Katey Sagal is best known as an actress, having won awards for her work on the long-running TV shows Married...with Children, Futurama, and Sons of Anarchy, but she's also an accomplished singer and songwriter who has worked with a handful of legendary artists. Catherine Louise Sagal was born in Hollywood, California on January 15, 1954; her father was the noted TV and movie director Boris Sagal, and her mother, Sara Zwilling, was a writer and producer. Katey developed an interest in music as a youngster, taking up singing when she was five, and when the Beatles hit America in 1964, she was hooked; newsreel footage exists of young Katey in a throng of screaming girls hoping to catch a glimpse of the Fab Four outside their hotel during an early U.S. tour. Sagal got to meet another of her rock & roll heroes in 1965, when her dad directed the Elvis Presley vehicle Girl Happy and introduced his daughter to the leading man.
By 15, Sagal had learned to play the piano and guitar, but a few years later, she began dipping her toes into acting with her father's encouragement, playing supporting roles in the TV movie The Failing of Raymond (directed by her dad) and episodes of Columbo and The Bold Ones. In the mid-'70s, acting took a back seat to music for Sagal; she worked as a backing vocalist for Tanya Tucker, Etta James, and Olivia Newton-John, and was a member of a short-lived vocal combo called the Group with No Name, who cut one album for Casablanca Records in 1976. (In an interview with Howard Stern, Sagal said that Gene Simmons of Kiss, with whom she had a brief relationship, helped the group land the deal.) Sagal was hired as a backing vocalist for Bob Dylan in 1978, but she was fired before the tour got underway, and Sagal admitted in a 2013 interview that she was so intimidated by Dylan she couldn't speak in his presence. Sagal had better luck later that year when she landed a gig as one of Bette Midler's backing vocalists, the Staggering Harlettes; Sagal spent a year on the road with Midler, and returned to the act in 1982-1983.
In 1985, Sagal appeared in a rock opera staged in Los Angeles, The Beautiful Lady, and a casting agent was impressed enough with her performance that Sagal was cast in Mary, a situation comedy starring Mary Tyler Moore. Mary only lasted 13 episodes, but her performance helped Sagal land the role of sexy but dysfunctional housewife Peg Bundy on Married...with Children, which ran for ten years and established Sagal as a gifted comic actress. The show also raised Sagal's profile enough that she was able to revive her career as a singer, playing occasional club dates and recording an album for Virgin Records, Well..., in 1994, in which she co-wrote nine of the 12 songs. After Married...with Children finally ended its run in 1997, Sagal stayed busy working in television, making guest appearances on everything from That '70s Show to Boston Legal; she also did voice work on a number of animated series, most notably Futurama, in which she helped bring life to the curvacious but butt-kicking purple-haired cyclops Leela. In 2002, Sagal landed another sitcom role of note, co-starring with John Ritter on the family-themed 8 Simple Rules. Only a few weeks into the show's second season, Ritter died unexpectedly, and Sagal became the show's anchor as the series was reshaped to reflect the loss of Ritter's father figure.
In 2004, during downtime from 8 Simple Rules, Sagal found time to cut a second album, another collection of covers and originals called Room that was released by Valley Entertainment. In 2008, Sagal finally landed the meaty dramatic role she longed for when she was cast as Gemma Teller Morrow, the matriarch of an outlaw biker gang, on the acclaimed series Sons of Anarchy. The role also gave Sagal a chance to put her musical talents to work; she's sung on the show's soundtrack at least once each season, and was featured on the two albums of music from the series that were released in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, Sagal once again took time off from acting and returned to the recording studio; her third album, Covered, found her interpreting the work of some of her favorite songwriters, and was released by eOne Entertainment. ~ Mark Deming
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