Biography

Multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sharon Gless has distinguished herself as one of the most acclaimed and recognized actresses working today. 

Gless received her 10th Primetime Emmy award nomination for her portrayal of the chain-smoking, obsessive mother Madeline Westen on the highest-rated cable series in the country, Burn Notice  (USA Network). The series ran for seven seasons from 2007 - 2013.  

In 2014, Gless is to co-star in a new comedy pilot for ABC, Saint Francis.

Gless appeared in two independent features, Once Fallen with Ed Harris & Amy Madigan, and Hannah Free, in which she stars as the title role. As Hannah, a lesbian whose hidden relationship spans 60 years, she plays a free-spirited woman attempting to reunite with the love of her life one last time. 

In 2009, Gless traveled to London to produce and star in a one-night performance of A Round-Heeled Woman. The play is based on the best-selling book by Jane Juska, about a woman’s adventures with sex and romance later in life. She starred in A Round-Heeled Woman in San Francisco in 2010 and received rave reviews when the show played in Miami early in 2011. In the fall of that year she  brought her pet project to London, opening at the Riverside Studios and making her third West End appearance when it transferred to the Aldwych Theatre, running through January 2012.

In 2008 she was also an Emmy nominee for Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her chilling performance as Colleen Rose, an ambitious Hollywood agent with a multitude of dark secrets on FX’s Nip/Tuck.

For five seasons (2000-2005), Gless starred as the outrageous and beloved Debbie Novotny in the groundbreaking Showtime series Queer as Folk. In 2006, she received rave reviews for her starring role as US Secretary of Defense Lynne Warner in the acclaimed BBC/BBC America miniseries The State Within.

Gless was first exposed to the entertainment industry at a young age by her grandfather Neil S McCarthy -- the most respected lawyer of Hollywood’s Golden Age. McCarthy, whose clients included Howard Hughes, Cecil B DeMille and Louis B Mayer, notably drew up the first contract between a studio and a player -- an interesting fact since Gless was the last contract player in the history of Hollywood (Universal).

Her first series role was the 1973 Faraday & Company with Dan Dailey and James Naughton. She guest-starred in many more top tv shows before landing her second series, Switch  
(1975-1978) with Robert Wagner and Eddie Albert.

In 1982, she landed the career-changing role of New York Police Detective Christine Cagney on the smash hit drama Cagney & Lacey. The role garnered her two Emmys, a Golden Globe and six Emmy nominations. After the show ended in 1988, she re-teamed with Cagney & Lacey Executive Producer, Barney Rosenzweig, for the drama series The Trials of Rosie O’Neill. That role led to her second Golden Globe win and two additional Emmy nominations. She married Rosenzweig in 1991.

In 1994 and 1995, Gless reunited with her television partner Tyne Daly to recreate their title roles in a quartet of critically acclaimed Cagney & Lacey television movies. Gless and Daly fondly refer to these telefilms as their characters’ “Menopause Years.”

Also in 1995 she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Additional television roles include the series House Calls and Turnabout, as well as the telefilms Separated by Murder, Hard Hat & Legs, Honor Thy Mother, Hobson’s Choice, and Letting Go with John Ritter. She also starred in the miniseries The Immigrants, The Last Convertible, Centennial, and Garson Kanin’s Moviola: The Scarlett O’Hara Wars, in which she played screen goddess Carole Lombard. She has also starred opposite Michael Douglas in the feature film The Star Chamber

Gless made her stage debut in Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine at Stage West in Springfield, Massachusetts. Since then, she has starred three times on stage in London’s famed West End: in 1993 when she created the role of Annie Wilkes in the stage version of Stephen King’s haunting Misery opposite Bill Paterson, in 1996 in Neil Simon’s comedy Chapter Two with Tom Conti, and in 2011-12 in Jane Prowse's A Round-Heeled Woman.   She starred in Claudia Allen’s Cahoots at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre (2000) and at Madison Square Garden in Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues

In addition, Gless has recorded several books-on-tape and starred in many radio plays. Her recording of Night, Mother for the BBC earned Gless the International Sony Award.

In 2007 she was the recipient of the Theatre School at DePaul University’s prestigious Award for Excellence of the Arts.

Gless is an active participant in the ongoing struggle to prevent the overturn of Roe vs Wade. In 2005 she was honored by Norman Lear’s People for the American Way for her unwavering support of human rights. She’s also become a vocal advocate for gay & lesbian (LGBT) causes.

Gless spends her free time at home in one of her three favorite cities: Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto.