Sharon Gless

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Sharon Gless
Sharon Gless at the 1991 Emmy Awards cropped.jpg
Sharon Gless at the Governor's Ball after the 43rd Annual Emmy Awards, 8/25/91
BornSharon Marguerite Gless
(1943-05-31) May 31, 1943 (age 70)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1970–present
Spouse(s)Barney Rosenzweig (1991–present)
Website
sharongless.com
 
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Sharon Gless
Sharon Gless at the 1991 Emmy Awards cropped.jpg
Sharon Gless at the Governor's Ball after the 43rd Annual Emmy Awards, 8/25/91
BornSharon Marguerite Gless
(1943-05-31) May 31, 1943 (age 70)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1970–present
Spouse(s)Barney Rosenzweig (1991–present)
Website
sharongless.com

Sharon Marguerite Gless (born May 31, 1943) is an American character actress of stage, film and television, who is best known for her roles as Maggie Philbin on Switch (1975–1978), as Sgt. Christine Cagney in the police procedural drama series Cagney & Lacey (1982–1988), as Debbie Novotny in the Showtime cable television series Queer as Folk (2000–2005), and as Madeline Westen on Burn Notice (2007–2013). Gless has won two Emmy Awards and has received 10 Emmy nominations, has been nominated seven times for the Golden Globe (winning two in 1986 and 1991) and has received her own Star on the Walk of Fame in 1995.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

A fifth-generation Californian, Sharon Gless was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Marjorie (McCarthy) and sportswear manufacturing executive Dennis J. Gless. Her maternal grandfather was Neil McCarthy, a prominent Los Angeles attorney for Howard Hughes who also had a large clientele of major film studio executives and actors. Wanting to become an actress, she sought her grandfather's advice and he told her, "It's a filthy business. You stay out of it." But a few years later, when she spoke to him again about acting, he encouraged her, and gave her money for acting class.[2][3] She worked as a secretary for the advertising agencies Grey Advertising and Young & Rubicam, and then for the independent movie production companies Sassafras Films and General Film Corporation. After deciding to switch to acting, Gless took classes and in 1974 signed a 10-year contract with Universal Studios. Near the end of her contract, she was identified in the media as the last of the studio contract players[4] — a salaried, Old Hollywood apprentice system which Universal was the last to employ.

Career[edit]

Film and Television[edit]

At the beginning of her career, Gless appeared in numerous television series and TV movies, such as Revenge of the Stepford Wives, Faraday & Company with Dan Dailey and James Naughton in 1973 and 1974, Emergency!, and The Rockford Files. She played small parts in Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969–1976), until being offered the role of Kathleen Faverty, which she played from 1974 to 1976. This was in addition to a variety of guest-starring roles on television, including the part of the classy young secretary, Maggie Philbin, alongside Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner on the CBS private detective/con artist series Switch (1975–1978). Despite being a newcomer on the show, she got along very well with both Albert and Wagner, both on and off-screen. When the show was canceled after the third season, she thanked both Albert and Wagner for giving a jump start to her career.

While under contract with Universal, she co-starred with John Schuck in the 1979 Steven Bochco television sitcom, Turnabout (based on the Thorne Smith 1931 novel about a husband and wife who temporarily switch bodies), which failed to be a ratings blockbuster.

Beginning with the series' seventh episode/first full season, Gless replaced actress Meg Foster in the role of NYPD police detective Christine Cagney on Cagney & Lacey. (The role had been originated, in the pilot installment, by Loretta Swit. Swit, like Foster, was chosen as Cagney because, though the character of Cagney had been created with Gless herself in mind, she was unavailable for the pilot or the first seven installments of the first season.) In 1991, she married the series' executive producer, Barney Rosenzweig, who speaks in his book "Cagney, Lacey, and Me" about wanting Sharon Gless from the beginning and Gless being unavailable due to her contract with Universal. Rosenzweig created the 1990–1992 CBS drama series The Trials of Rosie O'Neill for Gless and, uncredited, played the only partially seen psychiatrist to whom the attorney Fiona "Rosie" O'Neill confided at the beginning of each episode. Gless, who had garnered six Emmy nominations – including two wins and a Golden Globe win for her role as Cagney – earned two additional Emmy nominations and a second Golden Globe win for this subsequent series.

