Reed began her on-screen acting career appearing as a cast regular on the CBS drama series The Andros Targets (1977), and with minor roles in the films The Long Riders (1980), and Melvin and Howard (1980). Shortly after, New York Times awarded her positive reviews for her work in the poorly received, yet entertaining film The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986); in the film, Reed is Iza, a formidable neanderthal woman who is descended from a line of renowned medicine women. Later, Robert Altman awarded Reed with a role in his HBO political mockumentary miniseries Tanner '88 (1988). Her performance as T.J Cavanaugh, a fictional presidential campaign manager, earned her an ACE Award for Actress in a Dramatic Series. It was in the box office smash Kindergarten Cop (1990) that Reed received much-deserved exposure with the comedic role of Phoebe, Arnold Schwarzenegger's hypoglycemic police partner. Reed continues to appear in film and television projects; however is more often found on stage; a well-reputed stage actress, her performances have earned two Drama Desk Awards, Featured Actress - Play (1978, 1979), and an Obie Award, Sustained Excellence - Performance (1984).
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