Katey Sagal got one of her earliest TV gigs working with her dad on Columbo
Can you recognize this 'Married… with Children' star in "Candidate for Crime"?
Inset: The Everett Collection
Depending on your age, you know Katey Sagal as one of several beloved television characters. To most, she is Peggy Bundy, the spandex-sporting matriarch on Married… with Children. It's hard to forget all that leopard print and hairspray. She later played the mom opposite John Ritter on 8 Simple Rules. Younger television junkies know her as the voice of Leela on Futurama. Or perhaps as Gemma Teller Morrow on Sons of Anarchy. Just this year, she popped up The Connors and Dead to Me.
The point is, Sagal has been a part of popular television for decades.
But you might not realize just how long she's been seen on the small screen. It's been nearly 50 years since she made her debut, surprisingly.
The California native's first role on a television series came in "A Quality of Fear," a 1971 episode of The Bold Ones: The New Doctors directed by Hollywood maestro Richard Donner. You know, the guy who directed "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," Superman and The Goonies.
Her next gig paired her with a much more familiar director. Well, at least to her. Her father, Boris Sagal, helmed the season-three Columbo episode "Candidate for Crime." Indeed, that is her in the image above with Peter Falk. Her character, "Helen," worked as a secretary for Senatorial candidate Nelson Hayward (Jackie Cooper), who just so happens to be the murderer in that particular tale.
That episode aired in 1973, in what was an exciting time for the nascent star. Sagal may have been a mere teenager at the time, but her voice is unmistakable. Speaking of her voice, she also landed a gig singing backup for Bob Dylan. Yes, that Bob Dylan.
"I worked with him for like two months in rehearsal, then he fired all of us girls a week before the tour," she told the Seattle Times in a 2017 interview. "But I still always consider it like I sang with Bob Dylan. I don’t care if it was a week, you know what I mean?"
Sagal also belted out vocals as a backup for Etta James and Bette Midler. A few years later, she earned a credit as a backup singer on Gene Simmons, the 1978 solo album from the tongue-flicking KISS frontman.
It just goes to prove, it pays to pay attention to the details in Columbo, just like the detective.