In 1993 and 1995, Gless and her television partner, Tyne Daly, joined together to re-create their title roles in a quartet of critically acclaimed and popular Cagney & Lacey television movies. Gless and Tyne Daly jokingly called these "The Menopause Years."

In 1998, Gless narrated the documentary Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.

Between 2000 and 2005, Gless appeared as Hal Sparks's mother, Debbie Novotny, in the acclaimed Showtime cable television series Queer as Folk.

In 2000, she was on an episode of Touched by an Angel entitled "The Perfect Game."

On May 26, 2005, Gless was one of the mourners at Eddie Albert's funeral, along with ex-Switch co-stars Robert Wagner and Charlie Callas. In 2006, Gless starred in the BBC television series The State Within. The following year she co-starred in the USA Network cable television series Burn Notice, playing Michael Westen's (Jeffrey Donovan) mother, Madeline Westen. In addition, Gless was a guest star on several episodes of the FX Network cable television series Nip/Tuck as an unstable agent named Colleen Rose, a role that netted her an Emmy Award nomination.

In 2009, Gless starred in her first leading role as a lesbian character in the independent film Hannah Free (Ripe Fruit Films), described as a film about a lifelong love affair between an independent spirit and the woman she calls home. The film is based on a screenplay by the Jeff Award-winning playwright Claudia Allen and directed by Wendy Jo Carlton.

She plays Jane Juska in A Round-Heeled Woman, a stage adaptation by Jane Prowse of Jane Juska's A Round-Heeled Woman,[5] which was slated to premiere on the London UK stage in the fall of 2011. The first production ran in San Francisco in early 2010. Sharon starred in a new production in Miami, December 2010 - February 2011, directed by Jane Prowse. A production took place in London, transferring in November 2011 from Riverside Studios to the Aldwych Theatre, where the run closed on 14 January 2012.

Theater[edit]

Gless's most recent stage appearance was in A Round-Heeled Woman, Jane Prowse's stage adaptation of Jane Juska's book A Round-Heeled Woman: my Late-life Adventures in Sex and Romance, the first production of which ran from January to February 2010, at Z Space at Artaud, San Francisco. There was a new production at GableStage in Miami, from December 30, 2010 to February 6, 2011.

Gless made her stage debut in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine at Stage West in Springfield, Massachusetts. Gless has extensive stage experience including two appearances in London's West End, first in 1993 with Bill Paterson, when she created the role of Annie Wilkes in the stage version of Stephen King's Misery at the Criterion Theatre, and then in 1996, where she appeared opposite Tom Conti in Neil Simon's Chapter Two, at the Gielgud Theatre. She starred at Chicago playhouse The Victory Gardens Theater in Claudia Allen's Cahoots, as well as several stints, including an evening at Madison Square Garden with the National Company of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. Gless appeared on The Alan Titchmarsh Show on October 17, 2011.[6]

Author[edit]

Sharon Gless announced at the 2007 Queer As Folk Reunion Luncheon that she is writing a book.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryTitleResult
1983Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesCagney & LaceyNominated
1984Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesNominated
1985Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesNominated
Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series DramaNominated
Viewers for Quality Television AwardsBest Actress in a Quality Drama SeriesWon
1986Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesWon
Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series DramaWon
Viewers for Quality Television AwardsBest Actress in a Quality Drama SeriesWon
1987Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesWon
Viewers for Quality Television AwardsBest Actress in a Quality Drama SeriesWon
Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series DramaNominated
1988Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesNominated
Viewers for Quality Television AwardsBest Actress in a Quality Drama SeriesWon
Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series DramaNominated
1989Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series DramaNominated
1991Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesThe Trials of Rosie O'NeillNominated
Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series DramaWon
1992Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama SeriesNominated
Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series DramaNominated
1995Hollywood Walk of FameStar on the Walk of Fame at 7065 Hollywood BlvdWon
2004TV Land AwardsFavorite Crimestopper DuoCagney & LaceyNominated
2006TV Land AwardsCoolest Crime Fighting TeamNominated
2007TV Land AwardsFavorite Lady GumshoeNominated
2008Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama SeriesNip/TuckNominated
2009Madrid International Film FestivalBest ActressHannah FreeWon
Film Out San Diego Audience AwardBest Actress in a Feature FilmWon
2010Gracie AwardOutstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama SeriesBurn NoticeWon
Satellite AwardSatellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmNominated
Emmy AwardPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesNominated

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1972The Longest NightSwitchboard Operator
1972All My Darling DaughtersJenniferTelevision movie
1973Bonnie's KidsSharon
1973My Darling Daughters' AnniversaryJenniferTelevision movie
1974Airport 1975Sharon
1976Richie Brockelman: The Missing 24 HoursDarcy DavenportTelevision movie
1978The IslanderShauna Cooke
1978CrashLesley Fuller
1978The ImmigrantsJean Seldon Lavetta
1979The Last ConvertibleKay HaddonTelevision movie
1980Hardhat and LegsPatricia BotsfordTelevision movie
1980The Kids Who Knew Too MuchKaren GoldnerTelevision movie
1980The Scarlett O'Hara WarCarole LombardTelevision movie
1980Revenge of the Stepford WivesKaye FosterTelevision movie
1981The Miracle of Kathy MillerBarbara MillerTelevision movie
1983The Star ChamberEmily Hardin
1983Hobson's ChoiceMaggie Hobson
1984The Sky's No LimitJoanna DouglasTelevision movie
1985Letting GoKateTelevision movie
1989The Outside WomanJoyce MattoxTelevision movie
1992Honor Thy MotherBonnie Von SteinTelevision movie
1994Separated by MurderVariousTelevision movie
1994Cagney & Lacey: The ReturnChristine Cagney-BurtonTelevision movie
1995Cagney & Lacey: Together AgainChristine Cagney-BurtonTelevision movie
1995Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass CeilingChristine CagneyTelevision movie
1996Cagney & Lacey: True ConvictionsChristine CagneyTelevision movie
1997Ayn Rand: A Sense of LifeNarrator
1998The Girl Next DoorDr. Gayle BennettTelevision movie
2000Bring Him HomeMary Daley
2009Hannah FreeHannah
2010Once FallenSue

Television[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1972–1976Marcus Welby, M.D.Kathleen Faverty21 episodes
1972The Sixth SenseKayEpisode: "Coffin, Coffin in the Sky"
1972McCloudSgt. Maggie ClingerEpisode: "The New Mexican Connection"
1973–1974Faraday and CompanyHolly Barrett4 episodes
1974The Bob Newhart ShowRosalie ShaefferEpisode: "The Modernization of Emily"
1974The Rockford FilesSusan JamesonEpisode: "This Case Is Closed"
1975–1978SwitchMaggie Philbin71 episodes
1975Lucas TannerMiss ReynoldsEpisode: "Those Who Cannot, Teach"
1976The Rockford FilesLori JenivanEpisode: "The Fourth Man"
1976KojakNancy ParksEpisode: "Law Dance"
1979CentennialSidney Endermann5 episodes
1979TurnaboutPenny Alston7 episodes
1982House CallsJane Jeffries15 episodes
1982–1988Cagney & LaceyDet. Sgt. Christine Cagney119 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1986–87)
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series (1985–88)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (1985, 1987–89)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1983–85, 1988)
1983Tales of the UnexpectedCaroline CoatesEpisode: "Youth from Vienna"
1990–1992The Trials of Rosie O'NeillRosie O'Neill26 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1991–92)
1997Promised LandAlex Tolan2 episodes
2000–2005Queer as FolkDebbie Novotny79 episodes
2000Touched by an AngelZiggyEpisode: "The Perfect Game"
2003Judging AmyDr. Sally GodwinEpisode: "Maxine Interrupted"
2006The State WithinLynne Warner6 episodes
2008–2009Nip/TuckColleen Rose5 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
2007–2013Burn NoticeMadeline Westen111 episodes
Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film

References[edit]

  1. ^ Awards for Sharon Gless
  2. ^ Newsday, July 7, 2004
  3. ^ Sharon Gless Biography (1943-)
  4. ^ Buck, Jerry (1982-01-31). "Sharon Gless of 'House Calls'". Sunday Times-Sentinel (Gallipolis, Ohio). AP. pp. 16, § Take–One. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Stage Play". A Round-Heeled Woman. 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  6. ^ http://www.tvguide.co.uk/detail.asp?id=106009823

External links[edit]