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Mary McDonnell Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Apr 28, 1952
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

Renowned stage and screen actress Mary McDonnell graced East Coast stages for two decades before getting her major screen breakthrough in [[Feature~V12092~Dances with Wolves~danceswithwolves]] (1990). Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on April 28, 1952, McDonnell was raised in Ithaca, New York, and graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia. After a few seasons in regional repertory, she established herself on Broadway with such successful 1980s plays as [[Feature~V151808~The Heidi Chronicles~theheidichronicles]]. She made her film debut in 1984's [[Feature~V19219~Garbo Talks~garbotalks]]; three years later, she was showered with critical adulation for her portrayal of mining town landlady Elma Radnor in director John Sayles' [[Feature~V31802~Matewan~matewan]]. Further adulation and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination followed for McDonnell's portrayal of Stands with a Fist, a white woman raised by the Lakota Sioux, in Kevin Costner's [[Feature~V12092~Dances with Wolves~danceswithwolves]] (1990). One year later, she starred in the PBS "American Playhouse" dramatization of Willa Cather's [[Feature~V35869~O Pioneers!~opioneers]], and also did starring work as the wife of an immigration attorney ([[Performer~P38699~Kevin Kline~kevinkline]]) in [[Performer~P96824~Lawrence Kasdan~lawrencekasdan]]'s acclaimed [[Feature~V20447~Grand Canyon~grandcanyon]]. Her film career has continued with roles in films big and small, ranging from Sayles' excellent [[Feature~V37365~Passion Fish~passionfish]] (1992) to the 1996 blockbuster [[Feature~V136197~Independence Day~independenceday]] to Kasdan's [[Feature~V180741~Mumford~mumford]] (1999), which cast McDonnell as a dissatisfied housewife with a mail order catalog obsession. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi