Not even a youthful warning from her grandfather, a powerful entertainment advocate in the golden age of cinema, could stop Sharon Gless from attempting the trip to Hollywood.
Neil S. McCarthy, who counted Cecil B. DeMille, Katharine Hepburn and Lana Turner among his clients, warned his young granddaughter that the movie business could be a “dirty business”. However, aided by loyal friends and associates, in addition to a fierce determination to succeed, Gless beat the odds of becoming a celebrity, as recounted in his December autobiography “Apparently There Were Complaints” (see [http://www.sharongless.com)]www.sharengless.com).
Appearing in only half a dozen feature films, Gless has focused his career on television. Since 1970, she has starred in numerous TV movies and series and has won wide acclaim for her starring roles in several popular shows, including CBS’ 80s crime drama “Cagney & Lacey.”
“It changed the history of television for women,” Gless said from her home on private Fisher Island, a short ferry ride from the Miami coast. Gless portrayed New York detective Christine Cagney alongside Tyne Daly (Detective Mary Beth Lacey). The tough but flawed duo regularly dealt with serious social issues.
During the show’s run, Gless and Daly dominated the Emmy season, winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama each year (four for Daly and two for Gless). Of her co-star of six years, Gless has nothing but praise.
“You might think we’d be competitive on set, but not at all,” she said of Daly. “When you work, any form of competitiveness is not good for anyone. She was a real pro and we were totally there for each other throughout the series. Since COVID, we talk on the phone almost every day.
Gless credits others for guiding his journey, including Monique James, head of talent at Universal Studios, where Gless was under a seven-year contract. “She was so tough that I always thought she would protect me, and she did. When I left the studio, she came with me as my manager for many years.
Barney Rosenzweig was the executive producer of “Cagney & Lacey”, and Gless began an affair with him near the end of the series. Despite their on-and-off personal relationship, Rozenzweig remained a staunch supporter of Gless’s career. The couple would eventually marry and they remain together today.
“We have an interesting history together which is described in the book, but we love and respect each other tremendously,” Gless said.
Gless followed the hit crime show with other hit series such as “The Trials of Rosie O’Neill”, “Queer as Folk” and “Burn Notice”, receiving several nominations or wins, including a Golden Globe for “Rosie O’Neill”. .” And though she stumbled along the way (leading to the title of her book) with alcohol issues, weight issues, recurring pancreatitis, and complicated relationships, she never found Hollywood to be the place to be. “dirty business” as his grandfather called him.
“It hasn’t always been an easy road, but I’ve made my own way, helped by people who believed in me,” she said. “Television is an amazing medium, and I was lucky to be a part of it.”
Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama, and has written reports, columns and interviews for numerous magazines and newspapers. To see www.tinseltowntalks.com.