‘Heat of the Night’ Star Alan Autry Once Invited Daughter to Appear on Show

by Chase Thomas

As a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, Alan Autry always had a trick up his sleeve. To excel at the quarterback position, this comes with the territory. But you may not know that the athlete-turned-actor once brought in his own daughter on Heat of the Night.

Yes, you read that right. In one episode, Autry added his daughter Lauren, from his first wife, to join the program. However, it was a one-time moment for Lauren and Autry. The episode, “Every Man’s Family,” is where Lauren pops up on the program. With that kind of episode title, it makes sense that this was the episode where Autry’s real-life family appeared, doesn’t it?

In The Heat of the Night and Alan Autry’s History

In the Heat of the Night ran for seven seasons as one of America’s favorite cop procedural dramas. It ran on NBC from 1988-1994. Along with the reveal about Autry’s daughter, did you know that the show was also meant to be seen as a sequel to the 1967 movie? Along with Autry, the program starred a stacked cast of actors that included, Carroll O’Connor, Howard Rollins, Vigil Tibbs, and so many others. The original movie was based on the 1965 novel based in Mississippi.

You can still watch old episodes on WGN News and Ovation.

In the Heat of the Night was Autry’s big break in television. After retiring from the NFL, Autry could have elected to do anything he wanted, but he chose to get into acting. You may have seen the former Packer on Cheers, Newhart of the Dukes of Hazzard. These were all important roles for Autry to prepare him for the big role on this drama.

His two daughters from his second wife, Kimberlee, did not follow Lauren as a guest star on the program. However, this was only the case for the hit TV drama of the early 1990s. Yes, Autry directed his own film and included his wife and two children from that marriage. It is important for Autry to spend time with his family, so it is of no surprise to see that his whole family became a part of his acting and directing career later in life.

Still, it was a cool, subtle move by Autry those years ago to include his daughter on the show, wasn’t it? Especially considering nobody ever knew who she was when she appeared. It took decades before it was revealed that Autry had his own daughter Lauren on the hit show, which shows just important it is for him to involve his family.