Malick was born Wendie Malick in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Gigi, a former model, and Ken Malick, who worked in sales. Her father is Egyptian. She graduated from Williamsville South High School.
In 1972, after graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, Malick began fashion modelling for the Wilhelmina modeling agency. She left that to work for Republican Congressman Jack Kemp. She soon left Washington, D.C., to pursue a career in stage and screen. She began working as an actress in 1982 in the film A Little Sex and has worked steadily since. She was given a special award by the Screen Actors Guild for her accomplishments in film and television. She has appeared in no fewer than five television programs or films every year for the past 23 years.
In 1982, Malick auditioned unsuccessfully for the role of Diane Chambers in the NBC sitcom Cheers. She played a supporting role in the 1988 film Scrooged as Bill Murray's sister-in-law. Her first lead role on a TV series was on the HBO series Dream On in 1990. She remained on this show until 1996, winning four CableACE Awards for best actress in a comedy series. In 1995 she appeared in the sitcom Seinfeld as the character Wendy in "The Kiss Hello".
In 1997, Malick began the role of Nina Van Horn, a shallow, boozing former supermodel on the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me! — a role she continued until the show ended in 2003. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work on Just Shoot Me! in 1999 and again in 2002.
In 2003, Malick joined the cast of Frasier, portraying Ronee Lawrence, a Seattle lounge singer (and Frasier's (Kelsey Grammer) childhood babysitter) who develops a relationship with Frasier's father, Martin Crane (John Mahoney). Eventually, her character of Ronee would marry Martin in the series finale of the critically acclaimed program. Malick and Mahoney also both appeared in The American President.
Malick starred in the made-for-TV movie Take My Advice: The Ann and Abby Story, in which she played the dual roles of identical twin sibling advice columnists Ann Landers (Esther Lederer) and "Dear Abby" Abigail Van Buren (Pauline Phillips). She provided the voice of Principal Folsom for the Disney animated series Fillmore! until its end in 2004. In 2005 she co-starred on Nickelodeon's The X's as Miss X. Malick also starred in Disney's film The Emperor's New Groove as Chicha in 2000.
In 2005 and early 2006, she portrayed Naomi on the John Stamos television series Jake in Progress. Malick was to be part of the cast of the series Modern Men, but due to a Jake in Progress renewal, her role on Modern Men was recast with Jane Seymour. Both Jake in Progress and Modern Men were quickly canceled in 2006. Also in 2005, Malick starred as Clara Dalrymple in the movie Racing Stripes. In 2005 and 2006, she provided the voice of Burdine Maxwell in the animated series Bratz. In late 2006 and early 2007, she portrayed Jane in the television series Big Day.
Starting in the summer of 2006, Malick did voice work on radio and television ads for Marshall's department stores.
Malick took part in the filming of Confessions of a Shopaholic as the instructor of the "Shopaholics Anonymous" group, Miss Korch.
Malick has made over 80 guest appearances on television shows, including:
- 5 appearances on Kate & Allie
- 9 appearances on Baywatch
- 8 appearances on Frasier as Ronee Lawrence
- 5 appearances on Father of the Pride
- 1 appearance on Reba
- 1 appearance on Seinfeld
- 3 appearances on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius as Beautiful Gorgeous
...as well as appearances on MacGyver, The X-Files, Mike Hammer, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Highway to Heaven, NYPD Blue, L.A. Law, Empty Nest, Mad About You, Tales From the Crypt, Cybill, Kim Possible, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 'Til Death, Law & Order, Celebrity Death Match, Pushing Daisies and True Jackson, VP.
In 2000, Malick was honored by Women in Film as A Woman of Vision, along with Tipper Gore, Gwen Ifill and Roseanne Barr. Malick is on the board of directors of the Environmental Media Association, the board of advocates for Planned Parenthood and the advisory board of the Humane Society.
Malick has been married twice: from 1982 to 1989 to actor and screenwriter Mitch Glazer, and since 1992 to Richard Erickson. Through their charity, A Drop in the Bucket, she and Erickson support a medical center in the Congo and share an ongoing commitment to a women's shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. They live in the Santa Monica Mountains with three dogs, two horses and a cat. Malick is a vegetarian. She donates heavily to Democratic political candidates, organizations and causes.
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