relocation coordinator and facilities project manager. She currently lives with her husband John Rustan (married 2000) and son in Northern California. She is most famous for her role as Bess, the independent-minded daughter of Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show; she later carried the role over into the spinoff Phyllis.She was born Lisa Orszag, and is the granddaughter of child actor and screenwriter True Boardman, and the great-granddaughter of silent film actors True Boardman and Virginia True Boardman. Her acting career began when she was eight years old. Encouraged by her mother and grandfather, and after running the gauntlet of numerous casting calls, she landed her first professional role in an episode of The Doris Day Show in 1968. After The Doris Day Show, Lisa had guest-star or cameo appearances in several television shows including The Odd Couple, Bonanza, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Virginian and Family Affair.

She was also cast in several episodes of Gunsmoke, one of which helped her to land a regular role in the 1969 NBC comedy series My World and Welcome to It, which starred William Windom and Joan Hotchkis. The show was based on the cartoons and comedy of author James Thurber.

On the December 28, 1970, Gunsmoke episode entitled "Jenny," Lisa played a 10-year-old who leaves St. Louis after the death of her mother to find her outlaw father, Lucas Pritchard, portrayed by Steve Ihnat, in Dodge City. Though reconciled with the father, she must leave for boarding school while he serves a prison sentence. "Why do people make mistakes," she asks her father in the script. "So they can be forgiven," he replies.

In 1970, she was cast in as Bess Lindstrom, daughter of landlord Phyllis Lindstrom, played by Cloris Leachman, in the Mary Tyler Moore Show, for which she received critical acclaim. Bess was a precocious young woman whose mother believed in progressive parenting (Bess always called Phyllis by her first name, read Phyllis' books on child rearing, and was educated on sexuality, etc.). Gerritsen returned in the role in the 1975-1977 spin-off series Phyllis (1975).

In addition to her television roles, she also was cast in several movies. She made her first big-screen appearance in Airport playing the role of Libby Bakersfeld. She also appeared as Linda in The War Between Men and Women, which starred Jack Lemmon and Barbara Harris. Lemmon's character was loosely based on the life of author James Thurber.

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