Ellen Foley

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Ellen Foley
Born(1951-06-05) June 5, 1951 (age 63)
OriginSt. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
OccupationsSinger, actress
Years active1977–present
Associated actsThe Clash
Meat Loaf
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Ellen Foley
Born(1951-06-05) June 5, 1951 (age 63)
OriginSt. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
OccupationsSinger, actress
Years active1977–present
Associated actsThe Clash
Meat Loaf

Ellen Foley (born June 5, 1951) is an American singer and actress who has appeared on Broadway and television, where she co-starred in the sitcom Night Court. In music, she has released four solo albums but is best known for her collaborations with the singer Meat Loaf.[1][2][3][4][5]

Early life and career[edit]

Foley was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of John and Virginia B. Foley.[6] Foley attended Webster University.[6] Foley gained high public recognition singing the duet with Meat Loaf on the hit single "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" from the 1977 album Bat out of Hell.[7] Although Karla DeVito (who toured with Meat Loaf in support of the album) is featured in the music video, DeVito is lip synching to Foley's vocals.[8]

Her debut album Night Out was released in 1979; the album's single "What's A Matter Baby" was a minor hit, reaching No. 92 on the US Charts.[9] The album itself peaked at No. 152, and was produced by Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson. Foley recorded a memorable duet with Ian Hunter in 1980, "We Gotta Get Outta Here". Her creative relationship with Hunter also led her to singing backing vocals on the Iron City Houserockers' 1980 album Have a Good Time but Get out Alive!, produced by Hunter, Ronson, and The E Street Band's Steven Van Zandt.[10]

She can also be heard on the 1980 Blue Öyster Cult album Mirrors singing on the title cut, and also on The Clash album Sandinista! (also released in 1980), in the songs "Hitsville UK" and "Corner Soul", and on the unreleased track "Blonde Rock 'n' Roll". All four members of The Clash appeared on her second album The Spirit of St. Louis in 1981, and Mick Jones and Joe Strummer co-wrote a number of songs for the album.[11] Jones produced the album, which also featured members of The Blockheads, and peaked at No. 137 on the US charts.[11] The Clash's hit song "Should I Stay or Should I Go", written and sung by Jones, was about the turbulent relationship he shared with Foley at the time.[7][12]

She released her third (and to date, final) solo album Another Breath in 1983; it failed to chart.[13] In 1984, she sang backing vocals on Joe Jackson's album Body & Soul[2] and had a large role in the music video for Utopia's "Crybaby".

Foley was one of four female vocalists to front the band Pandora's Box, formed by Jim Steinman in 1989. Their album Original Sin was the first to feature the song "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" (vocals by Elaine Caswell); both Meat Loaf and Celine Dion had separate chart successes with that song, years later.[14][15][16]

Broadway, film and television[edit]

Foley lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and continues an active career in music and has appeared on Broadway in such shows as Me and My Girl and the revival of Hair and off-Broadway in Beehive.[2][3] She originated the role of The Witch in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego,[3] but was replaced by Bernadette Peters before the musical opened on Broadway.[17] She eventually played the Witch on Broadway, as of August 1, 1989.[17]

Her best-known television acting role is that of Billie Young on Night Court for one season (1984–85),[3] after which she was succeeded by Markie Post as Christine Sullivan, who had always been Reinhold Weege's first choice for the public defender part, but she was under contract on the TV show Fall Guy on ABC.[18] She was reportly let go from the series because producers felt her relationship with star Harry Anderson was more like that of a brother and sister.[19] She had parts in Miloš Forman's 1979 film adaptation of the stage musical Hair, as well as the films Cocktail, Fatal Attraction and Married to the Mob.[3]

She was also in the short-lived 1977 show 3 Girls 3, co-starring with Debbie Allen and Mimi Kennedy.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Foley married the writer Doug Bernstein in 1990.[6] Foley's husband is the co-author of the Off-Broadway revue "Showing Off" and is a graduate of Amherst College.[6] The couple live in Manhattan with their two sons, Timothy and Henry.[citation needed] As of the mid-2000s, she teaches voice at The Paul Green School of Rock Music in Manhattan, New York City, New York.[5]


Stage appearances
1977HairSheilaBiltmore Theatre, New York City
1983Eve Is InnocentKim DolphinActors and Directors Theatre, New York City
1987Into the WoodsThe WitchOld Globe Theatre, San Diego, CA
1987Beautiful BodiesLisbethWhole Theatre Company, Montclair, NJ
1988Me and My GirlSallyMarquis Theatre, New York City
1979HairBlack Girls SingerDirected by Miloš Forman
Distributed by United Artists
1982TootsieJacquiDirected by Sydney Pollack
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
1983The King of ComedyStreet scumDirected by Martin Scorsese
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
1987Fatal AttractionHildyDirected by Adrian Lyne
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
1988CocktailEleanorDirected by Roger Donaldson
Distributed by Touchstone Pictures
Married to the MobTheresaDirected by Jonathan Demme
Distributed by Orion Pictures
19773 Girls 3RegularNBC
1984-1985Night CourtBillie Young


Studio albums[edit]

Note: all of these were originally issued by Epic[9] within the U.S. on vinyl LP. They have been re-issued on Compact Disc by Wounded Bird Records.[13]




  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "allmusic ((( Ellen Foley > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010 (2010-02-27).  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ a b c "Ellen Foley - Biography". IMDb.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Ellen Foley Biography (1951-)". filmreference.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Albums by Ellen Foley - Rate Your Music". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "School of Rock – School Staff". SCHOOLofROCK.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d New York Times. "Douglas Bernstein Weds Ellen Foley, Fellow Actor" April 30, 1990.
  7. ^ a b "The Uncut Crap - Over 56 Things You Never Knew About The Clash". NME (London: IPC Magazines) 3. March 16, 1991. ISSN 0028-6362. OCLC 4213418. ""Should I Stay Or Should I Go" was written by Mick about American singer Ellen Foley, who sang the backing vocals on Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell LP" 
    Related news articles:
  8. ^ Murray, Richard. "It's all coming back to me now". Rick's World. heyrick.co.uk. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Stone, Doug. "allmusic ((( Night Out > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010 (2010-02-27).  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ "The Official Ian Hunter Website - Biography". ianhunter.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Spirit of St. Louis > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved May 28, 2009 (2009-05-28).  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  12. ^ "The Clash: Biography : Rolling Stone". RollingStone.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Another Breath > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010 (2010-02-27).  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  14. ^ UK Singles Chart
  15. ^ UK Singles Chart
  16. ^ Billboard Hot 100
  17. ^ a b " 'Into the Woods', 1986 Old Globe Production and 1987 Broadway Production". Sondheimguide.com, accessed August 2, 2012
  18. ^ "Markie Post Interview: Part 2". North Hollywood Toluca Lake Patch. 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2011-04-06 
  19. ^ TV Guide August 8–15, 1985. 

External links[edit]