Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Name: Susan Dey
Birthdate: December 10, 1952
Famous Years: 1970-2004
Currently Known For: Retired Actress
|Networth: $10 Million||Famous For: The Partridge Family, L.A. Law|
December 10, 1952
The Partridge Family, L.A. Law
If you weren’t around in the 1970s, you might not be aware of just how popular “The Partridge Family” was during the early half of the decade. The show that involved many young actors and actresses included Susan Dey as Laurie Partridge, who was an unknown at the time since it was her first acting role. In the years that followed, Dey would continue to be a star, and although she’s been retired from acting for several years, the fact that she was on “The Partridge Family” automatically makes her a part of Americana.
Dey was born on December 10, 1952 in Pekin, Illinois, which is near Peoria. Sadly, Dey’s mother would pass away when she was young, and she would grow up living with her father in New York where he worked at a newspaper. During her teenage years, Dey would start modeling, where she got sporadic work early on. She didn’t really have plans of becoming an actress, and had no experience, but she’d quickly get her big break when the 1970s came along while she was still in her teens.
That was when Dey was selected to play the role of Laurie Partridge. It was a role that Dey played for nearly 100 episodes, earning herself a Golden Globe nomination along the way for Best Supporting Actress. “The Partridge Family” was a success for its first three seasons, but was cancelled after its final season when it couldn’t crack the top 75 in the ratings. Regardless, it would set up Dey with a promising acting career after never having been on screen before.
While “The Partridge Family” was still on the air, Dey would make her big screen debut in “Skyjacked”, and starred in several TV movies throughout the 1970s. Her first starring role on the big screen came in 1977 when she was teamed up with William Katt for the film “First Love”. The film would become a minor success at the box office, while Dey’s TV career continued mainly in guest appearances.
When the 1980s came around, Dey would star on the short-lived CBS series “Emerald Point N.A.S.” that lasted for 22 episodes. Around that time, she appeared in films such as “Looker” and “Echo Park”, and then had another big break in 1986. That year, she took on the role of Grace Van Owen on the series “L.A. Law”. The show ran for over 100 episodes, making it the most successful series that Dey has been a part of. She’d be nominated for a Golden Globe on a second occasion, but this time around she’d take home the award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama.
“L.A. Law” came to an end in 1992, and Dey quickly moved on to the series “Love & War”, appearing in 23 episodes. Since then, Dey’s only appearances on TV have been on an episode of “Family Law” in 1999 and two episodes of “Third Watch” in 2004. She’d also step away from films, as her most recent appearance came in 2003’s “Rain” after the TV movie version of “L.A. Law” in 2002.
Perhaps her most notable role in the many TV films that she appeared in was “Lies and Lullabies”. The film was a far cry from her role on “The Partridge Family”, and it was one that she almost didn’t take due to the negative connotation surrounding the film. However, Dey felt it was important to educate people on drug use, especially among those that are younger, with an added focus on pregnant women. She’d surround the role with other TV films such as “Deadly Love”, “Bed of Lies” and “Blue River”.
Even though “L.A. Law” was her biggest hit on television in terms of episodes aired, it’s always “The Partridge Family” that Dey is always getting asked about, and remembered for. That hasn’t always been a great thing for Dey, who’s been looking to separate herself from the character. Former co-star David Cassidy said that he felt “badly” for Dey. “For whatever her own personal reasons, she can’t embrace the fact that she was 16, 17 years old, and millions of people loved her...You don’t have to prove that you’re so serious. We know you’re serious.”
These days, Dey tends to get away from those types of questions as she’s enjoying the more quiet life out of the spotlight. “At night, I st at the dinner table and think to myself, ‘Just please don’t ask me to speak, OK?’ All day long (in acting), I talk. All day long I’m focused on this page. I’m focused on the next page, and I talk. I go home and I don’t want to talk.” For the 65 year old mother of one that’s been married for the past 30, she no longer has to reserve all of her speech for the big screen, instead being able to enjoy the quiet life.