Maura Therese Tierney
February 3, 1965
(m. 1993; div. 2006)
Maura Therese Tierney (born February 3, 1965) is an American film and television actress. She is best known for her roles as Lisa Miller on the sitcom NewsRadio (1995–1999), Abby Lockhart on the medical drama ER (1999–2009), and Helen Solloway on the mystery drama The Affair (2014–2019), the last of which won her a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
Tierney appeared in numerous films, including Primal Fear (1996), Liar Liar (1997), Primary Colors (1998), Forces of Nature (1999), Insomnia (2002), Semi-Pro (2008), Baby Mama (2008), Beautiful Boy (2018), and The Report (2019).
The eldest of three children, Tierney was born and raised in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, to an Irish Catholic family. Her mother, Pat (née James), is a real estate broker and her late father, Joseph M. Tierney, was a prominent Boston politician who served on the Boston City Council for 15 years.
Tierney attended Mount Alvernia Academy Elementary School and Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, Massachusetts where her studies included drama, which led to her appearance at the Boston Globe Drama Festival. After graduation, she attended New York University, where she majored first in dance and then in drama.
After appearing in several plays, Tierney moved to Los Angeles, California in 1987 where her big break was a role in Disney's made-for-TV film Student Exchange. Tierney's first starring role in a film was in a low-budget independent film called Dead Women in Lingerie, which was shot in 24 days. Despite receiving a DVD release in 2005, the film has yet to also receive a theatrical release.
Tierney had a number of small roles in film and television and a co-starring role in 704 Hauser, a short-lived 1994 spin-off of All in the Family, but first received regular national exposure with her leading role in the sitcom NewsRadio from 1995 to 1999. While part of the NewsRadio cast, she also starred in several successful films of the late 1990s and early 2000s such as Primal Fear, Liar Liar, Primary Colors, Forces of Nature and Welcome to Mooseport.
After NewsRadio was canceled, Tierney decided not to star in another sitcom:
[W]hen NewsRadio got canceled, ... I thought, there's probably not gonna be something like [that show] again for me... So then, when ER called ... that was a way to stay in [television] that would remain interesting for me.
From 1999 to 2008, Tierney played Nurse Abigail "Abby" Lockhart on ER, a character that began as a guest appearance in November 1999 and then expanded in February 2000 to a full-time regular role as an ER nurse and later after completion of medical school, a doctor. She was reunited with her NewsRadio co-star Khandi Alexander, who at that time also had a recurring role on ER. Within a year, Tierney's work on ER earned her an Emmy Award nomination, a recognition she credits to a "juicy" story arc featuring Sally Field as Lockhart's mother Maggie Wyczenski, who has bipolar disorder.
Tierney confirmed in April 2008 that she would be leaving ER shortly after the beginning of the show's fifteenth season. In October 2008, she made her final regular appearance on the series after nearly 10 seasons on the show. She returned to make a cameo appearance in one additional episode later in 2009 toward the end of the final season.
Tierney's highest-profile film while being part of the ER cast was the 2002 film Insomnia, which was directed by Christopher Nolan. That same year, she also starred in Scotland, Pa. where she portrayed a Lady Macbeth-like character written specifically for her by Billy Morrissette, her husband at the time. She was praised by critics for her performance. She also collaborated with NewsRadio writer Joe Furey for a special "Working with Joe Furey" featurette for Furey's film Love and Support.
In 2004, Tierney won the second-season tournament of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown against Lauren Graham, who had a guest role in the fourth season of NewsRadio. Tierney returned to the stage in May 2006 in an appearance opposite Eric McCormack in the Off Broadway premiere of Some Girl(s). She also appeared in the 2008 films Semi-Pro, Baby Mama, The Go-Getter and Finding Amanda. Tierney also played the role of Laurel in the Off Broadway play Three Changes with Dylan McDermott from September 16 to October 4, 2008.
