Tag Archives: Gail O’Grady

Gail O’Grady Living Her Own American Dream with ‘Mystery Cruise’ Possible Series


One-time “American Dreams” actress Gail O’Grady might return to the series game if her Saturday(10-5)-debuting “Mystery Cruise” movie proves successful.  There’s also a chance that the made for television Mary Higgins Clark mystery could launch a series of TV films with O’Grady’s and Michelle Harrison’s characters.

Certainly, Gail is game.  “This was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever worked on.  When I read the script I loved it.  It reminded me of a French farcical kind of madcap movie-within-a-movie that takes place on a cruise ship.  I’ve been a fan of the Higgins Clark books for a long time.  And I’ve loved working for Hallmark for a long time,” notes the actress, speaking of the Hallmark Movie Channel offering.

“I have a great character in Alvirah Meehan, who fancies herself a detective even though what she really is, is a cleaning woman who wins the lottery.  She’s such a character.   She has a wonderful heart, but she kind of has a thing where she leaps before she looks.”  The story involves Alvirah and real private eye Regan Reilly (Harrison) setting sail on a mystery cruise for fun, but of course things take an unexpected turn.  “We got to dress up in costumes and play pretend characters, and then something actually takes place and we have to figure out the who that did what to whomever.”

O’Grady tells us the team shot on a 120-year-old luxury yacht that was once owned by the Boeing family.  “It was called Taconite; the family fortune apparently originally came from mining taconite,” she says.  “We were in Vancouver, though the setting is off the coast of Washington, and it was beautiful.  I’m always grateful when I go to work, but this one was extra special.”

The Detroit-born divorcee, whose long list of credits spans from her years on the classic “NYPD Blue” (as Donna Abandando) through the CW’s “Hellcats” and beyond, is also happy that “Mystery Cruise” is suitable for her eight-year-old son to watch with her.  In fact, many of Gail’s decisions center on her son.  Speaking of combining career and motherhood, she says, “I don’t think it gets easier as kids get older.  It’s more difficult.  When Michael was a baby I was doing ‘American Dreams and I had a nursery and people in support with me.  And then when I was doing ‘Hot Properties,’ I had a nursery and he came to work.”

Now, however, “I don’t have a staff.  It’s me.  I make different decisions now.  I don’t take the offer to go to Morocco for six months.  I take ensemble pieces intentionally.  I take big jobs over the summer, when it’s easier to work with my son’s school schedule.  I have somebody else’s life to consider who is more important than I am.  I still want to be an actress,” she emphasizes, “but more than anything, I want to be my son’s mother.”

She says that when she heard that “Mystery Cruise” was being considered as the first in a franchise of TV movies, “I perked up a little there” because it sounded like a potentially ideal situation.

O’Grady says, “I’ve never been one to say, ‘Oh, I hope my child doesn’t follow in my footsteps.  Acting is such a hard world.’  It is, but I have a positive feeling about our industry.  I’ve worked hard and I’ve been acting for 30 years.   I always think the worst job in our business is still the best gig around  — a dream job, something I wanted to do since I was little.”

And even better when she can have both worlds.

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Gail O’Grady: Bubble or No, ‘Hellcats’ Team Positive

Gail OGrady CW photo

“Hellcats'” Gail O’Grady was surprised to hear that TV prognosticators are giving the CW teen comedy-drama about a cheer squad no better than even odds for renewal next season.  The show, in which she plays Aly Michalka’s intrusive mama, has an ardent following of loyal fans, she points out, and “I think everyone is feeling positive.”

On the other hand, with new season announcements coming up next month, it’s tension time for even some fairly successful shows that are now on the bubble.

“I ran into my buddy Gary Sinise the other day, and he said that for the first time in seven years, they’re not sure,” she notes of the “CSI: NY” star.  “You know how TV is these days, unless something is a runaway hit, unless you’re ‘Modern Family,’ nothing is certain.”

O’Grady is certain about her feelings toward “Hellcats” and Aly. “From the get-go we had kind of an instant chemistry,” she notes.  “Usually over hiatus it’s kind of nice to have a break, but yesterday I found myself thinking, ‘I have to call her.’  I miss her.”

Coming up on “Hellcats” are episodes in which her character, Wanda, finally opens up to daughter Marti about her mysterious father.  “That’s one thing my character has refused to discuss with her — not out of denial, but feeling she’s protecting her, which has caused friction in the mother-daughter relationship.”  Viewers will find out why as the series unveils new episodes, beginning April 19.

O’Grady considers “Hellcats” a dream job for personal reasons as well. The former “American Dreams” and “NYPD Blue” cast member has a six-year-old son.  The ensemble show allows her time at home between camera calls — but, inconveniently enough, it requires her to fly back and forth between her L.A. home and Vancouver production.  She admits, “I think it’s the most flying I’ve done within a few months.”

Her work life and mommy life don’t leave the six times divorced blond beauty much time for grown-up activities.  “The last movie I saw was ‘Rango,’ so that pretty much tells you,” she says.  But for now, she’s getting a kick out of hanging out with her son at hot spots like Legoland and Disneyland.