Swoosie Kurtz Talks About Her New Book And Her Strong Foundation

Swoosie Kurtz on Mike and Molly - Image Credit TVGuide.com

She’s one of those people you see in literally everything. Swoosie Kurtz {currently on “Mike and Molly”} has done theater, movies, TV, and now you can add author to the list. Eat Play Rock recently got a chance to talk with Swoosie Kurtz {pronounced like Lucy} about her illustrious and varied acting career and her new found role as caregiver.

Eat Play Rock: You have been in everything, but I have to say, I loved you most on Law and Order: SVU. How did you like being on that show?

Swoosie Kurtz: I loved it! The character I played was actually based on a male judge. The writers changed it to a woman for the part.

Eat Play Rock: Oh that is interesting.

Swoosie Kurtz: I have never played a character with no redeeming qualities but this woman was just a horrible, mean, cruel person.

Swoosie Kurtz on Law and Order SVU

Eat Play Rock: She really was. She really brought the crazy! So what makes you choose the parts that you want to act in?

Swoosie Kurtz: I have always been driven by the material and I am generally a good judge of it.

Swoosie Kurtz On Theater Vs. TV

Eat Play Rock: So, I was reading in your book {Part Swan, Part Goose} about how theater people like to think that theater is harder work. However, in sitcoms, there are extremely long days and no understudies, so if you are sick, you just have to go on anyway. I never thought about that before. That has to be rough. So, which do you prefer?

Swoosie Kurtz: I never thought about that either until I started writing this book. Theater is where I began and it was my original dream, but I love the deadlines and immediacy of TV. I also like the changing of lines, even up to showtime. With TV, you see your work immediately instead of waiting for a year or two for a movie. It’s really all about the material with me. I think ‘Can I bring this person to life?’ If it scares me, then I think it’s something that I definitely should do.

Eat Play Rock: Do you always know who you are going to work with when you sign on for a project?

Swoosie Kurtz: Sometimes I do but sometimes the cast is not in place yet. But I like to know who the writers and producers are first.

Eat Play Rock: I just want to make sure my readers know straight from you. How do you pronounce your name? I have heard it with a Z and with an S.

Swoosie Kurtz: Either is good, but it’s really Swoosie, like Lucy. I think people think it looks like Suzie and they then pronounce it like that, with a z sound.

Swoosie Kurtz talks to Eat Play Rock about her strong foundation, acting and her new book "Part Swan, Part Goose."

Swoosie Kurtz On Her Strong Foundation

Swoosie Kurtz’ dad was an Olympic diving medalist and one of the most decorated aviators in American history. Her mother authored My Rival, the Sky in 1945, now available in reprint.

Eat Play Rock: I think you are definitely right about that. So, as I was reading your book, I read about your parents who were both very successful and I thought to myself, ‘How could she not be successful coming from where she did’ but then I also thought about Paris Hilton, so…

Swoosie Kurtz: I think the reason that I am where I am today is because my parents tried so hard to get pregnant. I was always a wanted child and I always felt seen, heard and respected, even at a young age. That’s why I had good self esteem and confidence. I am just a neurotic and insecure as the next person but I was fortunate enough to have loving parents that have helped me through so much in life. My heart goes out to those with rough childhoods.

Swoosie Kurtz talks to Eat Play Rock about her strong foundation, acting and her new book "Part Swan, Part Goose."

Eat Play Rock: What qualities do you think your parents had that made them such great parents?

Swoosie Kurtz: There were no imposed rules in our home. It may have just been that way because of the type of child that I was, but my mother did not believe in punishment and certainly not physical punishment. We had a unique relationship where we were always best pals. There was always unconditional love there. I used to not talk about how great our relationship was too much because I thought people might find it nerdy.

Swoosie Kurtz is also her mother’s caregiver who, at 98, is suffering from dementia.

Eat Play Rock: I don’t think it’s nerdy at all to have a great relationship with your parents. I think it’s something to be proud of and grateful for. And your mom still lives with you. I really respect you for that. Many people in your situation would have dropped their mom in a nursing home somewhere.

Swoosie Kurtz: I am incredibly blessed and fortunate to have the mother that I have. If she had been a different kind of mom, sure, I might have put her in a nice facility and visited her a couple of times a week, but we are joined at the heart. It’s been challenging and scary at times but I have also learned so much about myself because of this. Taking care of my mother has brought out new qualities that I didn’t even know I had in me, like the caregiver, nurturer and mother.

Check out the rest of Swoosie Kurtz’ story in her new book, Part Swan, Part Goose: An Uncommon Memoir of Womanhood, Work, and Family

What Role Have You Liked Swoosie Kurtz Best In?

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.


  1. I am really not sure which part that I liked her best. I did enjoy reading this interview-it was an extremely good one-well thought out! I am going to put his book on my tbr list.

  2. I’ve seen her face, but I don’t watch Mike & Molly, so I can’t place where I’ve seen her. It;s driving me crazy now.
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    • Dawn McAlexander

      Lol! You should just check out her IMDB page and it will tell you. It always kills me to see someone and not be able to figure out where you know them from. I HAVE to find out!

  3. I love Swoosie and all her work, especially Mike & Molly. I have read a little bit about this book, what a life she has had.
    I just hope she continues to get great characters to play!
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  4. Swoosie is one of my all time favorites, you are pretty much guaranteed if she is part of the cast it will be a show I will watch! She is so talented to be able to go from the judge in Law and Order to the mo on Mike and Molly – love it!
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    • Dawn McAlexander

      You know, I just remembered some other stuff she was in that I like – Duplex and Liar Liar! Ha! Those movies are too funny!

