|Born||July 19, 1926|
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Actress, dancer, singer|
|Awards||Tony Award, Featured Actress in a Musical, 1952, as Gladys Bumps in Pal Joey;|
Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, 1971, as Lucille Early in No, No, Nanette;
Tony Award, Lead Actress in a Musical, 1971, also for the role of Lucille Early in No, No, Nanette;
Daytime Emmy Award, Lead Actress, 1976, 1977, 1988, as Maeve Ryan in Ryan’s Hope
Gallagher's work on the New York stages spanned seven decades, with her big break coming in the role of Nancy in the 1947 musical High Button Shoes. Gallagher won her first Tony Award for her role as Gladys Bumps in the 1952 revival of Pal Joey, and earned her first leading role on the Broadway stage in 1953, starring in Hazel Flagg. Two more noteworthy stage roles for Gallagher included her run as Nickie in Sweet Charity, which began in January 1966, and earned Gallagher a Tony Award nomination; and then, a year and a half later, Gallagher replaced Gwen Verdon in the lead role of Charity.
Gallagher won her second Tony Award as well as a Drama Desk Award for her role as Lucille Early in the 1971 revival of the 1920s musical classic No, No, Nanette. To audiences unfamiliar with her theater work, Gallagher is perhaps more recognizable as the Irish matriarch Maeve Ryan on the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope. She played Maeve for the show's duration, from July 1975 to January 1989, and was recognized with three Daytime Emmy Awards. Gallagher last acted on the New York stages in 2000 and is still actively involved in the industry, working as an acting instructor at Herbert Berghof Studio in New York City.
Gallagher was known for decades as a Broadway performer. She appeared in Make a Wish, Hazel Flagg, Portofino, High Button Shoes, and Sweet Charity (for which she received a 1967 Tony Award nomination for Featured Actress in a Musical), eventually assuming the title role, and closing the original Broadway run. She also appeared in Cry for Us All.
In 1952, she won a Tony Award for her work in the revival of Pal Joey. In 1971, she won her second Tony for her role in the revival of the musical No, No, Nanette. Her song-and-dance number with Bobby Van from that show, "You Can Dance with Any Girl", was a popular number from the 1971 revival, and was performed by both Gallagher and Van on the 1971 and 1972 Tony Awards telecasts. She later took on the role of Sue Smith in the Paper Mill Playhouse revival of the show, playing the role Keeler played a quarter century earlier.
Her first starring role on Broadway came in 1953 as title character in Hazel Flagg, based on the 1937 Carole Lombard movie Nothing Sacred. The role earned her a feature-photo shoot for Life. Gallagher appeared in the 1977 movie Roseland opposite Christopher Walken. An aficionada of Rodgers and Hammerstein, she appeared on a special tribute to Richard Rodgers on The Bell Telephone Hour.
In 1949 Gallagher was co-host of Manhattan Showcase, a 15-minute talent-discovery program on CBS television.
Despite extensive work on Broadway, Gallagher is perhaps best known to many Americans unfamiliar with her theater repertoire as the Irish matriarch Maeve Ryan on the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope, a role she played for the show's entire duration, from 1975 to 1989. She was nominated for five Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on the serial, winning in 1976, 1977, and 1988.
As the show progressed into the 1980s, the show's ratings - never at blockbuster levels - took a steep slide. ABC executives cancelled Ryan's Hope in 1989. Creator and head writer Claire Labine scripted the end of the final episode with Maeve at the family bar, singing "Danny Boy". Almost immediately after the cancellation of Ryan's Hope, Gallagher had a two-day guest stint on Another World, and has appeared in All My Children as a strict nurse and on One Life to Live as a sex therapist (whose son married Dr. Dorian Lord). She has continued to act in various off-Broadway and professional theater productions.
In 1984, Gallagher starred in the title role of Tallulah, a musical stage biography of actress Tallulah Bankhead. In 1990s, she guest-starred on Law & Order and The Cosby Mysteries. In 1997, she starred in the independent LGBT-themed drama film Neptune’s Rocking Horse.
