Dorothy Lyman’s Biography – Net Worth, Height, Children, Bio

by Ana Lopez

Who is Dorothy Lyman?

Dorothy Lyman was born on April 18, 1947 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. She is an actress, producer and director, known for her work in numerous soap operas such as ‘All My Children’ and ‘Another World’. She was also a prominent character in the sitcom “Mama’s Family”, playing the role of Naomi Harper.

The Wealth of Dorothy Lyman

As of the beginning of 2020, Dorothy Lyman’s net worth is estimated to be over $6 million, earned through a successful career in the entertainment industry since the 1970s. She has earned a lot of wealth not only from acting but also from her behind-the-scenes production and directing work, especially in many of her recent projects.

Early life and career beginnings

Dorothy grew up in Minneapolis, where her father worked as a stock market broker. She aspired to be an actress from a young age and was even more motivated during high school, as she attended the same school as actress Jill Larson, who would later succeed her in “All My Children”. In 1970, she began attending auditions for acting projects, focusing on soap operas that were all the rage at the time.

Her first soap opera project was in ‘A World Apart’ in 1971, playing flower girl Julie Stark.

The show ran on ABC, but was short-lived, lasting only a year, despite the project filming continuously during this period, leading to over 300 episodes airing. She took a break from acting and returned a few years later in the long-running soap opera “The Edge of Night” as a villainous character. The show aired on CBS before later moving to NBC from the 1950s to the 1980s and was a well-known favorite among several celebrities during that time.

Another world and all my children

In 1976, Lyman was cast as Gwen Parrish Fame in the soap opera “Another World”, which she was part of for four years.

The soap was very popular at the time due to its different take on the genre, focusing on the differences between families in terms of philosophy and social status. It was one of the first shows to talk about then-taboo topics such as abortion, and she began gaining national fame for her role.

Dorothy landed her most notable role in the early ’80s, playing Opal Sue Gardner in “All My Children.” Although she was only a part of the soap for two years, her performance was impressive and she won two Emmy Awards, one for a Supporting Actress and the other for Best Actress.

The show was the most watched show in the US at the time, number one in the ratings, and she was a part of the show during its golden years, when it attracted one of the largest television viewers of all time.

Career after all my children

After gaining fame in “All My Children”, she was offered a main role in the show “Mama’s Family”, working on both shows at the same time. She knew she would eventually leave the soap, and the prospect of a sitcom regular role plus bigger paydays enticed her to focus on that project. She left “All My Children” as it became too taxing for her to keep flying between two cities, but considers it one of the most memorable times of her career.

Dorothy Lyman

Mom’s familyis a spin-off that grew out of a segment that was featured on “The Carol Burnett Show.” The show aired on NBC and ran for six seasons and 130 episodes, starring her alongside Vicki Lawrence and Thelma Harper. The show improved its ratings over the years, but eventually the show ended with Lawrence getting tired of the role and the show ran for over 100 episodes, burning out many of the cast members. Dorothy continued to act, appearing in “Tales from the Darkside”, “Generations”, and “The Bold and the Beautiful” each staying on each show for about a year.

Producer and director

After the end of “Mama’s Family”, Lyman looked into more avenues in the entertainment industry besides acting. She had become interested in directing and producing behind the scenes, as she saw in “Mama’s Family”. She explored this avenue and became heavily involved during the third and fourth seasons of the show “The Nanny”, working on more than 75 episodes in the mid-1990s. The show aired on CBS, starring Fran Drescher, a fashion queen who takes a job as a nanny in a high society New York neighborhood.

Even as a producer and directorDorothy took on other projects, albeit mainly in recurring or guest roles, including in “Bob, Bob Blow”.

She also appeared in “Departed” and the third season of “Battlestar Galactica”. In 2001, she had a cameo role in the movie “Blow” starring Johnny Depp. Some of her recent projects include “Murder She Wrote” and “The Blacklist”, appearing as a guest in both.

She also enjoyed theater work and performed the one-woman show “My Kitchen Wars” based on the book of the same name written by Betty Fussell and held in New York and Hollywood.

Private life

Dorothy was first married to John Tillinger in 1971, and they have two children together during a 12-year marriage before divorcing.

Her husband is also an actor, but is better known for his work as a director of theatrical projects. Some of his most notable projects include “Entertaining Mr. Sloane”, “Love Letters”, “Say Goodnight, Gracie”, and “The Wedding Banquet”. One of their children is film producer Emma Koskoff, who is known for her frequent collaborations with director Martin Scorsese, and is a credited producer of “The Irishman” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”. In 1987, Dorothy married Vincent Malle and the two remained together for 14 years and had a child together. They filed for divorce in 2001 and settled it the same year, she has apparently remained single ever since, at least officially.

