Kay Lenz

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Kay Lenz
Lenz in Breezy (1973)
Kay Ann Lenz

(1953-03-04) March 4, 1953 (age 69)[1]
Other namesKay Ann Kemper
Years active1964–present
(m. 1977; div. 1983)

Kay Ann Lenz (born March 4, 1953) is an American actress. She is the recipient of a Daytime Emmy Award and a Primetime Emmy Award, as well as nominations for a Golden Globe Award and a Saturn Award.

Lenz is best known for her title role in the film Breezy (1973), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female. She is also known for her roles in the film House (1986), as well as the television series Midnight Caller (1988–1989) and Reasonable Doubts (1991–1993). For her role in the episode "After It Happened" of Midnight Caller, she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

Early years[edit]

Lenz was born in Los Angeles, California to Ted Lenz, an actor and producer, and Kay Miller Lenz, who worked as a radio engineer and professional model. Her television debut was as a baby, held by a guest on a program that her father produced.[2]


Lenz began working as a child actress, beginning with appearances in three episodes of This Is the Life when she was 14.[2] She went on to appear in such television shows as The Andy Griffith Show (in the episode "Opie's Group" (1967) under the stage name Kay Ann Kemper) as well as in stage productions. She made a brief appearance billed as Kay Ann Kemper in American Graffiti (1973) as Jane, a girl at a dance. She achieved recognition for her title-role performance as the free spirit who captivates William Holden in Breezy, directed by Clint Eastwood.[3][4]

Lenz made guest appearances in The Streets of San Francisco, Gunsmoke, MacGyver, McCloud, Cannon, and Petrocelli, and played a lead role in the film White Line Fever (1975) before being cast in 1976 in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award.[5] She reprised her role for the sequel, Rich Man, Poor Man Book II (1977). Since the 1980s, she has played guest roles in numerous television series.[5] She appeared in Albert Brooks' short film for a Season 1 episode of Saturday Night Live.

In 1984, she appeared in Rod Stewart's music video for the song "Infatuation". She won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1989 for Midnight Caller.[6][7] She was also nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards for her role as flinty lawyer Maggie Zombro in the police/legal drama Reasonable Doubts.[8][5]

Personal life[edit]

Lenz was the first wife of singer-actor David Cassidy. Of their marriage, Lenz says:

I wasn’t used to that state-of-stardom lifestyle... When we eloped it was on the national news. All of a sudden I was getting mail from women telling me that they had three of his children.[6]

The threats from Cassidy's fans became so frequent, Lenz retained the services of celebrity bodyguard Tommy Peacock. Lenz and Cassidy married on April 3, 1977,[6][9] and divorced on December 28, 1983.[10] She has no children.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1973 American Graffiti Jane as Kay Ann Kemper
1973 Breezy Edith Alice Breezerman Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Female[2]
1973 Lisa, Bright and Dark Lisa Schilling
1975 White Line Fever Jerri Kane Hummer
1976 Moving Violation[11] Cam Johnson
1976 The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday Thursday
1978 Mean Dog Blues Linda Ramsey
1979 The Passage Leah Bergson
1981 Swan Lake Odille Voice role
1982 Fast-Walking 'Little' Moke
1983 Prisoners of the Lost Universe Carrie Madison
1983 Trial by Terror Karen Armstrong
1986 House Sandy Sinclair Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1987 Death Wish 4: The Crackdown Karen Sheldon
1987 Stripped to Kill Detective Cody Sheenan
1988 Fear Sharon Haden
1989 Headhunter Katherine Hall
1989 Physical Evidence Deborah Quinn
1990 Streets Sargent
1991 Shakespeare's Plan 12 from Outer Space Sebastian
1992 Falling From Grace P.J. Parks
1992 Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa Cowlamity Kate Cudster Voice role
1994 Trapped in Space Gillings
1995 Gunfighter's Moon Linda Yarnell
1995 Shame II: The Secret Ginny Nominated — CableACE Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
1997 A Gun, a Car, a Blonde Peep/Madge
1998 The Adventures of Ragtime Detective Hill
2003 Southside Claire Coleman
2013 The Secret Lives of Dorks Mrs. Susie Gibson
2017 The Downside of Bliss Mary


Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Andy Griffith Show Phoebe but credited as Joy by mistake Episode: "Opie's Group" (as Kay Ann Kemper)
1967 The Monroes Maudie Buchner Episode: "Teaching The Tigers to Purr" (as Kay Ann Kemper)
1972 Ironside Stephanie Tucker Episode: "Cold Hard Cash"
1972 The Weekend Nun Audree ABC Movie of the Week
1973 Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law Lucy Episode: "A Girl Named Tham"
1973 A Summer Without Boys Ruth Hailey ABC Movie of the Week
1973 The Streets of San Francisco Sarah Holt Episode: "Harem"
1974 Love Story Sara Episode: "Time for Love"
1974 Gunsmoke Lettie Episode: "The Foundling"
1974 The ABC Afternoon Playbreak Dorie Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Special for episode: "Heart in Hiding"
1974 Unwed Father Vicky Simmons ABC Movie of the Week
1974 Nakia Barbara Episode: "The Hostage"
1974 Kodiak Episode: "Death Chase "
1974 McCloud Eve Randall Episode: "Barefoot Girls of Bleeker Street"
1974 Medical Center Kitty Palumbo Episode: "The Conspirators"
1974 The Underground Man Sue Crandell TV movie
1974 The F.B.I. Story: The FBI Versus Alvin Karpis, Public Enemy Number One Shirley TV movie
1974 Cannon Sally Episode: "The Avenger"
1974 The One Shirley TV Movie
1975 Journey from Darkness Sherry Williams TV Movie
1975 Petrocelli Janet / Mary Wade Episode: "Face of Evil"
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Kate Jordache Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1976 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Self 1 episode
1976 Jigsaw John Miriam Buckley Episode: "Eclipse"
1977 Rich Man, Poor Man Book II Kate Jordache Miniseries
1978 How The West Was Won Doreen 3 episodes
1978 The Initiation of Sarah Sarah Goodwin TV Movie
1979 Good Morning America Self Episode dated 24 July 1979
1979 The Seeding of Sarah Burns Sarah Burns TV Movie
1979 Sanctuary Of Fear Carol Bain TV pilot for unmade series, starring Barnard Hughes
1980 Escape Barbara Chilcoate TV movie
1980 The Hustler of Muscle Beach Jenny O’Rourke TV movie
1982 Insight L.J. Episode: "Matchpoint"
1984 Whiz Kids Helen Langton Episode: "Amen to Amen-Re"
1984 Hill Street Blues Whitney Barnes Episode: "The Other Side of Oneness"
1984-1988 Simon & Simon Kris Caulfield/Lolita 4 episodes
1984-1987 Hotel Gail Matthews/Mary Morowsky 2 episodes
1984 Magnum P.I. Sally DeForest Episode: "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime"
1984 The Fall Guy Kim Donnelly Episodes: "Losers Weepers" (Pts 1 and 2)
1984 Cagney & Lacey Linda Mack Episode: "Victimless Crime"
1984 Matt Houston Cassie Stanley Episode: "Stolen"
1985 Murder She Wrote Nurse Jennie Wells Episode: "Armed Response"
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Ellen Ross Episode: "Last Wish"
1985 Riptide Brenda Malloy Episode: "Still Goin' Steady"
1985 MacGyver Kelly Neilson Episode: "Last Stand"
1986 Heart of the City Kathy Priester 2 episodes
1986 Hunter Alicia Fiori Episode: "Scrap Metal"
1987 Mr. Belvedere Sharon Rogers Season 3 Episode #18: "Kevin's Older Woman"
1987 Charles in Charge Joan Robinson Episode: "The Undergraduate"
1987 Houston Knights Elizabeth Episode: "Home Is Where the Heart Is"
1987 Starman Dr. Katherine Bradford Episode: "The Probe"
1987 Moonlighting Melissa Episode: "Come Back Little Shiksa"
1988 Midnight Caller Tina Cassidy 3 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (1989)
Nominated —Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (1990)
1989 Hardball Connie Villanova Episode: "Till Death Do Us Part"
1989 ABC Afterschool Special Bonnie Green Episode: "Private Affairs"
1991 Reasonable Doubts Maggie Zombro Recurring role (season 1); main role (season 2); 32 episodes
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series (1993)
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1993)
1993 An Evening at the Improv Self-Host Episode #12.8
1994 The Tick American Maid Voice role; 25 episodes
1995 Lois & Clark Constance Hunter Episode: "Whine Whine Whine"
1996 Touched by an Angel Rocky McCann Episode: "The Journalist"
1997 Journey of the Heart Marvelle Television film
1999 Mysteries and Scandals self Episode about William Holden
2000 ER Karen Palmieri Episode: "Homecoming"
2000 The Magnificent Seven Ella Gaines Episode: "Obsession"
2000–2001 Cover Me Lisa Ramone 2 episodes
2001 Once and Again Stephanie Arlen 2 episodes
2002 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Linda Cavanaugh Episode: "Guilt"
2003 The Agency Police Interrogator Episode: "Coventry"
2003 JAG Judge Smith Episode: "A Merry Little Christmas"
2007 House Mrs Bradberry Episode: "Alone"
2008 NCIS Connie Quinn Wheeler Episode: "Silent Night"
2009 Cold Case Hillary Rhodes Episode: "November 22"
2010 The Closer Mrs Tatem Episode: "In Custody"
2011 Southland Naomi Chester Episode: "Fixing a Hole"
2013 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Laura Sidle Episode: "Forget Me Not"
2014 Bones Harriet White Episode: "Big in the Philippines"
2015 Adventure Time Bird Woman/Gunther Voice role; 1 episode


  1. ^ "Today's famous birthdays list for March 4, 2021 includes celebrities Patricia Heaton, Steven Weber". Cleveland.com. March 4, 2021. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Harris, Harry (February 27, 1974). "Kay Lenz Is Weeping Her Way To Stardom". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Ohio, Cincinnati. Knight Newspapers. p. 6. Retrieved February 24, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  3. ^ "BREEZY (1974)". TCM.com. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Kay Lenz". TCM.com. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Kay Lenz". TVGuide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Park, Jeannie; Alexander, Michael (November 20, 1989). "After Riding a Lifetime of Ups and Downs, Kay Lenz Hits Her Stride with a Role in Midnight Caller". People. Vol. 32, no. 21. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-11. ...David Cassidy when they married in 1977, just 2½ months after meeting on a blind date.
  7. ^ "41st Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners : OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES - 1989". Emmys.com. Emmy Awards. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  8. ^ Everett, Todd (November 16, 1992). "Reasonable Doubts Try to Be Nice– What Does It Get You?". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  9. ^ Nevada, Marriage Index (1956-2005)
  10. ^ California, Divorce Index 1966-1984
  11. ^ TCM "Moving Violation"

External links[edit]