Mindy Lee Sterling is an American actress and voice-over artist. She has garnered fame for portraying roles like Frau Farbissina in the ‘Austin Powers’ series, Principal Susan Skidmore in the Disney Channel series ‘A.N.T. Farm’, Ms. Endive on the Cartoon Network series ‘Chowder’, Lin Beifong on Nickelodeon’s ‘The Legend of Korra’, and Miss Francine Briggs in Nickelodeon’s ‘iCarly’. Originally from New Jersey, Sterling grew up in a family of entertainers. Around 1973, she was cast in a recurring role in the syndicated children's series ‘Dusty's Treehouse’. Later, she became a member of the L.A.-based comedy troupe ‘The Groundlings’. In 1981, Sterling made her cinematic debut in the fantasy comedy ‘The Devil and Max Devlin’. She portrayed a variety of minor as well as major characters in the 1980s and 1990s before she landed the role of Frau Farbissina in the first ‘Austin Powers’ film. In her four-decade-long career so far, she has accumulated more than 200 film and TV credits. Sterling was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for her performance in ‘Con Man’ and ‘Secs and Execs’ in 2017.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on July 11, 1953, in Paterson, New Jersey, USA, Mindy Sterling is the daughter of Dick and June Sterling. Dick Sterling is a renowned comedian and actor, while her mother used to be a dancer. She grew up in a Jewish household with her brother Mark.
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Mindy Sterling began her career in the entertainment industry around 1973 when she was hired for a role in the syndicated children's series ‘Dusty's Treehouse’. Later, she performed with L.A.-based comedy troupe The Groundlings.
In 1981, she appeared in ‘The Devil and Max Devlin’, Steven Hilliard Stern’s directorial venture starring Bill Cosby and Elliott Gould. In 1985, she was cast in two films, science fiction comedy ‘UFOria’ and fantasy comedy horror ‘House’. She portrayed various characters in Nick at Nite’s sketch comedy show ‘On the Television’.
Sterling has portrayed a plethora of small roles on television throughout her career. She has appeared in shows like ‘Good Advice, ‘Family Matters’, ‘Friends’, ‘Even Stevens’, ‘The King of Queens’, ‘The Suite Life of Zack & Cody’, ‘Scrubs’, ‘My Name is Earl, ‘Black-ish’, and ‘The Goldbergs’.
She shared screen space with Jim Carrey, Jeffrey Tambor, and Christine Baranski in Ron Howard’s 2000 Christmas fantasy comedy ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, the cinematic adaptation of Dr. Seuss' 1957 book of the same name.
In 2003, she starred in the WB’s short-lived comedy series ‘On the Spot’. In 2004, she had an uncredited role in the teen comedy ‘EuroTrip’.
Between 2007 and 2012, she portrayed the recurring role of Miss Francine Briggs in the Nickelodeon teen sitcom ‘iCarly’.
She played an insurance agent in Michael Bay’s sci-fi action film ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ (2011). She also had the recurring role of Principal Susan Skidmore in the Disney Channel teen sitcom ‘A.N.T. Farm’ between 2011 and 2013.
In 2017, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for her role as Bobbie in the web series ‘Con Man’ (2015-17), as well as for the telefilm ‘Secs and Execs’ (2017), in which she portrayed the role of Shirla.
Sterling’s voice-acting résumé is quite extensive. Her first performance as a voice actress was in a 2002 episode of Nickelodeon’s animated series ‘Invader ZIM’ as the self-proclaimed warrior Countess von Verminstrasser.
Between 2006 and 2008, she worked in four episodes of Adult Swim’s ‘Robot Chicken’. She lent her voice to the overweight, smart, and prudish 46-year-old chef Ms. Endive in the Cartoon Network series ‘Chowder’.
She also voiced Mrs. Sneedly in the Netflix animated series ‘The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants’ (2018-19). Sterling is set to star in the upcoming TV show ‘Do the Voice’ and films ‘My Best Friend’s Famous’ and ‘Faith Based’.
Based on several female villains from early James Bond films as well as Frau Hoffner from the 1967 Bond spoof ‘Casino Royale’ and Canadian humanitarian Lotta Hitschmanova, Frau Farbissina, Mindy Sterling’s character in the three ‘Austin Powers’ films, helped her not only in gaining solid footing in the industry but also in cementing her legacy as an on-screen comedian.
Mindy Sterling lent her voice to one of the main characters in the show, Lin Beifong, in the Nickelodeon animated series ‘The Legend of Korra’ (2012-14). Created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the series is the sequel to DiMartino and Konietzko’s previous show ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ (2005-08). Like its predecessor, ‘The Legend of Korra’ was received positively by both the critics and the audience.
Family & Personal Life
Mindy Sterling was married to musical artist Brian Gadson. They have a son together, Max, who was born in 1994. He has followed in the footsteps of his mother and grandfather into the world of comedy.
In 1998, her doctors told her that she had breast cancer after a routine mammogram. She subsequently underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment to cure the disease and continues to be cancer-free today.