However her most famous television role is that of "Nurse Helen Rosenthal" in the long-running hospital drama St. Elsewhere (for which she was nominated for four Emmys).
She played the mother of Harmon Rabb, in "JAG".
She has also appeared in many films including Masters of the Universe, The Wedding Singer and George of the Jungle 2. She also appeared in 1994's Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love as Tippy. However, of all her film work, she is probably best remembered for her role as Caroline Montague in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet.
She is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
She was romantically linked with the late actor Herb Edelman, who also played her boyfriend in several episodes of St. Elsewhere.
She is the niece of radio presenter Wilfred Pickles and the sister of judge James Pickles.