Bess was born on December 11 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was the middle of five children and her parents were both teachers. She attended Bryn Mawr School for Girls for 14 years. She graduated from Brown University with a double degree in theater arts and the classics.
She is married to film producer John Fiedler and has two sons.
Stage appearances include Jules Feiffer's "Knock, Knock."
TV appearances include series "On Our Own," "All is Forgiven," and "Married People," the miniseries "Lace," and the recent telefilm "Take Me Home Again" with Kirk Douglas.
Film appearances include The Four Seasons, Nothing in Common, The High Road to China, Jaws 3-D, and Dream Lover.