Tierney returned to television, playing the recurring character Kelly McPhee on the FX series Rescue Me in 2009 and 2011 during its final season. She replaced Joely Richardson as the female lead of the 2010 ABC television series The Whole Truth after Richardson left to spend more time with her family. Tierney's role in the show, a legal drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, marked her return to television after recovering from breast surgery and cancer treatments. ABC canceled The Whole Truth after four episodes owing to low ratings.
In 2010, Tierney became a member of the New York City-based experimental theatre company The Wooster Group. She performed along with Frances McDormand in the Wooster Group's 2010 remounting of North Atlantic, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte. From 2016-2019, she played the feminist Germaine Greere in The Town Hall Affair, also directed by LeCompte. Tierney herself conceived the idea for this play, which recreates a raucous debate on Women's Liberation that Norman Mailer organized with prominent feminists in 1971.
In February 2011, Tierney made her debut at the Gate Theatre in the Dublin premiere of Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage (translation by Christopher Hampton) alongside Ardal O'Hanlon. Also in 2011, Tierney appeared in one episode of The Office (S8E9: Mrs. California) as Robert California's wife.
In September 2012, Tierney began a recurring role on the CBS legal drama The Good Wife, playing Maddie Hayward. In 2013, Tierney joined the cast of Showtime's The Affair, playing Helen Solloway, for which she won the Golden Globe Award in 2016.
In 2018, Tierney co-starred with Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet in the dark family drama film Beautiful Boy, based on the memoir of the same name by David Sheff. In 2019, Tierney appeared in The Report as "an intense, driven, somewhat vengeful Counterterrorism expert determined to get behind any program that promises to get the intel that will stop another attack from happening.".
Tierney married actor/director Billy Morrissette on February 1, 1993, two days before her 28th birthday after the two met on the set of an unaired television series. She filed for divorce in 2006 due to irreconcilable differences. They did not have any children.
Tierney had surgery to remove a tumor from her breast in 2009. She had been cast in Parenthood but schedule conflicts with her cancer treatments led her to leave and she was replaced by Lauren Graham. Tierney finished treatment and returned to work in a stage play in 2010.
|1991||Dead Women in Lingerie||Molly Field|
|The Linguini Incident||Cecelia|
|Fly by Night||Denise|
|1993||The Temp||Sharon Derns|
|1996||Primal Fear||Naomi Chance|
|1997||Liar Liar||Audrey Reede|
|1998||Primary Colors||Daisy Green|
|The Thin Pink Line||Suzanne|
|1999||Forces of Nature||Bridget Cahill|
|Oxygen||Det. Madeline Foster|
|2000||Mexico City||Pam on Phone (voice)|
|2001||Scotland, PA||Pat McBeth|
|2003||Melvin Goes to Dinner||Leslie|
|2004||Welcome to Mooseport||Sally Mannis|
|2006||Danny Roane: First Time Director||Maura Tierney|
|2007||The Go-Getter||Hal's Pets|
|Finding Amanda||Lorraine Mendon|
|1987||Student Exchange||Kathy Maltby||Television film|
|1988||Crossing the Mob||Michelle||Television film|
|The Van Dyke Show||Jillian Ryan||10 episodes|
|1989||Family Ties||Darlene||Episode: "My Best Friend's Girl"|
|1990||Booker||Donna Cofax||Episode: "Reunion"|
|Flying Blind||Donna||Television film|
|1991||Law & Order||Patricia 'Patti' Blaine||Episode: "Aria"|
|1994||Lifestories: Families in Crisis||N/A||Episode: "A Body to Die For: The Aaron Henry Story"|
|704 Hauser||Cherlyn Markowitz||5 episodes|
|Out of Darkness||Meg||Television film|
|1995–1999||NewsRadio||Lisa Miller||96 episodes|
|1999–2009||ER||Dr. Abby Lockhart||183 episodes|
|2000||King of the Hill||Tanya (voice)||Episode: "Movin' On Up"|
|2009||Parenthood||Sarah Braverman||Episode: Unaired Pilot; replaced by Lauren Graham|
