Helen Gallagher

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Helen Gallagher
Helen Gallagher.JPG
Helen Gallagher in Ryan's Hope (1977)
Born(1926-07-19) July 19, 1926 (age 88)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, dancer, singer, makeup artist
Years active1944–present
Spouse(s)Frank Wise (divorced 1958)

Tony Award, Featured Actress in a Musical, 1952 Pal Joey; Lead Actress in a Musical 1971 No, No, Nanette,

Daytime Emmy Award, Lead Actress 1976, 77, 88
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This article is about the American actress. For the co-founder of Gallagher's Steak House, see Helen Gallagher (Solomon).
Helen Gallagher
Helen Gallagher.JPG
Helen Gallagher in Ryan's Hope (1977)
Born(1926-07-19) July 19, 1926 (age 88)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, dancer, singer, makeup artist
Years active1944–present
Spouse(s)Frank Wise (divorced 1958)

Tony Award, Featured Actress in a Musical, 1952 Pal Joey; Lead Actress in a Musical 1971 No, No, Nanette,

Daytime Emmy Award, Lead Actress 1976, 77, 88

Helen Gallagher (born July 19, 1926) is an American actress, dancer, singer and makeup artist.

Early years[edit]

Born in Brooklyn, she was raised in Scarsdale, New York for several years until the Wall Street crash which heralded the Great Depression, and her family moved to the Bronx. Her parents separated and she was raised with an aunt. She suffered from asthma.[1]

Gallagher was known for decades as a Broadway performer. She appeared in Make a Wish, Hazel Flagg, Portofino, High Button Shoes, Sweet Charity (for which she received a 1967 Tony Award nomination for Featured Actress in a Musical), and Cry for Us All.

In 1952, she won a Tony Award for her work in the revival of Pal Joey. In 1971, she won her second Tony Award for her role in the revival of the musical No, No, Nanette, which also starred Ruby Keeler and Patsy Kelly. Her song and dance number with Bobby Van from that show, "You Can Dance with Any Girl", is preserved on the cast album of that revival.

Gallagher's first starring role on Broadway came in 1953 as title character Hazel Flagg, based on the 1937 Carole Lombard movie Nothing Sacred.[2] The role earned her a feature photo shoot for Life magazine.

Gallagher appeared in the 1977 movie Roseland opposite Christopher Walken. An aficionada of Rodgers and Hammerstein, she appeared on a special tribute to Richard Rodgers on The Bell Telephone Hour.


Despite her extensive work on Broadway, she is perhaps best known as the gentle Irish American matriarch, Maeve Ryan, on the soap opera Ryan's Hope, a role she played for the show's entire duration, from 1975 to 1989. She was nominated for five Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on the serial, winning in 1976, 1977, and 1988.

At the time she was cast in Ryan's Hope, Gallagher taught singing in her home three times a week. Michael Hawkins, who would play the first Frank Ryan, was one of her students.[3]

As the show progressed further into the 1980s, the ratings took a steep slide. When ABC executives cancelled Ryan's Hope, Claire Labine ended the final episode with Maeve at the family bar, Ryan's, singing her favorite tune, Danny Boy. Since the cancellation of Ryan's Hope, Gallagher has appeared in All My Children and One Life to Live and in various Off-Broadway productions.

Later years[edit]

In 1984, Gallagher starred in the title role of Tallulah, a musical stage biography of actress Tallulah Bankhead.[4] She is currently a faculty member at HB Studio.

Theatre credits[edit]

