Peggy McCay won the 1991 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress for her performance as a homeless woman on The Trials of Rosie O’Neill. This same touching portrait of Irene Hayes brought her a special award from the John Henry Foundation for her “dignified and perceptive depiction of mental illness.”
In 1993 she got her fifth Emmy nomination as Best Supporting Actress in a mini-series. She played Tatum O’Neal’s mother in the four-hour, true-life story Woman on the Run: The Lawrenica Bembenek Story.
Currently starring as Caroline Brady on NBC’s top daytime serial, Days of Our Lives, McCay has the unique niche of being the only performer to received two Emmy nominations—Daytime and Primetime—in the same year.
Perhaps it is this unusual career combination of “day and night” that caused her fellow performers to elect her as the governor to the Board of the Television Academy, where she currently represents the largest peer group in the academy—more than 1,500 performers.
She currently travels to universities to give drama workshops. McCay, Days of Our Lives star Robert Kelker-Kelly, and Michael Sabatino (Bold and The Beautiful), have taught drama workshops at MTSU (Tennessee), Steve F. Austin University (Texas), and the University of Connecticut.
Her feature films include Murphy’s Romance with Sally Field and James Garner, Bustin’ Loose with Richard Pryor, and the Disney film Army on the Lips, a touching true story of the first woman to teach the deaf to speak.
Born in Manhattan and a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University, she has an extensive theater background. She was the youngest member of Margo Jones Repertory Theatre (Jones discovered Tennessee Williams) for a full year of repertory Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and also Shaw and Ibsen.
McCay went on to win a lifelong membership in the Actors Studio, which nurtured such talents as Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monore. She studied with the great teachers Sanford Meisner, Harold Clurman, and Lee Strasberg.
She won the coveted OBIE Award for her performance as Sonya in Chekov’s Uncle Vanya. She appeared with Helen Hayes on television and toured with her in Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard.
Her special interest is protecting animals. She was a keynote speaker at the March for the Animals in Washington, D.C. She has testified before the California legislature and whenever an animal protection group calls her, she travels anywhere in the country to speak on the animals’ behalf.
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