Technically, Tyne Daly is a nepo baby. She and her brother Tim were children of James Daly, a working actor whom I’ve added to the schedule because I just learned some juicy details. However, both she and her brother have surpassed their father’s fame long since. Tyne, in particular, feels as though she’s gone through several careers, and she’s a fantastic performer. She’s almost certainly never going to EGOT, though this year gives me a little hope about older women’s actually getting good and celebrated movie roles, but she’s got half a dozen Emmys and a Tony, along with a handful of other awards. It is not enough; she’s not recognized enough.
As it happens, Daly is in the elite pantheon of Honorees For This Column I’ve Been In A Room With, if we include the Marquis Theatre as a room. I have only seen one Broadway show in my life, largely due to having spent my entire life living on the West Coast and seldom getting further east than Arizona. But one of the two weekends I spent east of that was in New York, and I had the great privilege of seeing her as Mama Rose. Due to personal drama, I was a little preoccupied through Act II, but I can definitely tell you that she was spectacular in the role and a better choice than Cats.
She started her career young enough so that her role of “girl” on Foreign Intrigue wasn’t misnamed; she was a literal child at the time. (Her father was a regular, so there’s your nepotism.) When she was young, she had something of a Scarlett Johansson look to her. She had the same sort of career at the time that a lot of women her age did, including a biker picture, a few Westerns, more than a few police dramas. On The Rookies, she shared an at-the-time shocking kiss with a black actor . . . who happened to be her then-husband, Georg Stanford Brown, whom she married a year before Loving v. Virginia.
She would really become known for Cagney and Lacey, of course. On the show, she was a married mother who also happened to be a New York cop. She was one of the first women to play a cop in a starring role on TV, certainly one of the first where there wasn’t a regular drive to get her undercover in the skimpiest clothes imaginable. In later years, she would go on to play the acerbic Maxine Gray on Judging Amy. There, she was a social worker, and Daly portrayed her as a woman who was believably a grandmother, leaving her hair its natural grey. It’s not as well-known as Cagney and Lacey, but I personally have seen a heck of a lot more of it and still quote it sometimes.
Daly is a TV icon, proving that #NotAllNepoBabies. She’s definitely more in the Colin Hanks camp than the Chet Hanks camp, let’s be real. She won a Tony for that show I saw her in, which makes it even more impressive as the only Broadway show I’ve ever seen. (I’ve seen other live theatre, but three thousand miles qualifies even Phantom of the Opera as way off-Broadway.) Her career isn’t over yet, though personally I only truly believe people’s careers are certain of being over when they’ve qualified for the other column, and sometimes it seems as though it isn’t certain even then.