Tyne Daly Interview: In-Depth and Candid Conversation
Image attributed to Tyne Daly
Born on February 21, 1946 in Madison Wisconsin, Ellen Tyne Daly hails from one of the most successful families in television history. Both parents, James Daly (Medical Center) and Hope Newell, were actors and brother Tim currently stars in the ABC Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, Private Practice.
Daly herself is probably best known for creating the character of Mary Beth Lacey, a smart compassionate woman enduring the stress of juggling a high-pressure job as a police officer with a family at home, and one half of CBS’s critically acclaimed Cagney & Lacey (also starring Sharon Gless). During the drama series, which lasted six seasons (1982-1988 complete seasons), the duo’s excellent work was recognized with six Emmys in the Best Actress Drama Series category; Daly won four and Gless took home two awards.
“What’s not to like … except for the craziness, the drunkenness, and the madness.”
John and Mary, The Enforcer, Zoot Suit, The Aviator, Telefon, and The Adulteress are among Daly’s films. But, the accomplished thespian’s career is also filled with Broadway hits as she starred in the 1989 revival of Gypsy playing Mama Rose, appeared in Call Me Madam, Come Back, Little Sheba, Rabbit Hole, Second Time Around, and Master Class portraying American-born Greek soprano Maria Callas.
In addition to the four Emmys the actress accrued during the run of Cagney & Lacey, she earned two other Emmys for her television work in Judging Amy and Christy, and won a Tony Award for her performance in Gypsy.
Daly was married to actor/director Georg Stanford Brown from 1966 until 1990. They have three daughters: Alisabeth (born 1968), Kathryne (born 1971), and Alyxandra (born 1985).
Not surprising in the least, the multi-talented performer is genuine and charming, and speaks about her life and career with graciousness and ease.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Tyne, when we spoke last week you were discussing a project that involved your daughter Kathryne.
Tyne Daly: Yes, Nora and Delia Ephron wrote a presentation called Love, Loss and What I Wore. I did it earlier this spring in New York with two different companies. In the 2nd edition I played a different role. Anyway, they’re doing it out here at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles. My daughter, Kathryne, and I are going to appear in it in July. Actually, yesterday we went to see the matinee because I had never seen it because I was in it, you know.
We were trying to get an idea of the flavor of this production. It’s interesting because it’s a read piece. There’s a fashion now in New York, something I like to call reality readings. They’re not quite readings but they’re not staged pieces either.
Kathryne just had her baby, so it’s a very easy gig for a new mother because it doesn’t have to be staged or learned.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Congratulations on the birth!
Tyne Daly: Oh yes, this is my third grandchild and my second granddaughter. She came on the 12th of May and it’s Kathryne’s first child. My daughter, Alisabeth, has two teenagers so this new one is a great joy.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You and Kathryne have worked together many times.
Tyne Daly: Yes, a couple of summers ago we did The Agamemnon. That was really thrilling because it was not only playing with Kathryne, which is always fun, but going back to the big guys, the old guys, the classic guys. That’s pretty delicious. She was also on Judging Amy for a while but they didn’t want to put us together much because we look quite a bit alike when you see us side by side. She was playing a character that bore no relationship to Maxine Gray. We also did a picture called The Wedding Dress together.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yes, delightful movie that also starred Neil Patrick Harris. Does Kathryne say that she learns from you?
Tyne Daly: Oh well, you know, parents and children don’t talk like that (laughs). I think she learned to love the business because of her dad and I, just like I did with my parents. Going in the family business is tricky. In this culture you have to apologize for it. If we were Japanese we’d hold it as a point of honor.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Just like getting older.
Tyne Daly: Well yes. It is something I did that Kathryne has done. Not all of my mother and father’s kids became actors but we were certainly influenced by what our dad and mother did and what they loved.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): It must have been an interesting household (laughs). I suppose it would be a dumb question to ask if your parents supported you in the acting profession.
Tyne Daly: No, they didn’t want you to do it at all! That was the double message that was so interesting. They said, “Don’t do it. It’s a terrible profession and it’s worse for women.” At the same time, they loved it and gave it a lot of energy and devotion and spoke of it as this kind of idealized way of life. So, I thought, “If it’s such a great thing to do, how come you don’t want me to do it?”
