When Carlease Burke rented John Travolta “The Cadillac of Mini Vans” in the film Get Shorty (1995), she wondered if her unusual name would land her the high octane jobs in Hollywood. Director Barry Sonnenfeld said it did and there have been other high beams in her film acting career: In Her Shoes (2005) opposite Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette, directed by Curtis Hanson; and The Terminal (2004) with Tom Hanks, directed by Steven Spielberg.
Manufactured in New York City, Ms. Burke was encouraged to go into show business by her childhood dentist in her hometown of Hollis, Queens. After graduating with a BA in Pre-Law from City College of New York and a couple of Off-Broadway shows under her timing belt, she steered west to work with Timothy Busfieldin his children’s company, The Fantasy Theatre.
Most recently, Carlease has maintained stability in national commercials such as GEICO (A Bird In The Hand), Pfizer(mytimetoquit) Macy’s, Verizon, and Honda.
Her first TV credit was a recurring role on the hit soap opera The Young and The Restless. Her ever expanding list of guest star credits now include Castle (2009), The Mindy Project: Pilot (2012), Melissa & Joey: Going the Distance? (2011), Hot in Cleveland (2010), Raising Hope, Hawthorne, Flash Forward, Heroes, Southland, NCIS, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, The Riches, Desperate Housewives, Malcolm in the Middle, Without a Trace, Monk, and How I Met Your Mother. Carlease’s knowledge of American Sign Language paved the way to the role of Principal Jennifer Kramer in the Hallmark movie of the week, Sweet Nothing in My Ear (2008), starring Marlee Matlin and ‘Jeff Daniels (I)’.
Carlease also spins her wheels in live theatre. She played The Nurse in Boston Court’s Romeo & Juliet. Her exhilarating and confident performance earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress by the NAACP. Ms. Burke most recently portrayed Aunt Ester in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at The Fountain Theatre; Hattie in Helen at The Getty Villa and Mary in L. Trey Wilson’s All About Esther (an “urban” version of the classic film All About Eve).
Under the hood of her production company, Bits N Pieces Productions is Laugh-A-Latte, a monthly stand-up comedy show that Ms. Burke produced in Long Beach, CA for 5 consecutive years. She has filmed a documentary short about the creation of this unique comedy show, its diversity and value to the deaf and hearing communities. Her reality solo show, Fifty! It Doesn’t Look This Good on Everybody was the winner of the Actors Repertory’s 2nd Annual Solo Show Festival. Bits n Pieces has also produced Ask A Stage Goddess, a series of advice videos on YouTube for people pursing or navigating a career in show business.
In her free time, she enjoys riding her bicycle near the ocean, swimming, water yoga, trying out new recipes, traveling, hula hooping, playing bid whist and learning how the play the djembe (African drum).
– IMDb Mini Biography By: Carlease Burke