American actress Meg Foster was trained at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse, a rigorous and exacting establishment that lets practically everyone in for one year and practically no one in for their second year. Foster survived the entire program with the steely-eyed grit that characterized her best film and stage roles. With such notable exceptions as The Osterman Weekend (1983) and The Emerald Forest (1986), many of Foster's films have been cheapjack exploitation efforts unworthy of her skills. She has racked up her most impressive credits on TV, including the lead role of Hester Prynne in the 1979 PBS multi-part adaptation of The Scarlet Letter. In 1982, she was cast as Chris Cagney opposite Tyne Daly's Mary Beth Lacey on the TV series Cagney and Lacey. When the series went into its second season, Foster was replaced by Sharon Gless; the official reason was that she played her character "too tough, too hard," but unofficial sources noted that audiences perceived Foster's performance as too "butch." This setback slowed down her TV career though she was always welcome (if not always well-served) on the big screen.
by Hal Erickson biography