Betty Thomas (born July 27, 1948) is an American actress, director of television and motion pictures. She is best known for her Emmy-award winning role as Lucy Bates on the television series Hill Street Blues. Born Betty Thomas Nienhauser in St. Louis, Missouri, Thomas graduated from South High School, Willoughby, Ohio in 1965. After high school Thomas attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Upon graduating Thomas worked as an artist and taught high school before becoming a part of The Second City Chicago premiere source for improvisational theater. Thomas received her start in entertainment through a circumlocutious route.
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