I’m reading a New York Times book review and there’s a review of a book called The Man Who Loved Children, a book I’ve never heard of. It’s supposedly an American novel none of us should have missed, about a large unwieldy family with a secret language and private jokes. I think our family was like that, like any other family.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You can relate to the book.
Tyne Daly: I think so, I’m tempted to go out and get it. Christina Stead wrote it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): If you haven’t read Norris Church Mailer’s A Ticket to the Circus, I’d recommend it.
Tyne Daly: Ah yes, that was his last wife. I’ve heard of it but not read it yet. E. E. Cummings said famously, “Damn everything but the circus.”
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You just portrayed Maria Callas in Master Class on Broadway. What did you find was the most challenging part of playing her?
Tyne Daly: Well, first was the glamour obligation, I think. She was famously glamorous and I’m not a very glamorous actress, so I had to have some of that to offer to the role. But, I think the part I understood was being impassioned about your craft and wanting to do it wonderfully and being at a place in one’s career when you’re not in your full powers anymore. My mother used to call it, “Dim cap,” which stood for diminished capacity (laughs). I’m not as quick as I was at 30 or 40 or even 50, and it’s a lot of text.
The second was just accomplishing the text itself. It’s a beautiful play and a wonderfully smart and loving play about artists and what they do on that level. Third is probably the Italian. She spoke quite a bit of Italian and it’s a language I don’t know at all. It’s quite different than French so I had to kind of beat myself with a stick to learn the Italian (laughs). The challenges were fun though.
I liked doing the Greeks for the first time two summers ago … they don’t come along much in a popular career. But, when they do come along and you get to climb those mountains it’s really fun. The worst thing that can possibly happen is that I can fall on my ass, if you know what I mean (laughs). At this point that is not as terrifying as it used to be.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I remember your dad on Medical Center and your appearances on the series also.
Tyne Daly: Yeah, I did a couple of Medical Centers. That is the advantage of being in the family business – you can get a leg up. The disadvantages are that everybody’s watching to see whether you pitch all the way over the horse and fall on your face on the other side. So there’s a lot of scrutiny that is put on a young actor if they come from a theatrical tradition. But, it’s also true that doors get open. You just have to deliver once you’re there.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I believe you were about 8 years old when you appeared on show called Foreign Intrigue.
Tyne Daly: Oh my goodness! I was a substitute. My little sister was supposed to do it because she was younger. The role called for a younger kid, a 5 year old for a non speaking part. It was on location in Sweden and she got a terrible earache and I replaced her. The shoes didn’t fit (laughs) and the costume didn’t fit because I was a large girl.
I had probably just turned 8 years old. At any rate, it was very confusing. My dad explained the story to me and how it would work and what I had to do in it and everything. Then we started at the end. We did the end of the story first and then we did pieces … I just didn’t get it. I didn’t know how we could tell the story with bits and pieces. Often you do that in film, but I didn’t understand it then and 50 years later I don’t understand it now.
It’s 50 years this summer that I’m an actor with a union card. It was longer than that, though, when I did Foreign Intrigue. I went back to being a kid for a while. I was pretty sure that I wanted to do storytelling for a living, though, from an early age. The people that loved it were very glamorous, smart, and articulate, just beautiful. What’s not to like … except for the craziness, the drunkenness, and the madness (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Gosh, I thought you were going to say a lot of hard work (laughs).
Tyne Daly: I like the work part. Being idle this summer is the first time in a long time, mainly because I’m meeting my new grandchild and taking some time off. It’s a mixed bag. Its kind of fun and yet there’s a part of me that’s always saying, “How do I justify my existence … what’s next?” That’s why Sharon works all of the time. That’s why Sharon can’t stop working. She has to get up everyday and have someplace to go.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I spoke to Sharon a few weeks ago. She told me she never watched herself, but that you watched every episode of Cagney & Lacey. Did you critique yourself as you watched?
Tyne Daly: I had not done a series before and she had done a couple of them. I think she has done more series than anybody alive! But, I kind of avoided it because my dad was not happy doing series work and so I thought it was going to be something else … I thought it was going to be the theater for me. Then I followed my husband out here to Los Angeles because his career was coming together. We were both actors.
Anyway, Barney (Rosenzweig) had said that one of the advantages of the series was that you could look at it and sort of assess how good the work was; what had gone right and what had gone wrong and try to correct it the next try out, which is … um, medium true. I didn’t watch the show when it was on. Occasionally I sat down and looked at it after the fact just because of the schedule.
Sharon and I said we’d do the work every week and then sit down and look at the show together. But, then you’re working these insane hours and you can’t really do that. Once upon a time I had them all somewhere. I think we were offered all of the episodes at the end by the studio to have and keep. I opted for Betamax because it was cheaper and better resolution and in every way superior to VHS … which is why VHS won (laughs). It’s sort of useless now. I actually don’t know where they are. But, I guess I’m embarrassed to think that Sharon thinks I sat down and studied myself (laughs).
I think it’s unnatural for actors to look at themselves basically. I think people should be allowed to look at you but you don’t have to look at yourself if you don’t want to. Dancers and models look at themselves because it’s required. But, anyway, looking at the work … I think probably actors aren’t very good critics of their own stuff. They get lost in vanity and self-judgment and that’s probably not healthy.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you remember a moment during Cagney & Lacey when you realized the show was special, even groundbreaking television?
Tyne Daly: No, I can’t remember that because I don’t think I thought in those terms. We had searched around for a Cagney since I had done the movie with Loretta Swit. I knew from reading the material that we were on to something. I mean, there was a chance there, a real chance for two actresses to have a good time.
They were responsible parts as my dad used to say. We weren’t just playing the victim, which was basically the assignment for a long time. In terms of actresses you were either the girlfriend or the one that got beaten to death (laughs). So this was a chance to be the heroes of the piece and that I knew from the jump.
Meg and I worked very hard to try and make the thing go over and were basically rejected on cosmetic reasons from the network. Then Sharon came in and I knew that I’d liked her when we first met. I know that I liked her when I was told to go and talk her into it because we had to get on with making the thing happen. She’s an interesting, funny woman so that part was there.
There were days when we were really swinging in the work itself but actors in films don’t make the sculpture. They supply the raw material. The editor and the director fashion the sculpture. Actors just supply raw material a lot of days. I knew it was only going to last 46 or 47 minutes of time. It had to be within this time frame so we didn’t puff ourselves up to think that it was anything but what it was. It was a television show. The puffery comes from other sources.
I’m grateful for it because I think if we hadn’t won some prizes we wouldn’t have been able to hang in. That impresses the industry. But to a lesser degree, the audience doesn’t care about prizes and actors shouldn’t either. They should really care about what’s in front of their faces and that’s all they are obliged to care about. So, no, I don’t remember a moment when I thought it was an Emmy winning show or whatever. It was much more important to consistently try every day to do worthy work.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): One of my favorite episodes was when Mary Beth had breast cancer. I read that you lived the part on screen and off. Is that how you typically prepare for a role?
Tyne Daly: Well, basically, of course, I didn’t have cancer and didn’t develop cancer to have that part (laughs). In terms of sort of sticking with it, it was a two-part story and there were other stories going on besides Mary Beth’s story. We had a break in between for Christmas.
I had a great director who I loved named Ray Danton. It was scheduled that we’d play out Mary Beth’s worry about what was happening and her getting a second opinion and all of that stuff. It was important for women to hear that because a lot of them let their doctors just do whatever to them without finding out more about their condition. They were just too terrified. So I said to him, “Ray, can we get this cancer part of the story over with before Christmas? I don’t want to have to carry this feeling with me all the way through my Christmas vacation! If we can get that over with, we can do the rest of the nonsense when we get back. It will be lighter on my spirit.”
I trained in a certain school of thought about acting – it wasn’t the Stanislavski, but it was akin to that. I think real work makes you more practical. I believe more strongly in the power of imagination and empathy for the actor than anything else. If I can imagine myself in the other person’s shoes then I will be doing my job. Am I making any sense? It is 9:00 in the morning (laughs). I made better sense at 6:00!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): It’s two hours later here and I can tell you that you are making complete sense. Clint Eastwood just turned 80. What was the experience like working with him on The Enforcer?
