Mare Winningham

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Mare Winningham
Mare Winningham 2012.jpg
Winningham in 2012
BornMary Megan Winningham
(1959-05-16) May 16, 1959 (age 55)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
OccupationActress, Singer-songwriter
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)A Martinez (1981)
William Mapel (1981–1996)
Jason Trucco (2008–present)
ChildrenRiley Mapel (deceased)
Happy Atticus Mapel
Jack Mapel
Calla Louise Mapel
Patrick "Paddy" Mapel
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Mare Winningham
Mare Winningham 2012.jpg
Winningham in 2012
BornMary Megan Winningham
(1959-05-16) May 16, 1959 (age 55)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
OccupationActress, Singer-songwriter
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)A Martinez (1981)
William Mapel (1981–1996)
Jason Trucco (2008–present)
ChildrenRiley Mapel (deceased)
Happy Atticus Mapel
Jack Mapel
Calla Louise Mapel
Patrick "Paddy" Mapel

Mary Megan "Mare"[needs IPA] Winningham (born May 16, 1959) is an American actress and singer-songwriter.[1] She is an Academy Award, Tony Award and eight-time Emmy Award nominee, winning Emmys in 1980 and 1998.

Winningham began her acting career in the late 1970s on television. In 1980, she starred in the TV movie Amber Waves, winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the 1995 film Georgia. In 1998, she won a second Emmy for the TV Movie George Wallace. Her other film and TV roles include, St. Elmo's Fire (1985), Miracle Mile (1988), Turner & Hooch (1989), The War (1994), Dandelion (2004), Swing Vote (2008), Brothers (2009), Mildred Pierce (2011) and Hatfields & McCoys (2012).

She made her New York stage debut in the 2007 Off-Broadway musical 10 Million Miles, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination. She made her Broadway debut in the 2013 revival of Picnic. In 2014, she starred in the original Broadway production of Casa Valentina, receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Early life[edit]

Winningham was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and raised in Northridge, California.[2] She is the daughter of Marilyn Jean (née Maloney) and Sam Neal Winningham.[3][4][5] She has three brothers and one sister. Her father was the chairman of the Department of Physical Education at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and her mother was an English teacher and college counsellor at Monroe High School. She credits her first interest in acting to seeing an interview with Kym Karath (who played Gretl in The Sound of Music) on Art Linkletter's television show House Party when she was five or six years old.

Winningham attended Andasol Ave. Elementary School, where her favorite activities included drama and playing the guitar and drums. She took the extended drama option at Patrick Henry Junior High School and continued to study over her summer vacations at CSUN's Teenage Drama Workshop. It was at this time that she adopted the nickname "Mare". Her mother arranged for her to go to Chatsworth High School. In Grade 12, Winningham starred in a production of The Sound of Music, playing the part of Maria, opposite classmate Kevin Spacey as Captain Von Trapp.



Winningham began her career as a singer-songwriter. In 1976 and 1977, she got her break singing The Beatles song "Here, There and Everywhere" on The Gong Show.[6] Though Winningham received no record contracts as result of the appearance, she was signed to an acting contract by Hollywood agent Meyer Mishkin, and received her Screen Actor's Guild card for doing three lines in an episode of James at 15. That year she was offered a role on Young Pioneers and Young Pioneers Christmas, pilots for the short-lived 1978 drama The Young Pioneers. Though the series ended with just three episodes being broadcast, a number of television projects followed, including parts on Police Woman in 1978 and Starsky and Hutch in 1979. Later that same year, she played the role of teenage outcast Jenny Flowers in the made-for-TV film The Death of Ocean View Park.

In 1980, Winningham starred in Off the Minnesota Strip playing a young prostitute. She then won an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie for her role in the critically acclaimed Amber Waves, a television film about a rough farmer (Dennis Weaver) who finds he is dying of cancer.[1] In that year, she also broke into feature films with One Trick Pony, starring Paul Simon. In 1983, Winningham was nominated for a Canadian Genie Award for her work in the futuristic 1981 drama Threshold, and appeared in the 1983 epic miniseries The Thorn Birds, in which she played Justine O'Neill. In 1984, she starred as Helen Keller in Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues.[2]

Winningham achieved greater fame in St. Elmo's Fire (1985) as one of the original "brat pack" alumni.[2] Despite the film's success, she failed to cash in on her teen idol status, and returned to television in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Love Is Never Silent, for which she received an Emmy nomination. Another well-known and well-received performance was as a homeless young mother in the television movie God Bless the Child. Winningham finished the 1980s with two Hollywood films: the nuclear disaster drama, Miracle Mile (1988), for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 1989, and the Tom Hanks vehicle Turner & Hooch in 1989. In 1988, Winningham also starred in the Los Angeles stage production of Hurlyburly with Sean Penn and Danny Aiello.

