Earley was born in Fort Hood, Texas to Harold E Earley and Jean D Daily. She is most famous for her role as Donna Beck Tyler Cortlandt Sago Tyler on the soap opera All My Children, a role she played from 1976 to 1992. Donna was originally a troubled youth , who was a runaway and a prostitute who had been sterilized and beaten up by her pimp, and was only slated to be a short-term role. However, Earley's portrayal proved to be popular with viewers. So much so, in fact, that she won an award for Most Exciting New Actress in the first annual Soapies held in 1977 (these awards are now known as the Soap Opera Digest Awards). Over time, the character of Donna grew into a mature woman with a gift for singing.