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The Acting Career of Susan Dey

Updated on October 8, 2012

Early Life

Susan Dey's original name is Susan Hallock Smith. She was born in Pekin, Illinois, she is the daughter of Gail, a nurse who died of Pneumonia when she was just eight years old, and her father Robert Smith is a newspaper editor. She adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name. She graduated from Fox Lane High School in Bedford, New York.

Susan Dey used to be a model before her successful role as Laurie Partridge in The Partridge Family.
Susan Dey used to be a model before her successful role as Laurie Partridge in The Partridge Family. | Source

Her Early Acting Career

Susan Dey was a model before landing a role on the hit television show, "The Partridge Family" as Laurie Partridge. The successful television show aired from 1970 to 1974. Susan Dey was just seventeen years old when she nailed the part without having any pevious acting experience in the past.

Susan Dey as Laurie Partridge.
Susan Dey as Laurie Partridge. | Source

Other Movies and Television shows

Susan starred in the 1977 television movie, "Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night," Dey played the role of a distrubed young mother with serious psychological problems, who starts to take them all out on her young daughter. That same year she made an appearance beside William Katt in a romance movie, called "First Love," it was directed by Joan Darling. The movie is based on the story, "Sentimental Education," by Harold Brodkey.

Dey also co-starred along with Albert Finney in the 1981 Science-Fiction movie, "Looker," that was written and directed by Micheal Crichton. Susan also had an appearance taking the lead role in the 1986 film, "Echo Park" in which she portrayed a struggling waitress and actress who takes a job as a stripper who delivers singing telegrams.

Susan's other television appearances include the T.V. series L.A. Law as Grace Van Owen in which she won a Golden Globe Award as "Actress In a Leading Role-Drama Series" for her efforts in 1987, she was also nominated four times in the following four years. Among her other achievements she was also nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" for her same role in 1987, 1988, and 1989.

Susan also hosted an episode of "Saturday Night Live" in 1992. That same year later, she co-starred in the Diane English/CBS sitcom, "Love and War," along with Jay Thomas. Although the show aired until 1995, Susan Dey was replaced permenently by Annie Potts in 1993. In that same years in 1993, she produced and appeared in the ABC Movie of The Week "Lies and Lullabies" (that was later changed "Sad Inheritance"), in which she took the role of a pregnant cocaine addict.

Susan Dey plays Jo March on the 1978 version movie of the classic novel.
Susan Dey plays Jo March on the 1978 version movie of the classic novel. | Source

Susan Dey's Filmography

  • The Partridge Family- Laurie Partridge (1970-1974)
  • Terror on the Beach-DeeDee Glyn (1973)
  • Hawaii Five-O-Susan Bradshaw (1975)
  • S.W.A.T.- Janice (episode: Deadly Tide, 1975)
  • Cage Without a Key- Valerie Smith (1975)
  • The Quest- Charlotte Ross (1976)
  • Loves Me, Loves Me Not- Jane (1977)
  • Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night- Rowena Harper (1977)
  • First Love- Caroline (1977)
  • Little Women- Jo March (1978)
  • The Comeback Kid- Megan Barrett (1980)
  • Looker- Cindy Fairmont (1981)
  • Malibu- Linda Harvey (1983)
  • Emerald Point N.A.S. - Celia Mallory Warren (1983)
  • Echo Park- May (1986)
  • L.A. Law- Grace Van Owen (1986-1992)
  • The Trouble with Dick- Diane (1987)
  • Bed of Lies- Vicky Daniel (1992)
  • Love and War- Wallis "Wally" Porter (1992-1993)
  • Lies and Lullabies- Christina Kinsey (1993)
  • Beyond Betrayal- Joanna/Emily Doyle (1994)
  • Deadly Love- Rebecca Barnes (1995)
  • Blue River- (1995)
  • Bridge of Time- Madeline Armstrong (1997)
  • Avenged- Margo (1998)
  • L.A. Law: The Movie- Grace Van Owen (2002)
  • Disappearance- Petty Henley (2002)
  • Rain- Dianne Davis (2003)

Susan Dey at the 1990 Golden Globe Awards.
Susan Dey at the 1990 Golden Globe Awards. | Source

Susan Dey's Personal Life

Susan has been married two times. First to Lenny Hirshan from 1976-1981. They both had one daughter named Sarah Hirshan (born in 1978). Her second husband is to television producer Bernard Sofronski, since 1988. As of today she serves as a board member of the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical Center and once co-narrated a documentary about campus rape along with her L.A. Law co-star, Corbin Benson.


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