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Maura Therese Tierney (born February 3, 1965) is an Americanmarker film and television actress. She is best known for her roles as Lisa Miller on NewsRadio; and on ER, playing Abby Lockhart on the hospital-based show. Following ER, Tierney was set to star in the NBC series, Parenthood (2009/2010). However, Tierney left the show after filming the pilot to undergo treatment for breast cancer.

Early life

Tierney was born and raised in the Hyde Park neighborhoodmarker of Bostonmarker. Her mother, Pat, is a real estate broker and her father, Joseph, was a prominent Boston politician who served on the Boston City Council for 15 years. Tierney is of Irish descent.

She attended Notre Dame Academymarker in Hingham, Massachusettsmarker, where her studies included drama and led to her appearance at the Boston Globe Drama Festival. After graduation, she attended New York Universitymarker and majored in dance, but changed her major to drama.


After appearing in several plays, she moved to Los Angeles, Californiamarker and in 1987 got her first break in a role in Walt Disney's made-for-TV film Student Exchange. Tierney's first starring role in a film was in a low-budget, independently-produced film called Dead Women in Lingerie, shot in 24 days. The film never received a theatrical release, although it was released on DVD in 2005.

Tierney continued winning small roles in film and television, though it was not until her leading role in the sitcom NewsRadio from 1995–1999 that she received regular national exposure. While she was a NewsRadio cast member, she also appeared in two successful films (Primal Fear and Forces of Nature), and the even more successful Jim Carrey film Liar Liar.

After NewsRadio was canceled, Tierney decided not to pursue a role in another sitcom:
[W]hen NewsRadio got canceled, ... I thought, there's probably not gonna be something like [that show] again for me...So then, when ER called,...that was a way to stay in [television] that would remain interesting for me.

Tierney played Nurse Abigail "Abby" Lockhart on ER, a character that began as a guest appearance as an OB nurse in November 1999, then expanded in February of 2000 to a full-time regular part as an ER nurse. Within a year, her work on ER had earned her an Emmy Award nomination, recognition she credits to a "juicy" story arc featuring her and Sally Field. Tierney's character Abby Lockhart graduated from medical school and became a doctor at the end of the 2003–2004 season. Since then, her character has gone on to become the female lead on the show. Tierney confirmed in April 2008 that she would be leaving ER shortly after the beginning of the show's fifteenth season. In October 2008, she made her final regular appearance on the series after nearly 10 seasons on the show. She did return to make a cameo appearance on one additional episode later on during the final season.

 Tierney's highest-profile film since joining the cast of ER was the 2002 film Insomnia. That same year she also starred in Scotland, Pa., portraying a Lady Macbeth-like character written specifically for her by then-husband Billy Morrissette. She was praised by critics for her performance as the ruthless, calculating woman, quite unlike the roles she normally plays. She collaborated with NewsRadio writer Joe Furey for a special, "Working with Joe Furey" featurette for Furey's film Love and Support. In 2004, Tierney won the second season tournament of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown against Lauren Graham.

She returned to the stage in May 2006 in an appearance opposite Eric McCormack in the off-Broadway premiere of Some Girl. She also appeared in the 2008 films Semi-Pro,Baby Mama, The Go-Getter and Finding Amanda.

Tierney played the role of Laurel in the off-Broadway play Three Changes with Dylan McDermott. from September 16 to October 4, 2008.

Personal life

Tierney married actor-director Billy Morrissette on February 1, 1993, two days before her 28th birthday, after the two met on the set of a never-aired television series. She filed for divorce 13 years later, citing irreconcilable differences. They had no children.

She appeared on Tubridy Tonight, an Irish chatshow, on 28 February 2009 and reported having Botox treatment. On February 1, 2009, which would have been her own 16th wedding anniversary, she officiated

at the wedding of ER castmate/friend, Parminder Nagra and photographer James Stenson.

Breast cancer

Tierney had been cast to star in the 2009 NBC drama, Parenthood. According to The Hollywood Reporter on July 10, 2009, the series was pushed to midseason. Filming had been scheduled to begin July 27. Production has been postponed for eight weeks to late September, according to NBC, "due to medical evaluation that (Tierney) is undergoing ... [W]e are unable to release further details and ask that you respect her privacy at this time."

On July 13, 2009 it was announced that Tierney would have surgery to remove a tumor from her breast. On September 10, 2009, it was announced that Maura had left the cast of Parenthood due to schedule conflicts with her cancer treatments, and would not be returning to the show.



  1. [1]
  2. Prescription for success, a February 2002 Boston Phoenix interview
  3. Glamour magazine article
  4. Dream Life, a September 2001 interview in Brntwd Magazine
  5. Interview with director Erica Fox
  6. July 2005 press release
  7. Maura Tierney from The Numbers website
  8. Maura Tierney, original air date November 14, 2006, interviewed on The Tavis Smiley Show
  9. ...Tierney Becomes One of LaBute's Some Girl(s) for US Debut, Playbill (March 2006 article)
  10. [2]
  11. [3]
  12. "OK! Exclusive: Parminder Nagra's Wedding Album", OK! Magazine
  13. Hollywood Reporter on Tierney's new series being delayed
  14. Tierney to undergo surgery
  15. Discovery of breast tumor

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