      Through looking over her IMDB, I see that she was also in Dangerous Liaisons. That is a movie that I have heard about a million times but don’t recall ever watching. I will have to watch it now.

  5. I really like Swoosie! She was so FUN in Pushing Daisies. (Man, I really wish that show was back on!)
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  6. I’ve seen her on lots of shows! I’d love to read her book.
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  7. I bet the book is a great read, loved the interview x
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  8. Robin Wilson says

    What a wonderful experience! I just love her, always have for some reason. She just struck a chord with me. Your questions were very insightful. Did you get to come up with them yourself or were they “suggested and given to you” by others? I have a hard time reading now with my health. I would love for this book to go to audio with her as the narrator! Thanks for this!

    • Dawn McAlexander

      I did come up with most of the questions on my own. One of the questions was a suggestion from a reader but the rest were mine. I just try to ask interviewees questions I think people might want to know – and what I want to know. And I try to ask questions that I didn’t find the answers to online before the interview.

      I wish I had known in advance to ask about an audio version. So sorry.

  9. That book sounds super interesting. You did a great job with the interview.
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  10. I had to google her to remember where I knew her from and she had a small role in Lost. I loved that show. 🙂 Great job with the interview!
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    • Dawn McAlexander

      I have actually never watched Lost. That might be something I binge watch on Netflix or something one day, if it’s on there.

  11. Such an interesting lady. Love her.
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  12. I knew her face and her work, but not her real name. I wonder how she got that – not just how she pronounces it.
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  13. I loved watching her on law and order also. I will have to check out the book. I also had no idea that that was her real name.LOL
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  14. We haven’t watched Mike and Molly in a while, but she’s hilarious in it. I really like her.
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  15. She’s been on so many great shows. I remember watching her on sisters years ago!
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  16. I’ve seen Mike and Molly a couple of times but got into the series late so need to go back and watch from the beginning of season one. I thought it was very funny. I’m going to look into her book, I love reading. I bet you enjoyed interviewing her.
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    • Dawn McAlexander

      I really did. She was very nice. I am not sure whether it comes across in the interview or not, as I type it up later, but she is very eloquently spoken. I found that refreshing considering all of the slang people tend to use today.

  17. I have always liked Swoosie. She is a great actress.
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  18. I love how she speaks so highly about her mom. Sounds like they have a great relationship.
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  19. Sounds like a good read. How refreshing to read about someone with a GOOD home life.
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  20. I loved her in Sisters! This interview makes me want to go binge watch it!
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  21. What a great actress. I never really knew her real name!
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  22. I’ve been a fan of hers since the tv show, Sisters. I think I’d like to pick this one up as I’m also a memoir fan!
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  23. I think I need to read this book….it sounds really interesting. Sounds like she had a solid upbringing and is well grounded.
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  24. I loved her on Law and Order. She is very good at her craft; lord knows I couldn’t do it.
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  25. I just saw an ad for this book! I knew I recognized her from somewhere. Thanks for sharing!
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  26. She really is great on Mike and Molly!!
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  27. I love the questions. I wish I grew up in a house with no punishment! 🙂 It sounds like she had a great relationship with her mom and that’s very special. I’ve always been crazy about my mom, too.
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  28. I love that her mom lives with her too. It’s nice to see when adult children step up to the plate. Thank you for sharing the interview!
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  29. What an awesome interview from such a talented actress and compassionate human being! You really thought up some great questions for her to answer 🙂
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  30. She is one of those actors that you see everywhere! I never even knew her name! I think she does some of the voices in American Dad…
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  31. Great interview! I don’t watch Mike and Molly but I do remember her from Law & Order.
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  32. I think it is so cool that you got to interview her! I do not watch this show, but I recognize her from other appearances.
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  33. I haven’t seen Mike and Molly, but I have seen her in other things. She really is very talented. The interview was great! I am going to add the book to my summer reading list. Thanks!
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  34. I love her work. I’d enjoy reading her book. I was a caregiver for my dad for a while.

  35. Love her in the show Mike and Molly but admittedly had no idea about she had a foundation or such a unique name.
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  36. I would love to read her book! I think Mike and Molly is SO funny!
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  37. i remember her from sisters. that was a really great show
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  38. Rebecca Swenor says

    Love that show ty for sharing.

  39. Ha! So I recognizedon’t her face, but never knew her name. What a fun name to say!
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  40. Oh I remember her from Liar Liar. She looks wonderful and seems to be doing great. I always loved her name. I will have to check out her new book
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  41. What a thorough and thoughtful interview! I’m having Liar Liar flashbacks “overactor!”

  42. My favorite role of hers was Sisters! I loved that show. This looks like a great read!
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  43. You were so lucky to be able to interview her, she’s such an excelent actriss! YAY Swoosie 🙂 Great questions by the way!
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  44. Love Swoosie!! I think Sisters is the first place I saw her. Love this interview and will have to look for the book.
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  45. loved the interview! I love her character on Mike & Molly….

  46. I love her on Mike & Molly but I remember her in so many other shows and a soap opera if I recall correctly. It was nice reading about her family in your interview. Her book looks great too!
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