Tyne Daly: He was terrific in his generosity. Initially, I didn’t want to do it. I felt the part was limited and that basically she (the character) was a joke. Then he invited me to talk to him about it and allowed me to influence her (the character) with what I considered her to be, to give her a point of view, a backbone. That was great because he didn’t have to do that. He could have hired some much more compliant lady (laughs).
I saw him again at a thing for the release of the boxed set of Dirty Harry movies, which I guess the first one came out 35 years ago. He said he couldn’t believe people were showing up for this work that was done many years ago. He’s a charming guy and worked very hard. All he had to do in the beginning was to be cute, you know, right out of the gate. But, he’s much more interesting than that.
He’s parlayed it into a real career including directing, composing, and producing. I had a terrific time with him in that period. I certainly treasure that time, although we had to pretend it was my movie debut even though I’d already done a film. I had made a movie with Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow called John and Mary.
I like the history of my business – a lot of people don’t. I always think that everything counted. My ego is so enormous that I think the play I did in the 4th grade still counts on my resume (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is there a chance you’ll be returning to Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. McDreamy’s mother?
Tyne Daly: I don’t know, I don’t run the thing. If they ask me, I’d consider it. I don’t actually hire myself … that would be fun, though (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yeah, I could be an actor if that was the case (laughs).
Tyne Daly: You know, it used to be all the rage in this town to have your own production company. They kept saying you should have control and everybody should produce their own stuff. Georg and I tried it, but I just don’t have the soul of a boss. I need a good boss. I need somebody to work for. I work well to assignment, but I actually don’t want to run the zoo.
I just like being an actor and I think that basically when they say to actors, “Oh, you’re so great, you should start to direct now,” it means that you’re too old for the camera so they don’t want to have to look at you any longer. To actors who are in series when they say, “Oh God, you really should direct,” it’s like, “Stop annoying us with your questions, here’s a lollipop to keep you busy.” Very few people can do all of the jobs there are to do.
Georg turned himself into a very good director. But, I don’t think he had the soul of a boss either. We didn’t like the idea of being producers. We produced a number of things and we had some things stolen from us which was really heart rending. You know, good ideas that were kind of pinched and run away with and that was hard. So … what the hell am I talking about?
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I was asking you about Grey’s Anatomy.
Tyne Daly: I don’t know, you’ll have to call them up and ask them. It was fun to do. Patrick is charming so that was great.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You had worked with Sandra Oh before.
Tyne Daly: Yes, Sandra Oh was one of our Cagney & Lacey babies (appearing in the reunion movie, The View From the Glass Ceiling), and then she did a lovely bunch of things on Judging Amy, too.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’d like to see you on Private Practice, playing Tim Daly’s sister (laughs).
Tyne Daly: (laughs) Yes, that’s another question to Sondra Rhimes. She runs both of those shows.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have said that you didn’t want “TV actress” in your obituary.
Tyne Daly: Well, I want it included because I spent 14 years in various series. Television was very good to me. I just didn’t want it to be my “category.” I didn’t want to be categorized as that but not out of any disparagement to TV. There’s a cultural understanding that movie actors are superior to us and theater actors are an anachronism, which is too bad because each kind of acting is a different kind of adventure for the actor.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I believe you appeared briefly on the daytime drama General Hospital when you were a teenager.
Tyne Daly: Well, I was married and had a kid. It was our first daughter and I had come out here. I learned a lot because I was dying of kidney failure and I mostly lay in the bed sick (laughs), but I did learn about cameras.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I hear many actors say that daytime drama is a great training ground.
Tyne Daly: It is a great training ground and great at the end. A lot of actors find a home there. It’s hard work. It’s a play a day, not a play a week or a year. It’s a very different setup.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is there something you’d like to do that you have not accomplished yet professionally?
Tyne Daly: Well, at this stage of the game, I haven’t done any Shakespeare and I trained in it. I know a lot of the poetry but I’ve never played it. I’ve gotten a couple of offers that didn’t work out. That’s still on my list for sometime. I’ve always wanted to be hired. You can tell that right?
Terrence McNally called me up and said, “Play Maria Callas.” I said, “Are you out of your mind? I’m not the least bit qualified for that.” He said, “Oh, yes you are.” I didn’t know anything about the opera, I couldn’t speak Italian, and I don’t have a look. He told me that was exactly what Zoe Caldwell said to him when they were starting out. But, I’m very glad I said yes to it because it’s a great big bite. It’s a mountain to climb and I’m a mountain climber by trade (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You’ve performed in many musicals. Have you ever thought about recording a Broadway album?