|2009–2011||Rescue Me||Kelly McPhee||9 episodes|
|2010–2011||The Whole Truth||Kathryn Peale||13 episodes|
|2011||The Office||Susan California||Episode: "Mrs. California"|
|2012–2013||The Good Wife||Maddie Hayward||7 episodes|
|2012||Ruth & Erica||Erica||10 episodes|
|2014–2019||The Affair||Helen Solloway||45 episodes|
|2018||Electric Dreams||Irene Lee||Episode: "Safe & Sound"|
|2020-2021||Your Honor||Fiona McKee||4 episodes|
|2021||American Rust||Grace Poe|
Awards and nominations
- Wieder, Tamara (February 14, 2002). "Prescription for success". ThePhoenix.com. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "The Return of Maura Tierney". Parade. September 12, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- "Joseph Tierney Obituary". hydepark.thomasfuneralhomes.com. Hyde Park, Massachusetts: Carroll-Thomas Funeral Home. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
- Tierney, Maura (September 9, 2008). "Trying to quit smoking is the hardest thing I've ever done". Glamour. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Dream Life". BRNTWD Magazine. September 2001.
- "Interview with Erica Fox". Exclusive magazine. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- Maura Tierney, original air date November 14, 2006, interviewed on The Tavis Smiley Show
- ...Tierney Becomes One of LaBute's Some Girl(s) for US Debut Archived March 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill (March 2006 article)
- Cox, Gordon (June 5, 2008). "Playwrights Horizons signs stars". Variety.
- Reiher, Andrea (June 11, 2010). "Maura Tierney to tell "The Whole Truth: with Rob Morrow at ABC". Zap2it. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Maura Tierney New Role: Legal Drama 'The Whole Truth". National Ledger. June 16, 2010. Archived from the original on June 19, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- "ABC cancels 'The Whole Truth'". EW.com. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
- "Magazine — The Wooster Group: Getting Down to the Confrontation - Hauser & Wirth". www.hauserwirth.com. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
- Teeman, Tim (February 2, 2017). "How Elizabeth LeCompte and the Wooster Group Changed Theater". The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
- "Gate Theatre, Dublin, Ireland". Gate-theatre.ie. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
- Hibberd, James (June 25, 2012). "Maura Tierney joins 'The Good Wife'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "The Return Of Maura Tierney". The Huffington Post. August 4, 2013.
- Mitovich, Matt Webb (January 10, 2016). "Golden Globes: Mr. Robot and Mozart Win Big; Taraji P. Henson, Lady Gaga, Jon Hamm, Rachel Bloom Grab Gold". TVLine. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- Fleming Jr, Mike (March 16, 2017). "'The Affair's Maura Tierney Joins Amazon's 'Beautiful Boy'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- Maura Tierney Joins CIA Drama ‘The Torture Report’
- Meyer, Dan. "Witch, Starring Maura Tierney, Begins at Geffen Playhouse". Playbill. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
- "'The Affair' Star Maura Tierney Returns to Showtime for Jeff Daniels 'Rust' Drama". Variety. March 5, 2020.
- "Maura Tierney To Recur On Showtime's Bryan Cranston Limited Legal Drama 'Your Honor'". Deadline. October 21, 2020.
- Finn, Natalie (July 27, 2006). "Maura Tierney's Marriage Flatlines". E!. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
- OK! Staff (January 23, 2009). "OK! Exclusive: Parminder Nagra's Wedding Album". OK! Magazine. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Maura Tierney To Undergo Surgery For Breast Tumor". Access Online. July 13, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- Abrams, Natalie. "Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham Takes Starring Role in Parenthood", TVGuide.com, October 9, 2009.
- Armstrong, Jennifer (January 27, 2010). "Maura Tierney goes back to work after battling cancer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 3, 2010.