|Opening date||Closing date||Title||Role||Theatre|
|December 7, 1944||May 12, 1945||Seven Lively Arts||Understudy
Corps de Ballet
|September 6, 1945||September 15, 1945||Mr. Strauss Goes to Boston||Corps de Ballet||New Century|
|December 21, 1945||June 29, 1946||Billion Dollar Baby||Chorine
|March 13, 1947||July 31, 1948||Brigadoon||Dancer||Ziegfeld|
|October 9, 1947||July 2, 1949||High Button Shoes||Nancy||New Century|
|October 13, 1949||March 18, 1950||Touch and Go||Daughter
|April 18, 1951||July 14, 1951||Make a Wish||Poupette||Winter Garden|
|January 3, 1952||April 18, 1953||Pal Joey||Gladys Bumps||Broadhurst|
|February 11, 1953||September 19, 1953||Hazel Flagg||Hazel Flagg||Mark Hellinger|
|May 13, 1954||November 24, 1956||The Pajama Game||Gladys (replacement)||St. James|
|April 20, 1955||May 31, 1955||Guys and Dolls||Miss Adelaide||City Center|
|May 18, 1955||May 29, 1955||Finian's Rainbow||Sharon McLonergan||City Center|
|April 9, 1957||May 5, 1957||Brigadoon||Meg Brockie||Adelphi|
|February 21, 1958||February 22, 1958||Portofino||Kitty||Adelphi|
|Mar 19, 1958||March 30, 1958||Oklahoma!||Ado Annie Carnes||City Center|
|December 31, 1964||January 23, 1965||Royal Flush||Understudy||Shubert|
|January 29, 1966||July 15, 1967||Sweet Charity||Nickie
|May 24, 1966||January 3, 1970||Mame||replacement Agnes Gooch
|April 8, 1970||April 15, 1970||Cry for Us All||Bessie Legg||Broadhurst|
|January 19, 1971||February 3, 1973||No, No, Nanette||Lucille Early||46th Street|
|November 11, 1972||February 11, 1973||Much Ado About Nothing||Choreography assistant to Donald Saddler||Winter Garden|
|April 26, 1976||May 9, 1976||Tickles by Tucholsky||Theatre Four|
|October 5, 1977||November 27, 1977||The Misanthrope||Arsinoe||Joseph Papp Public Theater|
New York Shakespeare Festival
|June 14, 1978||December 3, 1978||The American Dance Machine||Choreographic reconstruction||Century|
|October 10, 1978||November 12, 1978||A Broadway Musical||Maggie Simpson||Theatre of the Riverside Church|
|October 8, 1979||August 28, 1982||Sugar Babies||Replacement||Mark Hellinger|
|May 14, 1981||October 25, 1981||I Can't Keep Running in Place||Beth||Westside|
|June 13, 1983||Unknown||Tallulah||Tallulah Bankhead||Westside Arts|
|August 23, 1983||September 5, 1983||Same Time, Next Year||Doris||Ivoryton Playhouse|
|March 9, 1987||March 9, 1987||Star Dust||Performer||Sardi's|
|May 17, 1990||July 8, 1990||Annie 2||Fran Riley||Norma Terris|
|September 6, 1990||September 9, 1990||Money Talks||Promenade|
|June 1996||June 1996||Home||Mother||Ensemble Studio Theatre|
|April 9, 1997||May 27, 1997||No, No, Nanette||Paper Mill Playhouse|
|January 28, 2000||January 30, 2000||70, Girls, 70||Gert||York Theatre Company|
Film and television
|1951||Don Ameche's Musical Playhouse||Self||Jan 25, 1951|
|1951||Don Ameche's Musical Playhouse||Self||Feb 4, 1951|
|1951||Paul Whitman's Goodyear Revue||Self||May 20, 1951|
|1951||General Electric Guest House||Self||August 12, 1951|
|1951||The Mel Torme Show||Self||November 5, 1951|
|1951||Colgate Comedy Hour||Self||Episodes 1.35 and 1.40|
|1952||The Ezio Pinza Show||February 1, 1952|
|1953||The Ed Sullivan Show||Self||Episodes 6.25 and 6.45|
|1954||Kraft Television Theatre||TV series, episode: Pardon My Prisoner|
|1955||Colgate Comedy Hour||Self||Episode 5.33|
|1955||A.N.T.A. Album of 1955||Self|
|1958||The Ed Sullivan Show||Self||Episodes 11.17, 11.19 and 11.32|
|1960||Strangers When We Meet||Betty Anders|
|1960||Hallmark Hall of Fame||Lise||TV series, episode: Shangri-La|
|1961||The Bell Telephone Hour||Self||TV series, episode: The Music of Richard Rodgers|
|1961||Yves Montand on Broadway||Self|
|1971||The David Frost Show||Self||Episode 3.109|
|1971||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||Self||Feb 4, 1971|
|1972||26th Tony Awards||Self|
|1973||27th Tony Awards||Self|
|1976||The American Woman: Portraits of Courage||Mary Harris Jones|
|1975–1989||Ryan's Hope||Maeve Ryan||TV series, 789 episodes|
|1982||Family Feud||Self||Feb 8, 1982|
|1989||Live with Regis||Self||Jan 13, 1989|
|1989||Entertainment Tonight||Self||Jan 13, 1989|
|1989||Another World||Hannah Tuttle||TV series, 2 episodes|
|1993||Law & Order||Flo Bishop||TV series, episode: Born Bad|
|1995||The Cosby Mysteries||TV series, episode: Last Tango|
|1995||All My Children||Nurse Harris||TV series, 2 episodes|
|1997||Neptune's Rocking Horse||Sadie|
|1997–1998||One Life to Live||Dr. Maud Boylan||TV series, 6 episodes|
|2009||American Masters||Self||TV series, episode: Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About|
- Who Sang what on Broadway, 1866–1996: Volume 1. McFarland & Company. 2006. p. 280. ISBN 9780786421893. Retrieved 8 February 2023.
- Klein, Alvin (August 21, 1983). "Soap Opera Star at Ivoryton". The New York Times.
- "("Helen Gallagher" search results)". Tony Awards. Tony Award Productions. Archived from the original on 26 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
- Inc, Time (1953-03-09). "The Little Girl They Had to Star". Life. No. March 9, 1953. pp. 102–106.
- "Manhattan Showcase". Variety. March 9, 1949. p. 33. Retrieved February 8, 2023.
- Wilson, Earl (July 16, 1975). "Helen Gallagher Slips Into Soaps". The Milwaukee Sentinel.
- Frank, Leah D. (August 12, 1984). "Tallulah: Glitter and Self Pity". The New York Times.
- Woods, Mark (April 13, 1997). "Neptune's Rocking Horse".
- "Helen Gallagher". HB Studio. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2019.