Catherine Louise “Katey” Sagal

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Katey Sagal is an intriguing person… Of course, I had no idea the length of her career, nor that she was a published author prior to doing this bio.

Catherine Louise Katey Sagal

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Sagal Biography

Early Life

First, Catherine Louise “Katey” Sagal was born on January 19, 1954, in Los Angeles, California. She is an American actress and singer-songwriter. Sagal was born to a show business family with five children.

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In fact, her father Boris Sagal was a Ukrainian-Jewish immigrant who worked as a director. He died on May 22, 1981 at 63 years old in an accident on the set of the miniseries World War III.  Additionally, Sagal’s mother Sara Zwilling was a singer (stage name Sara Macon), producer, and television writer. Sadly, Sara died of heart disease on September 01, 1975. Furthermore, after Sara died, Sagal’s father married dancer/actress Marge Champion in 1977.

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Furthermore, three of Sagal’s four siblings are actors. Her younger twin sisters, Jean and Liz Sagal (Double Trouble) and brother Joe Sagal. Katey’s other brother David Sagal is an attorney married to actress McNally Sagal. Sagal and her siblings grew up in Brentwood, Los Angeles.

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As a matter of fact, her godfather is prominent sitcom producer and writer Norman Lear. Norman acknowledged that she was not only his god daughter, but that he also introduced her parents to each other. Sagal has described herself as “culturally Jewish” but with no “formal religious experience.”

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Early Career Choices

Undoubtedly, a talented singer and actress, Sagal landed a few television movie roles in the early 1970’s before focusing on her music career. She worked mostly as a back-up singer, touring with the likes of Olivia Newton-John and Bette Midler.

Musical career

Equally important, Sagal started her career in show business as a singer and songwriter. In 1973, she worked as a backing vocalist for various singers, including Bob Dylan and Tanya Tucker. In addition, in 1976, while a member of The Group with No Name, she contributed to the album Moon over Brooklyn (on which she was credited as “Katie Sagal”). She was a member of Bette Midler’s backup group The Harlettes in 1978 and again from 1982–83. Likewise, she performed backing vocals on the self-titled Gene Simmons solo album, the Molly Hatchet album Take No Prisoners, and on Olivia Newton-John’s 1985 single “Soul Kiss.” Interestingly, she performed the song “It’s the Time for Love” that appears in the movie Silent Rage featuring Chuck Norris. Also, Sagal provided the vocals for “Loose Cannons,” the theme song for the 1990 movie of the same name featuring Gene Hackman and Dan Aykroyd.

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On April 19, 1994, Sagal released her first solo album, Well….  Undoubtedly, one after effect of Sagal having lost her stillborn daughter in 1991 was that it inspired her to write the lyrics for “(You) Can’t Hurry the Harvest” which was a cut on that album. Moreover, on June 1, 2004, she released her second album, Room. Also, she has also contributed to the Sons of Anarchy soundtrack.

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Early Acting Career

It should be noted, in the 1980s, Sagal returned to acting. In fact, one role was as a receptionist in the Columbo installment “Candidate for Crime,” which was directed by her father. In any event, Sagal’s first major role was on Mary, a sitcom starring Mary Tyler Moore, set in a Chicago newspaper office. On the short-lived series, she played Jo Tucker, a hard-boiled columnist.

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Series Acting

Sagal had better luck with her next series… Married…. with Children. She is best known for playing Peggy Bundy on the series which debuted in 1987.  The series featured the extremely dysfunctional Bundy family. Sagal played Peg Bundy, the antithesis of the average television housewife. Brassy and loud, she had no interest in housework. She alos had little interest in her obnoxious and often sexist husband Al (played by Ed O’Neill). The couple had two bickering teenagers Bud (David Faustino) and Kelly (Christina Applegate). This was no polite comedy of manners. To say nothing of, the fact that the characters put each other down constantly and the show broke new ground in terms of raunchiness.

During the run of the show, Sagal experienced a personal loss. Eight months pregnant, she lost her baby with boyfriend Jack White in 1991. Her character had been pregnant on the series as well. The show addressed the situation by making all of the episodes with Peg pregnant as part of a dream.

