Born in 1946 in Madison, Wisconsin, Tyne Daly came from a thespian family and went on to pursue an acting career of her own, starring as a policewoman in The Enforcer (1976) before landing one of the biggest roles of her career, that of Mary Beth Lacey in the hit cop series Cagney & Lacey. Daly won four Emmys for her work, and has picked up additional awards for supporting actress roles in Christy and Judging Amy. She is also a renowned star of the stage, having won a Tony for the 1989 revival of Gypsy and later being featured in projects like The Rabbit Hole, Mothers and Sons and Shoulda Been You.
Background and Early Career
Ellen Tyne Daly was born on February 21, 1946 in Madison, Wisconsin, with her family also living in Westchester, New York. Daly came from an acting clan: Her mother Hope Newell was a character actress while her father James Daly became known for his extensive stage and Emmy-winning television work. And younger brother Tim Daly went on to star in the hit sitcom Wings, among other screen projects.
Tyne attended Rockland Community College and Brandeis University before eventually dropping out and pursuing acting full-time. She would go on to guest star in a number of TV series during the 1960s and ‘70s that included The Mod Squad, The Streets of San Francisco and Lucas Tanner, while also having roles in pilots that weren’t picked up like Fitzgerald and Pride and Hotshot Harry and the Rocking Chair Renegades.
Emmys for 'Cagney & Lacey,' 'Christy' and 'Amy'
Having garnered parts in several big-screen projects over the years as well, Daly earned film notoriety as the partner to Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry in 1976’s The Enforcer. The actress deeply immersed herself in the technical aspects of being a policewoman and years later took on another law enforcement role that would become one of the biggest highlights of her career—that of Detective Mary Beth Lacey in the weekly series Cagney & Lacey, co-starring Sharon Gless as Detective Christine Cagney.
With its pilot debuting in 1981, the show ran from 1982-1988 with one season off the air, and earned much acclaim for its feminist depiction of two accomplished police officers and their private lives, with Lacey also being a wife and mom. Daly would win four lead actress Emmy Awards for the role, with Gless winning two. The duo made TV history as the two actresses combined won six consecutive Emmys for the show.
Over the years, more TV work followed for Daly, including the role of Alice Henderson in the 1994-95 series Christy as well as that of Maxine Gray, the mother of the title character in the hit legal series Judging Amy (starring Amy Brenneman), which ran from 1999-2005. Daly continued to be honored by her peers, winning Emmys in the supporting actress category for both series.
Award-Winning Stage Work and Other Projects
Daly has also forged a beautiful career on the stage, making her first Broadway appearance in 1967 in the drama That Summer – That Fall at the Helen Hayes Theatre. She would make a triumphant return to Broadway decades later in the 1989 revival of Gypsy, playing irrepressible stage mom Rose and winning a Tony and Outer Critic Circles Award for the role. More acclaimed stage work followed in the form of plays, including The Seagull, Rabbit Hole (opposite Cynthia Nixon) and Master Class, a Terrence McNally directed project in which Daly portrayed opera legend Maria Callas.
Daly once again worked with McNally in the drama Mothers and Sons, and then returned to musical theater with her role as matriarch Judy Steinberg in the wedding-based It Shoulda Been You, directed by David Hyde Pierce. “My destiny was to play mothers,” Daly said in a 2014 interview with The New York Times in reference to the general arc of her career, with the actress picking up another Outer Critics Circle nomination for her part in Shoulda Been.
In 2015, Tyne appeared in the romantic comedy, Hello, My Name Is Doris. In recent years, she’s also appeared in a handful of television series and movies including Modern Family and Looking: The Movie.
Personal Life and Family
At 19 years old, Tyne Daly wed African-American actor George Stanford Brown in 1966, during a time when interracial unions were still illegal in various parts of the U.S. The couple went on to have three daughters, with Daly guest starring at times on Brown’s 1970s police series The Rookies. With Daly later alluding to Brown having suffered from a midlife crisis, the marriage ended in 1990. Daly has also co-starred with daughter Kathryne Dora Brown in stage projects as well as multiple episodes of Judging Amy and the 2001 TV movie The Wedding Dress.
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