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Geraldine Hughes (born 1970) is an actress from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Born in West Belfast, Hughes has appeared in films such as Duplex, Rocky Balboa, and Gran Torino.[1][2] She also played Mary Todd Lincoln in Killing Lincoln.[3] More recently, she performed a solo play written by herself, Belfast Blues.

Geraldine Hughes
Geraldine Hughes in New York City in March 2009
Born1970 (age 48–49)
EducationUniversity of California, Los Angeles[1]
Years active1984–present
Height5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)

Early lifeEdit

Hughes grew up in the Divis Flats in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during The Troubles. To get herself through the tough times, Hughes participated in her school's drama club. She loved school, saying it made her feel safe and she enjoyed the structure it provided. It was where she escaped from The Troubles.[4] After being chosen for her role in the film Children of the Crossfire, Hughes spent her first summer in the United States. She had no acting experience beyond her school's drama club before accepting her role as Mary in the movie.[5]


In Belfast, Hughes attended St. Louise Comprehensive School in the '80s. Later, she attended the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) with a private scholarship from those she worked with in the film Children of the Crossfire. While they paid her tuition, she paid her living expenses.[5] Hughes graduated from the university with a BA from the School of Theater, Film and TV. And in 2009, Queens University in Belfast awarded Hughes an honorary doctorate for her contributions to the performing arts.[6]


When Hughes was just 14, American TV producers auditioned hundreds of children in Ireland for their film and of the hundreds, three were chosen to participate in the film, Hughes being one of them. This first film debut of hers was in the movie, Children of the Crossfire in the year 1984. Later, during her first years in Los Angeles, Hughes became a part-time nanny to Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman's children.[5]

After a theater performance, Hughes was contacted by a casting director and asked to audition for the role of Marie in Rocky Balboa, a role she is arguably most known for.[7]

Hughes has been and continues to work in the field of performing arts.

Family and personal lifeEdit

Hughes comes from a working-class family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She grew up in a Catholic household. Because she lived during The Troubles, Hughes experienced life in a war zone. Belfast Blues is a play she wrote detailing her real life experiences from her life in Belfast. As a child, Hughes never spoke of the horrors she witnessed in Belfast.[5] Her performances of this play are dedicated “to all the children who live in places of conflict.”[8] Hughes left Belfast at the age of 18. She lived in Los Angeles for 16 years then moved to New York City.[9] Family comes first for Hughes as she regularly returns to Belfast for visits.[7]

Hughes was married to an American from Pennsylvania, Ian Harrington. He also "came from nothin'' as his family was very poor. He was the first to encourage Hughes to share her story.[5]

Filmography and theatrical appearancesEdit



Year Title Role Notes
1984 Children of the Crossfire Mary
1997 St. Patrick's Day Maeve
1986 The End of the World Man Barbara
2003 Duplex Receptionist
2006 Rocky Balboa Marie
2008 Gran Torino Karen Kowalski
2009 Pumpgirl Sinead
2012 Dead Souls Mary Petrie
2013 Killing Lincoln Mary Todd Lincoln
2014 Time Out of Mind Marie
2017 The Book of Henry Mrs. Evans
TBA Nine Days Colleen Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1998 ER Susan McFarlan
2003 Murder She Wrote Fiona Byrne
2007–2017 Law & Order SVU Tina Parven/Denise Drake TV Series, 2 episodes
2008 Law & Order Sandra Talbot
2010 Nurse Jackie Molly Gaherty
2010 Mercy Tammy Singer
2010 The Good Wife Rachel Knox
2010 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Regina
2013 Blue Bloods Meara McGuire
2013–2017 The Blacklist Dr. Nina TV Series, 3 episodes



Year Title Role Notes
Jerusalem Westend and Broadway productions
Particle of Dread
Cyrano De Bergerac Broadway
Translations Bridget Broadway
Molly Sweeney
Orson's Shadow
The Cripple Inishmaan
The Architect
Belfast Blues 24 characters a solo play written by Hughes-based off real life events

Awards and nominationsEdit

Hughes received her first award in 2003, the Los Angeles Ovation Award.[12] Just a year later, in 2004 she received the Garland and Drama Critics Circle Awards.[13] Hughes also received a nomination for Distinguished Performance from the Drama League Award for her acting in her solo play, Belfast Blues, in 2004.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Geraldine Hughes and her rocky road to fame". Belfast Telegraph. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  2. ^ 'Geraldine Hughes talks Rocky Balboa' by Evan "Mushy" Jacobs (December 18th, 2006)
  3. ^ Geraldine Hughes Talks KILLING LINCOLN, How She Views Mary Todd Lincoln, and Period Costumes
  4. ^ Wimps Tv (22 October 2013), - Geraldine Hughes Interview, retrieved 6 December 2016
  5. ^ a b c d e Haithman, Diane (16 February 2003). "Child's play in a war zone". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  6. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | Queen's degree for Rocky actress". Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Geraldine Hughes and her rocky road to fame -". Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  8. ^ Rocco, Claudia La (29 September 2014). "Geraldine Hughes Returns to New York With 'Belfast Blues'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  9. ^ Northern Irish Connections (15 October 2014), NI Connections Interview with Geraldine Hughes, retrieved 6 December 2016
  10. ^ "Geraldine Hughes". IMDb. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  11. ^ Belfast Blues. By Geraldine Hughes. Dir. Carol Kane. Narr. Geraldine Hughes. New York, New Paltz. 15 Oct. 2016. Performance.
  12. ^ "L.A. Ovation Award Winners Announced". Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Awards Black Dahlia Theatre". Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  14. ^ Desk, BWW News. "2004-5 Drama League Award Winners Announced". Retrieved 6 December 2016.

External linksEdit