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Mary McDonnell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (3)

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA
Birth NameMary Eileen McDonnell
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Mary McDonnell is a two-time Oscar®-nominated actress, who is known for her character portrayals in both period and present-day screen roles, as well as a long history of stage and film roles.

Mary Eileen McDonnell was born on April 28, 1952 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to Eileen (Mundy) and John McDonnell, a computer consultant, both of Irish descent. Raised in Ithaca, New York, she graduated from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. She later attended drama school and was accepted into the prestigious Long Wharf Theatre Company on the East Coast. Two decades later, she landed her breakthrough film role, in Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves (1990), playing "Stands with a Fist", a white woman raised by the Sioux Indians. She earned her first Academy Award nomination for the role.

McDonnell's film credits include the Lawrence Kasdan films Grand Canyon (1991) and Mumford (1999) (opposite such seasoned performers as Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, and Ben Kingsley); Roland Emmerich's Independence Day (1996) (starring Will Smith); acclaimed art house cult-hit Donnie Darko (2001); and Margin Call (2011) (opposite Kevin Spacey), which earned her the Robert Altman Award at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards. On the small screen, McDonnell starred in four seasons on the Syfy Network's award-winning series Battlestar Galactica (2004) in her critically praised performance as President Laura Roslin. She garnered an Emmy nomination for her recurring guest role on the television series ER (1994). She stars as Captain Sharon Raydor on the TNT's hit drama series Major Crimes (2012), the follow-up to The Closer (2005), in which McDonnell originated the role and for which she earned a Primetime Emmy® nomination. She garnered a Best Actress Academy Award® nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of a paraplegic soap opera star in John Sayles's critically acclaimed film, Passion Fish (1992).

McDonnell began her career in theatre and has starred in a wide variety of both Broadway and off-Broadway productions. She received an Obie Award for her performance in Emily Mann's Still Life and has starred in off-Broadway productions including the debut production of Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child (off-Broadway), John Patrick Shanley Savage in Limbo, John O'Keefe's All Night Long, Michael Cristofer's Black Angel, Kathleen Tolan's A Weekend Near Madison, Paula Cizmar's Death of a Miner, and Dennis McIntyre's National Anthem. Her Broadway credits include Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke, the title role in Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles, and Emily Mann's Execution of Justice. She received rave reviews for her performance opposite David Strathairn in Emily Mann's acclaimed adaptation of Chekhov's classic, The Cherry Orchard.

McDonnell lives in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles County, California with her husband, actor Randle Mell, and their children, Olivia and Michael.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gustaf Molin <gumo@hem2.passagen.se>

Spouse (1)

Randle Mell (29 September 1984 - present) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Deep smooth voice

Trivia (14)

Has taught acting classes with her husband, Randle Mell, even after being nominated for an Academy Award.
Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1990" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 42.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 35, a daughter Olivia Mell on October 4, 1987. Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 42, a son, Michael Elliott Mell, on August 26, 1994. Both children are by her husband Randle Mell.
Was a cast member of the medical drama E/R (1984) and also had a recurring role on the 1990s medical drama of nearly the same name, ER (1994).
Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, McDonnell and her family lived for a time just outside Philadelphia in Upper Merion Township, where she attended Port Kennedy Kindergarten, 1957-58. The family then moved to Ithaca, New York. McDonnell attended Attended Fredonia State University (SUNY-Fredonia).
Plays the First Lady during a devastating attack by aliens in Independence Day (1996), and the President after a devastating attack by robots in Battlestar Galactica (2004).
Has appeared in four films with Alfre Woodard: Grand Canyon (1991), Passion Fish (1992), Blue Chips (1994) and Mumford (1999).
Has been a huge fan of Vanessa Redgrave since the 1970s.
Twice played alongside a non-human named Boomer; a dog in Independence Day (1996) and a Cylon in Battlestar Galactica (2004).
Was offered the part of May-Alice Culhane in Passion Fish (1992) before it was even written.
The role of Laura Roslin in Battlestar Galactica (2004) was written with her in mind. She was the first actor offered the role by creator Ronald D. Moore.
Was a competitive and synchronized swimmer as a child and still swims to keep in shape.
After graduation, she moved to New York City. While looking for acting work, she supported herself by selling Fuller brushes door to door in Rockefeller Center. In the classic struggling-actress tradition, she also worked as a waitress.
Went to the United Nations with Edward James Olmos. to raise profile of humanitarian concerns.

Personal Quotes (4)

Actors are part of a certain percentage of people on this planet who have an emotional vocabulary as a primary experience. It's as if their life is experienced emotionally and then that is translated intellectually or conceptually into the performance.
It's really important for actors to feel that they're more than something for hire.
We have to get back to the beauty of just being alive in this present moment.
Light up the world. The world needs your light.

See also

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