Phyllis Somerville is an American actress best known for her role as the mother of the sexual predator played by Jackie Earle Haley in the 2006 feature film Little Children.
She currently stars as Cathy's (Laura Linney) grouchy neighbour, Marlene, in the comedy-drama television series The Big C, since 2010.
Somerville, daughter of a Methodist minister and a librarian, was born in Iowa City, Iowa. Her first equity job was at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
Most treasured roles include Wilma in Over Here (Schubert); Hannah in The Spitfire Grill (Playwrights Horizons); Helen in Happiness (Lincoln Center); Jesse in Night, Mother (National Tour); Andromache and Athena in The Greeks (Hartford Stage); Roxie O'Neill in Lateline; Dorothy Russell in NYPD Blue; Mrs. Raimes in Life On Mars; May McGorvey in Little Children; the Pawnbroker in Lucky You; and Grandma Fuller in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
Somerville is a member of the Labyrinth and loves doing the kids' plays at the 52nd Street Project.