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Susan Dey


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Susan Dey (born December 10, 1952) is an American actress, known primarily for her roles in film and television. Her more prominent parts came as elder daughter, Laurie Partridge, on the 1970s sitcom The Partridge Family, and as Grace Van Owen, a California assistant district attorney and judge on the dramatic series, L.A. Law, a role she played from 1986 to 1992.

Life and career

Dey was born Susan Hallock Smith in Pekin, Illinois, the daughter of Gail, a nurse who died of pneumonia when Dey was eight years old, and Robert Smith, 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.

Dey was a model before starring as Laurie Partridge in the television series The Partridge Family from 1970–1974. She was 17 years old when she won the part and had no previous acting experience.

In a 1977 made-for-television movie, Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night, Dey portrayed a disturbed young mother with serious psychological problems, who begins to take them out on her toddler daughter. Also in 1977, Dey starred opposite William Katt in a romance film, First Love, directed by Joan Darling. The movie is based upon the story, Sentimental Education, by Harold Brodkey.

Dey co-starred with Albert Finney in a 1981 science-fiction film, Looker, written and directed by Michael Crichton. She had a leading role in 1986's Echo Park as a struggling waitress/actress who takes a job as a stripper who delivers singing telegrams.

Dey starred on the television series L.A. Law as Grace Van Owen and earned a Golden Globe Award as "Actress In A Leading Role – Drama Series" for the role in 1987. Dey was nominated four more times the following four years. She was also nominated for the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" for this role in 1987, 1988, and 1989.

She hosted a 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live. Later that year, she co-starred in the Diane English/CBS sitcom, Love & War, with Jay Thomas. Although the show ran until 1995, Dey was replaced in 1993 by Annie Potts. In 1993, she produced and starred in the ABC Movie of the Week Lies & Lullabies (later released on DVD as Sad Inheritance), where she played a pregnant cocaine addict.

Personal life

Dey was married to Lenny Hirshan from 1976-1981. They had one daughter, Sarah Hirshan (born 1978). Dey has been married to her second husband, television producer Bernard Sofronski, since 1988. She serves as a board member of the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical Center and co-narrated a documentary on campus rape with her L.A. Law co-star, Corbin Bernsen.


Rain (2003) – Dianne Davis

Disappearance (2002) – Petty Henley

L.A. Law: The Movie (2002) – D.A. Grace Van Owen

Avenged (1998) – Margo

Bridge Of Time (1997) – Madeleine Armstrong

Blue River (1995) (TV) –

Deadly Love (1995) (TV) – Rebecca Barnes

Beyond Betrayal (1994) – Joanna/Emily Doyle

Lies and Lullabies (also known as Sad Inheritance) (1993) – Christina Kinsey

Love & War (TV series 1992-93) – Wallis "Wally" Porter

Bed of Lies (1992) – Vicky Daniel

The Trouble with Dick (1987) – Diane

L.A. Law (1986) (TV series) – Grace Van Owen (1986–1992)

Echo Park (1986) – May

Emerald Point N.A.S. (1983) (TV series) – Celia Mallory Warren

Malibu (1983) (TV movie) – Linda Harvey

Looker (1981) – Cindy Fairmont

The Comeback Kid (1980) (TV movie) – Megan Barrett

Little Women (1978) (TV movie) – Jo March

First Love (1977) – Caroline

Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night (1977) (TV) – Rowena Harper

Loves Me, Loves Me Not (1977) (TV movie) – Jane

The Quest (1976) TV in "The Captive"; Charlotte Ross

Cage Without a Key (1975) (TV movie) – Valerie Smith

S.W.A.T. (1975) (TV series) – episode: "Deadly Tide" (parts 1 & 2) – Janice

Hawaii Five-O (1975) (TV series; 1 episode: "Target? the Lady"), – Susan Bradshaw

Terror on the Beach (1973) (TV) – DeeDee Glynn

The Partridge Family (1970) (TV series) – Laurie Partridge (1970–1974)

References in popular culture

In Gwyn Cready's comedic romance novel Tumbling Through Time, Seph Pyle, the heroine, talks about Susan Dey, considers Laurie Partridge a personal hero, and wishes she could be living life "Laurie Partridge-style."

The season three episode, "Red Sees Red," of That 70s Show is a parody of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. In it, Shirley Jones, who played the mother on The Partridge Family, walks in, and it is mentioned that Eric and Hyde are choosing to move out and become Partridges. At the end of this discussion, Hyde claims, "I'm pretty sure I can nail Susan Dey!"





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