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Sharon Gless (1943)

Sharon Marguerite Gless

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  Summary  

Sharon Marguerite Gless 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) and as Debbie Novotny in the Showtime cable television series Queer as Folk (2000–2005). She is an Emmy Award winner currently playing Madeline Westen on Burn Notice. She plays Jane Juska in A Round-Heeled Woman, a stage adaptation by Jane Prowse of Jane Juska's book. 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. The next production - also starring Sharon Gless, and again directed by its playwright, Jane Prowse - is scheduled to take place in London, UK, from October 18 through November 20, 2011.

  Biography  

 early life and career
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. 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 — a salaried, Old Hollywood apprentice system which Universal was the last to employ.

 career
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 Daily and James Naughton (1973–1974) and Emergency! 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, opposite 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 , 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. In 1991, she married the series' executive producer, Barney Rosenzweig. 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 attorney O'Neill confided at the beginning of each episode. Gless, who had garnered five Emmy nominations – including two wins and a Golden Globe win for her role as Cagney – earned two additional Emmy nominations for this subsequent series.

In 1993 and 1995, Gless and her television partner, Tyne Daly, joined together to recreate 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 supportive and somewhat overbearing 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 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 , 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 .

In 2010 and 2011, she starred in a stage adaptation of Jane Juska's A Round-Heeled Woman , which is due to come to the London UK stage in fall, 2011.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Sharon Gless", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.