Tyne Daly: There’s a play in the works now … a musical play that I’m not allowed to talk about. I loved the musical theater as a kid. That was kind of really shiny, glamorous, funny stuff, you know.
Yeah, I love to sing. I’ve been doing this cabaret for the last year or so at Michael Feinstein’s and great places around the country. In September when I gear up again and go back to work (after my summer vacation) I’m going to play at various places. I have some dates. I love to sing, it’s fun to sing. But, I don’t fancy myself as a singer, much less a recording artist, Jesus!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have a great voice.
Tyne Daly: Well, I have a voice that’s useful. I can use it for various things. I do love to sing so I’m always (now that I can afford it) taking lessons and I did train at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. The premise was that an American actor should be able to at least not embarrass himself on the musical stage (laughs). Gypsy was another mountain that I loved.
I stopped trying to figure out what’s next years ago. The trick is for me to stay open to possibilities. I had some music to play for myself this morning from a play that is done from a children’s book that is going to be a musical play. So, it’s always something interesting to do.
I’m not out of thinking there’s things to do that I’ve never done before. I just don’t know what they are … maybe radio. Sharon and I did radio together, drama radio. Susan Loewenberg has been trying to revive the idea of dramatic radio for years. I did 3 or 4 plays for her and one with Sharon in Chicago that was fun with a Chicago playwright. Sharon has done a couple of her plays and we did one on the radio. I taught Sharon how to walk down the big street there in Chicago. It was the dead of winter and freezing cold and the wind was whipping off the lake. It’s when you just turn around and walk backward. Stinging ice in your face is terrible.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I think Sharon is attempting to revive A Round-Heeled Woman in New York.
Tyne Daly: Yeah she is. She was playing in San Francisco when I had my cabaret there. We were there in the same city and got to see each other a little bit which is always fun.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You probably don’t see each other often as you live on different coasts.
Tyne Daly: Right, but we formed a really good friendship out of Cagney & Lacey, which doesn’t always happen even for people who work together for years and years. So I treasure Sharon’s friendship and we have a lot of fun together when we get a chance.
Doing Burn Notice was fun. Sharon came up to do Judging Amy sort of in terrible circumstances because Richard Crenna had died. There was a show we were supposed to do and we had to refashion it very quickly. Sharon came, which helped a lot. So, turnabout is fair play. She called and said there was this part on Burn Notice. I told her whatever it is, I’ll be there.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Speaking of Judging Amy, did the cast know of the cancellation when they filmed the last episode?
Tyne Daly: No, there is very little notification. We didn’t know really that it was the end of Cagney & Lacey. We didn’t get a proper send off there either. No, it was pretty rude. Getting fired is getting fired no matter how you look at it.
So, I think that there were a lot of surprised people. I was a little less surprised because I know that when you sign a 7-year contract with salaries getting better for actors up until the 7th year (the big payoff), networks often like to cancel you in the 6th year (laughs) so they don’t have to settle up. I sort of suspected we were done. But, no, we didn’t make a kind of concluding episode for that one either … nor did we for Christy. They were kind of abrupt.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): The fans were clamoring for at least a Judging Amy reunion movie to “tie up the loose ends.”
Tyne Daly: I missed a couple of shows when I was doing Gypsy. People would come up to me and say, “I came to see you in Gypsy, but you didn’t play!” Then you go, “Oh my God, I have to kill myself now!” But, the bosses actually don’t care much about whether the fans are disappointed. They’re interested in the next bunch of fans. It’s the actor and the public that feels that, but not so much the people who run the zoo.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Cagney & Lacey is probably one of the only shows that came back on the air due to a grassroots write-in campaign.
Tyne Daly: Yeah, that was pretty interesting because we really thought it was done. They packed up all the costumes. I think we were down 8 months the first time after that first season before they said, “Let’s try it again.” That was fairly unique. You take your character, kind of fold her up, and put her in a drawer, then you have to unpack her and take her out again. I thought, “How do I remember how to do this? Who was she? Who was I for that matter?”
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Sharon and I reminisced about Viewers for Quality Television.