In the early 1990s, she returned to film for 1994's all-star Wyatt Earp and the family drama The War, both starring Kevin Costner. 1995 brought Georgia, a thoughtful character study of two sisters (Winningham and Jennifer Jason Leigh), which earned Winningham Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations.[2] Two years later, she starred opposite Gary Sinise in George Wallace, for which she garnered her first Golden Globe Award nomination[7] and won an Emmy Award.[1]

She made acclaimed appearances on the series ER and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as appearances in the 2001 television project Sally Hemmings opposite Sam Neill and the short-lived David E. Kelley series The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire. Also in 2001, she appeared in the made for TV movie Snap Decision with Felicity Huffman. She also appeared in the independent film Dandelion, which was a staple of film festivals worldwide between 2003 and 2004 and had a limited American release in October 2005.

In 2006, she landed the role of Susan Grey on the ABC drama Grey's Anatomy where she played the stepmother of one of the main characters, Dr. Meredith Grey. Her character was killed off in May 2007.[2] In 2006, Winningham voiced the audio version of Stephen King's Lisey's Story. In 2007, she voiced Alice Hoffman's Skylight Confessions. In 2010, Winningham starred in an episode of Cold Case as main character Lilly Rush's stepmother, Celeste Cooper.[8] In 2011 she appeared in the fourth episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day as character Ellis Hartley Monroe.[9] She also starred in miniseries Mildred Pierce and Hatfields & McCoys and garnered another two Emmy nominations.[1] In 2012, she appeared off Broadway as Beth, the mother in an intellectual, though dysfunctional, British family, in the award-winning comic-drama Tribes by Nina Raine.


Winningham has recorded four albums:[2] What Might Be (1992) on the Bay Cities label, Lonesomers (1998) produced by Carla Olson on the Razor and Tie label, and Refuge Rock Sublime (2007) on the Craig & Co. label. Lonesomers is a folksy album dealing with relationship issues. The country/bluegrass/Jewish/folk songs on Refuge Rock Sublime deal mostly with her recent conversion to Judaism, and include the tracks, "What Would David Do," "A Convert Jig" and the Israeli national anthem "Hatikva". She also sings on the soundtrack of Georgia. Winningham released her fourth album What's Left Behind independently on digital outlets in March 2014.

Personal life[edit]

Winningham was raised a Roman Catholic. In November 2001, on a friend's recommendation, she took a class given by Rabbi Neal Weinberg at the University of Judaism (now the American Jewish University) in Los Angeles. On March 3, 2003, she converted to Judaism.[10] She has been married three times: to A. Martinez (1981-1981), William Mapel (1981–1996) and Jason Trucco (2008–present).



