The Grey's Interview

Grey's Anatomy welcomes an acting icon tonight. Emmy-winner Tyne Daly tells us all about her Grey's casting as Patrick Dempsey's McDreamy Mom.

Daly portrays Carolyn, Derek Shepherd's (Patrick Dempsey) mother on the January 15 episode of Grey's Anatomy. We think that Daly is sure to return throughout the Grey's Anatomy run. But, first things first, Daly needs to dish on the latest Grey's gossip.

Tyne Daly visits the Grey's Anatomy cast

When it comes to her casting on Grey's -- as she is a television veteran -- she knows to keep plot details non existent when talking to the press.

The actress is a six-time Emmy-winner who may be best known for playing Mary Beth Lacey on Cagney and Lacey. Daly is also a theater stalwart with Tony Awards adorning her mantle.

Daly tells SheKnows about playing Dempsey's mother, a lifetime on television, working the stage and life on the Grey's Anatomy set.

Momma McDreamy

Tyne Daly: Hello Joel, Happy New Year.

SheKnows: Happy New Year to you. How are you doing?

Tyne Daly: I'm in the middle of a moving week which is a bit fraught. Other than that, I'm quite fine. How are you?

SheKnows: I'm great. It is a great pleasure to speak with you. Having been part of a television series from the first script reading, such as Cagney and Lacey and Judging Amy, how was joining the cast of Grey's Anatomy as a guest star? Any drama to report?

Meet the new mother-in-law!

Tyne Daly: It has been a long, long time since I did a guest shot. Everyone on Grey's Anatomy was suffering from fifth-season-itis (laughs). It is a kind of particular disease of series television. Since I've done both five and six seasons on both Cagney and Lacey and Judging Amy, I got it right off the bat. They were lovely to me, totally lovely. But, everyone's feeling kind of antsy. Actors are weird. They love having regular jobs and they don't love having regular jobs (laughs). It's a Gemini deal.

SheKnows: It seems like on Grey's Anatomy, they could bring someone like yourself, an Emmy winner with a star-studded history, and it would inject something into the creative process. Is it an inspiring time for you as well to be a source of that?

Cagney and Lacey changed TVTyne Daly: You know there's no rulebook in our business. If there was, I would have published it and been actually rich (laughs). There's no way that it goes. When I started Cagney and Lacey I had already been freelancing for almost 20 years. I was 34 years old and according to the rules, or the unspoken rules, I was supposed to leave town. It was all over. I started to experience the true weight of my work in my middle 30s. Now I'm over 60, and also supposed to be gone (laughs) and the kinds of adventures that come up are very interesting to me. I've always wanted to do every kind of game there was to play within the game of acting. I've been lucky enough to do that. Each of the adventures has their own value for me and I feel that I've been lucky to play around.

The Tony winner

SheKnows: I wanted to ask you about your work in the theater. You've got so much experience performing live, how do you think that professional mettle has contributed to you as an actress?

Tyne Daly: The theater is about words and I love words. The movies are about pictures – moving pictures. So, because I'm more verbal than decorative, I do lots of theater. This summer was a particularly wonderful experience because I went back to the ancients. We did Agamemnon here in Los Angeles and my daughter played my daughter (laughs).

SheKnows: That must have been wonderful.

Tyne Daly: We've worked together before, but it was fascinating and fun. It was just thrilling. The theater is the foundation.

Judging Amy cast

Columbo's kiss

SheKnows: I've seen you on Broadway and have treasured those moments, also you've had quite a career on television including the hit Judging Amy. Now looking back, is there one memory from your TV work that pops in your mind above all others?

Tyne Daly: (laughs) I'll tell you. One year, I did a one day job with Peter Falk (Columbo) playing a little B-girl. Falk and I have a mutual admiration society. I'd done another Columbo before that. It was just a treasure of a day. It was all day, me and Peter -- one on one. I actually am the only character that Columbo ever kissed. He couldn't resist me (laughs).

Powerful female TV

SheKnows: Lastly, I was introduced to you and compelling female characters by my mother watching you on Cagney and Lacey and wondered what you felt about the current crop of strong female detectives. From Kyra Sedgwick on The Closer, Glenn Close on Damages and Holly Hunter's Saving Grace, popular culture seems bowled over suddenly by the policewoman. Hello? Cagney and Lacey! When you see that come back at you, what does that feel like?

Tyne Daly: (laughs) We had precursors as well. The trouble with television is everyone wants to pretend that nobody's ever thought of this before ever, which of course, is painfully untrue. But, we had Police Woman. We had Charlie's Angels as the grandmother and mother of Cagney and Lacey in my opinion. There was a progression of having to be in hooker outfits and high heels to getting a little more confident -- even though your hair still always have to be perfect. Then we got to the point where women are recognizable as human beings. I try to remember there's a long line of female storytellers. I love being in that line.

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Comments on "Grey's Anatomy welcomes a legend in Tyne Daly"

Connie L. Ragan May 08, 2009 | 7:02 PM

I have followed your career for over 30 years. I majored in musical theatre in Southern California back in the 80's and considered it my life's blood at the time. I have had the fortune to work with famous celebrities and feel honored to have had that experience. My one wish is to meet YOU some day. You seem like you would be an instant just glow like that. I actually have a friend who knows you but I want this to happen as fate would have it. I have been lucky so far...who knows. I often watch a stock pile of your movies and Judging Amy on DVD when I need my "Daly dose." Ha! Get it? Take Care, Connie

Patricia Benedict April 26, 2009 | 12:29 PM

I am so glad to have the chance of seeing re-runs of Judging Amy and want so much to connect with Ms. Daly. Her amazing acting (I too am an actor) is a joy to watch and being round the same age I connect so fully with her. In the pre-heart attack episode when she tried Yoga, I too fell over laughing in class and was not encouraged to return! Is there a site where I can send a letter that might be forwarded? Thank you so much. Patricia Benedict

Alessandra April 01, 2009 | 4:58 AM

Hi, Miss Daly, I'm an Italian fan, I see all the Judging Amy episodes and I love you so much... I hope, if you want and if you can, receiving from you a photo with your sign....if not, it's the same. Thank you and many kiss from Italy

Liz Garms February 25, 2009 | 1:57 PM

Being bilingual (english and german),has sort of split up my mind. Having lived in Germany for 40 years has made "german" my intellectual language, but my emotional language is english, so when I get homesick, my cure is english spoken films and T.V. series. Since my german friends don´t get the idions and puns, I have to enjoy alone, so I tend toreally bond with the figures I see. The other day I bought the first DVD of Cagney and Lacey and am awed and impressed with the leading ladie´s acting, especially Tyne Daly´s work. She plays her role with so many fassets, creating a "round" figure. I had seen her in a series on german television, unfortunately without syncronisation, and was tickled to finally hear her real voice.

Charlene Pelland January 15, 2009 | 12:27 PM

I love Tyne Daly and would love to have the plesure of meeting her one day.Now I do know that will probably never happen. My question is does she (Tyne) have an email address or a regular address where I could send her a letter from myself (I live in Canada )and have the awesome opportunity to tell her how wonderful of an actress she is? I understand you can not give out home addresses but if there is anyway you could help me,I would be truely happy. I would like to be able to tell her how she is a pleasure to watch. Thank You Charlene Pelland

emily schwarz January 15, 2009 | 7:22 AM

Tyne, I've met you 3 times! you're wonderful!

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