Joan Cusack

New York City, New York, USA

Biography

Actress Joan Cusack was born in New York City, New York, and is the daughter of Nancy (née Carolan) and Dick Cusack. Her father was an advertising executive, writer and actor, and her mother was a math teacher. Her siblings - Susie Cusack, John Cusack, Ann Cusack and Bill Cusack also act. Her family is of Irish descent. Raised in Evanston, Illinois, Cusack was actively encouraged to explore her creativity by her parents, and as a child she joined the Piven Theater Workshop. She went on to learn and perform improvisation at the Story Theater and The Ark. Later she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating with a bachelor's degree in English. Whilst at university, Cusack took some small film roles, but her big break came after graduation, when she joined the cast of the legendary "Saturday Night Live." However, she only stayed for a season before moving on to explore other projects. In 1987, she produced a memorable turn in the acclaimed Broadcast News (1987), and she was Oscar nominated for her performance in Working Girl (1988). Other notable films include Addams Family Values (1993), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) and In & Out (1997), which earned her a second Oscar nomination. She also provided, superbly, the voice of Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl in Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010). On television she scored a role on "Shameless," with her work garnering her an Emmy nomination. Joan Cusack is married to an attorney, Dick Burke. They have two sons - Dylan and Miles.

Movies

Peep and the Big Wide World is an animated cartoon that teaches nature and basic science concepts to preschoolers. The main characters include a yellow baby chick named Peep and his friends Quack, a teenaged blue drake, and Chirp, a baby red robin with pink eyelids. The current show, narrated by Joan Cusack is based on a National Film Board of Canada cartoon short of the same name, created in 1988 by Kaj Pindal and narrated by Peter Ustinov, and another short, "The Peep Show", from 1962. The original short comprised three 10-minute films featuring Peep, Quack, and Chirp as they meet a cat, a ladybug, a turtle and a frog who speaks from both sides of his mouth. The show is produced by WGBH in Boston and 9 Story Entertainment in Toronto, Canada. In the US, this show formerly aired on Discovery Kids as part of its commercial-free and sponsor-free "Ready, Set, Learn!" programming block. It now airs nationally in the United States on public television, distributed by American Public Television. In Canada, it airs on TVOntario. DVDs and books are also available for purchase. Peep and the Big Wide World is currently sponsored by the National Science Foundation in conjunction with WGBH-TV as part of an education and outreach program. The principal investigator is Kate Taylor, also of the ZOOM block. The National Science Foundation is the only permanent sponsor of the show. Northrop Grumman, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Toyota funded the show for only season two. The Discovery Kids Foundation funded the show for only season one. In 1999, the show was produced by Clumsy PriStar Television. The VHS copies are produced from Clumsy Pristar's home viewings.

More info
Peep and the Big Wide World
2004