Before she was an outlandish sitcom character and a ruthless biker matriarch on hit television shows, Katey Sagal was a singer. The Los Angeles native performed in musical theater and provided backup vocals for a range of performers that included Bob Dylan, Bette Midler, Tanya Tucker, Etta James and Olivia Newton-John.
In fact, she didn’t set out to be an actor at all.
"It found me," Sagal told the Los Angeles Times in 2010, describing one of her first roles on TV, as a co-star with Mary Tyler Moore in the CBS comedy "Mary." "In my brain, I’m thinking this is nice, but my real gig is at night. I’m a singer, so I never really believed that I was there."
The work kept coming anyway, with Sagal landing the role as Peg Bundy in Fox’s "Married With Children" in the late 1980s. Sagal, who auditioned in her own red bouffant wig, played the sex-starved, trash-talking wife of Ed O'Neill's blue-collar shoe salesman in the series that would help put the upstart Fox on the map as the fourth broadcast network.
The highly rated show ran for a decade, until 1997, after which Sagal starred in the ABC comedy "8 Simple Rules," and popped up on "Lost," "Eli Stone" and "Glee."
Whether her fans know her musical background — she’s recorded several albums of covers and original songs she’s written — they’ve likely recognized her distinctive voice in such animated series as "Recess" and "Futurama." She narrates the romantic comedy "A to Z," scheduled to air on NBC during the 2014-15 TV season.
But it may be Gemma Teller Morrow, her motorcycle momma on the hit Shakespearean FX drama "Sons of Anarchy," that cements her as a thespian with serious chops. She won a Golden Globe for the role, with critics saying she also should have taken home an Emmy for a season that saw her character battered by circumstance and white supremacists.
"If there was an Emmy for the most obvious and egregious snub, it might to Katey Sagal, who delivered a stunning performance this year," wrote The Times’ Mary McNamara in 2010.