Tony Award and Emmy Award winner Judith Light made her professional stage debut in 1970 and made her Broadway debut in the 1975 revival of A Doll’s House (1973) starring Liv Ullmann and Sam Waterston. She made her television breakthrough in the daytime soap opera One Life to Live (1968). She assumed the role of Karen Woleck (originated by Kathryn Breech (1976-77), and for a brief period, replaced by Julia Duffy (1977)). Light’s extensive theater experience added multidimensional facets to the character, and the performance earned the actress two consecutive Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Light departed from her character in 1983 – to star in ABC’s new prime-time sitcom Who’s the Boss? (1984) – the role of Karen Woleck was not recast, instead, she departs for an off-screen life in Canada, coinciding with Light’s departure from the series. After Light’s success on daytime, she landed the leading role of assertive advertising executive Angela Bower on the ABC sitcom Who’s the Boss? (1984). The actress co-starred with Tony Danza, who played her housekeeper (and eventual lover). Also featured were Alyssa Milano, Danny Pintauro and Katherine Helmond. The series ran for eight seasons and had constant success. Light also lent her craft to the short lived sitcoms Phenom (1993) and The Simple Life (2003), and several made-for-TV productions, including the biographical drama The Ryan White Story (1989) (in which she portrayed Jeanne White, the mother of HIV/AIDS positive teenager Ryan White); the actress also portrayed Alabama murderer Audrey Marie Hilley in Wife, Mother, Murderer (1991).
In 1999, Light returned to her theater roots for the off-Broadway production of Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit (2001); the actress received rave reviews as a college professor battling ovarian cancer-and reprised the role for the national tour. Light returned to television in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999); the actress assumed the recurring role of Judge Elizabeth Connelly, making her first appearance during the third season episode Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Guilt (2002), which was broadcast on March 29, 2009. The character appeared in 25 more episodes of the series, making her last appearance in season 12 episode Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Behave (2010). Light also appeared in the ABC comedy-drama Ugly Betty (2006), in which Light’s performance as the recurring Claire Meade resulted in a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. In 2014, she began starring as Shelly Pfefferman in the critically acclaimed Amazon Studios dark comedy-drama series Transparent (2014), for which she received Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, and Critics’ Choice Television Award nominations.
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