Susan Dey
Publicity photo for The Partridge Family, 1970
Susan Hallock Dey

(1952-12-10) December 10, 1952 (age 71)
EducationFox Lane High School
  • Actress
  • model
  • producer
  • author
Years active1970–2004
Known for
Lenny Hirshan
(m. 1976; div. 1981)
Bernard Sofronski
(m. 1988)

Susan Hallock Dey (born December 10, 1952)[1] is a retired American actress, known for her television roles as Laurie Partridge on the sitcom The Partridge Family from 1970 to 1974, and as Grace Van Owen on the drama series L.A. Law from 1986 to 1992. A three-time Emmy Award nominee and six-time Golden Globe Award nominee, she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series for L.A. Law in 1988.

Early life and education

Dey was born in Pekin, Illinois, to Ruth Pyle (née Doremus) Dey, a nurse.[2] Ruth died in 1961, when Susan was eight.[2]

Dey attended Columbus Elementary School in Thornwood, New York. She later moved to Mount Kisco, New York, where she graduated from Fox Lane High School in 1970.[citation needed]


Dey began her professional life as a model. Her first modeling break was the cover photo of a booklet by Pursettes tampons on first facts of menstruation for young girls, "Getting to Know Yourself".[citation needed]

She was cast as Laurie Partridge in the television series The Partridge Family from 1970 to 1974.[3][4] She was 17 when she won the part with no previous acting experience. She briefly reprised that role for the Hanna-Barbera animated series, Partridge Family 2200 A.D. for two episodes, before being replaced by Sherry Alberoni. She returned to weekly network television in 1977 as the co-star of the short-lived sitcom Loves Me, Loves Me Not.[3]

Dey's first film role was as a passenger in the 1972 airline hijack movie Skyjacked, starring Charlton Heston.[5] In a 1977 made-for-television movie, Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night, she portrayed a disturbed young mother with serious psychological problems who begins to take them out on her toddler daughter.[3][6] Also in 1977, Dey starred opposite William Katt in First Love, directed by Joan Darling[3][7] and appeared in the Barnaby Jones episode "Testament of Power" (1977).

Dey co-starred with Albert Finney in the 1981 science-fiction film Looker, written and directed by Michael Crichton.[3] She had a leading role in 1986's Echo Park as a struggling waitress-actress who takes a job as a stripper who delivers singing telegrams.[3][8] She starred on L.A. Law from 1986 through 1992 as Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Grace Van Owen, who later became a judge.[3] She won a Golden Globe Award as Actress in a Leading Role – Drama Series for the role in 1988.[9] She was also nominated in each of the following four years. She was also nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1987, 1988, and 1989.[10]

She hosted a 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live. Later that year, she co-starred in the sitcom Love & War.[3] Although the show ran until 1995, Dey was replaced in 1993 by Annie Potts because producers reportedly felt she had "no chemistry" with co-star Jay Thomas.[11] In 1993, Dey produced and starred in Lies & Lullabies (later released on DVD as Sad Inheritance), where she played a pregnant cocaine addict.[12]

Dey was mentioned in Shirley Jones's memoir as the only cast member who "consistently refused" to take part in Partridge Family reunions.[13]

In 1972, Dey was credited as the author of a book titled Susan Dey's Secrets on Boys, Beauty and Popularity.[14]

Personal life

During the production of The Partridge Family, Dey had romantic feelings for co-star David Cassidy. They eventually pursued a relationship when the show ended, but Cassidy broke it off as he did not share her feelings. In 1994, Cassidy disclosed details of his relationship with Dey in his autobiography C'mon, Get Happy ... Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus; he presumed this led to her severing contact with him.[15]

She serves as a board member of the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical Center, and co-narrated a documentary on campus rape with former L.A. Law co-star Corbin Bernsen.[16] She suffered from anorexia during the run of The Partridge Family.[17]



Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Candidate Girl in Crowd
1972 Skyjacked Elly Brewster
1977 First Love Caroline
1981 Looker Cindy Fairmont
1986 Echo Park May
1987 The Trouble with Dick Diane
1998 Avenged Margo
2003 Rain Dianna Davis


Year Title Role Notes
1970–74 The Partridge Family Laurie Partridge 96 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1973 Circle of Fear Peggy Episode: "Doorway to Death"
1973 Goober and the Ghost Chasers Laurie Partridge (voice) 8 episodes
1973 Terror on the Beach DeeDee Glynn Television film
1974 Partridge Family 2200 A.D. Laurie Partridge (voice) 2 episodes
1975 The Rookies Angel Episode: "Angel"
1975 Hawaii Five-O Susan Bradshaw Episode: "Target? the Lady"
1975 S.W.A.T. Janice 2 episodes
1975 Cage Without a Key Valerie Smith Television film
1976 The Quest Charlotte Rosee Episode: "The Captive"
1976 The Streets of San Francisco Barbara Ross Episode: "The Thrill Killers" (filmed as a two-hour episode; aired in two parts)
1977 Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night Rowena Harper Television film
1977 Loves Me, Loves Me Not Jane Benson 6 episodes
1978 Little Women Jo March Television miniseries
1980 The Comeback Kid Megan Barrett Television film
1983 Sunset Limousine Julie Preston Television film
1983–84 Emerald Point N.A.S. Celia Mallory 22 episodes
1983 Malibu Linda Harvey Television film
1984 Love Leads the Way Beth Television film
1986–92 L.A. Law Grace Van Owen 110 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (1989–92)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1987–89)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series
1992–93 Love & War Wallis "Wally" Porter 23 episodes
1992 Bed of Lies Vicky Daniel Television film
1993 Lies and Lullabies Christina Kinsey Television film (aka Sad Inheritance)
1994 Beyond Betrayal Joanna/Emily Doyle Television film
1995 Deadly Love Rebecca Barnes Television film
1995 Blue River Mrs. Sellers Television film
1997 Bridge of Time Madeleine Armstrong Television film
1999 Family Law Karen Hershey Episode: "Holt vs. Holt"
2002 L.A. Law: The Movie Grace Van Owen Television film
2002 Disappearance Patty Henley Television film
2004 Third Watch Dr. Breene 2 episodes


  1. ^ Green, Joseph (1994). The Partridge Family Album. Harper Perennial. pp. 10, 306. ISBN 9780060950750.
  2. ^ a b "Obituary". The New York Times. July 21, 1961.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Susan Dey". TV Guide. TV Guide. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  4. ^ "The Partridge Family (TV Show) 1970". TV Guide. TV Guide. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Soares, Emily. "Skyjacked (1972)". Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  6. ^ "Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night (1977)". Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  7. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 5, 1977). "First Love, Film of the 70's, Misogynistic on Ugly Affair". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 25, 1986). "Echo Park (1986)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  9. ^ "Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama (1988)". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  10. ^ "39th Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners : OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES - 1987". Emmy Awards. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  11. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 705. 0-345-45542-8
  12. ^ Scott, Tony (March 11, 1993). "ABC Sunday Night Movie Lies and Lullabies". Variety. Variety.
  13. ^ Nguyen, Vi-An (July 29, 2013). "7 Surprising Secrets of the Partridge Family Cast from Shirley Jones's Memoir". Parade Publications. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  14. ^ Dey, Susan (May 10, 1972). Susan Dey's secrets on boys, beauty, & popularity. Scholastic Book Service.
  15. ^ "DAVID CASSIDY AND SUSAN DEY: INSIDE AN UNREQUITED LOVE ON 'THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY' BUS". Inquisitr. 2017. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  16. ^ Campus Rape. Rape Treatment Center, Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center. 1990. OCLC 21500123.
  17. ^ Mathews, Jay (October 5, 1989). "SUSAN DEY, LIGHT-YEARS FROM THE CHILD STAR". Washington Post. Retrieved January 2, 2020.