4 Questions


By Michael Starr

Amy Brenneman is leading the renaissance of prime-time
drama with the breakout hit "Judging Amy."

As Judge Amy Gray, a single mom who returns to her
hometown, Hartford, Brenneman is winning raves for her
on-screen chemistry with co-star Tyne Daly, who plays
Amy's opinionated mother.

TV viewers with good memories might recall Brenneman
from her role as troubled cop Janet Licalsi on "NYPD
Blue" - the same series "Judging Amy" was supposed to
compete against when "Blue" returns to its regular night
next month.

But this week something happened. With the success of
"Judging Amy" - the season's most-watched new drama -
rival ABC is sitting up and taking notice and wondering if
it should duck a direct confrontation with Brenneman and
her red-hot show.

Is there a book or movie that changed your life?

"Charlotte's Web" was the first novel I read from to cover
to cover - it really opened me up to that whole experience.
"Ordinary People" blew my mind in high school. It was the
first movie that felt so real and I just couldn't shake it for
weeks afterwards.

Who are your heroes?

My mother, my high school drama teacher, Anna Devere
Smith and Georgia O'Keefe.

What was the worst day of your life?

When I was in college (Harvard University) I had to write
my thesis, which was the scariest thing in the world for
me. A week before my thesis was due, I was
hyperventilating and it was snowing. It was in Cambridge,
Massachussetts, the battery in my car had died, and I had
the flu and I had to stay up all night and write this thesis.
The world was very bleak indeed.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?

I would be studying comparative religion and going
around the world learning about sacred dance and ritual.