ER Nurse Abby
“I don't think there's anything particularly innocent about me.” Maura Tierney
Emmy-nominated actress Maura Tierney is popular among TV viewers as obsessive overachiever Lisa Miller on the NBC critically acclaimed sitcom "NewsRadio" (1995-1999) and as nurse Abigail 'Abby' Lockhart (1999-2008) on the hit NBC medical drama series "ER."
The TV star also ventured into films and starred in "Dead Women in Lingerie" (1991), "Primal Fear" (1996), "Liar Liar" (1997), "Primary Colors" (1998), "Forces of Nature" (1999), "Oxygen" (1999), "Instinct" (1999), "Scotland, Pa," (2001), "Insomnia" (2002), "Melvin Goes to Dinner" (2003), "Welcome to Mooseport" (2004) and "Semi-Pro" (2008). In 2006, Tierney joined the cast of Neil LaBute’s off-Broadway play “Some Girls,” co-starring “Will and Grace” star Eric McCormack.
A New York University and the Circle-in-the-Square Theatre School alumni, in 2006, Tierney joined the cast of Neil LaBute's off-Broadway play, “Some Girls,” at the Lucille Lortel Theater.
On the big screen, she will next be seen in the upcoming comedy movie "Baby Mama," along with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
“It's part of the culture, its part of the game, because the business is about selling. It's about perception and if you can sell the perception, you can do well just based on how you're perceived. Talent sometimes isn't in that equation. Unfortunately, young actors learn this all too quickly.” Maura Tierney (on the expectation that actresses must look good)
As for her personal life, the 5' 3" unassuming brunette was married to actor-director Billy Morrissette from 1993 to 2006.
Childhood and Family:
Daughter to former Boston City Council President and mayor candidate Joseph Tierney and his wife, Pat Tierney, a real-estate agent, Maura Lynn Tierney was born on February 3, 1965, in Hyde Park, Massachusetts. Maura has a younger brother and sister.
Tierney attended the all-girls Catholic school Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, Massachusetts. Tierney, who has always been interested in the dramatic arts, then studied drama at the New York University and at the Circle-in-the-Square Theatre School where she met filmmaker Richard Shepard, who's still is a close friend of hers. Her stage credits include roles in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” “The Bald Soprano,” “Baby with Bathwater,” “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” and “Talking With.”
“It was during an earthquake. All the lights went out and we got tossed together and that's when we finally got passionate. It took a force of nature to get our romance going.” Maura Tierney (about how she got together with Billy Morrissette)
On February 1, 1993, Tierney married actor-director Billy Morrissette (born in 1962), whom she met in the revolving lounge at the top of the Hollywood Holiday Inn. With him, Tierney owns a black pug named Rose-Kennedy, named after the Kennedy matriarch in hopes that their dog would also have a long lifespan.
Tierney, who reportedly suffers from recurring insomnia, diagnosed her husband's appendicitis attack using her “ER” textbook. She recalled, “I diagnosed my husband's recent appendix attack. At first, he didn't believe me. He was having pain in his lower abdomen and felt nauseous. He also had a fever which I said was suspicious. I even did a stomach press check and I knew. Still, I got out my medical textbook they gave me on 'ER' and said, 'Let's go to the real doc.' He said, 'It's just the flu.' Of course, they admitted him and took out his appendix. Now he's like, 'Get over yourself. You're still not a real doctor.'”
In 2006, after 13 years of marriage, Tierney filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences.
Born and raised in Boston, Maura currently divides her time between Los Angeles and New York. She became the champion of Bravo's 2004 “Celebrity Poker Showdown” and won $100,000 for the Children's Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program in New York City.
“I have so many insecurities they fight for prominence.” Maura Tierney
Sharpening her craft at the New York University and at the Circle-in-the-Square Theatre School, Maura Tierney once lived in New York's Hell's Kitchen and sold t-shirts door-to-door in college dormitories. After appearing in several plays, she decided to test the water in Los Angeles, California, and got her first break in a role in Walt Disney's made-for-TV film “Student Exchange” (1987). She followed it up the next year with a TV series debut in the short-lived CBS sitcom "The Van Dyke Show" (1988), as Barry Van Dyke's secretary.
