Multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sharon Gless has distinguished herself as one of the most acclaimed and recognised actresses working today. Sharon Gless most recently appeared in two independent features, Once Fallen with Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, and Hannah Free, in which she stars in 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. Last year, Sharon Gless received her tenth Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of the chain-smoking, obsessive mother Madeline Westen on the highest-rated cable series in the USA, Burn Notice (USA Network).
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. She starred in A Round-Heeled Woman in San Francisco in 2010 and received rave reviews when the show played in Miami earlier this year. For five seasons (2000-05), Sharon Gless starred as the outrageous and beloved Debbie Novotny in the ground-breaking 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.
Sharon 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 television shows before her second series, Switch, with Robert Wagner and Eddie Albert (1975-78).
In 1982 she landed the career-changing role of New York Police Detective Christine Cagney in 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, Sharon Gless reunited with her television partner Tyne Daly to recreate their title roles in a quartet of critically acclaimed Cagney & Lacey television movies. They 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 War, in which she played screen goddess Carole Lombard. She has also starred opposite Michael Douglas in the feature film The Star Chamber.
Sharon Gless made her stage debut in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine at Stage West in Springfield, Massachusetts. Since then, she has starred twice on stage in London's West End: the first time in 1993 when she created the role of Annie Wilkes in the stage version of Stephen King's haunting Misery opposite Bill Paterson, and in 1996 in Neil Simon's comedy Chapter Two with Tom Conti. 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, Sharon Gless has recorded several books-on-tape and starred in many radio plays. Her recording of Night, Mother for the BBC earned her 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.
Sharon Gless is an active participant in the ongoing struggle to prevent the overturn of the pro-choice abortion decision, Roe vs. Wade. In 2005 she was honoured 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 and lesbian (LGBT) causes.
Sharon Gless spends her free time at home in one of her three favourite cities: Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto.
Watch a tribute to Sharon Gless: