Marcia Gay Harden

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Marcia Gay Harden
Born(1959-08-14) August 14, 1959 (age 54)
La Jolla, California
Years active1979–present
Spouse(s)Thaddaeus Scheel
(1996–2012; divorced; 3 children)
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Marcia Gay Harden
Born(1959-08-14) August 14, 1959 (age 54)
La Jolla, California
Years active1979–present
Spouse(s)Thaddaeus Scheel
(1996–2012; divorced; 3 children)

Marcia Gay Harden (born August 14, 1959) is an American film and theatre actress.

Harden's breakthrough role was in Miller's Crossing (1990) and then The First Wives Club (1996) which was followed by several roles which gained her wider fame including the comedy Flubber (1997) and Meet Joe Black (1998). She received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lee Krasner in Pollock (2000). She has starred in a string of successful mainstream and independent movies, such as Space Cowboys (2000), Into the Wild (2007), and The Mist (2007), for which she won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Harden's recent credits include Lasse Hallström's film The Hoax, opposite Richard Gere, and Hollywood Pictures' The Invisible, directed by David S Goyer. She was also recently seen in Lakeshore Entertainment's The Dead Girl, directed by Karen Moncrieff and starring Toni Colette, Kerry Washington, Mary Steenburgen, and Brittany Murphy. In 2009, Harden received a Tony Award for the Broadway play God of Carnage. She has also twice been nominated for an Emmy Award.[1]

Early life[edit]

Harden, one of five children, was born in La Jolla, California, the daughter of Texas natives Beverly (née Bushfield), a housewife, and Thad Harold Harden, who was an officer in the United States Navy.[2] One of Harden's brothers is named Thaddeus, as is her former husband. Harden's family frequently moved because of her father's job, living in Japan, Germany, Greece, California, and Maryland.[3] She graduated from Surrattsville High School in Clinton, Maryland in 1976, the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in theatre, and the Graduate Acting Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a Master of Fine Arts.[4]


Marcia Gay Harden with John Heald on the Carnival Dream in November 2009

Harden's first film role was in a 1979 student-produced movie at the University of Texas. Throughout the 1980s, she appeared in several television programs, including Simon & Simon, Kojak, and CBS Summer Playhouse. She appeared in the Coen brothers' Miller's Crossing (1990), a 1930s mobster drama in which she first gained wide exposure. Even so, at the time, living in New York City, she had to go back to doing catering jobs "because I didn't have any money".[5]

In 1992, she played actress Ava Gardner alongside Philip Casnoff as Frank Sinatra in the made for TV miniseries Sinatra. Throughout the 1990s, she continued to appear in films and television. Notable film roles include The Imagemaker (1986), her first screen role, in which she played a stage manager; the Disney sci-fi comedy Flubber (1997), a popular hit in which she co-starred with Robin Williams; the supernatural drama Meet Joe Black (1998); Labor of Love (1998), a Lifetime Television movie in which she starred with David Marshall Grant; and Space Cowboys (2000), an all-star adventure-drama about aging astronauts.

In 1993, Harden debuted on Broadway in the role of Harper Pitt (and others) in Tony Kushner's Angels in America. The role earned her critical acclaim and she received a Tony Award nomination (Best Featured Actress in a Play). The winner in that category was Debra Monk in Redwood Curtain.

Harden was awarded the 2000 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of painter Lee Krasner in Pollock (2000). In 2003, she was again nominated in the same category for Mystic River.

Harden guest-starred as FBI undercover agent Dana Lewis posing as a white-supremacist in "Raw", an episode of the popular crime drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2007, this role earned Harden her first Emmy Award nomination for best guest actress in a drama series. She reprised the role in the series' eighth season premiere and again in the twelfth season episode "Penetration" as a rape victim (aired November 10, 2010).

In 2007, Harden appeared in several films, including Sean Penn's critically acclaimed Into the Wild, and Frank Darabont's The Mist (opposite Thomas Jane and Laurie Holden), based on the novella by Stephen King. Also in 2007 she shared top billing with Kevin Bacon in Rails & Ties, the directorial debut of Alison Eastwood.

In 2008, she appeared in Home playing a woman who has had a mastectomy. One central scene called for her to bare her breasts, with the missing breast "removed" using computer-generated imagery. In Home, her co-stars include her daughter, Eulala Scheel. Harden starred in the Christmas Cottage (2008), a story of the early artistic beginnings of the Painter of Light, Thomas Kinkade. In 2009, she appeared as a regular on the critically acclaimed FX series Damages as a shrewd corporate attorney, opposite Glenn Close and William Hurt. Harden also played in the comedy The Maiden Heist (2009) with Christopher Walken and Morgan Freeman. Harden received a 2009 Emmy nomination for her role in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, a TV film also starring Oscar-winner Anna Paquin. She was a Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries nominee, and lost to Shohreh Aghdashloo. If she had won this Emmy, Harden would have entered the elite group of 'triple-crown' actors; those who have won the profession's three highest honors: the Academy Award (film), the Tony Award (stage) and the Emmy Award (television).

