BootLeg Betty

Listen To Former Harlette, Katey Sagal, Talk “Sons Of Anarchy,” Peg Bundy, And Bette Midler

NPR
Katey Sagal, Holding Court On ‘Sons of Anarchy
October 31, 2012

As Gemma, the fierce matriarch of the biker gang in the FX series Sons of Anarchy, Katey Sagal has shot and killed people, hit somebody with a skateboard, pulled a gun on a baby and done other horrible things. It’s all part of the challenge of playing the character, Sagal says.

“She does things in the name of loyalty, which I relate to, but she goes way beyond anything I would do.”

Sagal won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Gemma in 2011. According to the actress — who’s best known for playing the red-haired, sharp-tongued Peg Bundy in Married With Children — Gemma’s character is not based on any real person in the biker culture, partly because it was so hard to find research on the subculture’s women.

“It’s a very misogynistic culture and I say that with all due respect,” Sagal says.

Instead, she based Gemma on a variety of regal political figures.

“She’s the queen of the organization, so guys in the club are respectful of her — she’s sort of like their surrogate mother in a way,” Sagal tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “I think she pulls a lot of the strings behind the scenes, and she is privy to all the goings-on.”

Sagal is also a singer-songwriter; before becoming an actress, she briefly sang back-up for Bob Dylan and performed for awhile with Bette Midler as a Harlette.

“I got the gig as a singer and then I had to dance like in high heels and in a mermaid fin, and all these kind of crazy things. I just never thought I would be able to do it!”

Sagal is working on her fourth record, which will be out soon. The fifth season of Sons of Anarchy premiered on Sept. 11, 2012.

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