Lisa Jane Persky

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Lisa Jane Persky
Born (1955-05-05) May 5, 1955 (age 64)
OccupationActress, author, artist, photographer
Years active1977–present
Andy Zax (m. 2008)

Lisa Jane Persky (born May 5, 1955) is an American actress, journalist, author, artist, and photographer. She is best known for her supporting roles in the films The Great Santini (1979) and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), and her work in the late 1970s as a writer and photojournalist for New York Rocker magazine.

Early life and education[edit]

Persky was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Jane Holley (née Wilson) and Mort Persky.

After her parents' divorce, her father married novelist Judith Rossner (Looking for Mr. Goodbar) and her mother married classical violinist Vladimir Weisman.[1] Persky grew up in New York's Greenwich Village at 87 Christopher Street, a building known for such notable tenants as H.M. Koutoukas[2] and Yoko Ono[3]. She attended P.S. 41 for elementary school then the High School of Art and Design, where she studied graphic design.[4]


Immediately after she graduated from high school, Persky's neighbor Koutoukas, a playwright, told her that he had written a play for her, he cast her, with the salary of $25 per week, as "Cordelia Wells, The World's Most Perfect Teenager" in Grandmother Is in the Strawberry Patch.[2] The play was produced at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, and was the first of several collaborations between Persky and Koutoukas.[5] In 1976, she performed as Mary-Eleanor in Tom Eyen's Women Behind Bars, directed by Ron Link and starring Divine.[6]

She has since appeared in many plays, including Broadway's Steaming,[7] and has received critical acclaim for her stage performances in Los Angeles, she received the Drama-Logue and LA Weekly Theater awards (for Best Actress) for Mayo Simon's These Men, in which she starred at the Los Angeles Actors Theatre Company, and for Hearts on Fire at the Odyssey.[8] She also received a Drama Critics Circle award nomination (for Outstanding Performance) forThese Men.[citation needed]

Her breakout performance as a film actress came in 1979, playing the role of Robert Duvall's daughter in The Great Santini, she has gone on to act in over two dozen films, including American Pop, The Cotton Club, Peggy Sue Got Married, The Big Easy, When Harry Met Sally..., and Coneheads.[9] In her role as Katrina in Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995), she gave actor/director Quentin Tarantino his first on-screen kiss.[10] In 2013, she appeared as herself in I Am Divine, Jeffrey Schwarz's documentary about the actor Divine.[11]

Persky's television work has included a recurring role on Private Eye, as well as appearances on NYPD Blue, The X-Files, King of the Hill, E/R, The Golden Girls, and dozens more,[12] she has also appeared in such made-for-TV movies as Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back and KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.[13]

Writing and editing[edit]

An early participant in the CBGB music scene, she was a founding staff member at New York Rocker magazine.[14] During that era, she documented the burgeoning punk and new wave movement as a writer and a photojournalist, she revisited the era on the "New York Rockers" panel at the 2012 EMP Pop Conference.[15]

As a journalist, her work has appeared in publications including Fortean Times[16] and LA Weekly[17]. In 2010, she became a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she was also Art Director, she left the publication in December 2012.

Her fiction has appeared, among other places, in the magazines BOMB[18] and Eclectica (where, billed as Eljay Persky, she was one of 30 writers selected to be anthologized in their Eclectica: Best Fiction Vol. 1 collection)[19].

Visual art[edit]

In addition to her fine-art photography, her photographry has been featured in magazines such as Mojo, Q, and Uncut, and in books, including Gary Valentine's memoir, New York Rocker: My Life in The Blank Generation[20], Punk: The Whole Story[21], and Lance Out Loud[22], to which she also contributed an essay, her collage work has appeared in publications including the Los Angeles Times and LA Style, and it earned her an Award for Design Excellence from Print magazine. In 2008, she co-produced and curated Los Angeles Loteria; An Exploration of Identity, an edition of prints in honor of the 40th anniversary of Aardvark Letterpress.[23][24] In 2012, she contributed the foreword to the catalog for photographer Bobby Grossman's exhibit Low Fidelity - The Photos of Bobby Grossman.[25]

Personal life and miscellaneous appearances[edit]

On January 19, 2008, she married music historian and former co-star of the Comedy Central game show Beat the Geeks, Andy Zax.[1]

Persky was the subject of a critically lauded song by Blondie, "(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear"; the song was written by her then-boyfriend, Gary Valentine, who was the band's bassist at the time.

In 2009, Persky began making appearances on The Best Show on WFMU radio program, as both a regular caller and as an in-studio special guest, she is also a semi-regular on the Life Elsewhere program on WMNF, Tampa.[26]

Persky has occasionally appeared at fan conventions, including the 20th anniversary celebration for Quantum Leap[27] and at the 2013 New York/New Jersey KISS Expo.[28]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 The Great Santini Mary Anne Meechum
1980 Love in a Taxi Marian
1981 American Pop Bella
1983 Breathless Salesgirl billed as Lisa Persky
1984 The Cotton Club Frances Flegenheimer
1985 The Sure Thing Mary Ann Webster
1986 Peggy Sue Got Married Delores Dodge
1987 The Big Easy McCabe
1989 Great Balls of Fire! Babe
1989 When Harry Met Sally... Alice
1990 In the Best Interest of the Children Gwen Hatcher
1990 The Last of the Finest Harriet Gross
1990 Vital Signs Bobby
1993 Coneheads Lisa Farber
1994 Dead Funny Sarah
1994 Pontiac Moon Alicia Frank
1995 Destiny Turns on the Radio Katrina
1996 Female Perversions Margot
1998 Where's Marlowe? Jenny
1999 Tumbleweeds Diner Waitress billed as Lisa Persky
1999 The Wetonkawa Flash
1999 Goosed The Psychic
2001 My First Mister Sheila
2001 An American Rhapsody Pattie
2002 The Dogwalker Allison
2006 Grilled Sally Wilson
2013 I Am Divine herself


