Though she's best known for her portrayal of Sgt. Christine Cagney on "Cagney & Lacey" from 1982 to 1988, Sharon Gless has hardly faded into the background.
Gless' grandfather, a laywer for Howard Hughes and many other studio executives and actors, famously told her that the film industry is "a filthy business, you stay out of it." Gless wasn't having any of it. She worked as a secretary at indie film companies Sassafras Films and General Film Corp. until she caught the eye of an agent and, in 1974, landed a 10-year contract with Universal Studios.
Gless took a handful of guest roles on TV series and some small parts in television movies before she was offered the part of Maggie Philbin, Robert Wagner's secretary on "Switch." Thus, Gless' successful career as a television actor began. Her next role was 1979's sitcom "Turnabout," about a husband and wife who switch bodies.
Her career took off when she replaced Meg Foster as Christine Cagney on "Cagney & Lacey" in 1982 — and so did her personal life. On the show, Gless met executive producer Barney Rosenzweig, who later created the drama "The Trials O'Neill" for Gless. The couple married in 1991.
In the mid-90s, Gless and Tyne Daly reunited as Cagney and Lacey for four critically acclaimed TV movies. In 2000, Gless took on the role of Debbie Novotny on Showtime's racy series "Queer as Folk," a role that garnered critical acclaim. The gay-themed series led to Gless becoming a vocal advocate for gay rights. In 2007, she signed onto USA's "Burn Notice."
At the 2007 "Queer as Folk" reunion, Gless announced that she's written an autobiography that won't be published until after her death. Today, she continues to star in "Burn Notice" and in 2010 she appeared in a stage adaptation of Jane Juska's "A Round Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance."