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Brett Butler found fame on TV as Grace Kelly, a divorced, working-class mother of three on the hit 1990s comedy Grace Under Fire.
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At the age of 20, Brett Butler married Charles Wilson. But there was no happily ever after for her. Like her mother, she found herself in an abusive relationship. After a few years, Butler found the strength to leave. She moved in with her mother in Houston and worked as a waitress. Sassy and smart, Butler soon became known for her sharp remarks to her customers. With some encouragement, she tried stand-up comedy. It wasn’t long before Butler was performing in clubs around the South.
The Tonight Show in 1987. Butler’s career really took off in 1992 when producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner watch her act and wanted to cast her in a new television sitcom. Grace Under Fire, which premiered in 1993, mirrored Butler’s life in many ways. Her character, Grace Kelly, was divorced from an abusive, alcoholic husband, and had a working-class background. Unlike Butler, Grace Kelly had three children, but she still convincing played the role of a nurturing yet funny mother. The show became popular with television viewers quickly; they were drawn in by its humor and genuine, believable characters.
Grace Under Fire also became admired for its deft handling of the issue of domestic violence. Brett Butler knew personally the importance of the subject matter. She began to develop a reputation for being difficult, but she has said that most of the time she was fighting to improve the quality of the show. Butler was sometimes compared to Roseanne, another female stand-up comic who had a successful blue-collar sitcom and was heavily involved in many aspects of her show.
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