Maura Tierney

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Maura Tierney
BornMaura Therese Tierney[1]
(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[1]
(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 television medical drama ER.

Early life[edit]

Tierney, the eldest of three children, was born and raised in the Hyde Park neighborhood[2] of Boston, Massachusetts to an Irish Catholic family.[3][4] 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.[5]

She attended Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, Massachusetts, where her studies included drama and led to her appearance at the Boston Globe Drama Festival.[2] After graduation, she attended New York University where she majored first in dance, and later in drama.[6]


After appearing in several plays, she moved to Los Angeles, California, and in 1987 got her first break in a role in Disney's made-for-TV film Student Exchange.[7] Tierney's first starring role in a film was in a low-budget, independently-produced film called Dead Women in Lingerie, shot in 24 days.[8] The film never received a theatrical release, although it was released on DVD in 2005.[9]

Tierney continued winning small roles in film and television, though she did not receive regular national exposure until 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 co-starred in Liar Liar, opposite Jim Carrey.[10]

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

[W]hen NewsRadio got canceled, ... I thought, there's probably not gonna be something like [that show] again for me...So then, when ER called,...that was a way to stay in [television] that would remain interesting for me.[3]

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 part as an ER nurse (and later, after completion of medical school, a licensed ER doctor). Within a year, her work on ER had 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.[7] She was initially reunited with her former NewsRadio co-star Khandi Alexander who at that time had a major recurring role on ER.

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 did return to make a cameo appearance on one additional episode later in 2009 toward the end of the final season.

As of 2011, Tierney's highest-profile film since joining the cast of ER has been the 2002 film Insomnia, directed by Christopher Nolan.[10] That same year she also starred in Scotland, Pa., portraying a Lady Macbeth-like character written specifically for her by her husband at the time Billy Morrissette. She was praised by critics for her performance. She 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).[11] 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[12] from September 16 to October 4, 2008.

She later returned to television, playing the recurring character Kelly McPhee on the FX series Rescue Me in 2009 and 2011 during its final season.

Tierney 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.[13] Tierney's role in the show, a legal drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, marks her first return to television after recovering from breast surgery and cancer treatments.[14] 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.[15]

In September 2012, Tierney began a recurring role on the CBS legal drama The Good Wife, playing Maddie Hayward.[16]

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.[17] After being married for 13 years, she filed for divorce, 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 and photographer James Stenson.[18]

Tierney had surgery to remove a tumor from her breast in 2009.[19][20] Schedule conflicts with her cancer treatments led her to leave the cast of Parenthood, where she had been cast as an original cast member. She was replaced by Lauren Graham.[21] She finished treatment and returned to work in a stage play in 2010.[22]


1987Student ExchangeKathy MaltbyTV movie
1988Crossing the MobMichelle
The Van Dyke Show
Jillian Ryan10 episodes
1989Family Ties
DarleneEp: "My Best Friend's Girl"
1990BookerDonna CofaxEp: "Reunion"
Flying BlindDonnaTV movie
1991Dead Women in LingerieMolly Field
The Linguini IncidentCecelia
Law & OrderPatricia 'Patti' BlaineEp: "Aria"
1992White SandsNoreen
1993Fly by NightDenise
The TempSharon Derns
1994Lifestories: Families in CrisisEp: "A Body to Die For: The Aaron Henry Story"
Out of DarknessMegTV movie
704 HauserCherlyn5 episodes
NewsRadioLisa Miller97 episodes
1996Primal FearNaomi Chance
1997Liar LiarAudrey Reede
1998Primary ColorsDaisy Green
The Thin Pink LineSuzanne
1999Forces of NatureBridget Cahill
OxygenDet. Madeline Foster
InstinctLynn Powell
ERDr. Abby Lockhart189 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, 2001
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, 2001
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, 2003
2000Mexico CityPam on Phone (voice)
King of the HillTanya (voice)Ep: "Movin' On Up"
2001Scotland, PAPat McBeth
2002InsomniaRachel Clement
Rooftop KissesDenise
The NaziHelen
2003Melvin Goes to DinnerLeslie
2004Welcome to MooseportSally Mannis
2006Danny Roane: First Time DirectorMaura Tierney
2007The Go-GetterHal's Pets
Baby MamaCaroline
Finding AmandaLorraine Mendon
2009Rescue MeKelly McPhee9 episodes
2009, 2011
2010The Whole Truth
Kathryn Peale10 episodes
2011The Office
Susan CaliforniaEp: "Mrs. California"
2012The Good WifeMaddie Hayward3 episodes
Nature CallsJanine

Awards and nominations[edit]

2001Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesNominated


  1. ^ Clark County, NV Marriage Records
  2. ^ a b Prescription for success, a February 2002 Boston Phoenix interview
  3. ^ a b Maura Tierney, original air date November 14, 2006, interviewed on The Tavis Smiley Show
  4. ^ "The Return of Maura Tierney". Parade. September 12, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Glamour magazine article
  7. ^ a b Dream Life, a September 2001 interview in Brntwd Magazine
  8. ^ Interview with director Erica Fox
  9. ^ July 2005 press release
  10. ^ a b Maura Tierney from The Numbers website
  11. ^ ...Tierney Becomes One of LaBute's Some Girl(s) for US Debut, Playbill (March 2006 article)
  12. ^ Cox, Gordon (June 5, 2008). "Playwrights Horizons signs stars". Variety. 
  13. ^ "Maura Tierney to tell 'The Whole Truth' with Rob Morrow at ABC", Zap2it
  14. ^ "Maura Tierney New Role: Legal Drama 'The Whole Truth". National Ledger. June 16, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Finn, Natalie (July 27, 2006). E! Online "Maura Tierney's Marriage Flatlines". E! Online. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  18. ^ OK! Staff. "OK! Exclusive: Parminder Nagra's Wedding Album", OK! Magazine, January 23, 2009.
  19. ^ "Maura Tierney To Undergo Surgery For Breast Tumor",, July 13, 2009.
  20. ^ Discovery of breast tumor
  21. ^ Abrams, Natalie. "Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham Takes Starring Role in Parenthood",, October 9, 2009.
  22. ^ Armstrong, Jennifer (January 27, 2010). "Maura Tierney goes back to work after battling cancer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 

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