Maura Tierney

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Maura Tierney
BornMaura Therese Tierney
(1965-02-03) February 3, 1965 (age 49)
Hyde Park, Massachusetts, U.S.
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Billy Morrissette (1993–2006: divorced)
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Maura Tierney
BornMaura Therese Tierney
(1965-02-03) February 3, 1965 (age 49)
Hyde Park, Massachusetts, U.S.
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Billy Morrissette (1993–2006: divorced)

Maura Therese Tierney (born February 3, 1965) is an American film and television actress, who is best known for her roles as Lisa Miller on the sitcom NewsRadio and Abby Lockhart on the medical drama ER.

Early life[edit]

Tierney, the eldest of three children, was born and raised in the Hyde Park neighborhood[1] of Boston, Massachusetts to an Irish Catholic family.[2] Her mother, Pat (née James), is a real estate broker, and her late father, Joseph M. Tierney, was a prominent Boston politician who served on the Boston City Council for 15 years.[3]

Tierney attended Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, Massachusetts, where her studies included drama, which led to her appearance at the Boston Globe Drama Festival.[1] After graduation, she attended New York University where she majored first in dance, and later in drama.[4]


After appearing in several plays, Tierney moved to Los Angeles, California and in 1987 got her first break with a role in Disney's made-for-TV film Student Exchange.[5] Tierney's first starring role in a film was in a low-budget, independent film called Dead Women in Lingerie, shot in 24 days.[6] The film never received a theatrical release, although it was released on DVD in 2005.

Tierney had a number of small roles in film and television, but first received regular national exposure with her leading role in the sitcom NewsRadio from 1995 to 1999. While she was a NewsRadio cast member, she also appeared in several successful films, including Primal Fear, Primary Colors, Forces of Nature, and Liar Liar opposite Jim Carrey.

After NewsRadio was canceled, Tierney decided not to pursue a role in another sitcom:

From 1999-2008, Tierney played Nurse Abigail "Abby" Lockhart on ER, a character that began as a guest appearance as Julianna Margulies's character Carol Hathaway's OB nurse in November 1999, then expanded in February 2000 to a full-time regular role as an ER nurse and later, after completion of medical school, a licensed ER doctor. She was reunited with her former NewsRadio co-star Khandi Alexander who at that time had a recurring role on ER.

Within a year, Tierney's work on ER earned her an Emmy Award nomination, recognition she credits to a "juicy" story arc featuring Sally Field as Lockhart's mother Maggie Wyczenski, who suffers from bipolar disorder.[5]

Tierney confirmed in April 2008 that she would be leaving ER shortly after the beginning of the show's fifteenth season. In October 2008, she made her final regular appearance on the series after nearly 10 seasons on the show. She returned to make a cameo appearance in one additional episode later in 2009 toward the end of the final season.

Tierney's highest-profile film while a member of the ER cast was the 2002 film Insomnia, directed by Christopher Nolan. That same year she also starred in Scotland, Pa., portraying a Lady Macbeth-like character written specifically for her by Billy Morrissette, her husband at the time. She was praised by critics for her performance. She also collaborated with NewsRadio writer Joe Furey for a special, "Working with Joe Furey" featurette for Furey's film Love and Support.

In 2004, Tierney won the second season tournament of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown against Lauren Graham. She returned to the stage in May 2006 in an appearance opposite Eric McCormack in the Off Broadway premiere of Some Girl(s).[8] She also appeared in the 2008 films Semi-Pro, Baby Mama, The Go-Getter and Finding Amanda.

Tierney played the role of Laurel in the Off Broadway play Three Changes with Dylan McDermott[9] from September 16 to October 4, 2008.

Tierney returned to television, playing the recurring character Kelly McPhee on the FX series Rescue Me in 2009 and 2011 during its final season.She replaced Joely Richardson as the female lead of the 2010 ABC television series The Whole Truth, after Richardson dropped out to spend more time with her family.[10] Tierney's role in the show, a legal drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, marked her return to television after recovering from breast surgery and cancer treatments.[11] ABC canceled The Whole Truth after just four episodes due to low ratings.

In February 2011, Tierney made her debut at the Gate Theatre in the Dublin premiere of Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage (translation by Christopher Hampton) alongside Ardal O'Hanlon.[12]

In September 2012, Tierney began a recurring role on the CBS legal drama The Good Wife, playing Maddie Hayward.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Tierney married actor and director Billy Morrissette on February 1, 1993, two days before her 28th birthday, after the two met on the set of a never-aired television series.[14] After being married for 13 years, she filed for divorce in 2006, citing irreconcilable differences. They had no children.

