Mercedes J. Ruehl (born February 28, 1948) is an American theater, television and film actor.
Ruehl was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City. Her father was an FBI agent and her mother, also named Mercedes, was a school teacher. She was raised Catholic, and has German, Irish, and Cuban ancestry. Ruehl attended College of New Rochelle and graduated in 1969. She is married to painter David Geiser, with whom she adopted a son, Jake (born 1997). She had another son, Christopher, whom she placed in adoption in 1976; Christopher later became Jake's godfather.
Ruehl began her career in regional theatre with the Denver Center Theatre Company, taking odd jobs between engagements. In the late 1970s, Ruehl began chalking up New York stage successes, notably in I'm Not Rappaport (1985). On the stage, she won the 1985 Obie Award for her performance in The Marriage of Bette and Boo and twenty years later, an Obie for Woman Before a Glass. She also received a 1991 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. Her performances in two other plays earned her two other Tony nominations: