Harley Jane Kozak

Harley Jane Kozak (born January 28, 1957) is an American actress and author. She made her film debut in the slasher film The House on Sorority Row (1982), and had a recurring role as Mary Duvall on the soap opera Santa Barbara between 1985 and 1989. She later had supporting parts in Clean and Sober (1988) and When Harry Met Sally... (1989), before starring in the major studio films Parenthood (1989) and Arachnophobia (1990).

Harley Jane Kozak
Harley Jane Kozak 2005 (cropped).jpg
Harley Jane Kozak, September 7, 2005
Susan Jane Kozak

(1957-01-28) January 28, 1957 (age 63)
EducationNew York University (MFA)
OccupationActress, author
Years active1981-present

Kozak continued to act in film throughout the remainder of the 1990s and into the 2000s, but turned her focus to writing. She has published five mystery novels since 2004. Her debut novel, Dating Dead Men, earned her an Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award.

Early lifeEdit

Kozak was born Susan Jane Kozak in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Dorothy (née Taraldsen), a university music teacher, and Joseph Aloysius Kozak, an attorney. She has seven older siblings; their father died when she was a year old. Kozak was raised in Lincoln, Nebraska.[1]

Kozak attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for three semesters before relocating to New York City, where she worked as a waitress for ten years.[2] During this period, she attended New York University's Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts, graduating in 1980. Of her name, Kozak has said that "Harley" came from a former boyfriend, who owned a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and that she liked the nickname, later having her name legally changed.[3]


Kozak starred in movies such as The House on Sorority Row (1983), Parenthood (1989), Side Out (1990), Arachnophobia (1990), The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991), Necessary Roughness (1991), All I Want for Christmas (1991), The Favor (1994), Magic in the Water (1995), Unforgivable (1996), and the soap operas Texas (from November 1981 to December 1982 as Brette Wheeler), Guiding Light (from 1983 to 1985 and a one-day voice-over in February 1990, as both Annabelle Sims Reardon and Annabelle's deceased mother, in 1983 flashbacks, Annie Sims) and Santa Barbara (from 1985 to 1986 and again in 1989, as former nun, Mary Duvall McCormick).

In Santa Barbara, her character died in an accident where a giant neon letter "C" toppled on top of her during an argument atop the Capwell hotel. Viewers were so angry over Mary's death that they started a letter-writing campaign demanding for her reappearance. The show received such a huge number of letters that eventually they admitted their mistake and asked Kozak to come back. She declined the offer since she was already working with other projects and she was proud of the unusual way her character had made her exit. In February 1989, though, she made a brief return as an angel in Heaven. In 1987 Harley received a Soap Opera Digest Award from her role as Mary.[2]

In 1993–1994, Kozak played Alison Hart, wife of Dave Hart, portrayed by Beau Bridges, on the CBS comedy/western series Harts of the West. The program was set on a dude ranch in Nevada. Lloyd Bridges played her father-in-law, and Diane Ladd appeared once as Alison's mother. Her three children were played by Sean Murray, Nathan Watt and Meghann Haldeman, who has been friends with her on-screen mother ever since. Mark Harmon also guest-starred the series. Kozak has worked several times with Harmon, both in movies and TV series and she credits him as one of her favorite co-stars.

In 1996, Kozak appeared in the mini-series Titanic along with Peter Gallagher and Catherine Zeta Jones. She played the role of Bess Allison, a mother who dies while searching for her missing baby at the time when RMS Titanic sinks. Kozak was originally chosen to play Karen Sammler in the TV show Once and Again. She filmed the pilot, but was asked to withdraw from the series when she became pregnant with her first child, because they did not want her character to be pregnant.[3] The role went to Susanna Thompson. Also in 1996, Kozak portrayed a battered wife in a made for TV movie, Unforgivable, co-starring with John Ritter, and received praise for her "strong" performance.[4] Kozak also appeared in "Cold Lazarus", a first-season episode of Stargate SG-1, as Sara O'Neill. Kozak has written five novels: Dating Dead Men (2004), Dating Is Murder : A Novel (2005), Dead Ex (2007), and A Date You Can't Refuse (2008), all of which feature greeting-card designer and amateur sleuth Wollie Shelley, a woman with very eccentric friends and family. The first three novels were published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, the most recent was published by Broadway Books following the restructuring of Doubleday. Dating Dead Men won an Agatha Award, an Anthony Award, and a Macavity Award for best first novel. Kozak's fifth book is Keeper of the Moon, a paranormal romantic suspense novel.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

Kozak lives in Los Angeles, California. She has been married twice: a brief union in the early 1980s and a second marriage from 1997 to 2007 with entertainment lawyer Gregory Aldisert, with whom she has three children.[5]

