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Betsy Brandt

Betsy Brandt

Actress | Marie on 'Breaking Bad' | Class of 1996

Long before she played Marie the kleptomaniac on all five seasons of the highest-rated show in TV history, “Breaking Bad” alum Betsy Brandt practically lived at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

“Thank God there are two restaurants on the premises,” says the Class of '96 grad, who found it inspiring that the same architect who designed Manhattan’s famed Avery Fisher Hall also sketched out Krannert (Max Abramovitz, UI '29).

“My experience there is part of the reason that I am the actor, and the human, that I am today.”

Brandt isn’t the only Illini in her family. The Class of 1996 BFA/acting grad, who plays Heather on CBS’ “Life in Pieces,” is married to 1995 UI engineering alum Grady Olsen, director of preSales at OpenText. 

In 2014, Brandt was among the “Breaking Bad” actors honored for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.