Born Joanne Hall, daughter of Maurice and Marilyn (Plottel) Halprin, on June 2, 1950 in Toranto, Ontario Canada (her parents were wed in Winnipeg, Manitoba). At the time her father worked at the Canadian Wheat Board. He later started his TV career and after becoming known as Monty Hall
went on to fame as host of "Let's Make a Deal
." Monty is also very well known for his his many philanthropic interests with organizations such as Variety Clubs
. It is also interesting to note that Monty's brother Robert also changed his name to Hall.
In May of 1956 the Hall family moved to New York, then in the early 1960s they again moved, this time to Los Angeles, CA. There, Joanna graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1968. While attending BHHS she was in the school's musical productions of "The Music Man" and "The Mikado." Joanna was also in the plays "The Grass Harp" and "The Madwoman of Chaillot." It was also in high school that Joanna received some serious acting instruction from John Ingle, the famous soap-opera star, who taught at BHHS from 1955 to 1985. The school also had a Thursday program during lunch-time called "Thursday Theater" where skits, plays, and musicals were reviewed.
She continued her education at UCLA, then Occidental College, from which she graduated. Joanna has been a teacher herself, holding classes and workshops all over the country. She has also begun crafting new theatrical works and in early 2002 she directed her first New York play.
Joanna was in the TV Show "Hello, Larry" which was used as the basic outline for the 90s TV smash hit "Frasier." She was also a star on "Bette" with Bette Midler and Lindsay Lohan, and had a good run on TV's "Love & War" where she got to direct a little as well. Her directing talents were also used on Lifetime's "Oh, Baby" series.
She has also won numerous awards. In 1988 Joanna won the Tony Award as Best Actress for her role as the Baker’s Wife in Sondheim’s "Into the Woods." She also won a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for the same performance. She recieved another Tony nomination and a Drama Desk nomination for her work in "Joe Egg." Joanna won a Theater World Award for "The Real Thing," and another Drama Desk award for "Social Security."
Since 1994 Joanna has been married to actor Chris Sarandon. These two appeared together in movies such as Road Ends, Edie and Pen, Let the Devil Wear Black, and American Perfekt. They met while doing Broadway’s 1991 adoption of the Thin Man: "Nick and Nora". Sadly, this was not a successful musical. But the two returned to the stage in 1998's "Thorn and Bloom."
Previously she was married to Michael Bennahum and Paul Gleason from whom she kept her surname for acting purposes. You may remember Paul Gleason as the principle from The Breakfast Club or as the police chief in Die Hard. Paul was also a minor league baseball player for the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox organizations.
Her siblings are television writer/director Sharon Hall Kessler, and Emmy-award winning television writer/director Richard Hall. In an iterview Joanna gave recently she said that her family is still very close and that she talks to her sister almost daily. Joanna's father, besides his TV fame, is also known for his philanthropic endeavors as well as his long marriage to Joanna's mother.
Joanna and Chris have 4 children. Aaron David Gleason ("Gilly Leads" as he has chosen as his name since age 19), from Joanna's marriage to Paul Gleason, has his own band, All Hours (formerly known as The Midnight Radio), which has been signed by Hybrid Recordings. Stephanie, Alexis, and Michael are from Chris' second marriage to Lisa Ann Cooper. Beyond their 4 children the two also have two dogs, Joe and Paddy.
Currently she is starring in the upcoming Broadway smash Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.