Sagan Lewis

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Sagan Lewis
Susan Jane Lewis

(1952-11-30)November 30, 1952
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
DiedAugust 7, 2016(2016-08-07) (aged 63)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
EducationUniversity of California, San Diego (MFA)
OccupationActress, teacher
Years active1977–2009
Known forDr. Jacqueline Wade on St. Elsewhere
Judge Susan Aandahl on Homicide: Life on the Street
Spouse(s)Tom Fontana
(m. 1982–1993; 2015–2016; her death)

Susan Jane "Sagan" Lewis (November 30, 1952 – August 7, 2016) was an American actress, best known for co-starring as Dr. Jacqueline Wade on the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere. Her other television credits included a multi-episode recurring role as Judge Susan Aandahl on NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street during the 1990s, as well as the television films Cocaine: One Man's Seduction (1983) and Full Ride.[1][2][3]

Lewis was born in Omaha, Nebraska and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa.[3] She received her Master of Fine Arts from the graduate acting program at the University of California, San Diego.[2][3]

Lewis began acting professionally during the late 1970s.[1] She met her future husband, television producer and screenwriter Tom Fontana, in 1978 while auditioning at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.[1][2] Fontana was working as an assistant to the theatre festival's artistic director at the time of their meeting.[1]

In 1980, Lewis moved to Los Angeles when Fontana became a writer on the NBC drama, St. Elsewhere.[1] She was soon co-starring on St. Elsewhere, when the showrunner, Bruce Paltrow, created the role of Dr. Jacqueline Wade specifically for her.[1][2] She appeared in several television films throughout the 1980s, including Cocaine: One Man's Seduction (1983), which starred Dennis Weaver, Dan Aykroyd and Jeffrey Tambor.[1] Lewis also appeared in the final half hour of the series finale of M*A*S*H, Goodbye, Farewell and Amen, in 1983.[1][2]

Lewis was cast in a multi-episode recurring role as Judge Susan Aandahl on Homicide: Life on the Street from 1995 to 1999.[1]

Sagan Lewis and Tom Fontana married for the first time on December 18, 1982, at ceremony held at the Santa Monica home of Bruce Paltrow and his wife, actress Blythe Danner.[2][3][4] They divorced in 1993.[1] Following the divorce, Lewis moved to Maui and then to Sedona, Arizona, where she taught at the Zaki Gordon Institute of Independent Film (now known as the Sedona Film School) and served as the program director of the Sedona International Film Festival for seven years.[3] She also gave birth to her son, Jade Scott Lewis, about three years after her divorce.[4]

However, Lewis and Fontana later reconnected when her son went to graduate school in New York.[3][4] Fontana proposed to her over the Christmas holiday in 2014.[3] They remarried in July 2015 and remained together until her death from cancer in 2016.[1][2][3] In an interview with the New York Times, published in the article "You Married Them Once, but What About Twice?" in March 2016, Lewis talked about her divorce and remarriage to Fontana, explaining, "I was sad when we split up. It was hard for both of us but we knew it was necessary. He understood that I needed to explore other worlds."[3][4] They held wedding parties in Tribeca (New York City), Los Angeles, Omaha (her hometown), and Buffalo, New York (Fontana's hometown).[4] Lewis and Fontana wrote on their invitations, "After 22 years, the divorce didn't work out."[4]

After a six-year battle with cancer, Lewis died at her home in Manhattan on August 7, 2016, at the age of 63.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Petski, Denise (2016-08-06). "Sagan Lewis Dies: Actress & Wife Of Emmy-Winner Tom Fontana Was 63". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g McClendon, Lamarco (2016-08-09). "Sagan Lewis, 'St. Elsewhere' Actress, Dies at 63". Variety. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Barnes, Mike (2016-08-09). "Sagan Lewis, Actress and Wife of Emmy Winner Tom Fontana, Dies at 63". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ellin, Abby (2016-03-03). "You Married Them Once, but What About Twice?". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-08-16.

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