Tim Daly, who is president of arts advocacy organization the Creative Coalition, cheerfully offers that his personal tastes run to the weird and esoteric, even as he acknowledges he’s become a symbol of “normalcy” on TV. Daly is in his third long-running network series, co-starring opposite Téa Leoni in the CBS drama “Madam Secretary.” But he still has plenty of weirdness up his sleeve.
What are the Creative Coalition’s priorities? It’s a crazy time in Washington.
We’re responsible with some other organizations for saving the National Endowment for the Arts. Our push is to try to change the narrative about arts in this country. Arts are not just for professional artists. It’s about exposing children to the arts in places like Idaho and Wyoming where they would never have any arts programs if it weren’t for the NEA. It’s not about turning them into artists. It’s about turning them into better humans.
How do you like being married to Téa Leoni on TV?
It’s a great marriage. It’s oddly unique at this moment in time to have a marriage on television that is functioning. They’re all usually so terrible, so dystopian. These guys [on “Madam Secretary”] are in there working their guts out to make it work.
You seem to be moving well for a guy who broke both legs 16 months ago in a skiing accident.
That was a little humbling. But they couldn’t keep me down. I went back to work four days after my surgery. Psychologically it saved me. The funny thing is that week I was doing an episode where Henry was ambushed in a car. So they just made the guys a little better shots and took out his legs. It was seamless.
It’ll be a Daly double in November when you team with your sister Tyne for the first time onstage. How’d that happen?
I did a play a few years ago with Theresa Rebeck (2013’s “The Scene”). Afterwards she said, “What are we going to do next?” I said, “Why don’t you write a play for my sister Tyne and me?” She said, “Don’t say that unless you mean it.” I was thinking she’s totally shining me on, and I will see this play exactly never. About a year and a half later, she handed me this play, “Downstairs,” about a brother and sister. It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up. I get to work with “America’s Tyne Daly,” as I call her.