The daughter of actor James Daly and sister of actor Tim Daly, Emmy award-winning American actress Tyne Daly was destined early on to enter the family business. After graduation from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Tyne worked on stage and appeared in TV guest spots starting in the early '70s. While applauded for her talent, Daly found full stardom eluding her for several years during a long string of busted TV pilots like In Search of America (1971), Doctor Granger (1972), Fitzgerald and Pride (1972) and Hotshot Harry and the Rocking Chair Renegades (1979) did little to make her bankable (though her performance as Kate, female partner to Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry Callahan, in the 1976 action opus The Enforcer, most assuredly helped).
Then in 1981, Tyne Daly and Loretta Swit were cast in the pilot of Cagney and Lacey, an unusual (for U.S. prime time television) story of two policewomen who could handle their jobs with courage and assuredness. The success of the pilot led to a series in 1982, with Daly cast as Detective Mary Beth Lacey (opposite Meg Foster and later Sharon Gless). The series witnessed the character fighting to be accepted on equal terms with her male counterparts, and also struggling to maintain a normal home life as wife and mother. Daly's realistic portrayal earned her considerable praise from real-life law enforcement officials. Cagney and Lacey was cancelled in 1983, but returned to the air a year later thanks to a letter-writing campaign mounted by viewers. By the time the series ended in 1988, Daly had won four Emmy awards for her portrayal of Lacey. In 1994 she starred opposite Kellie Martin in the short-lived inspirational TV drama Christy, and in 1995 appeared in a trio of Cagney and Lacey reunions.
In subsequent years Daly switched venues, devoting her energies to the Broadway stage. Her accomplishments during this period included scoring a personal triumph and winning a Tony as Mama Rose in the 1989-90 revival of the 1959 musical Gypsy, and taking on untold challenges in a five-role, one-woman show, Mystery School, at Gotham's Angel Orensanz Foundation Center in 1998 (revived 2008). As time rolled on, the actress (like Cagney co-star Gless) returned to television, notably with a key supporting role as the lead character's domineering, judgmental mother on the series drama Judging Amy (1999-2005) (a series on which Gless occasionally appeared as a guest star). Having caught the theatrical bug, however, Daly also retained her footing on stage in such outings as the acclaimed Rabbit Hole (2006) (opposite John Slattery and Cynthia Nixon).