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 TV Character Bios

KELLY, Grace & Family
(Grace Under Fire)
( 555-0159
445 Washington Avenue
Victory, MO
Grace [née Burdette] is a 36-year-old divorced mother of three. Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Grace is an aspiring writer and a recovering alcoholic. To support her family she has worked as a waitress at Stevie Ray’s Bar, and at the CBD Oil Refinery [Section 7].

Brett Butler as Grace Kelly
 

Grace’s children included Quentin Kelly, the eldest; Elizabeth Louise "Libby" Kelly, the adorable middle child and baby Patrick. Grace’s opinionated mother-in-law Jean Kelly later moved in to take care of the kids while Grace worked.

Grace’s best friends are Nadine Swoboda, Grace's pal from high school who lives next-door with her fourth husband, Wade Swoboda; Faith Burdette, Grace’s stern but lovable sister, a pet groomer; Grace's mother, Louise Burdette who lives out of town; Russell Norton, a recently divorced pharmacist who first dated Grace and then dated Faith; and Grace's refinery workers: Bill Davis, the foreman and her Neanderthal co-workers: John Shirley, Dougie, and Vic. At the refinery Grace called herself a "quota babe."

From time to time, Grace’s alcoholic trucker husband Jimmy [who beat her during their eight year marriage] dropped by her home to visit his kids. He was described as a "knuckle-dragging, cousin-loving, beer-sucking redneck husband." Jimmy's oddly named relatives consisted of Emmett Kelly (his dad), Jean Kelly (his mom), and De Forest Kelly (a cousin), etc.

When Grace's landlord took advantage of all the improvements made on his property while Grace lived there, he decided to sell the property and make a profit. Not able to afford the asking price, Grace bought a fixer-upper house across the street at 446 Washington Avenue. The home was previously owned by a senior citizen named Mrs. Walker who died in the house.

A short time later, Graces' fourth child, Mathew, a college student whom she had given up for adoption as a young girl because she could not take care of it, showed up out of the blue. Matthew wanted to learn the name of his father and, of course, the ever-loving Grace tried to help him with his problem.


Cast of the ABC series 'Grace Under Fire' - Photo courtesy of Carsey-Werner Productions
(Left to right) Floyd, Nadine, Wade, Libby, Grace,
Patrick, Quentin, Jean and Russell

Even though Grace had given up drinking she was tempted from time to time. But she did have other comforts to fall back onto like strawberry ice cream, Canadian bacon and Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. For a night on the town Grace frequented The Delta Queen, a river boat gambling facility.

For a quick snack Grace dropped by Stevie Ray's Bar where Nadine worked or she grabbed a cup of Joe at the Equator Coffee Shop.

To get around town, Grace drove a Blue Pontiac GTO Sedan [License No. FXB-352 and AEH 497].

Grace also volunteered her time at the local Crisis Center where she gave council to other woman who suffered some of the same indignities that she herself had gone through (drug addiction, being battered, etc.).

For music, Grace chose the soulful sounds of Earth Wind and Fire and the hunka, hunka burning love of Elvis Presley.

Although divorced, Grace found time for romance, if but fleeting, with a number of suitors. They included Rick Bradshaw, an executive at the CBD Oil Refinery; Coach Ben Fletcher; Terry, a handsome New York fireman; Sailor Bob whom Grace went on a date to a Star Trek Convention; an intelligent guy named Rob McGurrin that Grace initially wanted to date so she could get meaningless sex; Reverend Tom Maxwell from Jean's church who quit the church after encouragement from Grace to pursue his dreams; and Gabriel, Wade's former commanding officer in Vietnam who's was involved in covert operations/demolition expert. He soon disappeared on a secret mission.

To better her lot in life, Grace took an ad agency job in St. Louis but after a short time, she changed jobs again to work for D.C., her boss at Reliance Construction Company, a bridge construction firm. Grace finally went back to Missouri State College to get her B.A. in English.

When Nadine divorced Wade and left town for Colorado with her new baby, Rose, Grace became friends with Dot, a talkative Asian hair stylist, and wealthy Bev Henderson, who moved in with Grace to “get in touch with her middle-class roots." And through it all, Grace loved her children, tried to forgive Jimmy for his past abuses and faced down her need for a drink of booze when the occasion arose.

TRIVIA NOTE: Born Brett Ashley Anderson on January 30, 1958 in Montgomery, Alabama, comedian Brett Butler began her career as cocktail waitress and then as a writer for the Dolly Parton TV series DOLLY in 1987. Eventually, her standup routine that poked fun of her southern heritage and her relationship with men became the inspiration for her ABC series GRACE UNDER FIRE.

Brett once said of her marriage "I was married to a subliterate, terra-cotta-toothed imbecile with violent tendencies." About her roots, she confessed "I'm so Southern I'm related to myself."

Brett's name is a combination of the Lady Brett Ashley in "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway and the fact that her mother's remarriage to Bob Butler when Brett was six changed her surname from Anderson to Butler.

GRACE UNDER FIRE became the first American sitcom to be broadcast regularly in Russia. Brett Butler is a vegetarian.


GRACE UNDER FIRE/ABC/CBS/1993-98

Brett Butler as Grace Kelly
Dave Thomas as Russell Norton
Julie White as Nadine Swoboda 
Casey Sander as Wade Swoboda
Jon Paul Steuer as Quentin Kelly
Kaitlin Cullum as Elizabeth Louise 'Libby' Kelly
Cole Sprouse as Patrick Kelly
Dylan Sprouse as Patrick Kelly
Alan Autry as Rick Bradshaw
Valri Bromfield as Faith Burdette
Peggy Rea as Jean Kelly
Geoffrey Pierson as Jimmy Kelly
Tom Poston as Floyd Norton
Lauren Tom as Dot


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