Family & Companions
Although she was best known for playing unsophisticated, gum-smacking blue-collar southern belles, actress and director Dorothy Lyman herself was very different. She grew up the daughter of a stockbroker in Minneapolis. In 1971, she got her start acting on the CBS soap "A World Apart," moving over to its sister show, "The Edge of Night," a year later to play the sinister Elly Jo Jameson. After a brief stint on "One Life to Live" and a longer run on "Another World," Lyman finally found a home on the popular ABC daytime drama "All My Children" as the fish-out-of-water beautician Opal Sue Gardner. Shortly after joining the show she was also cast in Vicki Lawrence's new "Carol Burnett Show" spin-off, "Mama's Family"; Lyman played Mama's daughter-in-law, Naomi. With "Mama's Family" Lyman found herself in a leading role on a respectably rated television show and stayed on for the series' entire six seasons. After "Mama's Family" went off air in 1990, Lyman jumped into directing, teaming up with Fran Drescher to helm over 70 episodes of "The Nanny" from 1993 to 1998. Lyman also made regular returns to the soap-opera genre, playing guest roles on "The Bold and the Beautiful," "Days of Our Lives," and "As the World Turns." She won two Emmy awards for Outstanding Actress for her work on "All My Children."