Recent running roles on television series have been on: Reckless (CBS), True Blood (HBO, as Barbara Pelt), The Office (NBC, as Helene Beasley) and the Golden Globe Award-winning series Homeland (Showtime, as Elizabeth Gaines). She has starred in over 45 made-for-TV movies, and is especially known for her series roles as Charlene Matlock on Matlock and Ashley Pfister, Fonzie’s fiancée, on Happy Days.
She appeared on Broadway in Tony nominated The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Getting and Spending and Off-Broadway in The Baby Dance and Hallelujah, Hallelujah! Regional theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), Oliver!, Grease, Camille, Same Time, Next Year, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, The Threepenny Opera, Hedda Gabler, The Real Thing, The Little Foxes (Regina), The Merchant of Venice, A Streetcar Named Desire, Hippolytus, The Glass Menagerie, A Doll's House (Nora, opposite Michael York), the original production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Dinner with Friends, Beyond Therapy, The Road to Mecca (with Miss Julie Harris), The Year of Magical Thinking, and Love, Loss and What I Wore at such theatres as Long Wharf, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Old Globe, Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory, Santa Fe Opera, Cleveland Playhouse, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Laguna Playhouse, The Lensic Santa Fe, Rubicon Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep, Williamstown Theatre Festival (six seasons), Theatre Princesse Grace (Monte Carlo, Monaco) and the Imperial Theatre, Tokyo.
As a film actress, she has appeared in Disney's Mighty Joe Young, The Walking Major and Leo and Loree, as well as indies Sundays and Bender Claim and sci-fi classic Time Travelers.
Purl currently tours with her solo concert Midnight Caravan: Celebrating the Great Ladies of the Glamorous Nightclub Era. She additionally tours with Lee Lessack in musical review tributes of both Irving Berlin and Johnny Mercer, and with Happy Days co-star Donny Most in their concert Our Happy Days are Here Again! Past concert venues have included Naples Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Feinstein’s, NYC; Crazy Coqs (London), and Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Centre.
Her recordings include the solo albums Alone Together, Out of this World: Live and Midnight Caravan featuring Special Guest Desi Arnaz, Jr.
Born in Connecticut, Purl grew up in Japan, becoming the only foreigner to have trained at the Toho Geino Academy. Her studies continued at LAMDA, Neighborhood Playhouse and Lee Strasberg Institute. She is Founding Director of the California International Theatre Festival.