Dinah Beth Manoff (born January 25, 1958) is an American stage, film and television actress and television director best known for her roles as Elaine Lefkowitz on Soap, Marty Maraschino in the film Grease, Libby Tucker in both the stage and film adaptations of I Ought to Be in Pictures, for which she won a Tony award, and Carol Weston on Empty Nest. She starred in numerous television movies and guest starred on various television programs in this timespan. she mostly appeared on TV during the 1990s, but she has been seen in more recent theatrical films such as The Amati Girls and Bart Got a Room and a co-starring role on State of Grace.
Manoff is the daughter of actress Lee Grant and screenwriter Arnold Manoff. Since 1997, Manoff has been married to Arthur Mortell and currently resides in Bainbridge Island, Washington. She had previously resided in Los Angeles, California and New York City, New York.
Manoff was born in New York City to actress, director, and writer, Lee Grant and screenwriter Arnold Manoff. Her half-brother, Tom Manoff, is the Classical Music Critic for NPR's All Things Considered and a notable composer. Her stepfather is producer Joseph Feury. She spent her childhood and teenage years in New York, and Malibu, California. She attended Santa Monica High School and later studied at the Actors Studio.
Manoff's very first project was the independent film Everybody Rides the Carousel, providing one of the voices. In 1976, she made her first television appearance on the PBS production of The Stronger. This was followed by a guest appearance on Welcome Back, Kotter in an episode entitled "Sadie Hawkins Day." followed by an appearance in Visions. In 1977 she made a cameo appearance in her first TV movie, Raid on Entebbe. In 1978, Manoff got the role of Elaine Dallas (née Lefkowitz) on the ABC sitcom Soap and remained on the show until the end of the year.
Manoff made her film debut as Marty Maraschino, one of the Pink Ladies in the movie version of Grease.
In 1980, Manoff made her Broadway debut as Libby Tucker in Neil Simon's Broadway play, I Ought to Be in Pictures. For her work in the play, she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play as well as the Theatre World Award. She reprised that role for the film version in 1982, with Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret. Later that year, Manoff appeared as "Karen", the suicidal friend of Timothy Hutton's character, in the multiple Oscar-winning Ordinary People.
In 1985, Manoff portrayed songwriter Ellie Greenwich in the Broadway jukebox musical Leader of the Pack. In 1988, Manoff played Maggie Peterson in Child's Play, the first character to be killed by the murderous doll Chucky. Manoff then started a seven-year stint as Carol Weston on the NBC sitcom and Golden Girls spinoff Empty Nest, a role she is best known for on television and has appeared on every episode of the series. In 1989, Manoff appeared in minor roles in two films late in the year: Bloodhounds of Broadway and Staying Together.
In 1990, Manoff appeared in Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael, starring Winona Ryder and Jeff Daniels. After this, Manoff focused primarily on television work, appearing in a cameo role in an episode of Blossom entitled "Rockumentary" and TV movies such as Babies and Maid for Each Other, as well as continuing on Empty Nest as actress and director on two episodes until its ending in 1995; she also appeared on The Golden Girls twice as Carol Weston in this period. Manoff's subsequent TV appearances included Touched by an Angel, Cybill and George & Leo.
In 1999, Manoff directed the 82nd episode of the television series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, titled "Prelude to a Kiss."
In 2000, Manoff appeared in the TV movie The Lost Child starring Mercedes Ruehl. Just a few months later in 2001, Manoff returned to film work by starring in The Amati Girls, the sole movie released theatrically that she and her mother Lee Grant have appeared in together. The film also featured Mercedes Ruehl, Sean Young and Lily Knight. Manoff appeared in a second 2001 movie, Zigs, starring Beverly Hills, 90210's Jason Priestley. From 2001 to 2002, Manoff co-starred in the cable television series State of Grace. In 2003, Manoff played Aunt Marla in A Carol Christmas, a variation on Charles Dickens' classic story.
In celebration of the poet Oscar Wilde's 150th birthday in 2004, Manoff read some of his works in the documentary Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde. After a four-year hiatus, Manoff appeared in the film Bart Got a Room in 2009, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival but would not be released widely until the following year in which Dinah appeared in two episodes of Lose Yourself on Strike.TV.
In 2010, Grease was re-released a second time as a sing-along. Coinciding with its release, Manoff appeared at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Manoff has been married twice and has three children. She married French designer Jean-Marc Joubert in 1980. They were divorced in 1985. In 1997, she married motivational speaker Arthur Mortell with whom she has three children: Dashiell (born 1997) and twin boys.