Mary McDonnell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Mary McDonnell

at Comicon 2007
BornMary Eileen McDonnell
(1952-04-28) April 28, 1952 (age 60)
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Years active1970s–present
Spouse(s)Randle Mell (1984?–present; 2 children)
Jump to: navigation, search
Mary McDonnell

at Comicon 2007
BornMary Eileen McDonnell
(1952-04-28) April 28, 1952 (age 60)
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Years active1970s–present
Spouse(s)Randle Mell (1984?–present; 2 children)

Mary Eileen McDonnell (born April 28, 1952) is an American film, stage, and television actress. She received Academy Award nominations for her roles as Stands With A Fist in Dances with Wolves and May-Alice Culhane in Passion Fish. McDonnell is well known for her performances as President Laura Roslin in Battlestar Galactica, The First Lady in Independence Day, and a starring role in Donnie Darko as the title character's mother. McDonnell is currently starring in Major Crimes as Captain Sharon Raydor.


Personal life

McDonnell was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and raised in Ithaca, New York. After graduating from the State University of New York at Fredonia, she attended drama school and joined the East Coast's prestigious Long Wharf Theatre Company, with which she worked for over 20 years. McDonnell is married to Randle Mell, who is also an actor. McDonnell and Mell currently reside in Pacific Palisades, California. They have two children, Olivia and Michael. In a question and answer session for Syfy regarding her role as Laura Roslin, she was asked if any of her character's political views caused her any discomfort because of her own views. She stated that several of the things her character did in Season Three of Battlestar Galactica "[ran] deeply against being a liberal progressive" and that portraying those views sometimes caused her "a bit of angst in having to commit to them."[1]


McDonnell won an Obie in 1980 for her work in the play Still Life. On Broadway, she has performed in productions of Execution of Justice, The Heidi Chronicles, and Summer and Smoke.

After more than 21 years of theater and television work, McDonnell made her film breakthrough in 1990 as Stands With A Fist, the daughter of American settlers raised by Sioux Indians, in Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves. Portraying the adopted daughter of Graham Greene's character Kicking Bird, McDonnell, then 37, was actually two months older than Greene and less than two years younger than Tantoo Cardinal, who played Black Shawl, her adoptive mother. McDonnell was extremely nervous about shooting her sex scene with Kevin Costner, requesting it to be toned down from what was scripted.[2] She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the role.

McDonnell's role in Passion Fish (1992) brought her another Academy Award nomination, this time for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Her other notable films include Grand Canyon (1991), Sneakers (1992), Passion Fish (1992), Independence Day (1996), and Donnie Darko (2001). McDonnell also starred with Patrick Swayze in the 1988 movie, Tiger Warsaw. In 1997 she played the judge in the film 12 Angry Men. The film also featured future Battlestar Galactica cast mate Edward James Olmos.

On television, McDonnell had her first regular part in 1980 on the soap opera As the World Turns. She starred in 1984 on the short-lived medical comedy E/R, alongside Elliott Gould and George Clooney. Coincidentally, she guest-starred in 2001 on the NBC medical series of the same name, ER, which also featured Clooney. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role on the show as Eleanor Carter, the mother of Dr. John Carter played by Noah Wyle, who also had a role in Donnie Darko. She plays Dr. Virginia Dixon, a surgeon with Asperger syndrome for three episodes of Grey's Anatomy in 2008 and 2009.[3]

In 2003, McDonnell starred in the mini-series Battlestar Galactica as Laura Roslin. The mini-series led to the subsequent weekly series, with McDonnell reprising her Laura Roslin role. The series ended in March 2009. McDonnell received worldwide recognition for her performance in the show, part of which was shown when she was invited to the United Nations for a retrospective and discussion with Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama).

McDonnell took part in a special session entitled Battlestar Galactica at the 2009 World Science Festival.[4] The session also included Michael Hogan, as well as scientists Nick Bostrom and Kevin Warwick. In 2011, she appeared briefly in the role of Kate Roberts, the mother of Emma Roberts's character in Scream 4.[5]

From 2009 to 2012, McDonnell had a recurring role in The Closer as Capt. Sharon Raydor, a police captain in the Force Investigation Division, who often butts heads with Kyra Sedgwick's Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning character.[6] McDonnell received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2011 for the role.[7]

McDonnell's character is the lead in the spin-off, Major Crimes, which debuted August 13 2012, after The Closer wrapped up its final season in the summer of 2012.[8]


1980As the World TurnsClaudia Colfax
1984Garbo TalksLady Capulet
1984–85E/RDr. Eve Sheridan20 episodes
1987MatewanElma Radnor
1988Tiger WarsawPaula Warsaw
1990Dances with WolvesStands With A FistNominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1991Grand CanyonClaire
1992Passion FishMay-Alice CulhaneNominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1994Blue ChipsJenny Bell
1995–96High SocietyDorothy "Dott" Emerson13 episodes
1996Independence DayFirst Lady Marilyn Whitmore
1996Mariette in EcstasyPrioress
199712 Angry MenJudgeTelevision film
1997Woman UndoneTerri Hansen
1998You Can Thank Me LaterDiane
1998Evidence of BloodDora OvertonTelevision film
1999Replacing DadLinda MarshTelevision film
1999MumfordAlthea Brockett
2000A Father's ChoiceSusan ShawTelevision film
2000For All TimeLaura BrownTelevision film
2001–02EREleanor Carterfive episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (2002)
2001Donnie DarkoRose Darko
2002Locket, TheThe LocketHelen StaplesTelevision film
2003NolaMargaret Langworthy
2004Crazy Like a FoxAmy Banks
2004–09Battlestar GalacticaPresident Laura Roslin73 episodes
Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television (2009)
2005Mrs. HarrisVivian SchulteTelevision film
2008–09Grey's AnatomyDr. Virginia Dixonthree episodes (season five)
2009Killer HairRoseTelevision film
2009Hostile MakeoverRose SmithsonianTelevision film
2011Scream 4Kate Roberts
2011Margin CallMary Rogers
2005–2012Closer, TheThe CloserCaptain Sharon RaydorNominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (2011)
2012-presentMajor CrimesCaptain Sharon Raydor


External links