A native of Manhattan, Emmy winner Peggy McCay holds the unique honor of being nominated for a primetime and daytime Emmy in the same year (1987). In daytime, she was nominated for Lead Actress for her work on Days of our Lives and in primetime for Best Guest Actress for her work on Cagney and Lacey. McCay took home the statue in 1991 for her performance as a homeless woman on The Trials of Rosie O'Neill. This same performance garnered her a special award from the John Henry Foundation that read: "For your dignified and perceptive depiction of mental illness."
McCay's other nominations include Lead Actress for Days of our Lives (1986) and the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries category (1993) for her work as Tatum O'Neal's mother in Woman on the Run: The Lawrencia Bembenek Story. The latter also earned her a nomination from the Canadian Academy for a Gemini Award, a rare achievement for an American.
The more than 1000 members of the Acting Branch of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have acknowledged McCay's contributions to her profession by electing her as their Governor. She is a member of the Daytime Awards Committee and as such was instrumental in obtaining the 1995 Lifetime Achievement Emmy for Ted and Betty Corday, who are the creators and executive producers of Days of our Lives. Peggy is also a founding member of The New Image Committee; a bi-coastal organization designed to improve the daytime Emmy Awards show and the nomination process.
Peggy grew up in the Big Apple and spent her childhood playtime acting out scenarios that were constantly overflowing from her creative and active imagination. "I loved 'play acting' with all of my friends," McCay recalls. "I'd set up situations, paint a scenario and then we would all act them out, never knowing how our stories were going to end. Today it's called 'improv,' or better yet, interactive/CD ROM acting, but back then, it was just 'Cops 'N Robbers' and 'Knights in Armor.'"
By the time she entered high school, McCay landed roles on the stage performing in Omnibus and Playhouse 90. After graduating from Barnard College of Columbia University, she immediately landed a role in a Kraft Theater show. She continued cultivating her talents touring as the youngest member of the Margo Jones Repertory Theater and received her training from such greats as Sanford Meisner, Harold Clurman and Lee Strasberg.
After dazzling the theater world, McCay was lured to Hollywood by Warner Bros., who fell in love with her and put her under contract. She immediately had her own comedy series, Room for One More and guest-starred on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Maverick, among others. More recent guest-starring roles include series such as L.A. Law, Night Court, Newhart, Highway to Heaven, The Jeffersons, and Cagney and Lacey. Peggy was a regular on Gibbsvilleand The Lazurus Syndrome and had a recurring role on Lou Grant.
Not only has Peggy been an invaluable contributor to primetime, but she will always remain an invaluable member of the daytime community, having appeared on Love of Life and General Hospital, not to mention her current role on Days of our Lives. McCay explains her affection for daytime television, "I love the spontaneity of daytime TV; after all it's the nearest thing to theater we have in television."
This love for theater is apparent to any audience member who has seen her in the Chekov masterpiece Uncle Vanya and the subsequent film. For her role as Sonya opposite Franchot Tone in the theatrical production, Peggy became one of the first women to win the Village Voice Obie Award. She also appeared in the television adaptation of The Cherry Orchard with Helen Hayes and Susan Strasberg and toured with Ms. Hayes in the same production. Peggy honed her skills touring with Joseph Mascolo in the smash theater piece Love Letters, and remains a lifetime member of The Actor's Studio, whose lifetime members also include Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and Marilyn Monroe. As appealing on film as she is on television, McCay has starred in films such as Murphy's Romance, Second Thoughts with Lucy Arnaz, and Bustin' Loose with Richard Pryor. McCay's movies-of-the-week include Two of a Kind with George Burns, Amityville with Patty Duke and Deadly Care with Cheryl Ladd.
Peggy was extremely devoted to animal rights issues and contributed a great deal of her time and energy to PETA, Last Chance for Animals, Actors and Others for Animals, L.A.S.P.C.A., and many others. She was so devoted to animals that she requested that the actors on DAYS refrain from wearing fur on the show and considered her home a sanctuary for lost and homeless pets. When she was not caring for a lovable furry creature, Peggy was traveling the country, visiting college campuses, teaching intensive drama workshops and holding fundraisers for college drama/theater departments.
Peggy passed away on October 7, 2018, at the age of 90.
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York, USA
EDUCATION: Attended Barnard College and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University