Ellen Idelson, 42, an actress and a writer for such popular television series as "Will & Grace" and "Suddenly Susan," died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of cancer. She had suffered from Crohn's disease throughout her life.
Born in Los Angeles, Idelson was the daughter of actress Seemah Wilder and comedy writer Bill Idelson, who wrote shows for Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart and Andy Griffith. She studied acting at San Francisco State and Harvard's American Repertory Theatre Advanced Training Institute, following her mother into acting and later her father into writing and producing.
Among her writing credits, often shared with writing partner Rob Lotterstein, whom she met in one of her father's writing classes, are "Caroline in the City," "Ellen" and "Dream On," as well as "Will & Grace" and "Suddenly Susan." She helped produce the series "Grosse Pointe" and "Danny."
A critically praised actress, Idelson appeared in small theaters, including the Mark Taper Forum, and in productions of Theatre West and the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival. She performed in sketches on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno and had a leading role in the independent film "Moose Mating." Idelson also helped found Los Angeles Theatresports, serving as artistic director.