After graduating from Wheaton North High School in 1981, Gail O'Grady worked in several commercials, and later moved to Los Angeles. After appearing in several films and television shows, she joined the cast of the police drama NYPD Blue in 1993. Her portrayal of squad secretary Donna Abandonado led to four Emmy nominations; she left the show in 1996 to shoot a pilot for her own sitcom, which was unsuccessful.
O'Grady returned to regular television work in 2002, when she joined the NBC series American Dreams. In 2007, she took a recurring role on Boston Legal. The following year she joined the short-lived series Hidden Palms, and later took a recurring role on Desperate Housewives. Currently she's part of the CW's Hellcats, appearing as supportive mother Wanda Perkins.
O'Grady has been married and divorced six times; one of her former husbands, artist Robert Claypool, was accused of stalking her after their separation. She currently has one son.
- Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, 1995 (for NYPD Blue)
- She's Having A Baby (1988)
- Blackout (1988)
- Nobody's Perfect (1990)
- Spellcaster (1992)
- Celtic Pride (1996)
- That Old Feeling (1997)
- Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)
- Walking Across Egypt (1999)
- Sleep Easy, Hutch Rimes (2000)
- Hostage Negotiator (2001)
- The Sure Hand of God (2004)
- Tricks (2004)
- Big Fat Important Movie (2008)
- The House That Jack Built (2009)
- Circle (2010)
- China Beach (recurring, 1988)
- NYPD Blue (regular, 1993-1996; 1999)
- American Dreams (regular, 2002-2005)
- Hot Properties (regular, 2005)
- Two and a Half Men (recurring, 2006)
- Hidden Palms (regular, 2007)
- Boston Legal (recurring, 2007)
- Desperate Housewives (recurring, 2008)
- Hellcats (regular, 2010-present)
"Nobody gets paid $20 million a picture just for the talent. You sell a little part of yourself too."
"I think the paparazzi is a necessary evil...and if ya don't like it, and ya don't want to do this, go to Iowa and do some community theatre. It's all about self-promotion and it's not always the fun part of it."