Award-winning American actress Judith Light was born on February 9, 1949 in Trenton, New Jersey. After graduating from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with a drama degree, she began acting on stage, making her professional debut in 1970. She has appeared in different venues, eventually appearing in the Broadway production of A Doll’s House in 1975.
Light is perhaps most memorable for her role in the daytime soap One Life to Live. She was recast in the lucrative role of Karen Wolek, a role previously held by Julia Duffy and Kathryn Beach. Her six-year run on the show, which began in 1977, spawned one of the soap’s most memorable storylines: Karen, after being bored with her life as a housewife, decided to work as a prostitute. It culminated with her character saving her friend Viki Lord (Erika Slezak) from being convincted of killing her pimp by admitting to the entire town, even to her faithful husband, that she is a prostitute. Her portrayal earned her two Daytime Emmy awards for Best Drama Actress in 1980 and 1981.
Light followed her success in the soap with the sitcom Who’s the Boss, which premiered in 1984. The series, which also stars Tony Danza, sees her play the role of divorced advertising executive Angela Bowen, who hires a live-in housekeeper to be able to keep up with her busy schedule and her kids. The show ran for eight season and endeared Light to audiences.
After spending time in many television films, Light received acclaim for the one-woman play WIT. The 2000 production gave her considerable credibility as a dramatic actress, and led to further regular roles on television. Since 2002, she played a recurring role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Judge Elizabeth Donnelly. In 2006, she was given another recurring role, this time as a publishing mogul’s (Alan Dale) ex-wife Claire Meade in Ugly Betty. The role earned her another Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Guest Actress; afterwards, her role was made a regular one. When the series ended in 2010, she continued her role in Law & Order: SVU. She also appeared in an episode of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie.
1994: Against Their Will: Women in Prison (TV movie) - Alice Needham
1993-1994: Phenom (TV series) - Dianne Doolan
1994: Betrayal of Trust (TV movie) - Barbara Noel
1993: Men Don't Tell (TV movie) - Laura MacAffrey
1984-1992: Who's the Boss? (TV series) - Angela Bower
1991: Wife, Mother, Murderer (TV movie) - Marie Hilley/Robbi/Teri
1990: In Defense of a Married Man (TV movie) - Laura Simmons
1989: My Boyfriend's Back (TV movie) - Vickie Vine
1989: The Ryan White Story (TV movie) - Jeanne White
1987: Stamp of a Killer (TV movie) - Cathy Proctor
1986: Charmed Lives (TV series) - Angela Bower
1984: You Are the Jury (TV series) - Elizabeth Harding
1984: Remington Steele (TV series) - Clarissa Custer
1984: The Mississippi (TV series)
1983: Family Ties (TV series) - Stacey Hughes
1983: St. Elsewhere (TV series) - Barbara Lonnicker
1983: Intimate Agony (TV movie) - Marsha
1977-1983: One Life to Live (TV series) - Karen Wolek Wolek #3
1977: Kojak (TV series) - Laetitia Palmerance