Sharon Marguerite Gless (born May 31, 1943) is an Emmy Award-winning American actress, who is best known for her role as Sgt. Christine Cagney in the 1980s police procedural drama series Cagney & Lacey (1982-1988). She currently plays Madeline Westen on Burn Notice.
From her starring role in "Faraday & Company" in 1973, Sharon Gless has brought her own brand of humor, intelligence and dramatic flair to each of her roles. She is best known for her portrayal of New York Police Detective Christine Cagney on the hit series "Cagney & Lacey" a role that garnered her two Emmys®, a Golden Globe™, and six Emmy® nominations. Following "Cagney & Lacey," Gless re-teamed with the show's executive producer, Barney Rosenzweig, on "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" for which she was awarded her second Golden Globe™ and two more Emmy® nominations. Gless married Rosenzweig in 1991.
In 1994 and 1995, Gless and her television partner, Tyne Daly, joined together to recreate their title roles in a quartet of critically acclaimed and popular "Cagney & Lacey" television movies which they fondly call "The Menopause Years". Other television series in which she starred include "Switch," "House Calls," and the short-lived, but critically lauded Steven Bochco half-hour, "Turnabout." Gless has received much acclaim for dramatic roles in such television movies as "Separated By Murder," "Hard Hat and Legs," "Honor Thy Mother," "Hobson's Choice," "Letting Go," among others, as well as the mini-series, "The Immigrants," "The Last Convertible," "Centennial," and Garson Kanin's "Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara Wars, in which she played Carole Lombard.
Gless' theatrical film credits include a featured role in the suspenseful and thought-provoking film, "The Star Chamber," which starred Michael Douglas. She has recorded several 'Books on Tape' and starred in numerous radio plays, one of which, "'Night, Mother," for the BBC, garnered her the International Sony Award. She has starred twice on stage in London's famed "West End," the first time in 1993 with Bill Paterson, where she created the role of Annie Wilkes in Stephen King's "Misery" at the Criterion Theater, and four years later, opposite Tom Conti, in Neil Simon's "Chapter 2," at the Gielgud Theater.
She recently starred at Chicago's Tony Award-winning playhouse, The Victory Gardens Theater, in Claudia Allen's "Cahoots," as well as several stints, including an evening at Madison Square Garden with the National Company of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues". Gless made her stage debut in Lillian Hellman's "Watch on the Rhine" at Stage West in Springfield, Mass.
In 1998, Gless narrated a documentary about Ayn Rand, A Sense of Life (by filmmaker Michael Paxton). It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Between 2000 and 2005, Gless appeared as Hal Sparks's supportive and somewhat overbearing mother, Debbie Novotny, in the acclaimed Showtime cable television series Queer as Folk.
In 2005, Gless was one of the mourners at Eddie Albert's funeral, along with ex-Switch co-stars Robert Wagner and Charlie Callas, after his death in May of that year aged 99. In 2006, Gless starred in the BBC television series The State Within. The following year she co-starred in the USA Network cable television series Burn Notice, playing Michael Westen's (Jeffrey Donovan) mother, Madeline Westen. In addition to this continuing role, Gless is currently guest starring on the FX Network cable television series Nip/Tuck as an agent named Colleen Rose, a role that gave her an Emmy Award nomination.