Valerie Mahaffey

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Valerie Mahaffey
CFC In LA 2012 3.jpg
Valerie Mahaffey in March 2012
Born(1953-06-16) June 16, 1953 (age 61)
Sumatra, Indonesia
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)Joseph Kell; 1 child
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Valerie Mahaffey
CFC In LA 2012 3.jpg
Valerie Mahaffey in March 2012
Born(1953-06-16) June 16, 1953 (age 61)
Sumatra, Indonesia
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)Joseph Kell; 1 child

Valerie Mahaffey (born June 16, 1953) is an American character actress and producer. She won an Emmy Award for her work on Northern Exposure. She later won fame through her portrayal of extroverted and friendly but ultimately insane women on the television shows Wings, Desperate Housewives and Devious Maids

Early life[edit]

Mahaffey was born in Indonesia[1] and moved to Austin, Texas at the age of 16. Mahaffey graduated from Austin High School and attended the BFA in University of Texas at Austin in 1975 and later made her Broadway debut in musical Rex.[2][3]


Mahaffey was regular cast member in the soap opera The Doctors from 1979 to 1981, which earned her a nomination for Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1980.[4] She starred in the film Women of Valor in 1986 and while the characters are fictitious, it portrayed women's roles in the Philippines during World War II.

As of late 1980's, Mahaffey began acting in television comedies, like Newhart, Cheers, and Seinfeld. From 1992–93, she starred in the short-lived NBC sitcom The Powers That Be. She played Tracy Milford in the 1995 film National Lampoon's Senior Trip and Jan Kempster in the 1997 film Jungle 2 Jungle. In 1999, she had a recurring role on ER. In 2003, she starred in the film Seabiscuit. In 2009, she appeared in seven episodes United States of Tara. Her stage credits include Eastern Standard, Talking Heads, Top Girls, and Rex.

Mahaffey won Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as the chronic hypochondriac Eve in the CBS series Northern Exposure in 1992. Mahaffey was the only actor from the series to win an Emmy Award.[5]

Mahaffey played Alma Hodge in season 3 of ABC comedy-drama series Desperate Housewives from 2006 to 2007. Mahaffey has made guest appearances on Quantum Leap, L.A. Law, Ally McBeal, Judging Amy, The West Wing, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Frasier, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Private Practice, Boston Legal, Without a Trace, and Raising Hope.[6] She also appeared on Glee as the mother of Emma Pillsbury from 2011 to 2013.[7] Mahaffey co-starred as Fran Horowitz in short-lived TNT medical drama Monday Mornings in 2013.[8] Also in 2013, she had a recurring role on Lifetime Television comedy-drama series Devious Maids as Olivia Rice.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Mahaffey is married to Joseph Kell, with whom she has one child.


