Debuting on ABC in 1993, the cop show NYPD Blue broke ground with its gritty storylines, cinematic style, and frank depictions of nudity. In doing so, it became a sensation, and turned its cast of mostly unknown actors into stars. One of those cast members was Sharon Lawrence, who played Assistant District Attorney Sylvia Costas, a tough-as-nails prosecutor and a romantic foil to series lead Dennis Franz, appearing in her first series regular role.
After three years (and three Emmy nominations), Lawrence left NYPD Blue in 1996 to star in her own workplace sitcom, NBC's Fired Up, only to have it canceled after two seasons. She came back to NYPD Blue as a series regular for the sixth season, but her character didn't make it out alive, meeting a shocking fate in the penultimate episode. But dying on the show didn't do much to hurt Lawrence's career. Keep reading to learn what's kept her busy in the years since, and where she is today.
She's still a busy, working actor.
After leaving NYPD Blue for a second time in 1999, Lawrence quickly signed on to another series, the CBS sitcom Ladies Man, for two seasons, then followed it up with series regular roles on a number of ambitious but short-lived shows: Wolf Lake (2001-2002), Hidden Palms (2007), and The Line (2008-2009). Unfortunately, none of those made it past a single season.
In between and afterwards, she kept busy appearing in guest roles on a number of popular series, including Law&Order: SVU, Judging Amy, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy (earning an Emmy nomination for playing Izzy Stevens' mother), and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Over the past several years, she's also booked recurring roles on One Tree Hill, Rizzoli&Isles, Shameless, Netflix's The Ranch, and Dynasty.
Lawrence has also appeared in more than 20 made-for-TV movies, as well as a number of big-screen movies, including Gossip, Little Black Book, Solace with Anthony Hopkins, and The Lost Husband.
She's been married for 20 years.
In 2002, Lawrence married Thomas Apostle, a doctor of osteopathic medicine. She says they clicked because they were both looking to settle down and shared similar values. "[He's] a warm, giving man," she told Closer Weekly in 2020. "His Midwestern roots and values felt closer to my Southern values than many people I've met."
The two were married in the Los Angeles Greek Orthodox Church, Saint Sophia, which is the same church where her NYPD Blue character was married on the series.
Lawrence and Apostle never had children, but that was just a matter of timing. "I was 40 years old when we met," the star told Closer. "That's life!"
She supports charitable causes she believes in.
Over the years, Lawrence has appeared at benefits to support the Alzheimer's Association and the John Wayne Breast Cancer Center. She also has served as chair of the Women in Film Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing the careers of women working in the film industry around the world.
Lawrence has long been a supporter of Cancer Support Community Los Angeles, an organization that provides support and resources to cancer patients. In 2018, CSCLA honored her with the Gilda Award (named in honor of the late comedian Gilda Radner) for being a "Community Champion."
She also supports environmental causes, including Global Green and the World Wildlife Fund.
"I believe that if you're excited about something a non-profit is doing to change people's lives, it's a pleasure and privilege to help move that forward," she told the Santa-Monica Daily News in 2016.
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She's currently starring in a hit TV series—and still makes time for her old co-stars.
Lawrence is a series regular on Joe Pickett, based on the novel series by C.J. Box, which recently became the top-rated series on Spectrum Originals and has been renewed for a second season.
And, even though it's been decades—and many other roles—since she left NYPD Blue, she still finds time to connect with her former castmates on that series.
I do talk to Sip … I mean, Dennis [Franz]." she told Closer Weekly. "He's pretty much retired, but he's come to see me in some plays. Jimmy Smits has, too—we were both on How to Get Away With Murder. And Gail O'Grady and I were both on the set when I guest-starred on Criminal Minds."