Although she was born in Los Angeles, Sharon grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, the only child of a widowed school administrator. From the closing curtsy of her first ballet recital she was hooked on performing. As a teenager, she hung around the local community playhouse until they offered her a role. During several high school summers she attended a student theater program at the University of Denver, and Northwestern University’s prestigious Cherub Program. She majored in Speech and Theatre at Macalester College, but later transferred to the University of Iowa where she graduated with honors.
Her first real TV gig came when she was hired to co-host “The Morning Show” at the CBS affiliate in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In a short time, Sharon realized she was more at ease with scripted material than with live on-camera interviews.
Life became immediately more interesting and exciting with her first professional acting contract at the Asolo State Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. As a pure repertory company, the Asolo put 3 – 4 plays into rotation at a time, so the company was nearly always rehearsing and performing 6 days a week for ten months a year. The number and variety of roles offered to a young actor was astonishing. It was a learning experience like no other and she’s forever grateful for it.
However, after three years she decided to try her mettle in New York. Luckily, within a few weeks she began auditioning for commercials. Because of her wholesome, Midwestern looks, she was cast almost immediately, and for the next decade became a familiar face, advertising products like Maxwell House coffee and Duncan Hines cake mix. The income from commercials allowed her to do plays in regional theaters like Seattle Rep, San Diego Old Globe, Cincinnati Playouse in the Park and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. There were also roles off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club and with the Phoenix Company, as well as understudy jobs on Broadway in “The Visit” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” Her last acting job before beginning a new phase of her career in Los Angeles was a continuing role in the daytime serial “Search for Tomorrow.
For two years, Sharon shuttled back and forth between New York and Los Angeles. Adept at comedy as well as drama, she quickly found work in L.A., acting in TV series and performing in plays in local professional venues. Two of the TV pilots she did were picked up as series, but neither of them lasted long. The sitcom “Angie” showed Sharon at her stylish comedic best, and although the show wasn’t renewed after 36 episodes the friendships made during that time continued through the years. Several other pilot projects, including a Hal Linden (“Barney Miller”) vehicle and another starring Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle) didn’t make the cut. Two other shows in which she guest-starred, “Trauma Center” and “Snoops” have incomplete records and are not listed in her credits. Although she was working steadily in television, she kept exploring new roles in her first love, stage acting. And when an opportunity arose to re-join the Asolo Repertory Company in 1996 she happily accepted.
Sharon retired from the Asolo in 2010 with the comedy “Managing Maxine,” a clip of which can be seen on YouTube. She and her husband, actor/writer Stephen Johnson, make their home in Sarasota Florida.
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