In 2009, Harden co-starred with Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore in Whip It, which proved a critical success.[6] It was also in this year that Harden returned to Broadway in Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage, where she co-starred with James Gandolfini, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. All three actors were nominated for the Tony Award, and on June 8, Harden won Best Actress in a Play.[7]

Together, Harden's films have grossed $724,487,920 domestically and $1,128,784,661 worldwide.[8]

In 2013, Harden reunited with her former Broadway co-star Jeff Daniels as a new cast member on HBO's series The Newsroom.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Harden married Thaddaeus Scheel, a prop master[5] whom she worked with on The Spitfire Grill (1996), in 1996. Harden and Scheel have three children: a daughter, Eulala Grace Scheel (September 1998), and twins Julitta Dee Scheel and Hudson Scheel Harden (April 22, 2004).[9] In February 2012, Harden filed for divorce from Scheel.[10]

On December 14, 2003, her nephew Sander Waring Harden and niece Audrey Gay Harden died along with their mother Rebecca Harden, as a result of a fire in their Queens, New York, apartment. Rebecca Harden was, at the time, divorced from Marcia Gay's brother, the children's father, Thaddeus Harden.[11]

On May 22, 2010, Harden delivered the 127th Spring Commencement Address at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin.[12]

Harden and her children reside in Santa Monica California.



1979Not Only Strangers[citation needed]Short
1986The Imagemaker[citation needed]Stage Manager
1990Miller's CrossingVerna Bernbaum
1991Late for Dinner[13][14]Joy Husband
1992Used PeopleNormaNominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
1993Geoffrey Beene 30[citation needed]WomanShort
1994Safe PassageCynthia
1996The Spitfire GrillShelby Goddard
1996The DaytrippersLibby
1996The First Wives ClubDr. Leslie RosenNational Board of Review Award for Best Cast
1996Far Harbor[citation needed]Arabella
1996Spy HardMiss Cheevus
1997FlubberDr. Sara Jean Reynolds
1998Desperate MeasuresDr. Samantha Hawkins
1998Meet Joe BlackAllison
1998It All Came TrueMichelle Tippet
1999Curtain Call[citation needed]Michelle Tippet
2000Space CowboysSara Holland
2000PollockLee KrasnerAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
2001Gaudi AfternoonFrankie Stevens
2003Mystic RiverCeleste BoyleBoston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
Seattle Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2003Just Like Mona[citation needed]
2003Casa de los BabysNan
2003Mona Lisa SmileNancy Abbey
2004Welcome to MooseportGrace Sutherland
2004P.S.Missy Goldberg
2005Bad News BearsLiz Whitewood
2005American GunJanet HuttensonNominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
2006American DreamzFirst Lady
2006The Dead GirlMelora
2006The HoaxEdith Irving
2006CanvasMary Marino
2007The InvisibleDiane Powell
2007The MistMrs. CarmodySaturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2007Into the WildBillie McCandlessNominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2007Rails & TiesMegan Stark
2008Home[citation needed]Inga
2008Thomas Kinkade's Home for ChristmasMaryanne Kinkade
2009The Maiden HeistRose
2009Whip ItBrooke Cavendar
2010A Cat in ParisJeanne (voice)
2011DetachmentPrincipal Carol Dearden
2011Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to YouMarjorie Dunfour
2012Noah's Ark: The New BeginningAamah (voice)
2012If I Were YouMadelynCompleted
2012The Wine of SummerShelleyPost-production
2013Get a JobKatherine DunnPost-production
2013The Librarian[citation needed]Filming
2013Supreme Ruler[citation needed]NancyPre-production
2013You're Not YouPost-production
2013ParklandHead Nurse Doris Nelson
2014Magic in the MoonlightFilming
2015Fifty Shades of GreyGrace Trevelyan GreyFilming


1987CBS Summer PlayhouseKimTV series (1 episode: "In the Lion's Den")
1988Simon & SimonLibrarian, JoanTV series (1 episode: "Ties That Bind")
1989Gideon OliverLilaTV series (1 episode: "Sleep Well, Professor Oliver")
1990Kojak: None So Blind[citation needed]AngelinaTV movie
1991In Broad DaylightAdina RowanTV movie
1991FeverLacyTV movie
1992SinatraAva GardnerTV movie
1995Fallen AngelsMarieTV series (1 episode: "Good Housekeeping")
1995Chicago HopeBarbara TomilsonTV series (1 episode: "Internal Affairs")
1995Great PerformancesTV series (1 episode: "Talking With")
1995Convict Cowboy[citation needed]MaggieTV movie
1995Homicide: Life on the StreetJoan GarbarekTV series (1 episode: "A Doll's Eyes")
1997Path to Paradise: The Untold Story of the World Trade Center BombingNancy FloydTV movie
1998Labor of LoveAnnie PinesTV movie
1999Spenser: Small VicesSusan SilvermanTV movie
2000From Where I Sit[citation needed]SharonTV movie
2000Thin AirSusan SilvermanTV movie
2001Walking ShadowSusan SilvermanTV movie
2002In the Echo[citation needed]TV movie
2002Guilty HeartsJenny MoranTV movie
2001The Education of Max BickfordAndrea HaskellTV series (22 episodes)
2002King of TexasMrs. Susannah Lear TumlinsonTV movie

Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film

2004She's Too YoungTrish VogulTV movie
2005Hate[citation needed]Chief Jackie MantelloTV movie
2005Felicity: An American Girl AdventureMrs. Martha MerrimanTV movie
2005–2013Law & Order: Special Victims UnitFBI Special Agent Dana LewisTV series (4 episodes)

Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

2006Drift[citation needed]CherylTV movie
2006In from the Night[citation needed]Vicki MillerTV movie
2008The TowerZoe CafritzTV movie
2008Sex and Lies in Sin CityBecky BinionTV movie
2009DamagesClaire MaddoxTV series (13 episodes)
2009The Courageous Heart of Irena SendlerJanina KyzyzanowskaTV movie

Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

2010Royal PainsDr. Elizabeth BlairTV series (3 episodes)
2011Smothered[citation needed]FranTV movie
2011Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in ItalyEdda MellasTV movie
2011InnocentBarbara SabichTV movie
2012Body of ProofSheila TempleTV series (1 episode: "Sympathy for the Devil")
2012BentVanessa CarterTV series (1 episode: "Mom")
2012Tron: UprisingKellerTV series (2 episodes)
2012IsabelFrances LorenzTV movie; completed
2013–presentThe NewsroomRebecca HallidayTV Series
2013–presentTrophy WifeDianeTV Series

Awards and nominations[edit]

Film and television[edit]

YearAwardCategoryNominated workResult
1996National Board of Review of Motion PicturesBest Acting by an EnsembleThe First Wives ClubWon
2000New York Film Critics Circle AwardBest Supporting ActressPollockWon
2001Academy AwardBest Actress in a Supporting RolePollockWon
2001Independent Spirit AwardBest Supporting FemalePollockNominated
2001National Society of Film CriticsBest Supporting ActressPollockNominated
2003Satellite AwardBest Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for TelevisionKing of TexasNominated
2003Western Heritage AwardTelevision Feature FilmKing of TexasWon
2003Boston Society of Film Critics AwardBest Ensemble CastMystic RiverWon
2003Seattle Film Critics AwardsBest Supporting ActressMystic RiverWon
2004Academy AwardBest Actress in a Supporting RoleMystic RiverNominated
2004Critics Choice AwardBest Supporting ActressMystic RiverNominated
2004Central Ohio Film Critics AssociationBest Supporting ActressMystic RiverWon
2004Chicago Film Critics Association AwardBest Supporting ActressMystic RiverNominated
2004Satellite AwardBest Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, DramaMystic RiverNominated
2004Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureMystic RiverNominated
2007Emmy AwardOutstanding Guest Actress in a Drama SeriesLaw & Order: Special Victims UnitNominated
2007Independent Spirit AwardBest Supporting FemaleAmerican GunNominated
2008Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror FilmsBest Supporting ActressThe MistWon
2008Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureInto the WildNominated
2009Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or MovieThe Courageous Heart of Irena SendlerNominated


YearAwardCategoryNominated workResult
1993Drama Desk AwardOutstanding Featured Actress in a PlayAngels in America: Millennium ApproachesNominated
1993Theatre World AwardDistinguished PerformanceAngels in America: Millennium ApproachesWon
1993Tony AwardBest Featured Actress in a PlayAngels in America: Millennium ApproachesNominated
1994Drama Desk AwardOutstanding Featured Actress in a PlayAngels in America: PerestroikaNominated
2009Drama Desk AwardOutstanding Actress in a PlayGod of CarnageNominated
2009Tony AwardBest Actress in a PlayGod of CarnageWon


In 2002, she received the Excellence in acting award at the Provincetown International Film Festival.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Thad Harold Harden". Variety. March 1, 2002. 
  3. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi. "Strange Attraction". Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  4. ^ "NYU Graduate Acting Alumni". 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  5. ^ a b c Goldman, Andrew (5 July 2013). "'The Trophy Wife Musy Be In Her 20s'". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Whip It Movie Reviews, Pictures". Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  7. ^ Gandolfini Stars on Broadway in God of Carnage The Associated Press, January 12, 2009
  8. ^ "Marcia Gay Harden - Box Office Data". Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Marcia Gay Harden Files for Divorce". People. 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  11. ^ Tauber, Michelle (2004-01-12). "Deaths in the Family". Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  12. ^ "Spring Commencement". 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  13. ^ "Marcia Gay Harden Filmography". Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  14. ^ "Late For Dinner". Chicago Sun Times. 1991-09-20. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 

External links[edit]