From January 2001 NASW NEWS
Copyright 2001, National Association of Social Workers, Inc.

Tyne Daly Wows 'Social Work 2000'

Tyne Daly
Judging Amy's Tyne Daly speaks at the closing session.

Daly stays until every autograph is signed, every hug returned.

It's hard to imagine anyone in television or movies social workers admire more than Tyne Daly, who portrays social worker Maxine Gray with accuracy and sensitivity on CBS's Judging Amy.

And that was before Daly left the set in Hollywood for a two-leg, all-night flight to Baltimore to speak at the final plenary session of NASW's Social Work 2000 conference. After her warm and generous remarks about the social work profession, there was a mutual, genuine outpouring of admiration and respect.

Hundreds clustered around the stage to be near her after her address. But instead of being whisked away in a limo like a star, Daly stayed until every picture was taken, every autograph was signed, every chat was finished and every hug was returned. Then she went to lunch and did it again in the exhibit hall, where an additional line of social workers waited to meet her.

Daly entered the plenary session to thunderous applause, where she directed her own applause to the social workers. She said she meant no disrespect by wearing jeans, but her flight was late and she had just walked in the back door of the convention center without time to change. With a broad grin, she pulled the dress she would have worn from her flight bag, and then the formal, red shoes. The crowd loved it.

Daly said she takes her craft seriously and learns from social workers and social work textbooks when she gets a chance. "I take from you because you are the ones dealing with all the bad institutions of our society: institutionalized poverty, institutionalized racism, institutionalized cynicism," said Daly, one of television's most acclaimed and respected performers.

Daly said some of the situations in Judging Amy may be overdramatized and some of the outcomes idealized, "but, hopefully, they will serve to tell the story of what social workers do."

A lot of people watch the show, she said of Judging Amy, which was television's leading new drama in 1999. "If I can represent you in some way, I find it a huge responsibility because you're the real deal and I'm the reflection."

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