Q&A with Burn Notice's Sharon Gless
SR: You've been in and around show business for about 40 years. How has the business changed over the years?
SG: It's very, very different from when I first started. I started as a Universal contract player—I'm the last contract player in the history of Hollywood. I wasn't the last one to get one—I was the last one to leave the lot. I lasted 10 years, then I left and went into Cagney & Lacey.
There's a kindness that I don't see as much anymore, but I think television has changed so much. There was the wonderful, wonderful early years of television when everything was live, and I'm old enough to remember it. Then I go through eras when I think of the Lucille Balls and the Mary Tyler Moores, who certainly set the tone for women in television. The first time a drama was ever done with two women was Cagney & Lacey, and we were spoiled by one of the finest producers in the business.
Women's roles have, I think, improved. Now, I notice women are getting starring roles again, like The Closer and Glenn Close in Damages, but it seems like men are still carrying the shows in ensemble pieces.
What's interesting about older women, my age, motion picture stars my age, most of them can't get jobs now—except for Meryl Streep. What's happened is the wonderful actresses in the motion picture field who would never touch a thing called television are now flying to it.