Year Title Role Notes
1977 The Fitzpatricks Episodes: "Halloween" and "The New Fitzpatrick"
1978 NBC Special Treat Cindy Episode: "Snowbound"
1978 KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park Dirty Dee Television film
1980 Shirley Episode: "The Three Dates of Shirley Miller"
1981 ABC Afterschool Specials Jo Dayton Episode: "A Matter of Time"
1981 The Choice Emmy Soames Television film
1981 Quincy M.E. Penny Stone Episode: "Sugar and Spice"
1982 The Incredible Hulk Rita Episode: "A Minor Problem"
1982 Open All Night Laurie
1982 Trapper John, M.D. Sally Episode: "Ladies in Waiting"
1983 Desperate Intruder Linda Television film
1984 E/R Episode: "Sentimental Journey"
1984 Shattered Vows Sister Cathy Television film
1985 The Golden Girls Kate Zbornak Episode: "Guess Who's Coming to the Wedding?"
1985 Amazing Stories Shirley Episode: "The Main Attraction"
1985 New Love, American Style Episode: "Love and Leaving Home"
1986 Crime Story Joanne Goldman Episode: "Pilot"
1986 The Twilight Zone Sandra Episode: "The Once and Future King"
1987 Private Eye Dottie Episodes: "Pilot," "Nickey the Rose," "War Buddy," "Blue Movie," "Blue Hotel Pt.1," "Nobody Dies in Chinatown"
1988 Private Eye Dottie Episode: "Hollywood Confidential"
1988 Sharing Richard Roberta
1988 thirtysomething Sharon Berman Episode: "Whose Forest Is This?"
1989 It's Garry Shandling's Show Kitty Episode: "Vegas: Part 2"
1990 Grand Jenny Episode: "Norris' Romance"
1991 The Antagonists Joanie Rutledge
1992 Designing Women Heather McPhaul Episode: "All About Odes to Atlanta"
1992 Mann & Machine Episode: "Cold, Cold Heart"
1993 Murphy Brown Jane Episode: "Games Mothers Play"
1994 Quantum Leap Marion Episode: "Memphis Melody - July 3, 1954"
1995 The Marshal Felton Voorhees Episodes: "Twoslip" and "Pass the Gemelli"
1995 Touched by an Angel Alison Episode: "The Big Bang"
1997 The Pretender Lamont Episode: "Bomb Squad"
1998 Perfect Assassins Janice Franklin Television film
1999 The X-Files Laura Weinsider Episode: "Terms of Endearment"
1999 King of the Hill Actress (voice) Episode: "Love Hurts and So Does Art"
1999 Touched by an Angel Stasi Episode: "The Last Day of the Rest of Your Life"
2000 Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back Wilma Aday Television film
2002 The Practice Karen Garvey Episode: "The Test"
2002 The Division Ann Fenwick Episode: "Illusions"
2004 NYPD Blue Jessica Applebaum Episode: "What's Your Poison?"
2005 Invasion Disheveled Woman Episode: "Unnatural Selection"
2005 Twins Marcy Episode: "Horse Sense"


  1. ^ a b "Lisa Jane Persky, Andrew Zax". The New York Times. January 20, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Persky, Lisa Jane (March 21, 2010). "H.M. Koutoukas; A Remembrance". Noir Pictures.
  3. ^ "Yoko Revisits Her Old Home". Instagram. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  4. ^ "Eljay Persky grew up in New York City's Greenwich Village, attending the High School of Art and Design." Eclectica Magazine, October / November 2005. Accessed August 6, 2008.
  5. ^ La MaMa Archives Digital Collections. "Production: Grandmother is in the Strawberry Patch (1973)". Accessed July 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Women Behind Bars. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  7. ^ "Steaming". Playbill Vault. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  8. ^ "Lisa Jane Persky". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  9. ^ Canby, Vincent (February 13, 1981). "'American Pop' Grown-Up Animation". The New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  10. ^ Dawson, Jeffrey (1995). Quentin Tarantino: The Cinema of Cool. Applause Books. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  11. ^ "I am Divine - The Movie". Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  12. ^ "Private Eye TV intro". Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  13. ^ "PodKISSt #23: KISS Goes to the Movies (Part 1) - Lisa Jane Persky interview". Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  14. ^ "New York Rocker". May 1976. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  15. ^ "Lisa Jane Persky". 2012 EMP Pop Conference. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  16. ^ "Strange Days: Obituaries/Curtis Harrington". The Fortean Times. Archived from the original on November 1, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  17. ^ "RODNEY BINGENHEIMER: A Child of the Myth". LA Weekly. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  18. ^ "One of Milo Challenger's Stories". BOMB (magazine). Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  19. ^ "Best Fiction Volume One Sales Sheet" (PDF). Eclectica. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  20. ^ "New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation". Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  21. ^ "Punk: The Whole Story". Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  22. ^ "Lance Out Loud". Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  23. ^ "Aardvark Letterpress marks its 40th year with loteria-like fine art prints". The Los Angeles Times. June 15, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  24. ^ "Los Angeles Loteria". Bert Green Fine Art. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  25. ^ "Low Fidelity - The Photos of Bobby Grossman". Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  26. ^ "Life Elsewhere". Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  27. ^ "20th Anniversary Guest Stars". Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  28. ^ "Lisa Jane Persky". Retrieved May 7, 2013.

External links[edit]