A longtime television actress who has also branched out into film, brunette beauty Talia Balsam also gained Hollywood recognition for her brief marriage to a pre-superstar George Clooney. Born to actors Martin Balsam and Joyce Van Patten in New York City in 1960, the young aspiring actress received her education at the Treehaven School in Tucson, AZ, before making her bid for the big-time shortly thereafter. In the late '70s, Balsam warmed to television audiences with recurring roles in the small-screen hits Happy Days and Taxi and feature roles in such made-for-TV films as The Survival of Dana and Sunnyside (both 1979) proved a testament to her dramatic range. A dizzying onslaught of similar television features followed, and the 1980s found Balsam becoming something of a staple in such made-for-TV efforts as Kent State (1981) and The Ladies (1987). Endearing roles on Family Ties and Punky Brewster provided just the right balance to such feature screamers as The Supernaturals (1986) and The Kindred (1987); by the time the 1990s rolled around, Balsam was married to up-and-comer Clooney and turning heads on Murder, She Wrote, thirtysomething, and Law & Order. Despite the fact that her most successful roles came with dramatic small-screen roles, Balsam continued to prove that she was an actress of little pretense by appearing in such quirky feature efforts as Coldblooded (1995) and Camp Stories (1997). Married to John Slattery following her divorce from Clooney in 1993, Balsam was later seen in the TV series L.A. Doctors and the feature Valerie Flake (1999).
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by Jason Buchanan biography