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Animation Work and Guest Starring Roles

After the series ended in 1997, Sagal appeared in television movies and landed a few short-lived sitcom parts. She also branched out in a new direction. Sagal did so by lending her voice to the character of Leela, an alien spaceship captain in Futurama. The animated series was written by Matt Groening. Debuting in 1999, the series lasted for 124 episodes. I garnered a cult following and ended in 2013. She also voiced Leela in the feature length film, Futurama: Bender’s Big Score(2007). Sagal guest-starred as Edna Hyde, Steven Hyde’s mother, in three episodes of That ’70s Show. She starred in the short-lived NBC sitcom Tucker in 2000.

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Sitcom Acting Roles

Next, Katey took on the role of Cate Hennesy on 8 Simple Rules with John Ritter until his death. After which, Sagal took over as the series lead for the remainder of the show’s run. In 2005 and 2006, Sagal made two appearances on Lost as Helen Norwood. In 2007, she had a role in the season finale of The Winner as Glen Abbot’s former teacher. It was his teache with whom Glen has his first sexual experience. After, Sagal made several television guest appearances on such popular shows as Lost and Boston Legal.

Sagal returned to series television in 2008 with a recurring role on legal comedy Eli Stone. In January 2009, Sagal reunited with David Faustino (who had played her son Bud Bundy in Married… with Children) for an episode of Faustino’s show Star-ving. She starred in the film House Broken with Danny DeVito in 2009. In 2010, she appeared twice more on Lost and she returned to the stage in Randy Newman’s musical Harps & Angels.

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Drama Series Acting

She is also widely known for her role as Gemma Teller Morrow on the FX series Sons of Anarchy. It was SOA for which she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama in 2011.

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Additional Guest Starring Roles

In 2013, Sagal had a cameo on Glee as Nancy Abrams, Artie Abrams’ mother. She co-starred in Pitch Perfect 2, released in 2015, as the mother of Hailee Steinfeld’s character. She next appeared in the biography drama film Bleed for This, as the mother of Vinny Pazienza.

On September 20, 2016, Sagal appeared on The Big Bang Theory as Susan, the mother of Penny (Kaley Cuoco). Previously, she played the mother of Cuoco’s character on 8 Simple Rules.

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Likewise, Sagal was a series regular on the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts.

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Personal Life

First, Sagal was married to musician Freddie Beckmeier, from 1978 to 1981. Next, Sagal married Jack White. They have two children, Sarah and Jackson. That marriage lasted from 1993 to 2000.

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Finally, she married writer-producer Kurt Sutter in a private ceremony on October 2, 2004. Uniquely, the ceremony was held at their home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz, CA.

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They have a daughter, Esmé Louise, born in 2007 through a surrogate mother.

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Activism

Importantly, in June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. In the video, Sagal and others told the stories of the people killed there.

Filmography

Year                  Title                                     Role

1980’s

1987                 Maid to Order                       Louise.

1988                 The Good Mother                  Ursula.

1990’s

1999                 Smart House                       Pat.

2000’s

2000                 Dropping Out                      Wendy.

2001                 Recess: School’s Out           Mrs. Flo Spinelli.

2002                 Following Tildy                    Connie St. John.

2006                 I’m Reed Fish                     Maureen.

2007 – 2009      Futurama                            Leela.

2009                House Broken                      Mom.

2009                Jack and the Beanstalk        Jack’s mother.

2010’s

2014                There’s Always Woodstock   Lee Ann.

2015                Pitch Perfect 2                    Katherine.

2016                Bleed for This                     Louise Pazienza.

 

Television

Year               Title                                     Role

1970’s

1971             The Failing of Raymond          Girl patient.

1972             The Bold Ones/New Doctors    Young nurse.

1973             Columbo                                Secretary.

1974             Larry                                     Cashier.

1975             The Dream Makers                 Unemployment manager.

1980’s

1985–1986    Mary                                     Jo Tucker.

1987–1997    Married… with Children         Peggy Bundy.

1990’s

1990             Mother Goose Rock & Rhyme Mary Quite Contrary.

  •                 Tales from the Crypt             Ms. Kilbasser.
  •                 The Earth Day Special           Peggy Bundy.

1991             She Says She’s Innocent      Susan Essex.

1995             Trail of Tears                       Annie Cook.

  •                  Nachtshow                         Episode: “February 10th, 1995.”
  •                  Duckman: Private Dick      Duckman’s mother.

1996             Space Cases                      Ma (voice).

1997–2001    Recess                              Flo Spinelli.

