There are three professional singers participating in the first-ever Big Brother: Celebrity Edition. There’s the eldest, Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath (he’s 49!), and the youngest male celeb in the house James Maslow, the intriguing 27-year-old from Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush. But there’s only one Tony Award-winning singer in the bunch — Marissa Jaret Winokur.
A 44-year-old native New Yorker, Marissa is best known for winning Broadway’s 2003 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical) for her role as Tracy in Hairspray. While her upbringing in Bedford, New York might be considered far from Hollywood glitz – she’s one of four kids, her dad was an architect, her mom a teacher – Marissa’s got deep roots in the entertainment biz. She is the great niece of Oscar-winning screenwriter S.J. Perelman (Around the World In Eighty Days), he also co-wrote scripts with the Marx Brothers. Perelman married Laura West, the sister of his childhood friend Nathanael West who went on to become a novelist and screenwriter too. His The Day of the Locust (see link above) was nominated for two Oscars. Big Brother Celebrity Edition debuts with a three-night premiere beginning Wednesday, February 7, at 8pm on CBS. A two-hour live eviction show will air Friday, February 9 at 8pm.