Childhood & Early Life
Susan Flannery was born on July 31, 1939, in Jersey City, New Jersey, US. Soon after she was born, her family moved to Manhattan, where Susan spent her childhood and adolescence.
She was interested in acting and drama since she was quite young. She attended ‘Cathedral High School’ in Manhattan, and while she was in school, she started participating in theatrical plays, which further aroused her interest in acting. She was an exceptional student and had a chance to study at ‘Yale University’ but she decided to follow her love for acting.
Following her high-school graduation, she attended ‘Stephens College’ in Missouri, from where she earned her BFA degree in theater arts. She also spent some time at the ‘Arizona State University’ and studied theater there as well.
After completing her college education, she moved to New York City to work in theatrical plays. She moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s and started auditioning for film and TV roles.
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Susan made her acting debut in 1963, appearing in the small role of a secretary in a single episode of the series ‘Burke’s Law.’ The next year, she appeared in another small role (‘Nancy Rossman’) in an episode of the series ‘Slattery’s People,’ titled ‘Question: What are You Doing Out There, Waldo?’
The next year, she played a slightly bigger role in three episodes of the series ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,’ which featured her as ‘Katie’ in one episode and as a sister and a stenographer in the other two episodes. While she was slowly getting better roles, she was focusing more on her TV projects.
In 1965, she appeared on the big screen for the first time with the role of ‘Molly’ in the film ‘Guns of Diablo.’ It was a small role. In the same year, she appeared in the TV series ‘Death Valley Days’ and ‘Ben Casey.’ She had small roles in both the series.
1966 was a major year for her, as it turned her career around for the better. She portrayed the role of ‘Laura Spencer Horton’ in the soap opera titled ‘Days of Our Lives.’ She was the second actor to play the iconic role, after Floy Dean. She played the role until 1975, and after her, the role went to Susan Oliver.
The show was one of the most-watched daily soaps on American TV and was a huge commercial success. It was praised by critics, too. Susan also earned a lot of accolades for her portrayal. She also ended up winning the ‘Daytime Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series’ for her performance in the series.
In 1966, she appeared in a number of other series, such as ‘Felony Squad’ (as a stewardess), ‘The Time Tunnel’ (as ‘Louise Neal’), and ‘The Green Hornet’ (as ‘Janet Prescott’), before she got busy with ‘Days of Our Lives.’
Before her film career halted briefly in 1967, she appeared in the film ‘The Gnome-Mobile.’ She appeared as a stewardess in the film.
In 1974, she portrayed the lead role, ‘Lorrie,’ in the film ‘The Towering Inferno’. The film was a major box-office success and was also praised by critics. It was also considered to be one of Susan’s breakthrough film roles. She won major accolades for her role, including the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘New Star of the Year.’
In 1976, she appeared as ‘Margot Bracken’ in the TV miniseries ‘The Moneychangers.’ Later that year, she appeared in the film titled ‘The Gumball Rally,’ which featured her as ‘Alice,’ a supporting character.
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In the late 1970s, she appeared as ‘Maggie Kane’ in the TV film ‘Anatomy of a Seduction’ and then appeared as ‘Dr. Rebecca Dalton’ in the TV miniseries ‘Women in White.’
In the early 1980s, she had a supporting role in the TV soap opera titled ‘Dallas,’ in which she played ‘Leslie Stewart’ for 11 episodes.
In 1987, she bagged a career-defining role that made her a household name in the US. It was the role of ‘Stephanie Forrester’ in one of the most popular American soap operas, ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.’ Her character was loved immensely by the audiences. She played the role until 2012. In 2018, she made another appearance on the show.
Her performance in ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ is known to be her most acclaimed performance yet. She won a ‘Daytime Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.’ She has won the award thrice: once each in 2000, 2002, and 2003.
Apart from ‘The Bold and the Beautiful,’ she did not appear in many projects in either films or TV. She appeared as ‘Stephanie Forrester’ in two episodes of the soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless’ in 1993 and as ‘Laura Levisetti’ in the sitcom titled ‘Hope & Faith’ in 2004.
Apart from acting, she has also tried her luck in direction. She directed 36 episodes of ‘Venice the Series’ and 18 episodes of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.’ She also worked as a director for the TV movie ‘The Grove,’ three episodes of ‘Guiding Light,’ and an episode of ‘The Fosters.’ She also donned the producer’s cap for ‘The Grove.’
Family & Personal Life
Susan Flannery is a lesbian and has lived with actor Fannie Flagg secretly for about 8 years. She has adopted a daughter named Blaise.
Apart from being a talented actor, Susan is also a skilled gourmet cook and a licensed pilot.
She was a strong supporter of the ‘Republican Party’ until 2000.
Gay rights activist Rita Brown wrote in her memoir that the reason Susan did not have a successful career, which she absolutely deserved, was because she was too honest and did not believe in faking for the sake of getting roles.