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Sharon Gless to star in film about woman who fights to see partner in nursing home

Above, Steve Rothaus and Sharon Gless at the 2008 Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

"Hannah Free" news release from Executive Producer Tracy Baim:

Sharon Gless to star in Hannah Free film

Chicago — Sharon Gless is set to star in the new independent feature film, Hannah Free.

Hannah Free is the story of a lifelong love affair between an independent spirit and the woman she calls home.

Gless, star of popular television shows Cagney & Lacey, Queer As Folk and Burn Notice, will play Hannah, a fiercely independent woman who fights to see her partner one last time in a nursing home.

The screenplay is based on award-winning playwright Claudia Allen’s popular stage play of the same name. Allen is a writer-in-residence at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago and has written more than 20 plays.

“I am delighted to be working with my friend Claudia Allen,” said Gless, who previously performed in Allen’s play, Cahoots.  “This is a heartwarming story that is both funny and poignant. I look forward to working with a terrific cast in Chicago.”

Other actors include Taylor Miller of All My Children fame, Kelli Strickland, Ann Hagemann, and Jacqui Jackson.

Hannah Free will be directed by Wendy Jo Carlton. Director of Photography is Gretchen Warthen. Executive producers are Tracy Baim and Claudia Allen. The film is being produced by Ripe Fruit Films, a Chicago-based production company, for distribution in 2009.

Hannah Free will be shot in and around the Chicago area in November 2008.

For more information, see www.HannahFree.com.

BIO INFO

SHARON GLESS

Show business is in Sharon Gless’ blood.  Her grandfather, Neil S. McCarthy, was the most respected entertainment lawyer of Hollywood’s Golden Age.  His clients included Howard Hughes, Louis B. Mayer and Cecil B. DeMille.  The famous McCarthy Chopped Salad at the legendary Polo Lounge was named after him.  He also drew up the first contract between a studio and a player – a fact that is of special interest to Gless, as she has the distinction of being the last contract player in the history of Hollywood.  She was under exclusive contract to Universal Studios, where she learned and flourished for 10 years, leaving “The Lot” in 1982.

In April of this year, Gless was the recipient of The Theatre School at DePaul University’s prestigious Award for Excellence in the Arts.  In 2007, she celebrated the Silver Anniversary of “Cagney & Lacey,” the first season of which was released on DVD in the spring.  She continues to work non-stop in the business she dearly loves.

Gless co-stars in USA Network’s hit series “Burn Notice,” currently in production on its second season in Miami.  In the series she plays the chain-smoking, hypochondriac mother to Jeffrey Donovan’s character.  She recently completed a multiple-episode arc in the hit FX series Nip/Tuck as Colleen Rose, an ambitious Hollywood agent with dark secrets.  In 2006, she received rave reviews, both in the US and UK, for her starring role as US Secretary of Defense Lynne Warner in the BBC/BBC America miniseries, “The State Within.”  Gless is in pre-production on “A Round Heeled Woman,” a new play which will open in 2008, based on the best-selling book by Jane Juska, about a 60+ year-old woman’s adventures in later-life sex and romance.  Gless will both produce and star in the production.

Beginning with her starring role in "Faraday & Company" in 1973, Sharon Gless has brought her own brand of humor, intelligence and dramatic flair to each of her roles. She is best known for her portrayal of New York Police Detective, Christine Cagney, on the hit series "Cagney & Lacey," a role that garnered her two Emmys®, a Golden Globe®, and six Emmy® nominations.  Following "Cagney & Lacey," Gless re-teamed with the show's executive producer, Barney Rosenzweig, on "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill," for which she was awarded her second Golden Globe® and two more Emmy® nominations.  Gless married Rosenzweig in 1991.

In 1994 and 1995, Gless and her television partner, Tyne Daly, joined together to recreate their title roles in a quartet of critically acclaimed and popular "Cagney & Lacey" television movies which they fondly call "The Menopause Years."  Other television series in which she starred include "Switch," "House Calls," and the short-lived but critically lauded Steven Bochco half-hour, "Turnabout." Gless has received much acclaim for her dramatic roles in such television movies as "Separated By Murder," "Hard Hat and Legs," "Honor Thy Mother," "Hobson's Choice" and "Letting Go," among others, as well as the mini-series "The Immigrants," "The Last Convertible," "Centennial," and Garson Kanin's "Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara Wars," in which she played screen goddess Carole Lombard.

In 2000, Gless created the role of the outrageous and beloved Debbie Novotny in the groundbreaking Showtime series “Queer as Folk,” and remained with the series throughout its five-season run.  Wherever she goes, Gless is regularly approached by fans wishing to express their appreciation for her honest portrayal of a loving parent of a gay child.

Gless' theatrical film credits include the suspenseful and provocative film, "The Star Chamber," in which she played the wife of Michael Douglas.  She has recorded several 'Books on Tape' and has starred in numerous radio plays, one of which, "'Night, Mother," for the BBC, earned Gless the International Sony Award.  She continues to do radio plays for L.A. Theater Works and the BBC.

She has starred twice on stage in London's famed West End, the first time in 1993 with Bill Paterson, when she created the role of Annie Wilkes in the stage version of Stephen King's "Misery" at the Criterion Theater, and four years later, opposite Tom Conti, in Neil Simon's "Chapter 2" at the Gielgud Theater.  She starred at Chicago's Tony Award-winning playhouse, The Victory Gardens Theater, in Claudia Allen's "Cahoots," and at Madison Square Garden with the National Company of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues."  Gless made her stage debut in Lillian Hellman's "Watch on the Rhine" at Stage West in Springfield, Mass.

Gless is an active participant in the ongoing struggle for a woman’s right to choose, and recently joined hundreds of thousands of women in Washington DC for the first-ever “March For Women’s Lives,” where she stood in solidarity with her entertainment industry colleagues.  In 2005, she was honored by Norman Lear’s PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY for her unwavering support of human rights.  Gless spends her time at home in three of her favorite cities:  Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto.

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