In the Beginning. . .
Nana Tucker was born July 26, 1957, to Broadway choreographer Robert Tucker (Gypsy) and ballet instructor Nenette Charisse. Famed dancer Cyd Charisse married Nenette’s brother. Nana has two brothers, Ian and Paris, and one sister, Zan. Raised in New York’s theater district, surrounded by dancers, Nana began dance lessons at her mother’s studio at age 7.
Following high school where she was a “bookish child” and where she had her first experiences on stage, Nana was accepted into Princeton. Before she could leave for college, however, Nana auditioned and was hired to be in the chorus of a show. Following that gig she continued to find work in the theater and kept deferring college. As she says, “I think everyone was pretty relieved that I didn’t become the black sheep of the family and not go into show business.”
As Nana’s showbiz career became a reality, she chose a stage name. “Tucker” was never a name Nana was particularly attached to: her father was adopted. “Visitor” is an old family name from her mother’s side. “I guess someone decided we were just visitors here and took the name,” she explains.
Nana’s first major stage role came in late 1980 when she played Stella Goodman in The Gentle People. Next she took on the title role in Gypsy, co-starring with Angela Lansbury. Following that production she landed a double role in My One & Only, starring 60′s icon Twiggy. Nana was Twiggy’s understudy (if the star isn’t able to perform, the understudy takes over) and played the part of Prawn in the chorus. The soundtrack of this production is Nana’s only appearance on an original cast album. She sings in the chorus, no solos, but it’s a chance to hear Major Kira chiming in on Gershwin songs!
With her singing voice warmed up, Nana landed a part in the Los Angeles revival of 42nd Street. Playing Peggy Sawyer, Nana wowed the audience with her tap dancing. In 1985, shortly after appearing in the revival, Nana moved to Los Angeles. Exact dates are unknown, but somewhere during all this Nana married dancer/actor Nick Miscusi whom she met at her mother’s dance studio.
The (small) Silver Screen
Nana had some experience with television acting back in New York. In 1982 she played Georgina Whitman on the soap opera One Life to Live. Upon arriving in L.A., she began appearing in guest roles on MacGyver, Remington Steele, The Colbys, and a host of other shows. In late 1985, Nana appeared in a made-for-TV-movie based on Will Eisner’s comic book character “The Spirit.” The show itself was called “sappy,” but critics praised Nana. In her role as the police commissioner’s daughter, Nana delivered with comic precision. One reviewer praised her comic timing as she “hobbles into a crowded room while bound at the ankles and screams, ‘Run for your lives!’ A bomb is supposed to go off. Then she learns the bomb has been defused and whispers, ‘Nevermind.’”
Nana’s comedic flair won her a role in the stage production of Ladies’ Room, women’s answer to locker room humor. Nana played a former Playboy bunny who gave up that career to become a secretary. This play, co-starring Lisa Kudrow, spawned the feature film Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion. Other stage roles followed, but Nana’s destiny was, ultimately, in television. A classic Nana appearance, if you can catch it, is in the Night Court episode “Educating Rhoda.” She plays a “pretty mental patient who slips out of court and into a hotel room with Dan, who’s unaware she intends to reenact the shower scene from Psycho.” In the same episode she brilliantly spoofs the Gloria Swanson role from Sunset Boulevard.
Nana continued her successful career as a guest star for the rest of the 1980s, appearing in a wide variety of series: thirtysomething, Jake & the Fatman, L.A. Law, Baby Talk, Empty Nest, and several appearances on Matlock. She also reteamed with Gypsy co-star Angela Lansbury for an episode of Murder, She Wrote. In 1990, Nana snagged the role of Bryn Newhouse in the TV version of Working Girl, based on the hit movie starring Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver. Nana’s co-star was a then unknown Sandra Bullock. The series never caught on with the audience, however, and was pulled after a handful of episodes.
Boldy Going. . .
In 1992, Nana gave birth to her son, Buster. Later that year she auditioned for the role of Major Kira Nerys. The role piqued her interest because it wasn’t “a mother, or a wife, or a prostitute, or a killer. [Kira] is fully realized.” The lure of playing a three-dimensional character overruled her agent’s cautions about working on a syndicated series. Network television is (or was at the time) far more helpful to an actor’s career. Nevertheless, Nana auditioned, was called back for a second audition, and got the part. Her devotion to the character was such that she remained “in character” during her entire auditions. As she later recalled, the producers “thought I was perfect for the role but would a nightmare to work with.” Little did they know what a prize they had. Kira became one of the most popular characters on the show with her combination of determination, gutsiness and vulnerability.
Nana’s seven years playing Major Kira Nerys (now Colonel) brought her into the public spotlight more than any other role. It also brought several personal changes. Nana and Nick divorced in 1994 and in late 1995 she and co-star Alexander Siddig (Dr. Julian Bashir) began dating. Their son, Django El Tahir El Siddig, was born in September 1996, and they wed in June 1997.
Sid and Nana divorced in April 2001 as their careers took them in different directions (and different continents). Nana became engaged to Matthew Rimmer, CHICAGO‘s company manager, in early 2002, and they wed in April 2003.
And Now. . .
Following DS9′s seven year run, Nana returned to the stage as Roxie in the Broadway production of CHICAGO and guest starred as Madam X on Dark Angel. Following a few guest spots on both drama and comedy series, Nana landed the role of Jean Ritter in ABC Family’s original series, Wildfire, as well as roles in the independent films Mini’s First Time (2006) and Babysitter Wanted (2007). She currently divides her time between New Mexico where Wildfire films, and the family’s home in Las Vegas.