Valerie Mahaffey at the Governor's Ball after the 1992 Emmy Awards
1977Tell Me My NameAlexandra/SarahTelevision film
1979-1981The DoctorsAshley BennettNominated - Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1980)
1984Tales of the UnexpectedJaneEpisode: "The Open Window"
1986Mr. Bill's Real Life AdventuresMrs. Bill
1986The Rise and Rise of Daniel RocketAlice
1986FresnoTiffany KensingtonTV mini-series
1986Women of ValorLt. Katherine R. GraceTelevision film
1987NewhartJoleneEpisode: "Love Letters in the Mud"
1987Jack and MikeColleenEpisode: "Till Death Do Us Part"
1987Her Secret LifeBecky
1989Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical MurderD.A. Barbara AugustTelevision film
1989Perry Mason: The Case of the All-Star AssassinD.A. Barbara AugustTelevision film
1990An Enemy of the PeopleMrs. StockmanTelevision film
1990Father Dowling MysteriesJustine HemmingsEpisode: "The Solid Gold Headache Mystery"
1990Quantum LeapMary GreelyEpisode: "The Boogieman - October 31, 1964"
1991CheersValerie HillEpisode: "Achilles Hill"
1991The Young RidersLottieEpisode: "The Talisman"
1991Baby TalkTammy MorrisonEpisode: "One Night with Elliot"
1991SeinfeldPatriceEpisode: "The Truth"
1992Till Death Us Do PartGail Bugliosi
1992Dream OnHelen HarleyEpisode: "Up All Night"
1992-1993The Powers That BeCaitlyn Van Horne21 episodes
1993TheyChris SamuelsTelevision film
1991-1994Northern ExposureEve5 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1992)
1994L.A. LawAndrea RossoffEpisode: "Cold Cuts"
1994Witch HuntTrudyTelevision film
1995Women of the HouseJennifer Malone6 episodes
1996Senior TripMiss Tracy Milford
1993-1996WingsSandy Cooper3 episodes
1995-1996The ClientEllie Foltrigg4 episodes
1996Caroline in the CityAlicia Crawford-LaneEpisode: "Caroline and the Therapist"
1997Jungle 2 JungleJan Kempster
1997George & LeoMarthaEpisode: "The Thanksgiving Show"
1999Dinner at Fred'sSusan
1999ERJoi Abbott4 episodes
2000Love & MoneyGloria BarrellEpisode: "Guess Who's Paying for Dinner"
2000Ally McBealDr. Sally MugginsEpisode: "I Will Survive"
2001That's My Bush!Janet RoveEpisode: "Trapped in a Small Environment"
2001Night VisionsSally OsgoodeEpisode: "Neighborhood Watch"
2001After AmyVirginia HytnerTelevision film
2001Judging AmyMs. MorlockEpisode: "The Unbearable Lightness of Being Family"
2001The West WingTawny Cryer, Appropriations CommitteeEpisode: "Gone Quiet"
2002Law & Order: Special Victims UnitBrook ThornburgEpisode: "Justice"
2002Par 6Pecan Hegelman
2003SeabiscuitAnnie Howard
2003FrasierPeggyEpisode: "Maris Returns"
2004Without a TraceBonnie TolandEpisode: "Shadows"
2005Out of PracticeBarbEpisode: "...and I'll Cry If I Want to"
2006CrumbsCarolyn PierceEpisode: "Friends in High Places"
2006My First WeddingGrace
2006CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationDora PomerantzEpisode: "Happenstance"
2006-2007, 2012Desperate HousewivesAlma Hodge9 episodes
2007RainesArleneEpisode: "Pilot"
2007Private PracticeMarilyn SullivanEpisode: "In Which Charlotte Goes Down the Rabbit Hole"
2008Boston LegalMary WinstonEpisode: "Mad About You"
2008A Previous EngagementGrace
2009United States of TaraDr. Ocean7 episodes
2010Summer ElevenLinda
2010Better with YouArielEpisode: "Better with Road Joel"
2010Hannah MontanaMs. JamesonEpisode: "I'll Always Remember You"
2010Raising HopeMargineEpisode: "Meet the Grandparents"
2011Jack and JillBitsy Simmons
2012If I Were YouLydia
2012Crazy EyesMo
2012The ExesAnneEpisode: "He's Gotta Have It"
2011-2013GleeRose Pillsbury3 episodes
2013Monday MorningsFran Horowitz6 episodes
2013Devious MaidsOlivia Rice5 episodes
2013Grey's AnatomyDonna KaufmanEpisode: "Somebody That I Used to Know"
2014KirstieVictoriaEpisode: "The Dinner Party"
2014Hart of DixieMaeEpisodes: "A Better Man" and "Stuck"
2015No Pay. NudityLisa


  1. ^ Valerie Mahaffey Biography
  2. ^ "Valerie Mahaffey Biography". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  3. ^ The Broadway League. "Valerie Mahaffey | IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  4. ^ "1980 Emmy Winners & Nominees". Soap Opera Digest. New York City: American Media, Inc. Archived from the original on August 18, 2004. Retrieved May 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ Awards for "Northern Exposure" (1990)
  6. ^ "Valerie Mahaffey Credits". 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  7. ^ Glee Exclusive: Meet Emma's Parents, TV Guide
  8. ^ Geoff Berkshire (February 4, 2013). "'Monday Mornings' review: David E. Kelley and Sanjay Gupta's medical drama off to a shaky start". Zap2It. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  9. ^ Masaki, Lyle (2013-07-05). "TV Marathons Jump the Shark and Does "Bunheads" Still have a Chance?". Retrieved 2013-08-30. 

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