Opening dateClosing dateTitleRoleTheatre
December 7, 1944May 12, 1945Seven Lively ArtsUnderstudy
Corps de Ballet
September 6, 1945September 15, 1945Mr. Strauss Goes to BostonCorps de BalletNew Century
December 21, 1945June 29, 1946Billion Dollar BabyChorine
March 13, 1947July 31, 1948BrigadoonDancerZiegfeld
October 9, 1947July 2, 1949High Button ShoesNancyNew Century
October 13, 1949March 18, 1950Touch and GoDaughter
The Girl
April 18, 1951July 14, 1951Make a WishPoupetteWinter Garden
January 3, 1952April 18, 1953Pal JoeyGladys BumpsBroadhurst
February 11, 1953September 19, 1953Hazel FlaggHazel FlaggMark Hellinger
May 13, 1954November 24, 1956Pajama Game, TheThe Pajama GameGladys (replacement)St. James
Shubert Theatre
April 20, 1955May 31, 1955Guys and DollsMiss AdelaideCity Center
May 18, 1955May 29, 1955Finian's RainbowSharon McLonerganCity Center
April 9, 1957May 5, 1957BrigadoonMeg BrockieAdelphi
February 21, 1958February 22, 1958PortofinoKittyAdelphi
Mar 19, 1958March 30, 1958Oklahoma!Ado Annie CarnesCity Center
December 31, 1964January 23, 1965Royal FlushUnderstudyShubert
January 29, 1966July 15, 1967Sweet CharityNickie
understudy Charity
replacement Charity
May 24, 1966January 3, 1970Mamereplacement Agnes Gooch
replacement Vera Charles
Winter Garden
April 8, 1970April 15, 1970Cry for Us AllBessie LeggBroadhurst
January 19, 1971February 3, 1973No, No, NanetteLucille Early46th Street
November 11, 1972February 11, 1973Much Ado About NothingChoreography assistant to Donald SaddlerWinter Garden
April 26, 1976May 9, 1976Tickles by TucholskyTheatre Four
October 5, 1977November 27, 1977Misanthrope, TheThe MisanthropeArsinoeJoseph Papp Public Theater
New York Shakespeare Festival
June 14, 1978December 3, 1978American Dance Machine, TheThe American Dance MachineChoreographic reconstructionCentury
October 10, 1978November 12, 1978Broadway Musical, AA Broadway MusicalMaggie SimpsonTheatre of the Riverside Church
October 8, 1979August 28, 1982Sugar BabiesReplacementMark Hellinger
May 14, 1981October 25, 1981I Can't Keep Running in PlaceBethWestside
June 13, 1983UnknownTallulahTallulah BankheadWestside Arts
August 23, 1983September 5, 1983Same Time, Next YearDorisIvoryton Playhouse
March 9, 1987March 9, 1987Star DustPerformerSardi's
May 17, 1990July 8, 1990Annie 2Fran RileyNorma Terris
September 6, 1990September 9, 1990Money TalksPromenade
June 1996June 1996HomeMotherEnsemble Studio Theatre
April 9, 1997May 27, 1997No, No, NanettePapermill Playhouse
January 28, 2000January 30, 200070, Girls, 70GertYork Theatre Company

Film and television[edit]

Film and television
1949Manhattan ShowcaseHost
1951Don Ameche's Musical PlayhouseSelfJan 25, 1951
1951Don Ameche's Musical PlayhouseSelfFeb 4, 1951
1951Paul Whitman's Goodyear RevueSelfMay 20, 1951
1951General Electric Guest HouseSelfAugust 12, 1951
1951Mel Torme Show, TheThe Mel Torme ShowSelfNovember 5, 1951
1951Colgate Comedy HourSelfEpisodes 1.35 and 1.40
1952Ezio Pinza Show, TheThe Ezio Pinza ShowFebruary 1, 1952
1953The Ed Sullivan ShowSelfEpisodes 6.25 and 6.45
1954Kraft Television TheatreTV series, episode: Pardon My Prisoner
1955Colgate Comedy HourSelfEpisode 5.33
1955A.N.T.A. Album of 1955Self
1958The Ed Sullivan ShowSelfEpisodes 11.17, 11.19 and 11.32
1960Strangers When We MeetBetty Anders
1960Hallmark Hall of FameLiseTV series, episode: Shangri-La
1961Bell Telephone Hour, TheThe Bell Telephone HourSelfTV series, episode: The Music of Richard Rodgers
1961Yves Montand on BroadwaySelf
1971The David Frost Show'SelfEpisode 3.109
1971Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, TheThe Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonSelfFeb 4, 1971
197226th Tony AwardsSelf
197327th Tony AwardsSelf
1976American Woman: Portraits of Courage, TheThe American Woman: Portraits of CourageMary Harris Jones
1975–1989Ryan's HopeMaeve RyanTV series, 788 episodes
1982Family FeudSelfFeb 8, 1982
1989Live with RegisSelfJan 13, 1989
1989Entertainment TonightSelfJan 13, 1989
1989Another WorldHannah TuttleTV series, two episodes
1990'sAll My ChildrenNurse HarrisTV series, unknown episodes
1993Law & OrderFlo BishopTV series, episode: Born Bad
1995Cosby Mysteries, TheThe Cosby MysteriesTV series, episode: Last Tango
1997Neptune's Rocking HorseSadie
1997One Life to LiveDr. Maud BoylanTV series, unknown episodes
2009American MastersSelfTV series, episode: Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About


  1. ^ Klein, Alvin (21 August 1983). "Soap Opera Star at Ivoryton". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Inc, Time (1953-03-09). "The Little Girl They Had to Star". Life (9 Mar 1953): 102–106. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Earl (16 July 1975). "Helen Gallagher Slips Into Soaps". The Milwaukee Sentinel. 
  4. ^ Frank, Leah D. (12 August 1984). "Tallulah: Glitter and Self Pity". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]