She broke barriers in Cagney & Lacey, gave unconditional love in Queer As Folk and is now driving her ex-spy son up the wall on USA's Burn Notice. Actress Sharon Gless reflects on the best lessons she's learned and more.
Screening Room: Is there one piece of advice you've been given that has stuck with you?
Sharon Gless: It was something my mother taught me—to always have compassion. It helps as a human being. It helps me as an actor, and I like to believe that I do have that ability, to be compassionate of others. It gives you an understanding of someone else besides yourself.
SR: What inspires you?
SG: Kindness, bravery, talent. I love talent. How I've done my career is I kind of steal from the best. I watch actors I really, really admire. And I think: "That is really interesting. I'm going to remember that." And then you hope sometime a role will come up and you remember exactly that moment or that quality. I do have a great passion for talented people, and they don't all have to be actors. It's inspiring to watch.
I don't like ego. I don't like negative ego. I don't like when you can watch an actor and their ego's working.
SR: Do you have a favorite movie?
SG: It's from the '40s—I love the '40s movies. It's called The Awful Truth with Cary Grant and Irene Dunn. I saw that years and years and years ago, and I just loved it. The timing of Irene Dunn—she was so brilliant as a comedian … and a great dramatic actress.
I collect movies; it's the only thing I collect. I have about 800 movies.
SR: Do you have a favorite place to travel?
SG: I love to go to London. I've done two plays there. I love Miami. I love going to Los Angeles because all my family's there. … I love any place that has an ocean.
And I love Toronto. It's a great city. We shot Queer As Folk there for five years, and I still keep an apartment there.
SR: If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
SG: I'd say Judi Dench. I've always wanted to meet her. What I would say to her, I have no idea—but it'd have to be something better than "I've loved you in all your movies."
Sharon Gless on the new season of Burn Notice
Printed from Oprah.com on Saturday, March 8, 2014
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