Partial filmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1982 The House on Sorority Row Diane
1983-1985 Guiding Light Annabelle Sims Reardon TV series
1985-1989 Santa Barbara Mary Duvall TV series
1988 Clean and Sober Ralston Receptionist
1988-1989 Knightwatch Barbara 'Babs' Shepard TV series
1989 When Harry Met Sally... Helen
1989 Parenthood Susan Buckman
1990 So Proudly We Hail Susan McCarran Television film
1990 Side Out Kate Jacobs
1990 Arachnophobia Molly Jennings
1991 Necessary Roughness Dr. Suzanne Carter
1991 The Taking of Beverly Hills Laura Sage
1991 All I Want for Christmas Catherine O'Fallon
1993 The Amy Fisher Story Amy Pagnozzi
1993-1994 Harts of the West Alison Hart TV Series
1994 The Favor Kathy Whiting
1995 The Android Affair Karen Garrett Television film
1995 Magic in the Water Dr. Wanda Bell
1995 Charlie Grace Holly TV series
1995 Bringing up Jack Ellen McMahon TV Series
1996 The Nerd Tanzie Boyd Television film
1996 Unforgivable Judy Hegstrom Television film
1996 A Friend's Betrayal Abby Hewitt Television film
1996 Titanic Bess Allison Miniseries
1997 Dark Planet Brendan
1997 The Lovemaster Karen
1997 The Outer Limits Prisoner 98843 TV series
1997-1998 You Wish Gillian Apple TV series
1998 Emma's Wish Joy Bookman Television film
2009 The Red Queen Church Lady
2010 Vipers in the Grass Celia Bowman Short film
2015 I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance Is Mine Therapist
2015 A Kind of Magic Abby
2018 The Amaranth Holly
2019 More Beautiful for Having Been Broken Vivienne


Wooley Shelley MysteriesEdit

# Title Publication


Publisher ISBN Awards
1 Dating Dead Men 2004 Doubleday ISBN 0-385-51018-7 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel (2005)[6]

Anthony Award for Best First Novel (2005)[7]

Agatha Award, for Best First Novel (2004)[8]

2 Dating Is Murder: A Novel 2005 Doubleday ISBN 0-385-51034-9
3 Dead Ex 2007 Doubleday ISBN 978-0-385-51802-4
4 A Date You Can't Refuse 2009 Broadway Books ISBN 978-1-6075-1960-7

The Keepers, LAEdit

Books 0.5, 1, 3 and 4 by Heather Graham Pozzessere

# Title Publication


Publisher ISBN
2 Keeper of the Moon 2013 Harlequin ISBN 978-0-373-88565-7

Book 3 by Alexandra Sokoloff


Collection or Anthology Contribution Publication


Publisher ISBN
Landmarked for Murder 2006 Top Publications ISBN 1929976372, 9781929976379
Mystery Muses 2006 Crum Creek Press ISBN 0981863221, 9780981863221
This Is Chick Lit The Infidelity Diet 2006 BenBella Books ISBN 1933771011, 9781933771014
A Hell Of A Woman 2007 Busted Flush Press ISBN 0976715732, 9780976715733
Crimes by Moonllight Madeeda 2010 Berkley Publishing (ebook) ISBN 0425235637, 9780425235638
Write Good or Die NaNoNoNoNoNoMo 2010


Haunted Computer Books

Smashwords Edition

Butcher Knives & Body Counts:Essays On The Formula, Frights, And Fun Of The Slasher Film The House on Sorority Row 2010 Dark Scribe Press ISBN 0981863221, 9780981863221
Mystery Writers of America Presents The Rich and the Dead Lamborghini Mommy 2011 ISBN 978-0446555883
For the Sake of the Game: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon 2018 Pegasus Books ISBN 1681778793, 9781681778792


  1. ^ "Harley Jane Kozak". University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Kozak, Harley Jane 1957--". Encyclopedia. Contemporary Authors. 2009. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Two Wheels, Eight Legs... An interview with Harley Jane Kozak". August 26, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  4. ^ unforgivable-2-1200445533/amp/ "Bottoming-out and redemption of a wife-beater prompts strong performances by cast headed by John Ritter and Harley Jane Kozak. "Unforgivable" takes a serious subject — one out of three marriages involves domestic violence, according to note (without attribution) at show's end — and treats it with due respect" Check |url= value (help). April 30, 1996. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "Harley Jane Kozak Biography (1957–)". Film Reference. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  6. ^ "Macavity Awards". Mystery Readers International. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "Anthony Award Nominees and Winners". Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  8. ^ "Agatha Awards". Malice Domestic. Archived from the original on April 12, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2014.

External linksEdit