General information

First and last name Dorothy Lyman
Profession Television Producer, Film Producer, Film Director, Actor, Television Director
Nationality American


Husband Vincent Malle, John Tillinger
Children Emma Tillinger, Sebastian Tillinger, Jason Malle
Parents Violet E. Lyman, Hector H. Lyman, 20. Goodbye, Baby!, 19. Nothing Like the Ladies, 18. Look Who’s Breathing


Awards Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Movies Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss, Camp Cucamonga, Ruby in Paradise, Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story, Dinner and Driving, World Trade Center, The Departed, Split Ends, Bad Hurt, The Northern Kingdom
TV shows All My Children, Another World, Bob, Mama’s Family, The Edge of Night, A World Apart, Generations

Links to social profiles


# Fact
1 The role of the colorful Opal Gardner originated on ABC’s All My Children (1970).
2 Dorothy is known for her role as Naomi Oakes Ray Oates Harper on the TV show Mama’s Family (1983).
3 (Former) sister-in-law of Candice Bergen.
4 Her ex-husband is Louis Malle’s brother.




Title Year Status Character
ALF 1988 TV serials Maura Noris
The bald and the handsome 1987 TV serials Bonnie Roberts (1991-1992, 1994)
Stories from the dark side 1985 TV serials Catherine
Summer fantasy 1984 TV movie Doctor Nancy Brannigan
All my children 1981-1983 TV serials Opal Purdy Cortlandt / Opal Sue Gardner Purdy Courtlandt #1 / Opal Purdy / …
An other world 1980 TV serials Gwen Parrish Kader / Gwen Kader
Night of the juggler 1980 Nurse Jenny
A world apart 1971 TV serials Julie Strong
The 300 Year Weekend 1971 Jean
A life to live 1968 TV serials Sister Margaret (1975)
The edge of the night 1956 TV serials Elly Jo Jameson (1972-1973)
Elementary 2015 TV serials Belinda
Bad pain 2015 Mrs Salisbury
Law & authority 2009 TV serials Judge Dorothy Carr
The Northern Kingdom 2009 nan
Battlestar Galactica 2007 TV serials Socrata Thrace
The departed 2006 Woman at Bar #1
World Trade Centre 2006 Allison’s mother
Law & Order: special unit for victims 2005 TV serials Director Parker
As the world changes 2004 TV serials Naomi – The maid
CSI: Miami 2003 TV serials Vivian Kensington
Review Amy 2002 TV serials Miss Patterson
The exercise 1999-2002 TV serials Dr. Diane Starger / Expert in battered women’s syndrome Dr. Emily Fink
vip 2002 TV serials Grandma Goshen
Taina 2002 TV serials
Reba 2002 TV serials Helena
Speechless… 2001 Short Mrs. Tanner
Blow 2001 Judge (Chicago)
Days of our lives 2001 TV serials Contessa Dorothea DiLyman
The babysitter 1993-1998 TV serials Society Woman #1 / Director / Stewardess / …
Dinner and driving 1997 Rita
Murder she wrote 1995 TV serials Norma Shey
Hope and Gloria 1995 TV serials Maxine
sisters 1995 TV serials Dr Deborah Rosen
Picket fences 1994 TV serials Miriam Thorn
ABC after school specials 1994 TV serials Mrs. Green
I like problems 1994 Suzie, Chronicle employee
Tears and Laughter: The Story of Joan and Melissa Rivers 1994 TV movie Dorothee
The young Goodman Brown 1993 Sarah Good
Bob 1993 TV serials Patty Fleischer
Evidence 1993 TV serials Claudia Brooks
Jack the Bear 1993 Mrs. Morris
Life goes on 1991-1993 TV serials Maria McKenna
Ruby in paradise 1993 Mildred Chambers
Camp Cucamonga 1990 TV movie Millie Schector
Mom’s family 1983-1990 TV serials Naomi Oates Harper
Generations 1989 TV serials Rebecca Whitmore #2 (1991)
Hunter 1989 TV serials Sergeant Carol James Meyers
The people across the lake 1988 TV movie Ruth Mortimer
Haven of Bliss by Ollie Hopnoodle 1988 TV movie Mom


Title Year Status Character
Janet’s class 2010 Documentary
The Northern Kingdom 2009
Split ends 2009
Payne 1999 Episode 1 of the TV series
The simple life 1998 TV serials
The babysitter 1995-1998 TV series 74 episodes


Title Year Status Character
Janet’s class 2010 Documentary producer
The Northern Kingdom 2009 producer
Split ends 2009 producer
The babysitter 1997-1998 TV series producer – 18 episodes


Title Year Status Character
Vicky! 1992-1993 TV serials herself
The celebrity guide to entertaining 1993 Video documentary herself
Win, lose or tie 1988 TV serials herself
pun 1986 TV serials herself
Star table 1986 TV serials herself
Super password 1985 TV serials herself
The (new) $25,000 pyramid 1984 TV serials herself
Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour 1984 TV serials herself
Family Feud 1982 TV serials herself


Awards won

Year Price Ceremony Presentation Movie
1983 Emma during the day Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series All My Children (1970)
1982 Emma during the day Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Daytime Drama Series All My Children (1970)

Nominated awards

Year Price Ceremony Presentation Movie
1989 ACE CableACE Awards Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries Haven of Bliss by Ollie Hopnoodle (1988)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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