Childhood & Early Life
Beth was born on September 18, 1949, in Gadsden, Alabama, US, to William Grant and Elizabeth Grant. She has a brother, Bubba Grant.
As a child, her family kept moving to different cities, such as Columbus and Atlanta, in the state of Georgia, and Charlotte and Wilmington, in the state of North Carolina.
At the age of 11, she arrived in Wilmington along with her family. To date, she considers it her hometown.
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Earning a BFA degree in acting and directing from the ‘East Carolina University’ in the year 1973, she moved to New York to live her dream of becoming an actor. In her initial years, she remained active in the theater scene, although she secured her first on-screen role in the American comedy series ‘B.J. and the Bear’ (1979).
In the years 1986 and 1987, she took up minor characters in the series ‘CBS Schoolbreak Special,’ ‘Deadly Care,’ ‘Santa Barbara,’ ‘Hooperman,’ and ‘Mr. Belvedere.’ Her first significant appearance was in the movie ‘Undercover,’ as ‘Miss Randolph,’ in the year 1987.
‘Rain Man,’ the film that won multiple awards, including ‘Academy Awards’ and ‘Golden Globes’ catapulted her career to dizzying heights. The movie featured her alongside two of Hollywood’s famous names: Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.
Between 1988 and 1990, she portrayed a lot of characters in both films and TV series. Some such TV projects are: ‘I Know my First Name is Steven,’ ‘The Golden Girls,’ ‘Coach,’ ‘The Image,’ ‘Empty Nest,’ ‘Fall from Grace,’ ‘The Outsiders,’ ‘Dragnet,’ and ‘Hunter’ among the TV shows. Some of her most notable movies of this period are ‘The Wizard,’ ‘Flatliners,’ ‘Don’t Tell Her It’s Me,’ ‘Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael,’ ‘Child’s Play 2,’ and ‘Eating.’
The last decade of the 20th century saw her take up characters in movies and series of diverse genres, such as ‘Speed,’ ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,’ ‘City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold,’ ‘A Time to Kill,’ and ‘Doctor Dolittle.’ This decade also witnessed her appearing in sitcoms such as ‘Friends,’ ‘Dream On,’ ‘Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,’ and ‘Malcolm in the Middle.’ She was also seen in an animated sitcom, ‘King of the Hill.’ She ended the century with the science-fiction drama series ‘The X-Files.’ She was seen in a two-part miniseries, ‘Switched at Birth,’ in April 1991.
The 21st century began well for her, with the cult movie ‘Donnie Darko’ and blockbusters such as ‘Pearl Harbor,’ and ‘The Rookie.’ Her notable small-screen appearances during this time were in ‘Diagnosis: Murder,’ ‘Any Day Now,’ ‘Judging Amy,’ ‘Yes, Dear,’ ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,’ and ‘Everwood.’
She was appreciated for her role of ‘Dorothy Sheedy’ in a 2004 episode of the popular series ‘Six Feet Under,’ titled ‘In Case of Rapture.’ She was also part of ‘Wonderfalls’ and ‘A Thief of Time’ the same year.
The years 2006 and 2007 kept her busy with roles in the series ‘Jericho,’ ‘Drive,’ ‘Polly and Marie,’ and ‘Bones.’ These were the years that also produced two of her most acclaimed movies: ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘No Country for Old Men.’ Both these films brought her and the respective cast members the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ for the ‘Best Ensemble Cast in a Feature Film.’
In 2010, she played fictional serial killer ‘Anita Weld Roycewood’ in the police-procedural drama ‘Criminal Minds.’ She later stated that she was happy to play this part, as it would educate the parents of the dangers lurking for their children.
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In 2011, she joined the cast of the French comedy–drama ‘The Artist,’ a black-and-white silent-style movie. The movie won the ‘Best Picture’ award at the 2012 ‘Academy Awards.’ The 2012 film ‘Blues of Willadean’ saw her in the lead role of ‘Willadean Winkler.’ She also appeared in an episode of ‘Modern Family,’ titled ‘Tableau Vivant.’
With her portrayal of ‘Beverly’ in the romantic comedy ‘The Mindy Project,’ which ran for six seasons, Beth became a household name. It was aired from 2012 to 2017.
For her portrayal of the leading role in ‘The Trials and Tribulations of Trailer Trash Housewife,’ she won ‘The Los Angeles Drama Critics Award,’ ‘The L.A. Stage Alliance Award,’ and ‘The Backstage West Garlan Award,’ all in the ‘Best Actress’ category.
Her directorial venture ‘The Perfect Fit’ earned her the ‘Audience Award’ for the ‘Best Short Film’ at the ‘Soho International Film Festival’ in New York.
The year 2019 saw her appear in the Netflix series ‘Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events,’ an American black comedy.
She wrote and directed the short ‘The Perfect Fit’ (as a co-writer) and the movie ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’ She also produced ‘Blues for Willadean,’ ‘Herpes Boy’ (as a co-producer), and ‘Judge Koan.’
The late Patrick Swayze was one of Beth’s close friends.
She considers theater her first love and also has won awards for her theater performances.
As a child, she once wanted to be a veterinarian.
Beth wished she could portray the role played by Kathy Bates in the movie ‘Titanic.’
Senator Edmund Muskie conferred her with the ‘Outstanding College Democrat Award.’ She served as “Page” in the ‘North Carolina Senate’ and the president of the ‘East Carolina University College Democrats.’
Her ‘Donnie Darko’ costar Jake Gyllenhaal is a family friend. Beth first met the actor when he was 3 years old.