"I never set out to be a role model for large women, I just do what I feel is right."
Ricki Lake is an American actress turned talk show host probably best known for her own show, Ricki, and her appearances in a number of film by John Waters.
Born in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, USA on 21 September 1968, Ricki Pamela Lake is the daughter of a pharmacist and a homemaker.
After attending Hastings Elementary and Farragut Middle she atteded Hastings High school for two years before transferring to The Professional Children's School in her sophomore year to train for a career as an actress. At the age of 9 Ricki started singing professionally, and troughout her education this continued.
Ricki started her film career at Ithaca College where she heard about an audition for a local independent film. She knew from childhood that she wanted to be in the public eye. She went to the audition and landed the role of Tracey Turnblad, a rock and roll obssessed teenager, in the John Waters film, "Hairspray". In "Hairspray", Lake was to star as the daughter of the late, and large Divine.
She was later to star in other Waters hits such as "Cry-Baby", "Serial Mom", and "Cecil B. Demented". She has starred in other films including "Working Girl", "Mrs Winterbourne", "Cookie" and "Last Exit to Brooklyn". Lake also recieved the honour of CBS Movie of the Week for "Babycakes".
In "China Beach" on ABC, Lake starred as Holly Pelagrino, alias Holly the Donut Dolly. Lake starred in "China Beach" for a year, but when she eventually left this show she found it very difficult to find another television job as her weight had reached 250 pounds.
She then stuck to a strict vegetarian diet and exercised and lost more than 125 pounds, half her original weight. She also started supporting animal rights causes.
Now a svelte shadow of her original self, she launched a talk show, aimed at a young adult audience, concentrating on social issues and relationship problems. This made her one of America's most popular talk show hosts, who is internationally syndicated.
As well as a career as a film and television actress, animal rights activist and a top talk show host, Lake has recently acted on stage by starring in an off broadway production of "The Vagina Monologues" alongside Teri Hatcher.
Ricki Lake now lives in Manhattan with her husband, Rob Sussman, a political illustrator. They married in Las Vegas in March 1994. Lake and Sussman have to two children together, both boys, Milo Sebastian and Owen Tyler Sussman .
Television and Film Credits