Susan Dey is an American actress best known for her television roles as Shirley Jones's first daughter, Laurie Partridge, on the sitcom The Partridge Family (1970-1973), and as California assistant district attorney Grace Van Owen on the legal drama series L.A. Law, from 1986-1992.
Born to Robert Smith (a newspaper editor) and Gail Dey (a nurse), Susan was a model before starring as Laurie Partridge in the television series The Partridge Family. She was 18 years old when she won the part, and had no previous acting experience.
While participating in The Partridge Family Dey developed an eating disorder, a form of orthorexia nervosa, according to A&E's Biography.
While suffering from this disorder, she would eat only carrots. After a struggle, Dey overcame her disorder and regained her normal health.
After the end of the television series, Dey strove to shed her wholesome image. She took movie roles in which she was required to appear nude or semi-nude. The new image did not significantly help her career, however, and she remained in scarce demand for movie roles.
Dey felt that she had become too typecast, and to this day she refuses to talk about her days on The Partridge Family.
Dey seemed to be attempting a comeback with her appearance in 1981's sexy thriller Looker, but after this high-profile movie she nearly disappeared from the public eye until her starring role in the TV series L.A. Law as Grace Van Owen.
She was critically hailed for her part in this role. She earned a Golden Globe Award as "Actress In A Leading Role — Drama Series" for this role in 1987. She was nominated four more times the following four years. She was also nominated for the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" for the role in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
Dey has been married to her second husband, television producer Bernard Sofronski, since 1988. She has one child, a daughter, Sarah Hirshan (born 1978). Her daughter's father is her first husband, Lenny Hirshan (married 1976–1981).
Susan Dey is a notable graduate of Fox Lane High School in Bedford, New York.
Since the ending of L.A. Law, Dey has devoted herself to public service. She serves as a board member of the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical Center, and co-narrated a documentary on campus rape with her L.A. Law co-star, Corbin Bernsen.
Her last screen acting role was a two-episode guest role on the drama series Third Watch, in 2004.