Barbara Corday

Barbara Corday (born October 15, 1944) is an American television executive, writer and producer known for co-creating the television series Cagney & Lacey.

Barbara Corday
Born (1944-10-15) October 15, 1944 (age 76)
OccupationTelevision producer, writer, studio executive
(m. 1966; div. 1969)

(m. 1972; div. 1974)

(m. 1979; div. 1990)

Early life and educationEdit

Corday was born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York City on October 15, 1944, the only child of Josephine "Josie" (née Rich) and Leo Corday.[1] Her parents were both worked in the entertainment business: her mother was a professional singer and dancer, and her father wrote songs and jingles[1] and was an editor for the Jewish Daily Forward.[2] She graduated from Montebello High School in 1955.[3] Her parents divorced when she was a teenager.[1] She then moved to Miami with her mother where they had family and attended North Miami High School.[1] After high school, at the age of 16, she moved back to New York City and worked as a receptionist for the Max Richards Theatrical agency which acted as an employment agency for actors.[1]


After a year working as a receptionist, a family friend got her a job as a publicist at Mo Braveman Associates that represented nightclubs, singers, performers; she later went to work for Dorothy Ross Associates which represented Broadway shows.[1] She credits her publicist background with learning how to write on demand.[1] She moved to Los Angeles in the late 1960s after Henry Rogers approached her and her husband Michael Gershman (who was also a publicist) and asked them to start a music department for Rogers & Cowan particularly in representing Rock bands.[1] She had to step down from the role because she became pregnant with her daughter.[1] In 1972, Corday joined and worked as a publicist for the anti-war organization Another Mother for Peace where she met its founder, Barbara Avedon who was also a new mom.[1] Avedon got their foot in the door with their projects because she had prior experience working on TV series like The Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, The Danny Thomas Show, The Ann Sothern Show, Margie, Gidget, Medical Center and That Girl. Danny Arnold hired them to write a script for a Barbara Eden pilot (which never went to development).[1] They worked so well together, they officially became writing partners. From 1972 to 1979, they wrote several episodes for television series and a few pilots as free-lance writers including 19 episodes of Fish, 4 episodes of Sons and Daughters, Executive Suite, Wonder Woman, Maude, and Turnabout (where they met Sharon Gless).[1] In 1974, they started working on Cagney and Lacey and tried to sell the script but were unsuccessful despite having support from Ed Feldman, executive in charge of film development at Filmways and from Sherry Lansing at MGM.[1]

After giving up writing, Corday worked at several networks and made a career as top executive. In 1979, she dissolved her writing partnership with Barbara Avedon but they would team up again for a short time in 1981. Corday was scouted by Marcy Carsey [1] who was then senior vice president of prime-time series at ABC. She took a position developing comedies for ABC in 1979 developing the comedies Bosom Buddies and Reggie.[1] Over the next ten years, she moved up the executive ladder. In 1981, the script for Cagney and Lacey was finally accepted by CBS who made a movie followed by a TV series which aired from 1982 to 1988. In 1984, Columbia exec, Herman Rush, recommended that she take over his position as a president of Columbia Pictures which made her the first female senior executive at Coca-Cola which then owned Columbia Pictures.[1] In 1987, she was named president and chief operating officer of Columbia/Embassy Television, a now defunct division of Coca-Cola Television that produced TV series and TV movies. In 1988, Larry Tisch and Howard Stringer hired her as executive vice president of Primetime Programming at CBS Entertainment; she left in 1990 after her boss, network entertainment president Kim LeMasters resigned in 1990.[1] In 1992, Corday returned to CBS programming as co-executive producer of the popular prime-time television series Knots Landing and from 1993 to 1994, she served as president of New World Television.

Personal lifeEdit

Corday married three times. In 1966, she married her first husband Michael Gershman and they divorced in 1969; they had one daughter, Evan.[2][1] On April 8, 1972, Corday married actor Noah Keen, who was 23 years her senior. They divorced in 1974; he died March 24, 2019 at the age of 98. On June 3, 1979, Corday married Barney Rosenzweig and she became stepmother to his three children by his first wife Jo Anne Lang. They divorced in 1990. Corday did not marry again. Barney Rosenzweig married Sharon Gless, co-star of Cagney & Lacey, a series that he produced and was co-created by his ex-wife Barbara Corday and her writing partner at the time, Barbara Avedon (1925-1994).

Political activitiesEdit

Corday was a founding member of the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, which operated from 1984 to 1997.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Archive of American Television Interview
  2. ^ a b People: "Cagney & Lacey Creators Barbara Corday and Barney Rosenzweig Mix Cops, Controversy and Marriage" by Jane Hall November 25, 1985
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2017-10-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Reuters (1997-04-14). "Women's Political Group Disbands in Hollywood". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-01-31.


External linksEdit