Making His Family PROUD
ACTING COMES NATURALLY TO THE MADAM SECRETARY CO-STAR
The night Tim Daly made his Broadway debut in 1987’s Coastal Disturbances, he was crossing a New York City street with his mother, Mary — who had put her own acting career on hold to raise a family with her husband, actor James Daly. “She said, ‘You know what, Timmy? I think you’re going to be even better than your dad,’” Tim told Closer, fighting back tears at a recent SAGAFTRA Foundation Q&A in NYC. “What a moment.”
It was even more meaningful considering how highly acting was regarded in the Daly household, which also included Tim’s sister, Tyne, 71 (who would go on to stardom in Cagney & Lacey). “The theater was our church, our temple, the place of worship,” says Tim, 61. “So if you entered into that space, you were not to take it lightly.”
Tim didn’t, and he made his acting debut at the age of 10 in a 1966 TV production of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, opposite his father. “I got to watch my dad work and see how much people admired him and how good he was,” Tim says fondly.
Their father died in 1978, but Tim and Tyne have kept up the family business, and he’s passed it along to his own kids from his 1982 to 2010 marriage to actress Amy Van Nostrand. He has co-starred with son Sam, 33, in the internet series The Daly Show, and daughter Emelyn, 28, has guested on Madam Secretary, the CBS drama in which Tim co-stars with his real-life love interest, Téa Leoni, 51.
OBJECT OF HIS AFFECTION
The first day Tim shot with Téa, they were at Secretary’s dinner-table set. “Those scenes are a real pain because people are passing stuff and eating, and then you have to do it all again,” remembers Tim. “So we did one take and they said ‘Cut,’ and I was scraping the food off my plate and passing it back. I looked across the table, and Téa was doing the exact same thing, and I thought, ‘OK, that’s a cool kid.’ She wasn’t sitting there going, ‘Props? Props!’ Because she wanted to act.”
That’s all Tim has ever wanted to do, and he’s done it well, with a classic film (Diner), a long-running sitcom (Wings) and a 2007 Emmy nomination (for his role as a sleazy screenwriter on The Sopranos) on his résumé. But it wasn’t until this year that he co-starred with Tyne onstage for the first time in Downstairs, which typecast them as brother and sister. “It was really great, because Tyne is an amazing actress, and we work in a very similar way,” Tim says. “We laughed a lot and got to know each other. You can have the same parents and they can be utterly different people because of what’s going on in their lives, your age and your sex. So we told each other a lot about who our parents were.” No doubt they’d be pleased. — Bruce Fretts
“I try to stay ready and hope luck hovers over me.” — Tim
“I wrote a poem in college that sums
up me and my career as an actor: ‘What he could not do / He pretended
to,’ ” Tim tells Closer. “So there’s