Lisa Gerritsen (Actress) - The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Lisa Gerritsen 1
Updated: 4/20/21

Name: Lisa Gerritsen

Birth Name: Leisa Orszag

Born: December 21, 1957 in Los Angeles, California, USA

Claim To Fame: Lisa Gerritsen is an American former child actress most famous for her role as Bess, the independent-minded daughter of Phyllis Lindstrom on the 1970s television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off Phyllis.

Family Life: Gerritsen has been married to John Rustan since 2000. Together they have one child, a son.

Info: Great-granddaughter of actor/screenwriter/director True Boardman and actor Virginia True Boardman.

Her acting career began when she was eight years old.

In the 1990s, she worked for a large software company in California.

As of September 2008, she was working as an independent relocation coordinator and facilities project manager in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Trivia: Landed her first professional role in an episode of The Doris Day Show in 1968.

Gerritsen followed this with guest appearances in numerous TV shows including The Odd Couple, Bonanza, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Virginian and Family Affair.

She was cast in several episodes of Gunsmoke, one of which helped her to land a regular role in the 1969 NBC comedy series My World and Welcome to It, starring William Windom and Joan Hotchkis, which was based on the cartoons of author James Thurber.

In 1970, she was cast as Bess Lindstrom, daughter of landlord Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman) in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, for which she received critical acclaim. Bess was a precocious child whose mother believed in progressive parenting - Bess always called Phyllis by her first name, read Phyllis's books on child rearing, and much more.

Though she returned only sporadically for the next few years, she was memorable playing an off-beat, brainy, talented little girl.

Gerritsen returned in the role in the spin-off series Phyllis (1975-1977).

She made her first big-screen appearance in Airport, playing the role of Libby Bakersfeld.

Gerritsen left acting during the late 1970s, and not much was heard about her during the 1980s and onward.

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Where Are They Now: Gerritsen has been out of the Hollywood limelight since the late 1970s. She currently lives with her husband John Rustan and son in Northern California. It would be nice to see her comeback to the small screen, but maybe she got out of the entertainment biz while the getting was good.


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