Marisa Coughlan is an American actress and writer who gained recognition for playing the role of Jo Lynn Jordan in Kevin Williamson's dark-comedy thriller 'Teaching Mrs. Tingle' in 1999. The same year, she became a regular cast on Williamson's television series 'Wasteland'. Since then, she has acted in films like the teen psychological thriller 'Gossip', the surrealist black comedy 'Freddy Got Fingered', the cult classic comedy 'Super Troopers', the romantic dark comedy 'Pumpkin', and another psychological thriller 'I Love Your Work'. On television, apart from her several guest appearances, she is best known for her recurring roles on the legal comedy 'Boston Legal', the drama 'Side Order of Life' and the crime show 'Bones'. Coughlan, who is now the proud mother of four children, shifted from acting to writing during her pregnancies.
Rise to Stardom
Even before graduating from the University of Southern California, Marisa Coughlan began her acting career in 1995 by appearing in small roles on television series, such as 'Step by Step' and 'Weird Science'. Around this time, she also worked in the telefilm 'Fist of the North Star'. During the next few years, she continued to appear both on television and in films before landing her breakthrough role of Jo Lynn Jordan in the 1999 film 'Teaching Mrs. Tingle', the directorial debut of Kevin Williamson. Helen Mirren and Katie Holmes were her co-stars in the movie. While it was reported that she was previously rejected for a role on Williamson's series 'Dawson's Creek', she was cast in a main role in his next television drama 'Wasteland' in 1999. In 2000, she got a role in the ensemble cast film 'Gossip', followed by her significant movie roles in 'Freddy Got Fingered' (2001), 'Super Troopers' (2001), 'Pumpkin' (2002) and 'New Suit' (2002). She landed the recurring roles of secretary Melissa Hughes in 'Boston Legal' in 2006, and of Jenny McIntyre in the Lifetime series 'Side Order of Life' in 2007. In 2018, she reprised her role as Chief Ursula Hanson in the film sequel 'Super Troopers 2'.
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Controversies & Scandals
In October 2017, in the wake of a series of sexual abuse allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, Marisa Coughlan came out with details of her own unfortunate encounters with the disgraced movie mogul. She told 'The Hollywood Reporter' that her encounters with Weinstein happened in 1999, during which he "wanted to barter sex for movie roles". It was the period just after she had completed filming for 'Teaching Mrs. Tingle', and was cast on the upcoming television project 'Wasteland', both produced by Weinstein's studio Miramax. She once saw him dining with the likes of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and went up to him to say hello. Soon after that, she found out that Weinstein had paid the dinner bills for her and her friends. She felt obliged to write a thank-you note, following which he called her back and showered her with compliments, also setting up a meeting with her at the Peninsula to discuss future work.
Coughlan, who brought a notebook filled with ideas, was offered a lead role in a future movie, along with an invitation to become one of his 'special friends' who apparently gave each other massages in his bedroom. Coughlan, who was in a serious relationship at that time, swiftly declined the offer and left the meeting. To her surprise, Weinstein still sent her the movie’s script and offered her a 'romantic' ice skating outing in a follow-up call. They eventually had another meeting in Los Angeles, at a public place on her insistence, during which she explained that she "was never going to do anything physical or romantic". Nevertheless, he asked her to accompany him during the ride back to his hotel, and once there, he kept pushing her to come to his room. While she lost the role to another actress, she believes that the offer was never real. She also praised other women who came forward with much more horrifying stories than her "transactional" encounter with Weinstein.
Family & Personal Life
Marisa Christine Coughlan was born on March 17, 1974 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since her father and her mother lived in different places, she spent her childhood both in Minneapolis and St. Paul. She graduated from Breck School, a small private school in Golden Valley, Minnesota, in 1992. She then enrolled at the USC and relocated to Los Angeles with her father Daniel Merritt Coughlan. She studied in Paris during her junior year in 1995, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French the following year.
Marisa Coughlan met her future husband, Stephen Wallack, the brother of Oscar-nominated screenwriter Melisa Wallack, back in Minneapolis when they were teenagers. They got married at a private estate in Pasadena, California on November 1, 2008. Since then, they have welcomed four children together, sons Stephen 'Finn' Wallack III and Connor Wallack; and daughters Merrit Wallack and Ireland Wallack. Coughlan, who lived in Studio City, California until 2015, currently resides in Deephaven, Minnesota.