Sharon Gless

Sharon Gless

May. 31st, 1943
Born in
Los Angeles, California, USA
5' 5"

Sharon Gless' Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Burn Notice TV Show
Burn Notice
Nip/Tuck TV Show
Queer as Folk TV Show
Queer as Folk
Cagney & Lacey TV Show
Cagney & Lacey
The Graham Norton Show (UK) TV Show
The Graham Norton Show (UK)
The State Within (UK) TV Show
The State Within (UK)
Switch TV Show
Cool Million TV Show
Cool Million
The Trials of Rosie O'Neill TV Show
The Trials of Rosie O'Neill
Turnabout TV Show
Faraday and Company TV Show
Faraday and Company

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Show business is in Sharon Gless' blood. Her grandfather, Neil S. McCarthy, was the most respected entertainment lawyer of Hollywood's Golden Age. His clients included Howard Hughes, Louis B. Mayer and Cecil B. DeMille. The famous McCarthy Chopped Salad at the legendary Polo Lounge was named after him. He also drew up the first contract between a studio and a player - a fact that is of special interest to Gless, as she has the distinction of being the last contract player in the history of Hollywood. She was under exclusive contract to Universal Studios, where she learned and flourished for 10 years, leaving "The Lot" in 1982.

Gless co-stars in USA Network's hit series "Burn Notice," (2008-09) currently airing its second season. In the Miami-based series she plays Madeline Westen, the chain-smoking, hypochondriac mother to Michael, Jeffrey Donovan's character. In late 2008, she completed production on two feature films: "Once Fallen," with Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and Peter Weller, and "Hannah Free," an independent feature in which Gless stars as Hannah, a free-spirited lesbian attempting to reunite one last time with the love of her life, a woman who took a traditional path which included marriage, yet who is now living out her final days in a nursing home.

Gless received her most recent Emmy Award nomination in 2008 for her multiple-episode arc role in the hit FX series "Nip/Tuck" as Colleen Rose, an ambitious Hollywood agent with dark secrets. In 2006, she received rave reviews, both in the US and UK, for her starring role as US Secretary of Defense Lynne Warner in the BBC/BBC America miniseries, "The State Within." Gless is in pre-production on "A Round Heeled Woman," a new play based on the best-selling book by Jane Juska, about a 60+ year-old woman's adventures in later-life sex and romance. Gless will both produce and star in the production.

In April of 2007, Gless was the recipient of The Theatre School at DePaul University's prestigious Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2007, she also celebrated the Silver Anniversary of "Cagney & Lacey," the first season of which was released on DVD in the spring. Gless continues to work non-stop in the business she dearly loves.

Beginning with her starring role in "Faraday & Company" in 1973, Sharon Gless has brought her own brand of humor, intelligence and dramatic flair to each of her roles. She is best known for her portrayal of New York Police Detective, Christine Cagney, on the hit series "Cagney & Lacey," a role that garnered her two Emmys«, a Golden Globe«, and six Emmy« nominations. Following "Cagney & Lacey," Gless re-teamed with the show's executive producer, Barney Rosenzweig, on "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill," for which she was awarded her second Golden Globe« and two more Emmy« nominations. Gless married Rosenzweig in 1991.

In 1994 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 which they fondly call "The Menopause Years." Other television series in which she starred include "Switch," "House Calls," and the short-lived but critically lauded Steven Bochco half-hour, "Turnabout." Gless has received much acclaim for her dramatic roles in such television movies as "Separated By Murder," "Hard Hat and Legs," "Honor Thy Mother," "Hobson's Choice" and "Letting Go," among others, as well as the mini-series "The Immigrants," "The Last Convertible," "Centennial," and Garson Kanin's "Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara Wars," in which she played screen goddess Carole Lombard.

In 2000, Gless created the role of the outrageous and beloved Debbie Novotny in the groundbreaking Showtime series "Queer as Folk," and remained with the series throughout its five-season run. Wherever she goes, Gless is regularly approached by fans wishing to express their appreciation for her honest portrayal of a loving parent of a gay child.

Gless' theatrical film credits include the suspenseful and provocative film, "The Star Chamber," in which she played the wife of Michael Douglas. She has recorded several 'Books on Tape' and has starred in numerous radio plays, one of which, "'Night, Mother," for the BBC, earned Gless the International Sony Award. She continues to do radio plays for L.A. Theater Works and the BBC.

She has starred twice on stage in London's famed West End, the first time 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 Theater, and four years later, opposite Tom Conti, in Neil Simon's "Chapter 2" at the Gielgud Theater. She starred at Chicago's Tony Award-winning playhouse, The Victory Gardens Theater, in Claudia Allen's "Cahoots," and at Madison Square Garden with the National Company of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues." Gless made her stage debut in Lillian Hellman's "Watch on the Rhine" at Stage West in Springfield, Mass.

Gless is an active participant in the ongoing struggle for a woman's right to choose, and joined hundreds of thousands of women in Washington DC for the first-ever "March For Women's Lives," where she stood in solidarity with her entertainment industry colleagues. In 2005, she was honored by Norman Lear's People For The American Way for her unwavering support of human rights. Gless spends her time at home in three of her favorite cities: Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto.

  • A female fan was sentenced to 6 years for breaking into her home with a rifle in 1990.
  • Gless performed to positive reviews on the London stage in "Misery," a 1992 stage version of the hit film, playing the 'Kathy Bates (I)' (qv) role, and in 1996, starred with 'Tom Conti' (qv) in 'Neil Simon (I)' (qv)'s "Chapter Two".
  • Gless, who was best known for her Chris Cagney role on the female cop series _"Cagney & Lacey" (1982)_ (qv), married the producer of the show, 'Barney Rosenzweig' (qv), in 1991. A year earlier, Rosenzweig had divorced his wife of 11 years, 'Barbara Corday' (qv), who was the creator/writer of _"Cagney & Lacey" (1982)_ (qv).
  • Her grandfather Neil McCarthy was an entertainment lawyer whose clients included 'Howard Hughes (I)' (qv), 'Louis B. Mayer' (qv) and 'Cecil B. DeMille' (qv).
  • By 1982, she was the last remaining performer to be working under a standard studio contract, having been signed to a 10-year contract in 1974.
  • Aunt of 'Bridget Gless' (qv)

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