After being spotted in episodes of “Family Ties” (NBC, 1982-1989) and “Booker” (FOX, 1989-1990), Tierney made her feature debut in director Erica Fox's low-budget, independent crime/thriller film "Dead Women in Lingerie" (1990), which was shot in 24 days and never received a theatrical release though it was released on DVD in 2005.
Four years later, she was cast as Cherlyn Markowitz, the outspoken Jewish girlfriend of a young conservative African-American, on the short-lived and controversial comedy show "704 Hauser Street" (1994), which was directed by Norman Lear for CBS.
In 1995, Tierney enjoyed her first taste of fame when she played Lisa Miller, an obsessive overachiever with whom Dave (played by Dave Foley) has an intermittent relationship, on the NBC sitcom "NewsRadio." Added to the cast of the show on the day before they shot the pilot, Tierney would stay there until 1999.
During her "NewsRadio" tenure, Tierney landed her first film lead as Jim Carrey’s ex-wife Audrey Reede in the smash hit comedy movie "Liar Liar" (1996). She also had a supporting role as Daisy Green in "Primary Colors" (1998) and portrayed Ben Affleck's fiancée in "Forces of Nature" (1999), which handed her a Blockbuster Entertainment nomination for Favorite Supporting Actress - Comedy/Romance. Additionally, she executive produced and starred as Detective Madeline Foster in the film "Oxygen" (1999), which was later sold to Cinemax.
When “NewsRadio” was cancelled in 1999, Tierney decided not to pursue a role in another series until she was asked to appear in the hit NBC medical drama series “ER.” She joined the cast in 2000, playing nurse Abigail 'Abby' Lockhart, a role that she won without an audition. For her performance in the famous show, Tierney earned an Emmy nomination in 2001 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Meanwhile, she also provided the voice of Kathy Kelly in the NBC animated series "Sammy" (2000) and played the leading role of Pat McBeth in "Scotland, Pa." (2001), which was based on Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and directed by husband Billy Morrisette.
Next, Tierney had a supporting role as Rachel Clement in the Christopher Nolan-directed American remake of the 1997 Norwegian crime thriller, "Insomnia" (2002; opposite Al Pacino), and won a Best Ensemble Acting Award at the Phoenix Film Festival for her turn in "Melvin Goes to Dinner" (2003). She then co-starred with Ray Romano and Gene Hackman in "Welcome to Mooseport" (2004), playing Sally Mannis, and added to her resume roles in the films "Danny Roane: First Time Director" (2006) and "Diggers" (2006).
In June 2006, Tierney returned to theater and joined the cast of Neil LaBute's off-Broadway play “Some Girls” at the Lucille Lortel Theater. She costarred with Eric McCormack, Fran Drescher, Judy Reyes, and Brooke Smith.
Most recently, Tierney appeared in the films "The Go-Getter" (2007) and "Semi-Pro" (2008). She is also set to star in the upcoming film "Baby Mama," a comedy by writer/director Michael McCullers featuring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
Tierney has also appeared in a string of TV commercials, including ones for Sutter Health Care Providers (voice), Swiffer Wet Jet cleaning tool, and Boeing Employees Credit Union (voice).
"I mean, I'm always wary about saying there's no great roles for women. I guess it's true and it's not true. It is the marketplace, which is a little bit sad in terms of what studios decide people will think is funny. I think the decisions about what entertains people are made before they know what entertains people. Now it seems really, really about the bottom line. But there is also new media and it's easier than ever to make a movie now. If I'm frustrated, I should write a movie or shoot a movie and 25 years ago you couldn't." Maura Tierney
Phoenix Film Festival: Best Ensemble Acting, "Melvin Goes to Dinner," 2003