Sagal was born in Los Angeles, California to a show business family with five children. She grew up in Brentwood, Los Angeles. Her father, Boris, was a Ukrainian-Jewish immigrant who worked as a director, and died in an accident on the set of the 1981 NBC miniseries World War III. Sagal's mother, Sara Zwilling, was a singer (stage name Sara Macon), producer, and television writer who died of heart disease in 1975.
Following her mother’s death, Sagal's father married dancer/actress Marge Champion in 1977. Three of Sagal's four siblings are actors: her younger twin sisters, Jean and Liz, and brother Joe. Her other brother, David, is an attorney married to actress McNally Sagal. Her godfather is prominent sitcom producer and writer Norman Lear.
Sagal started her career in show business as a singer and songwriter. In 1973, she worked as a backing vocalist for various singers, including Bob Dylan, Etta James and Tanya Tucker. In 1976, while a member of The Group with No Name, she contributed to the album "Moon over Brooklyn" (credited as "Katie Sagal"). She was a member of Bette Midler's backup group The Harlettes in 1978, and again from 1982–83. She performed backing vocals on the self-titled Gene Simmons solo album, the Molly Hatchet album Take No Prisoners, and on Olivia Newton-John's 1985 single "Soul Kiss."
She performed the song "It's the Time for Love" featuring Chuck Norris. Sagal also provided the vocals for "Loose Cannons," the theme song for the 1990 movie of the same name. On April 19, 1994, Sagal released her first solo album, "Well...." On June 1, 2004, she released her second album, "Room". She has also contributed to the Sons of Anarchy soundtrack.
Sagal's first major role was as a newspaper columnist in the 1985 television series Mary starring Mary Tyler Moore. This led to her being cast as Peggy Bundy on the 1987 FOX sitcom Married... with Children for eleven years. Sagal brought her own red bouffant wig to audition for the role, and with the producers' approval, the look transitioned into the show.
After the end of Married... with Children, Sagal guest starred as Spinelli’s mother in the 1997 Disney series Recess. In 1998, Sagal starred as Leela in the science-fiction animated comedy Futurama. The show was cancelled after four seasons, but syndication on Adult Swim and Comedy Central increased the show's popularity and led Comedy Central to commission a season of Futurama direct-to-DVD films, which the network later retransmitted as a 16-episode fifth season. A sixth season began airing on June 24, 2010. The series ended in 2013. Sagal guest starred in the FOX sitcom That '70s Show as Steven Hyde’s mother, Edna, and starred in the short-lived 2000 NBC sitcom Tucker.
In 2002, Sagal was cast as the wife of John Ritter in the sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Ritter had completed only three episodes of the second season before his death, and the show was cancelled after its third season in 2005.
From 2008 to 2014, Sagal starred in the FX crime drama Sons of Anarchy. In 2010, she returned to the stage in Randy Newman's musical Harps & Angels. She has guest starred in other television series, including Lost, Glee and The Big Bang Theory. Sagal was also a series regular on the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts, and stars in a recurring on the ABC sitcom The Conners.
Sagal has appeared in many movies, including Recess: School’s Out, the Futurama direct-to-DVD films, House Broken, Pitch Perfect 2, Bleed for This.
Sagal was married to musician Freddie Beckmeier, from 1978 to 1981, and drummer Jack White, from 1993 to 2000. She married writer-producer Kurt Sutter in a private ceremony on October 2, 2004. They have a daughter, Esmé Louise, born in 2007 through a surrogate mother.
In 1991, while working on Married... with Children, Sagal learned that she was pregnant. Since it was unexpected, the pregnancy was written into the storyline of the show. In October 1991, however, she had to have an emergency caesarean section in her seventh month of pregnancy, ending in the stillbirth of a daughter. The pregnancy on the show was then treated as a "dream sequence."
Sagal and White eventually had two children — a daughter, Sarah Grace, in 1994, and a son, Jackson James, in 1996.
One aftereffect of Sagal's having lost her stillborn daughter was that it inspired her to write the lyrics for "(You) Can't Hurry the Harvest." She recorded this song on her second album, "Well...", which was released in April 1994.
- She brought her own red bouffant wig to the Married... with Children audition, and with the producers' approval, the look transitioned into the show.
- It was also her idea to have Peggy wear clothes from the 1960s.
- She appeared in the music video and sang in the choir in the song "Voices That Care."
- She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 9, 2014.
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