Tyne Daly: Yes, Dorothy Swanson was a huge fan of Sharon’s and it was a very viable, worthy organization. Dorothy’s energy was something. Quality television … it’s not always an oxymoron (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have your other two daughters ever been interested in show business?
Tyne Daly: No not really … in the arts for sure, but not in being performers. You can have an art, but not want to do it as a profession. There are a lot of people who sing in the choir. But, no, the only one who is interested in using her life that way is Kathryne. She’s a lovely, wonderful actress. My oldest daughter and younger daughter are much too smart (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What do you do to relax, Tyne?
Tyne Daly: I’m a big reader and love all genres of reading. I love all genres of music. I’ve gotten more interested in the opera before Maria Callas and afterward. I’m living in New York now most of the time. Part of the reason is, on any given night, you can decide to go do something and there’s something to do, to see, or to participate in. So, I like to be an audience and I like to be a reader.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): And you don’t use computers.
Tyne Daly: Oh, you’re going to shame me now. They’re pressuring me so badly to join the 21st century and I didn’t understand the 20th century. I probably would have been happier as a 19th century actress more than a 20th century one. I find the 21st century deeply confusing.
The first person I knew who had a personal computer was Sharon Marguerite Gless. She used to come in and say, “Look at these huge penises! There are penises all over the Internet!” You know, pornography everywhere.
I know it’s a handy tool, I know I can have all of the Library of Congress in my house, but it also demands your attention. Some button will go off … beep, beep, beep, listen to me, answer me. And I’m slowing down now, babe, I find that answering the 29 phone calls a day is pretty hard. So, I’m a Luddite, I’m a terrible Luddite at this point.
My daughter, Kathryne, says, “But mom, I can send you pictures of the baby.” People whip out their phone and show you their vacation. I don’t really understand the concept and still want a picture you can hang on the wall. When I do get a computer I intend to hold a press conference. I’ll tell everybody that at last I’ve embraced the technological miracle of the 21st century.
I have friends that tell me I can have my books on the computer and wouldn’t have to lug them around on vacation. But, what about the touch and smell of books? For the first couple of years I’d tell people I had no computer and they’d say, “Oh, good for you.” I’d think, “Well, that sounds a little condescending. What do they mean by that?” Now, I have to say that I’m terribly sorry, but I’ve a very little brain and can’t quite manage this yet. At any rate, I’ll call you right up if the kids give me a computer for Christmas.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’ll be waiting to hear. By the way, I’ve also interviewed Barney Rosenzweig several times.
Tyne Daly: I’ll tell you the secret of Barney Rosenzweig. First of all, he really likes women and is interested in them, which is not so pervasive in our culture. Secondly, he was a yell leader from USC and he never got over it. He’s basically a cheerleader. He was a publicist before he got into producing and I think more producers should have at least some of that quality of cheering on the team. He’s good at it but he got very tired of Hollywood too. He said it’s too tough now.
An old friend of ours, Carole R. Smith, worked with John Cassavetes and then for Peter Falk and then for Barney. She is an honest creature and one of those people who will really tell you. I said, “Oh, Carole, it’s not fun anymore.” She said, “Oh Tyne, don’t be ridiculous. It was never fun for you.” She’s right because I’ve always had a very serious take on it, that this was serious work that needed attention and care.
One of the great things about meeting Sharon Gless is that she has a wonderful knack for laughing at herself. That’s when you start to grow up, when you can laugh at yourself. Sharon made me laugh a lot and made the work (which was hard) a lot easier.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yeah, she told me she thoroughly enjoys acting.
Tyne Daly: She’s got a good spirit about her. I remember a sampler in her dressing room (which were these portable trailers because we had to go out on location), and it said, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” Isn’t that lovely?
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Very. In closing, Tyne, I wanted to mention that I met you once. You, Alyxandra, and Georg were walking on Rodeo Drive. I complimented your series and was impressed that you answered with a very polite “thank you.” Now, tell me you don’t remember that day in 1986 (laughs)!
Tyne Daly: I remember nothing and I deny everything (laughs). But, Mrs. Parker, I hope if the Gods subscribe, that we meet again. It was nice talking to you.
Photo Credits: Front slider photo courtesy of Tyne Daly
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