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After more than two decades as a journeyman player on stage and screen, Tyne Daly found television stardom as the no-nonsense, commonsensical Mary Beth Lacey, partner of Chris Cagney, on the CBS series "Cagney & Lacey". not only was it the first successful TV series to focus on female cops, but in 1985 Lacey became the first TV policewoman to be pregnant on the job mirroring Daly's real life status. The daughter of actors James Daly and Hope Newell, Ellen Tyne Daly was the second of four children. Raised in Westchester County, New York, she began her acting career appearing in summer stock productions with her family and earned her Equity card at age 15 after being cast in the title role of "Jenny Kissed Me". Fate dealt her a blow, however, when a prominent agent dismissed her performance in favor of one of his proteges, relegating Daly to a supporting role. Within a year, though, she made her small screen debut in an episode of the popular NBC Western "The Virginian". Daly went on to train at Manhattan's American Musical and Dramatic Academy, finding a mentor in teacher Philip Burton. In 1966, she debuted on Broadway in a revival of "The Butter and Egg Man" and went on to land small roles in films...
After more than two decades as a journeyman player on stage and screen, Tyne Daly found television stardom as the no-nonsense, commonsensical Mary Beth Lacey, partner of Chris Cagney, on the CBS series "Cagney & Lacey". not only was it the first successful TV series to focus on female cops, but in 1985 Lacey became the first TV policewoman to be pregnant on the job mirroring Daly's real life status.
The daughter of actors James Daly and Hope Newell, Ellen Tyne Daly was the second of four children. Raised in Westchester County, New York, she began her acting career appearing in summer stock productions with her family and earned her Equity card at age 15 after being cast in the title role of "Jenny Kissed Me". Fate dealt her a blow, however, when a prominent agent dismissed her performance in favor of one of his proteges, relegating Daly to a supporting role. Within a year, though, she made her small screen debut in an episode of the popular NBC Western "The Virginian". Daly went on to train at Manhattan's American Musical and Dramatic Academy, finding a mentor in teacher Philip Burton. In 1966, she debuted on Broadway in a revival of "The Butter and Egg Man" and went on to land small roles in films ("John and Mary" 1969) and on TV (a recurring part as her father's on-screen daughter on "Medical Center"). She offered a memorable performance as a mentally handicapped woman in an episode of the ABC police drama "The Rookies", which starred her then-husband Georg Stanford Brown.
By the mid-1970s, Daly's career was on the upswing. She earned great notices for her supporting turns as Jack Lemmon's daughter in the Americanized remake of "The Entertainer" (NBC, 1976) and picked up her first Emmy nomination for the marital abuse drama "Intimate Strangers" (ABC, 1977). Daly landed the pivotal role of the first female partner to Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry Callahan in "The Enforcer" (1976) but many felt her mannered performance marred the picture. Instead of a feature film career, the performer found television more hospitable to her unique capabilities.
"Cagney and Lacey" had a long gestation period. Conceived in the mid-70s, it was produced as a TV-movie in 1981 with Loretta Swit as Cagney and Daly as Lacey. CBS decided to pick up the series option for the following year. With Swit tied to "M*A*S*H", Meg Foster stepped into the role of Cagney. CBS dumped Foster from the role after the first run of episodes in 1982, citing her similar coloring to Daly, as well as the perception of the audience that the two women were too tough and mannish ("dykes" in the word of one network executive), in large measure because of their harsh edge. Sharon Gless joined Daly as the new Cagney in 1982 and the two gelled instantly, their on screen chemistry softening the relationship. (Rumors immediately surfaced, however, that the duo constantly feuded off screen, although such stories were consistently denied.) Key to each episode were several scenes in which the two female cops would decamp to the women's restroom and air their feelings and emotions about the case they were working on or angst from their own lives. Daly's TV husband was John Karlen, and although when the series began there was tension due to Harvey Lacey's recurring unemployment, the two were subsequently depicted as living in Queens, raising a family and being very much in love. Over the course of the series' run, Daly won four Emmy Awards, an unprecedented achievement for a dramatic actress.
When "Cagney & Lacey" faded in 1988, Daly had the chance to become yet another "TV-Movie Melodrama Queen", but instead chose to risk her reputation by headlining a stage revival of "Gypsy", the 50s musical that starred Ethel Merman on Broadway and Rosalind Russell on the screen. Daly first took her Mama Rose on the road, beginning in Chattanooga, Tennessee in April 1989 with a July 1989 debut in L.A. to SRO crowds and rave reviews. In November, she premiered on Broadway and won that season's Tony Award as Lead Actress in a Musical. Her triumphant year-long run in the revival was marred only by recurring throat ailments.
Not satisfied with her offers for starring roles in series, Daly chose to divide her attentions between the stage and screen. In 1991, she teamed with younger brother Timothy guest-starring in an episode of his sitcom "Wings" (NBC). Cast as a wealthy woman romancing Steven Weber's Brian Hackett, Daly was a hoot and picked up yet another Emmy nod. The following year. she returned to the stage co-starring with Charles Durning in a revised version of the 1978 musical "Ballroom", re-titled "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom". Most reviewers, however, felt she was too young and not vulnerable enough as the widow who finds a second chance at love with a married mailman. When Daly finally opted to return to weekly series work, instead of playing a lead, she accepted the supporting role of Alice Henderson, a strong-willed Quaker running a mission school on "Christy" (CBS, 1994-95), a part that brought her a fifth Emmy Award, making her the most honored primetime dramatic actress in the history of the award.
She also agreed to reunite with Sharon Gless on several "Cagney & Lacey" TV-movies in which Mary Beth, now retired, is brought back into police service by her former partner. The first of what would become three such revivals (to date) decidedly won its Sunday night time period in November 1994. Still, Daly seemed determined, as a TV icon, to work when she wanted to and in what she wanted to. Having lost the chance to do "Gypsy" on TV (to Bette Midler), she displayed her musical talents as Mrs. Peterson in the 1995 ABC remake of "Bye Bye Birdie". She also won raves starring as Sally Adams, a Pearl Mesta-like "hostess with the mostes'", in the Encores! concert staging of "Call Me Madam," a musical which, like "Gypsy", had originally been a starring vehicle for Ethel Merman.
Daly again proved her versatility on stage by tackling a one-woman, five-character play "Mystery School" in 1998. She continued to lend her considerable talents to telefilms like "The Perfect Mother" (CBS, 1997), make guest appearances on sitcoms (e.g., "Veronica's Closet") and accept the occasional feature role (playing Peter Falk's wife in 1998's "VIG"). Once again, Daly confounded conventional wisdom by letting her hair turn gray, allowing herself an age appropriate figure and accepting the role of the title character's social worker mother in the hit CBS drama "Judging Amy" (1999- ). As Maxine, the plain-speaking actress portrayed a forthright, sometimes overbearing woman with strong opinions and a deep concern for her family. During the series' first four seasons, Daly earned four Emmy nominations as Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her work (bringing her career tally to 14 nominations) and she took home the trophy in 2003 (her sixth overall). In 2001, Daly joined her daughter, Kathryn in a role as her mother in "The Wedding Dress".
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In February 1991, Daly pleaded no contest to a drunk driving charge in a Los Angeles courtroom. She was fined $916 and ordered to attend a 90-day adult education program. She had been arrested on January 14. After the incident, Daly said, "I made a dumb mistake."
During the run of "Cagney & Lacey", Daly's then-husband Georg Sanford Brown directed numerous episodes of the series, winning an Emmy Award for one such effort.
In 1996, Daly won a fifth Emmy making her the most honored dramatic actress in the award's history.
"I've always wanted to be old. I'm interested in playing old ladies because I am becoming one. And I want to become a very good one! To display my actual face, my actual belly, my real legs, my real hair on television is doing some kind of service in a world where women are constantly being told there's something wrong with us." --Tyne Daly quoted in TV Guide, May 20, 2000.
"I don't like the celebrity part of being an actor. I'm not good at it and I've learned that the hard way, so there is stuff I no longer talk about." --Daly refusing to comment on her romantic life in TV Guide, May 20, 2000.
On her return to series work, Daly told USA Today (February 7, 2000): "I'm loving it. But it's the same old [TV} thing. There's never enough time, never enough money and all that, but the payoff is that you get to see what you did once a week. You get to find out whether what you did is a solid piece of furniture or a three-legged table."
"Every actor has a method. I work nervous and worried, and there's nothing wrong with that." --Daly quoted in InTheater, March 27, 1998.
"I'm quite practical. I went into the family business knowing you have to earn your living, and I never thought starving was glamorous.
Part of doing "Gypsy" was me wanting to get that 'TV' out from in front of my 'actress'. 'TV actress' is loaded with impressions, and I just wanted to be an actress." --Tyne Daly quoted in InTheater, March 27, 1998.
"The thing I like best about acting is doing acting. Interviews, prizes, parties and shaking hands with presidents is very swell. But the thing I like best is when I'm actually doing it." --Daly quoted in USA Today, December 22, 1997.
"My husband divorced me and I had to learn to live alone. I hadn't lived alone ever. I moved directly from my parents' house to my husband's house. And so I have done the opposite. I bought a house on my own. I go to the theater by myself. I love to do that. My two oldest kids are up and grown and starting families of their own. I'm on a time-share with my other little girl, so that I have half of the time with her when she's not with her dad. And that is a different way of raising a kid. I had a big adjustment to that. The divorce process is a killer, and I had to pull myself out of a financial hole." --Tyne Daly quoted in TV Guide, November 5, 1994.
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