Grace Zabriskie
Grace Zabriskie
Grace Zabriske originated the role of Spence's mother on "King of Queens".
Vital statistics
Gender: Female
Born: (1941-05-17) May 17, 1941 (age 79)
Birthplace New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Family and Personal
Character information
Appeared on: The King of Queens
Episodes appeared in: "S'Ain't Valentine's" in Season 1
Appears as: Veronica Olchin

Grace Zabriskie (born May 17, 1941) was the first actress to appear as Veronica Olchin, Spence's mother, in the "King of Queens" episode titled "S'Ain't Valentine's" (Season 1, episode #16, 1998). She has appeared in many popular American films, but she is best known for her work in television. She is perhaps best known for her roles in the television series Twin Peaks, Seinfeld and Big Love.

Early lifeEdit

Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Grace has said that her family was visited by Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote during her childhood.[1]


After making her major film debut in 1979's Norma Rae, Zabriskie went on to appear in dozens of other works, including the 1981 Roger Corman horror film Galaxy of Terror, 1981 miniseries adaptation of John Steinbeck's East of Eden, as the nanny in 1980's The Private Eyes, as Debra Winger's mother in An Officer and a Gentleman; as Paul Le Mat's mother in 1984's The Burning Bed starring Farrah Fawcett; in 1989's Drugstore Cowboy; as the ill-fated orphanage owner Grace Poole in Child's Play 2; the 1991 film adaptation Fried Green Tomatoes; and in Philip Ridley's 1995 film The Passion of Darkly Noon.

Grace Zabriskie on King of Queens

Grace Zabriskie (here in a scene with Kevin James) appeared as Veronica, Spence's mother, in the first season episode "S'aint Valentine's" (#1.16).

However, Grace is perhaps most familiar for her television work. After appearing in a recurring role on the soap opera Santa Barbara, she played a major role on the David Lynch series Twin Peaks and its spin-off film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me as Sarah Palmer, the eerily psychic mother of the doomed Laura Palmer. Zabriskie also appeared in Lynch's Wild at Heart—notably as the twin sister of a character played by Isabella Rossellini, an actress eleven years her junior. She was also chosen by David Lynch to appear as a sinister Polish neighbour in Inland Empire in 2006.

Grace may best be remembered as Mrs. Ross, a recurring character on the hit NBC-TV sitcom Seinfeld. She played the mother of another doomed daughter, Susan Ross—George Costanza's fiancee—who died after licking cheap envelope adhesive when mailing out her wedding invitations. Zabriskie's character's husband on the series, who also a recurring role, was played by her former Twin Peaks co-star, Warren Frost. She also made a brief but memorable appearance on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens, as the emotionally disturbed and alcoholic mother of Spence Olchin (played by Patton Oswalt). While the character Veronica Olchin would reappear throughout the series, Zabriskie would not portray her again, having been replaced by Anne Meara.

She has at times worked in radio, collaborating with radio dramatist/monologist Joe Frank several times. Zabriskie recently appeared in the American remake The Grudge, in which she played a senile elderly woman sensitive to the paranormal occurrences in her home. She also stars as Lois Henrickson in Big Love, an HBO drama series that seriously explores the issue of polygamy. Zabriskie also appeared in several episodes of Aaron Spelling's series Charmed as The Crone.


  1. HBO: Big Love - Interviews - Grace Zabriskie

External linksEdit

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