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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Likewise, Sagal was a series regular on the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts.
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.
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.
They have a daughter, Esmé Louise, born in 2007 through a surrogate mother.
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.
Year Title Role
1987 Maid to Order Louise.
1988 The Good Mother Ursula.
1999 Smart House Pat.
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.
2014 There’s Always Woodstock Lee Ann.
2015 Pitch Perfect 2 Katherine.
2016 Bleed for This Louise Pazienza.
Year Title Role
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.
1985–1986 Mary Jo Tucker.
1987–1997 Married… with Children Peggy Bundy.
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 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 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.
1976 Moon Over Brooklyn.
2009 Sons of Anarchy: Shelter – EP.
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…
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
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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