On February 1, 2009, the recently ordained Tierney officiated at the wedding of her friend and former ER co-star Parminder Nagra to photographer James Stenson.[15]

Tierney had surgery to remove a tumor from her breast in 2009.[16] She had been cast in Parenthood but schedule conflicts with her cancer treatments led her to leave and she was replaced by Lauren Graham.[17] Tierney finished treatment and returned to work in a stage play in 2010.[18]



1987Student ExchangeKathy MaltbyTelevision movie
1988Crossing the MobMichelleTelevision movie
1990Flying BlindDonnaTelevision movie
1991Dead Women in LingerieMolly Field
1991The Linguini IncidentCecelia
1992White SandsNoreen
1993Fly by NightDenise
1993The TempSharon Derns
1994Out of DarknessMegTelevision movie
1996Primal FearNaomi Chance
1997Liar LiarAudrey Reede
1998Primary ColorsDaisy Green
1998The Thin Pink LineSuzanne
1999Forces of NatureBridget CahillNominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress – Comedy/Romance
1999OxygenDet. Madeline Foster
1999InstinctLynn Powell
2000Mexico CityPam on Phone (voice)
2001Scotland, PAPat McBeth
2002InsomniaRachel Clement
2002Rooftop KissesDenise
2002The NaziHelen
2003Melvin Goes to DinnerLeslie
2004Welcome to MooseportSally Mannis
2006Danny Roane: First Time DirectorMaura Tierney
2007The Go-GetterHal's Pets
2008Baby MamaCaroline
2008Finding AmandaLorraine Mendon
2012Nature CallsJanine


1988The Van Dyke ShowJillian Ryan10 episodes
1989Family TiesDarleneEpisode: "My Best Friend's Girl"
1990BookerDonna CofaxEpisode: "Reunion"
1991Law & OrderPatricia 'Patti' BlaineEpisode: "Aria"
1994Lifestories: Families in CrisisN/AEpisode: "A Body to Die For: The Aaron Henry Story"
1994704 HauserCherlyn5 episodes
1995–1999NewsRadioLisa Miller96 episodes
1999–2009ERDr. Abby Lockhart183 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Prism Award for Performance in a Drama Series (2003, 2007–08)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
2000King of the HillTanya (voice)Episode: "Movin' On Up"
2009–2011Rescue MeKelly McPhee9 episodes
2010The Whole TruthKathryn Peale10 episodes
2011The OfficeSusan CaliforniaEpisode: "Mrs. California"
2012–2013The Good WifeMaddie Hayward7 episodes
2012Ruth & EricaErica10 episodes
2014–presentThe AffairHelen Solloway10 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

2000Screen Actors Guild AwardScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesNominated
2001Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesNominated
2002Satellite AwardsSatellite Award for Best Actress - Television Series DramaNominated


  1. ^ a b Wieder, Tamara (February 14, 2002). "Prescription for success". The Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Return of Maura Tierney". Parade. September 12, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Tierney, Maura (September 9, 2008). "Trying to quit smoking is the hardest thing I've ever done". Glamour magazine. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Dream Life". brntwd magazine. September 2001. 
  6. ^ "Interview with Erica Fox". Exclusive magazine. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  7. ^ Maura Tierney, original air date November 14, 2006, interviewed on The Tavis Smiley Show
  8. ^ ...Tierney Becomes One of LaBute's Some Girl(s) for US Debut, Playbill (March 2006 article)
  9. ^ Cox, Gordon (June 5, 2008). "Playwrights Horizons signs stars". Variety. 
  10. ^ Reiher, Andrea (June 11, 2010). "Maura Tierney to tell "The Whole Truth: with Rob Morrow at ABC". Zap2it. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Maura Tierney New Role: Legal Drama 'The Whole Truth". National Ledger. June 16, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Hibberd, James (June 25, 2012). "Maura Tierney joins 'The Good Wife'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  14. ^ Finn, Natalie (July 27, 2006). E! Online "Maura Tierney's Marriage Flatlines". E! Online. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  15. ^ OK! Staff (January 23, 2009). "OK! Exclusive: Parminder Nagra's Wedding Album". OK! Magazine. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Maura Tierney To Undergo Surgery For Breast Tumor". July 13, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  17. ^ Abrams, Natalie. "Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham Takes Starring Role in Parenthood",, October 9, 2009.
  18. ^ Armstrong, Jennifer (January 27, 2010). "Maura Tierney goes back to work after battling cancer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 

External links[edit]