1998             Rugrats                             Additional Voices.

  •                 Chance of a Lifetime           Irene Dunbar.
  •                 Mr. Headmistress               Harriet Magnum.

1999             No Higher Love                  Ellen Young.

  •                 Smart House                     Pat.
  •                 That ’70s Show                  Edna Hyde.

2000’s

2000             Tucker                              Claire Wennick.

2001             The Geena Davis Show       Ashley.

2002             Imagine That                    Barb Thompson.

2002–2005    8 Simple Rules                  Cate S. Hennessy.

2004            When Angels Come to Town   Jo.

2004–2006   Higglytown Heroes             Monica the Police Officer.

2005            Three Wise Guys                Shirley Crown.

  •                Campus Confidential          Naomi Jacobs.
  •                Ghost Whisperer               Francie Lewis.

2005–2007   The Shield                        Nancy Gilroy.

2005–2010   Lost                                 Helen Norwood.

2006            Boston Legal                     Barbara Little.

  •                The Search for the Funniest Mom in America     Host.

2007            The Winner                       Lydia Berko.

2008            Eli Stone                           Marci Klein.

  •                CSI                                    Annabelle Bundt/Natasha Steele.

2008–2013    Futurama                         Leela.

2008–2014  Sons of Anarchy                Gemma Teller Morrow.

2010’s

2010          Chadam                             Sandy.

2013          Glee                                  Nancy Abrams.

2013–present   Super Duper Rocket      Chrystal Findlee (voice).

2014–2015      Regular Show                Mordecai’s Mom (voice).

2014–2015      A to Z                           Narrator (voice).

2014              The Simpsons                 Leela (voice).

2015              The Bastard Executioner  Annora of the Alders.

2016–2017     Brooklyn Nine-Nine        Karen Peralta.

2016              The Big Bang Theory     Susan, Penny’s mother.

  •                  This Is Us                     Lanie Schultz.

2017–2018     Superior Donuts           Randy Series regular.

2017              Dirty Dancing               Vivian Pressman – TV remake.

2018              Spirit: Riding Free        Butch LePray.

  •                  Mayans MC                  Gemma Teller-Morrow.
  •                  Shameless                   Psych Patient.

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Discography

1976    Moon Over Brooklyn.

1994    Well…

2004    Room.

2009    Sons of Anarchy: Shelter – EP.

2013    Covered.

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Writing

Grace Notes My Recollections is an evocative and gripping memoir told in essays by Katey Sagal—perfect for fans of Patti Smith’s M Train and Mary-Louise Parker’s Dear Mr. You.

In Grace Notes, Sagal chronicles the roller coaster ride of her life in this series of gorgeously wrought vignettes, resulting in a memoir unlike any other Hollywood memoir you’ve read before.

She takes you through the highs and lows of her life. From the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene. From being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children

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Awards and nominations

1989    American Comedy Awards  Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series  Married… with Children Nominated

1991    Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Married… with Children  Nominated

1992    Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Married… with Children  Nominated

1993    Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Married… with Children  Nominated

  •            American Comedy Awards    Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series     Married… with Children Nominated

1994    Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Married… with Children Nominated

2005    Prism Awards Performance in a Comedy Series  8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter Won

2009    TV Land Awards   Innovation Award (Shared with: Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Ted McGinley, Ed O’Neill)  Married… with Children  Won

2010    Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Drama Sons of Anarchy  Nominated

2010    Satellite Awards  Best Actress – Television Series Drama  Sons of Anarchy         Nominated

  • 2011    Golden Globe Award  Best Actress – Television Series Drama  Sons of Anarchy         Won
  •            Prism Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama  Sons of Anarchy Nominated
  •            Critics’ Choice Television Award Best Actress in a Drama Series  Sons of Anarchy    Nominated
  •            Satellite Awards  Best Actress – Television Series Drama Sons of Anarchy  Nominated

2012    Critics’ Choice Television Award  Best Actress in Drama Series Sons of Anarchy  Nominated

2013    Prism Awards Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline       Sons of Anarchy Won

2014    Hollywood Walk of Fame   Star on the Walk of Fame  Won

Additional Accolades

Finally, on September 9, 2014 Sagal received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Of course, most of her Married … with Children cast, including Ed O’Neill, Christina Applegate, and David Faustino, were present to celebrate her achievement.

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