​Tyne Daly on an actor's imagination

With the clock ticking down to tonight's Tony Awards here on CBS, what goes through the mind of a nominee? Tyne Daly won her first Tony 25 years ago for her performance in "Gypsy." She's nominated again tonight for her role in Terrence McNally's play, "Mothers and Sons". Here are a few of her thoughts:

I believe imagination to be a uniquely human gift. The reason I like my job, and have liked it for more than half a century, is that I get to use my imagination.

In fact, it is my best piece of professional equipment.

I am pretty sure that all young human beings have, at one time or another in their growing-up, been actors. They have used their imaginations to carry them away from painful or confusing situations . . . have imagined themselves to be more powerful or beautiful or brave or loving than they are.

"Tyne Daly" as Rose, her Tony-winning performance in the musical, "Gypsy." Photofest

Then, most people stop pretending. That is when they need professional actors.

We all need to hear stories about ourselves. I do. In sixth and seventh grade, my two best friends and I pretended to be horses. Every day after school, we would gallop around, whinnying and stamping our hooves and tossing our manes -- for hours.

The first time I was nominated for an award for professional acting I was in my mid-twenties. I was married and the mother of my first two daughters. I had been working for near to 15 years. In the category with me were contemporary actresses and a much older, revered heroine of the American theatre, Miss Eva Le Galliene.

I knew she would get the award, not only for the work she had done in that season, but for the work she had done and the joy she had given audiences over a long lifetime of acting.

I wanted to be just like her.

I wanted to be a long-distance runner. I wanted to be useful in my profession and keep on whinnying and tossing my mane around for a long, long time.

I never imagined I would be this fortunate.

Bobby Steggert, Frederick Weller, Grayson Taylor and Tyne Daly in "Mothers and Sons." "Mothers and Sons"

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