Ellen Foley

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Ellen Foley
Ellen Foley, 2014.JPG
Ellen Foley in 2014
Background information
Born (1951-06-05) June 5, 1951 (age 68)
OriginSt. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer, actress
Years active1977–present
Associated actsThe Clash
Meat Loaf

Ellen Foley (born June 5, 1951) is an American singer and actress who has appeared on Broadway and television, where she co-starred in the sitcom Night Court. In music, she has released four solo albums but is best known for her collaborations with rock singer Meat Loaf.[1][2][3][4]

Early life and career[edit]

Foley was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of John and Virginia B. Foley.[5] Foley attended Webster University.[5] Foley gained high public recognition singing the duet with Meat Loaf on the hit single "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" from the 1977 album Bat Out of Hell.[6] Although Karla DeVito (who toured with Meat Loaf in support of the album) is featured in the music video, DeVito is lip synching to Foley's vocals.[7]

Her debut album Night Out was released in 1979; the album's single "What's a Matter Baby" reached No.7 in the Dutch Charts but was a minor hit on the US Charts, reaching No. 92 . However the single "We Belong To The Night" went on to reach No.1 in the Netherlands.[8] The album itself peaked at No. 152, and was produced by Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson. Foley recorded a memorable duet with Ian Hunter in 1980, "We Gotta Get Outta Here", her creative relationship with Hunter also led her to singing backing vocals on the Iron City Houserockers' 1980 album Have a Good Time but Get Out Alive!, produced by Hunter, Ronson, and The E Street Band's Steven Van Zandt.[9]

She can also be heard on the 1979 Blue Öyster Cult album Mirrors singing on the title cut, and also on The Clash album Sandinista! (Released in 1980), in the songs "Hitsville UK" and "Corner Soul", and on the unreleased track "Blonde Rock 'n' Roll". In 1981, all four members of The Clash appeared on her second album The Spirit of St. Louis, and Mick Jones and Joe Strummer co-wrote a number of songs for the album.[10] Jones produced the album, which also featured members of The Blockheads, and peaked at No. 137 on the US charts.[10] In 1982, she provided backing vocals on The Clash's song "Car Jamming" from the album Combat Rock;[11] the Clash's hit song "Should I Stay or Should I Go", written and sung by Jones, was about the turbulent relationship he shared with Foley at the time.[6][12]

She released her third solo album Another Breath in 1983; it failed to chart.[13] In 1984, she sang backing vocals on Joe Jackson's album Body & Soul and had a large role in the music video for Utopia's "Crybaby".

Foley was one of four female vocalists to front the group Pandora's Box, formed by Jim Steinman in the late 1980s, their album Original Sin, released in 1989, was the first to feature the song "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" (vocals by Elaine Caswell); both Celine Dion and a duet between Meat Loaf and Marion Raven had separate chart successes with that song in some countries, years later.[14][15]

Broadway, film and television[edit]

Foley studied acting at HB Studio[16] in New York City, she lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and continues an active career in music and has appeared on Broadway in such shows as Me and My Girl and the revival of Hair, and off-Broadway in Beehive.[2] She originated the role of The Witch in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego,[2] but was replaced by Bernadette Peters before the musical opened on Broadway.[17] Foley did eventually play the role on Broadway, from August 1, 1989 until the show's closing on September 3, 1989.[17]

Her best known television acting role is that of Billie Young on Night Court for one season (1984–85),[2] after which she was succeeded by Markie Post as Christine Sullivan, who had always been Reinhold Weege's first choice for the public defender part, but Post had been unavailable while under contract on the television series The Fall Guy on ABC.[18] Foley was reportedly let go from the series because producers felt her relationship with star Harry Anderson was more like that of a brother and sister,[19] she had roles in Miloš Forman's film adaptation of the stage musical Hair (1979), as well as the films Fatal Attraction (1987), Married to the Mob (1988) and Cocktail (1988). She was also in the short-lived 1977 series 3 Girls 3, co-starring with Debbie Allen and Mimi Kennedy.[2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1990, Foley married the writer Doug Bernstein,[20] co-author of the Off-Broadway revue Showing Off and graduate of Amherst College;[20] the couple live in Manhattan with their two sons, Timothy and Henry.[citation needed] As of the mid-2000s, she teaches voice at The Paul Green School of Rock Music in Manhattan, New York City.[4]


Stage appearances
Year Title Role Theatre
1977 Hair Sheila Biltmore Theatre, New York City
1983 Eve Is Innocent Kim Dolphin Actors and Directors Theatre, New York City
1986 Into the Woods The Witch Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, CA
1987 Beautiful Bodies Lisbeth Whole Theatre Company, Montclair, NJ
1988 Me and My Girl Sally Marquis Theatre, New York City
1989 Into the Woods The Witch Martin Beck Theater, New York City
Year Film Role Notes
1979 Hair Black Girls Singer Directed by Miloš Forman
Distributed by United Artists
1982 Tootsie Jacqui Directed by Sydney Pollack
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
The King of Comedy Street Scum Directed by Martin Scorsese
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
1987 Fatal Attraction Hildy Directed by Adrian Lyne
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
1988 Cocktail Eleanor Directed by Roger Donaldson
Distributed by Touchstone Pictures
Married to the Mob Theresa Directed by Jonathan Demme
Distributed by Orion Pictures
2015 Lies I Told My Little Sister Laura Lucien Directed by William J. Stribling
Distributed by ARC Entertainment
2016 No Pay, Nudity Tani Marshall Directed by Lee Wilkof
Distributed by Monterey Media
Year Title Role Network
1977 3 Girls 3 Regular NBC
1984-1985 Night Court Billie Young


Studio albums[edit]

Note: all of these were originally issued by Epic[8] within the U.S. on vinyl LP. They have been reissued on Compact Disc by Wounded Bird Records.[13]


  • The Very Best of (1992)


  • "We Belong to the Night" / "Young Lust" (1979) - [AU #15 ; NL #1]
  • "What's a Matter Baby" / "Hideaway" (1979) [NL #7 ; US #92]
  • "Sad Song" / "Stupid Girl" (1980)
  • "Stupid Girl" / "Young Lust" (1980)
  • "The Shuttered Palace" / "Beautiful Waste of Time" (1981)
  • "Torchlight" / "Game of a Man" (1981)
  • "Torchlight" / "Le palais" (1981)
  • "Boys in the Attic" / "Beat of a Broken Heart" (1983)
  • "Nightline (Single Version)" / "Beat of a Broken Heart (1983)
  • "Nightline (Dance Mix - Long Version)" / "Nightline (Dance Mix - Short Version)" "Nightline (Dub)" [12" Maxi-Single]
  • "Heaven Can Wait" (2015)


  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "allmusic ((( Ellen Foley > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Ellen Foley Biography (1951-)". filmreference.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  3. ^ "Albums by Ellen Foley - Rate Your Music". rateyourmusic.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "School of Rock – School Staff". SCHOOLofROCK.com. Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Douglas Bernstein Weds Ellen Foley, Fellow Actor". The New York Times. 1990-04-30. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  6. ^ a b "The Uncut Crap - Over 56 Things You Never Knew About The Clash". NME. London: IPC Magazines. 3. March 16, 1991. ISSN 0028-6362. OCLC 4213418. "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" was written by Mick about American singer Ellen Foley, who sang the backing vocals on Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell LP
    Related news articles:
  7. ^ Murray, Richard. "It's all coming back to me now". Rick's World. heyrick.co.uk. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d e Stone, Doug. "allmusic ((( Night Out > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  9. ^ "The Official Ian Hunter Website - Biography". ianhunter.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Spirit of St. Louis > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  11. ^ Gray, Marcus. The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town. page 382. Hal Leonard Corporation, Oct 1, 2004. ISBN 9780634082405
  12. ^ "The Clash: Biography : Rolling Stone". RollingStone.com. Archived from the original on May 19, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  13. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Another Breath > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  14. ^ "everyHit.com - UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts". everyhit.co.uk.
  15. ^ "Celine Dion - Chart history | Billboard". www.billboard.com. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  16. ^ HB Studio Alumni
  17. ^ a b "'Into the Woods', 1986 Old Globe Production and 1987 Broadway Production", Sondheimguide.com, accessed August 2, 2012
  18. ^ "Markie Post Interview: Part 2". North Hollywood Toluca Lake Patch. 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2011-04-06.
  19. ^ TV Guide August 8–15, 1985.
  20. ^ a b New York Times. "Douglas Bernstein Weds Ellen Foley, Fellow Actor" April 30, 1990.

External links[edit]