Saturday Night Fever
American actress, singer and dancer Karen Lynn Gorney first came to the attention of public playing Tara Martin on the daytime soap opera “All My Children” during 1970-1974 and the 1976-1977 season before eventually being fired from the role. She, however, is best associated with her star-making role as Stephanie Mangano on the highly successful film “Saturday Night Fever” (1977), opposite John Travolta. After the well-received performance, Gorney put acting on the back burner and did not make a comeback until early 1990s. Since then, she has collected credits in film, television and the stage. Her recent film credits include “Men In Black” (1997), “Cradle Will Rock” (1999), “Searching for Bobby D” (2005), “Creating Karma” (2006), “Therapy” (2007) and “George” (2007). She has guested in such TV series as “The Sopranos” and “Six Degrees.” As a singer, Gorney released a self-written album, “Used to Love You Madly,” in 1979 and it had a minor hit with the song “ Love the Way You Love.”
As for her married life, Ms. Gorney is currently the wife of Mark Toback, whom she has been married since 1995. She was once married to Ken Golden.
Beverly Hills Girl
Childhood and Family:
Karen Lynn Gorney was born on January 28, 1945, in Beverly Hills, California. Her father, Jay Gorney, was a 20th-century composer famous for writing the music for what many regard the definitive song about America's Great Depression, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?,” and others. She earned a BFA from Carngie Mellon and a MFA in Acting and Speech from Brandeis University.
Karen has been married twice. She once tied the knot with Ken Golden, but they later separated. She married present husband Mark Toback in July 1995.
All My Children
Karen Lynn Gorney made her first film as a teenager, when she was cast in the role of Josette on director Frank Perry's “David and Lisa” (1962), a moving and fascinating drama which was nominated for Oscars for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. She, however, did not resurface until 1970 with a bit part in “The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart,” based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Robert T. Westbrook.
Gorney gained her first breakthrough on the small screen when she won the role of Tara Martin on the long-running daytime soap “All My Children,” which she played from 1970 to 1974. After she departed the series, she agreed to return when her replacement, actress/writer Stephanie Braxton, decided to depart the show. She returned during the 1976-1977 season, but was finally fired as Tara and did not revisit the show until almost two decades later. In 1975, Gorney could be seen appearing as Mary in the made-for-TV film “The Secret Night Caller,” starring Robert Reed and Hope Lange.
After “All My Children,” Gorney enjoyed huge triumph as the romantic star of “Saturday Night Fever” (1977), a mega-hit film which was helmed by John Badham and also starring John Travolta. Her performance as Stephanie Mangano, the dance partner and fantasy girlfriend who said “no” to Travolta's Tony Manero, was well-received and she became famous because of this. However, for unknown reasons, the thirty-something player then disappeared from the acting and entertainment scene.
In 1979, she emerged as a singer with the release of “Used to Love You Madly,” a self-penned album consisting songs that detailed the inner life of her character from “Saturday Night Fever.” Recorded in Abbey Road, London, and live in Philadelphia and New York, the album had a promotional single with the song “Love the Way You Love,” which was soon vanished. The album was later re-released in 1998 under Original Cast Records, and in 2002, but now is out of print.
Gorney resumed her acting career in the early 1990s. She reunited with “Saturday Night Fever” director Badham in a small role as Woman in Subway in “The Hard Way” (1991), starring Michael J. Fox, had a supporting role as Janet Wyman in the drama “Ripe” (1996) as well as had uncredited parts in Barry Sonnenfeld's “Men In Black” (1997), starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, and Tim Robbins' “Cradle Will Rock” (1999), which starred Hank Azaria, John Cusack, Cary Elwes and many others. She closed out the decade with a part as Mrs. Parnell in Robert D. Tucker's “Final Rinse” (1999).
In 2000, Gorney appeared in an episode of the NBC sketch comedy series “Saturday Night Live.” Thanks to her coveted role in 1977's “Saturday Night Fever,” she has connection with Disco music and has been featured in many Disco documentaries and specials, such as “Get Down Tonight: The Disco Explosion” (2004), in which Gorney co-hosted the show with “Saturday Night Fever” choreographer Deney Terrio for PBS. She appeared in the VH1 “When Disco Ruled The World” and was interviewed for the Disco video documentary “Disco: Spinning the Story” (both 2005). Also in 2005, Gorney revisited movie with “Searching for Bobby D,” playing Sophie Argano, and followed it up with roles in the movies “A Crime” (2006), “Creating Karma” (2006), “Therapy” (2007) and “George” (2007). She also appeared in episodes of “The Sopranos” and “Six Degrees” (both 2006).
Since her return in 1990s, Gorney also has acted in a number of stage productions. She portrayed Melisa Channing Gardner in the production “Love Letters” at the Saga Theater, NY, and Olivia in “Twelfth Night” at the NorthEast Shakespeare Company, New Hampshire. In 2006, she was cast as Mrs. Dandy McCabe on the production of “The Field” at the The Irish Repertory Theatre.