Sheila Kelley (American actress)

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Sheila Kelley
Born (1963-10-09) October 9, 1963 (age 59)
EducationHempfield Area High School
Alma materTisch School of the Arts
Years active1987–present
(m. 1996)

Sheila Kelley (born October 9,[1] 1963)[2] is an American actress. She is known for her roles as Gwen Taylor on L.A. Law, Dr. Charlotte "Charley" Bennett Hayes on Sisters, and Debbie Wexler on The Good Doctor.

Early life[edit]

Kelley was raised in Greensburg, Pennsylvania,[3] the youngest child in a household of six daughters and three sons. The two eldest were children of Leonard and Kate Thom; following Thom's 1950 death in a train accident, Kate married mining engineer and inventor Jay Kelley, with whom she had seven children including Sheila.[2]

Kelley studied ballet, anatomy and movement physiology at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.[4] One day during the months immediately following her freshman year, Kelley began suffering from the effects of congenital hip dysplasia, which ended her hopes of a dance career. Kelley switched to taking acting classes, and graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After working in public relations, she acquired a talent agent, began performing in plays, and with friends formed an Off-Off-Broadway theater troupe, The Elephant Company.[2]


Kelley began her acting career in the 1980s in television, with her first credited TV role in 1987. Her first film was Some Girls in 1988. She played the character Gwen Taylor in the legal drama L.A. Law from 1990 to 1993. Most of her work has been in guest roles on American TV series, although she notably played a stripper and performed a seductive dance routine onscreen in the 2000 feature film Dancing at the Blue Iguana.

Kelley was cast in a recurring role in the final season of Lost in 2010, playing Zoe. From 2011 to 2012, she played Carol Rhodes on Gossip Girl.

Personal life[edit]

Kelley and actor Richard Schiff married in 1996.[5] Kelley was cast to play his love interest, and later his wife, on The Good Doctor. They have a son, Gus, born in 1994, and a daughter, Ruby, born in August 2000.[5]

Following her role as a stripper in the film Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000), Kelley became a fan of pole dancing, and built a national chain of exercise studios around her "S Factor" exercise method, including her book, S Factor: Strip Workouts for Every Woman, DVDs, and inspirational monthly editorials at the "S Factor" website.[6] Her fitness program incorporates Pilates, yoga, stretching and pole dance routines.[7]


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Some Girls Irenka
1989 Breaking In Carrie aka Fontaine
1989 Staying Together Beth Harper
1989 Mortal Passions Adele
1989 Private Debts Jessie Burdette Short film
1990 Where the Heart Is Sheryl
1991 Soapdish Fran
1991 Pure Luck Valerie Highsmith
1991 Wild Blade Ginger
1992 Passion Fish Kim
1992 Singles Debbie Hunt
1993 So I Married an Axe Murderer Sherry (photos of ex-girlfriend) Uncredited
1993 Mona Must Die Rachel McSternberg
1994 A Passion to Kill Beth
1996 One Fine Day Kristen
1997 Santa Fe Leah Thomas
2000 Nurse Betty Joyce
2000 Dancing at the Blue Iguana Stormy Also producer
2003 Matchstick Men Kathy
2005 Mozart and the Whale Janice
2010 Bloodworth Louise Halfacre
2013 Last Weekend Vivian
2014 The Guest Laura Peterson
Year Title Role Notes
1987 Tonight's the Night Tanya Television film
1987 The Betty Ford Story Charlotte Television film
1988 Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami Trish Television film
1989 The Fulfillment of Mary Gray Kate Television film
1989 thirtysomething Cheryl Eastman Episode: "First Day/Last Day"
1990–1993 L.A. Law Gwen Taylor Recurring (seasons 4–5); main cast (seasons 6–7); 42 episodes
1991 The Chase Roxanne Television film
1993 Full Stretch Pam Pearson Episode: "Ivory Tower"
1993 The Hidden Room Susan Episode: "Best Intentions"
1994 Deconstructing Sarah Sarah Vincent/Ruth Television film
1995 Wings Sarah Recurring
2 episodes
1995 The Secretary Deidre Bosnell Television film
1995–1996 Sisters Dr. Charlotte "Charley" Bennett Main cast (season 6); 23 episodes
1998 Touched by an Angel Carrie Nichols Carver Episode: "What Are Friends For?"
1998–1999 ER Coco Robbins Recurring
3 episodes
1999 Mind Prey Andi Manette Television film
2001 Family Law Jennifer Palmer Episode: "Intentions"
2001 The Jennie Project Leah Archibald Television film
2002 MDs Pam Kellerman Recurring
4 episodes
2003 The Division Tess Stanton Episode: "Strangers"
2006 The Sopranos Allison Crider Episode: "Join the Club"
2010 Lost Zoe Recurring
5 episodes
2010 Hawaii Five-0 Nancy Harris Episode: "Palekaiko"
2011–2012 Gossip Girl Carol Rhodes Recurring
8 episodes
2012 NCIS Victoria Dearing Episode: "Till Death Do Us Part"
2013 Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: Pole instructor Season 3, Episode 11
2018–present The Good Doctor Debbie Wexler Recurring
13 episodes
2021 Turner & Hooch Emily Turner Recurring
2 episodes


  1. ^ Schiff, Richard (verified account) [@richard_schiff] (October 9, 2016). "Happy Birthday! My gorgeous wife @thesheilakelley" (Tweet). Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b c Bandler, Michael J. (January 3, 1993). "'L.A.' Glow". Chicago Tribune. Illinois. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020. Kelley, 29 [as of January 3, 1993] was born in the coal mining country around Greensburg, Pa.
  3. ^ Majors, Dan (September 16, 2016). "Clinton Opens Bakery Square Office". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020 – via PressReader.
  4. ^ "Lost & Gossip Girl Actress Sheila Kelley Brings Celebrity Pole Dancing Fitness To Maui" (Press release). Sheila Kelley's S Factor. March 15, 2013. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020 – via
  5. ^ a b Lynch, Jason (April 23, 2001). "First, Family". People. Vol. 55, no. 16. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  6. ^ "Pole-Dancing Books and Videos". Archived from the original on November 9, 2009.
  7. ^ "Pole Dancing 101". Archived from the original on March 10, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2007.

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