Beginning in the mid-1970s, Kate Mulgrew established herself as a remarkably commanding leading lady, mostly in TV, who brought authority to her portrayals of no-nonsense professional women. As Entertainment Weekly accurately observed: "With her clear Irish features and throaty, resonant voice, she bears an eerie resemblance to a young Katharine Hepburn." Mulgrew made her TV debut with a two-year stint (1975-77) as Mary Ryan, the strong-willed daughter on the ABC daytime soap "Ryan's Hope." At age 23, she was approached by NBC programming head Fred Silverman with a role intended to keep a valuable property alive--sort of. Mulgrew became a primetime star as the wife to whom Peter Falk's master detective, LAPD Lt. Columbo had always referred but whom audiences had never seen.