Ricki Pamela Lake (born September 21, 1968) is an American actress, producer, and television host. She is best known for her starring role as Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray, her documentary film The Business of Being Born, and her talk show which was broadcast internationally from -. In fall 2012, Lake will embark on a second syndicated talk show endeavor airing on weekdays. Lake was born to secular Jewish parents, Barry (a pharmacist) and Jill (a housewife) Lake, in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York but was largely reared by her paternal grandmother, Sylvia Lake, until the latter's death from breast cancer in 1978. Ricki Lake attended Ithaca College and the Professional Children's School. Lake made her film debut as Tracy Turnblad, the lead character in John Waters' 1988 cult-classic Hairspray. Lake also starred in other Waters films including Cry-Baby (with Johnny Depp and Susan Tyrell), Cecil B.