Apparently There Were Complaints

S. & S. Dec. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781501125959. $27. MEMOIR
Fans of the 1980s TV show Cagney & Lacey who have wondered about the lives of its stars before and after the hit police procedural will be pleased by Gless’s moving memoir. Gless was the Cagney to Tyne Daly’s Lacey and often played the straight woman (quieter, more reserved) of the duo. But here Gless takes center stage, starting with her childhood growing up as a fifth-generation Angeleno in the shadow of celebrity (her grandfather was an attorney for the rich and famous). Readers may assume that was an automatic entrée to show business, but not so. Gless describes toiling away at unrelated jobs until she took acting lessons; she eventually got a contract at Universal and played various small TV roles until finally finding her place on Cagney and Lacey, which broke ground as a program centering on two strong women. Gless won two Emmys for her work on the program and also struggled with alcohol addiction. She continued to act when Cagney and Lacey ended in 1988, though she never enjoyed quite the same success. But this is not a sad story—at 78, Gless writes that she is grateful for her life and hangs tough, just like the detective she’s most famous for portraying.
VERDICT Cagney and Lacey fans and celebrity memoir mavens alike will enjoy Gless’s candid and heartfelt book, which is full of insider tidbits about the famous.
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