Maura Tierney initially studied at New York University but left school prior to graduation when she hooked up with the Circle-in-the-Square theater school. Following some stage plays including Baby with the Bathwater and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, she moved to the West Coast in the late 1980s finding minor roles here and there in TV-movies and making the rounds on episodic shows such as Growing Pains (1985), Family Ties (1982) and Law & Order (1990). She finally hit pay dirt on TV when she won a female co-lead as smart but insecure news writer Lisa Miller on the comedy series NewsRadio (1995). The show was mediocre at best but sailed along for a number of seasons due to the fine comedy instincts of Dave Foley, Andy Dick and the late Saturday Night Live (1975) player Phil Hartman. Maura’s work on the TV sitcom thrust her into the film comedy limelight with prominent roles in such films as the Jim Carrey vehicle Liar, Liar (1997). She also showed up as sly, darker-edged femmes in the thriller Primal Fear (1996), Primary Colors (1998) and Instinct (1999). She received one of her best art-house roles as a heavy in her husband’s feature Scotland, Pa. (2001)–he wrote and directed. It was back to steady TV work, however, into the millennium with the role of Abby, who was first a nurse and then a doctor, in the long-established and critically-acclaimed medical drama series ER (1994), where she remained on the staff until the series ended its 15-season run in 2009.
Maura currently resides in Los Angeles.