1976Young PioneersNettie PetersTelevision movie
1976Young Pioneers' ChristmasNettie PetersTelevision movie
1978Special OlympicsJanice GallitzinTelevision movie
1979SteeletownAggie ModgelewskyTelevision movie
1979The Death of Ocean View ParkJenny FlowersTelevision movie
1980Amber WavesMarlene BurkhardtTelevision movie
1980Off the Minnesota StripMicki JohansenTelevision movie
1980The Women's RoomChrisTelevision movie
1980One Trick PonyModeena Dandridge
1981ThresholdCarol Severance
1981FreedomLibby BellowTelevision movie
1981A Few Days in Weasel CreekLocksley ClaitorTelevision movie
1982Missing Children: A Mother's StoryKate BradshawTelevision movie
1983The Thorn BirdsJustine O'Neill
1984Helen Keller: The Miracle ContinuesHelen KellerTelevision movie
1984Single Bars, Single WomenBootsieTelevision movie
1985St. Elmo's FireWendy Beamish
1985Love Is Never SilentMargaret RyderTelevision movie
1986A Winner Never QuitsAnnieTelevision movie
1986Who Is Julia?Mary Frances BodineTelevision movie
1986Nobody's FoolPat
1987Shy PeopleCandy
1987Made in HeavenBrenda Carlucci
1987Eye on the SparrowEthel LeeTelevision movie
1988God Bless the ChildTheresa JohnsonTelevision movie
1988Miracle MileJulie Peters
1989Turner & HoochDr. Emily Carson
1990Love and LiesKim ParisTelevision movie
1990Crossing to FreedomNicole RougeronTelevision movie
1991Fatal ExposureJamie HurdTelevision movie
1991She Stood AlonePrudence CrandallTelevision movie
1991Hard PromisesDawn
1992Those SecretsFayeTelevision movie
1992IntrudersMary WilkesTelevision movie
1993Sexual HealingMarta
1993Better Off DeadKit KillnerTelevision movie
1994Betrayed by LoveDanaTelevision movie
1994Teresa's TattooSinger
1994Wyatt EarpMattie Blaylock
1994The WarLois Simmons
1995GeorgiaGeorgia Flood
1995Letter to My KillerJudy ParmaTelevision movie
1996The Boys Next DoorSheilaTelevision movie
1996The Deliverance of ElaineElaine HodgesTelevision movie
1997Bad Day on the BlockCatherine Braverton
1997George WallaceLurleen WallaceTelevision movie
1998Everything That RisesKyle ClayTelevision movie
1998Little Girl Fly AwayCatherine BegleyTelevision movie
1999Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris DukeChandi HeffnerTelevision movie
2000Sally Hemings: An American ScandalMartha Jefferson RandolphTelevision movie
2000Sharing the SecretDr. Nina MossTelevision movie
2001Snap DecisionJennifer BradleyTelevision movie
2002Tru ConfessionsGinnyTelevision movie
2003The Maldonado MiracleMaisieTelevision movie
2003The Adventures of Ociee NashAunt Mamie Nash
2004DandelionLayla Mullich
2005The Magic of Ordinary DaysMarthaTelevision movie
2007War Eagle, ArkansasBelle
2008Swing VoteLarissa Johnson
2009BrothersElsie Cahill
2012Mirror MirrorBaker Margaret
2013PhilomenaMary Hess
2016GeostormDr. JenningsFilming


1977James at 15WandaEpisode: "The Girl with the Bad Rep"
1978Police WomanLindaEpisode: "Battered Teachers"
1978The Young PioneersNettie PetersEpisode: "Sky in the Window"
1979Starsky and HutchJoey CarstonEpisode: "Ninety Pounds of Trouble"
1979FamilyMerilee KalisherEpisode: "The Competition"
1985ABC Afterschool SpecialsBethEpisode: "One Too Many"
1985Hallmark Hall of FameMargaret RyderEpisode: "Love Is Never Silent"
1986The Twilight ZoneNorma LewisEpisode: "Button, Button"
1997–1998Mad About YouSarah McCain2 episodes
1999ERDr. Amanda Lee4 episodes
2001Night VisionsKate MorrisEpisode: "Still Life"
2002Six Feet UnderEileen PiperEpisode: "The Plan"
2002Touched by an AngelMaggieEpisode: "The Bells of St. Peters"
2003Law & Order: Special Victims UnitSandra BlaineEpisode: "Manic"
2003The Brotherhood of Poland, New HampshireDottie Shaw7 episodes
2004–2005ClubhouseLynne Young11 episodes
2007Boston LegalPatrice Kelly2 episodes
2007Grey's AnatomySusan Grey6 episodes
2009CSI: NYKatherine DonovanEpisode: "Greater Good"
2010Cold CaseCeleste CooperEpisode: "The Good Soldier"
201024Elaine Al-Zacar2 episodes
2010Criminal MindsNancy RivertonEpisode: "Safe Haven"
2011Mildred PierceIda Corwin5 episodes
2011Torchwood: Miracle DayEllis Hartley Monroe3 episodes
2012Hatfields & McCoysSally McCoy3 episodes
2013Hawaii Five-OTerry BeckettEpisode: "Ho'opio"
2013Under the DomeAgatha2 episodes
2013–2014American Horror StoryAlicia SpencerEpisode: "The Replacements" (Coven)
Rita GayheartEpisode: "Orphans" (Freak Show)
2014–presentThe AffairCherry Lockhart8 episodes


200710 Million MilesThe Women
2010After the RevolutionMel
2013PicnicFlo Owens
2014Casa ValentinaRita

Awards and nominations[edit]



External links[edit]