Mary Eileen McDonnell is an American actress. She is the recipient of such accolades as an Obie Award, a Saturn Award, and nominations for two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and two Primetime Emmy Awards.
Mary Eileen McDonnell
|Education||State University of New York at Fredonia|
(m. 1984; div. 2021)
McDonnell is best known for her roles in the films Dances with Wolves (1990), Grand Canyon (1991), Passion Fish (1992), Independence Day (1996), Donnie Darko (2001), and Margin Call (2011), as well as the television series Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009), The Closer (2009–2012), and Major Crimes (2012–2018).
McDonnell was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and raised in Ithaca, New York. She is the daughter of Eileen (née Mundy) and John "Jack" McDonnell, a computer consultant. Her siblings are Jane, Sally, Judith, Jackie, and John. She is of Irish descent. After graduating from the State University of New York at Fredonia, she attended drama school and joined the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, where she worked for three months.
McDonnell won an Obie Award for Best Actress in 1981 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 only 10 months younger than Greene and less than two years younger than Tantoo Cardinal, who played Black Shawl, her adoptive mother. 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), 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.
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. Coincidentally, she guest-starred in 2001 on the NBC medical series of the same name ER. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role on the show as Eleanor Carter. She played Dr. Virginia Dixon, a surgeon with Asperger syndrome for three episodes of Grey's Anatomy in 2008 and 2009.
In 2003, McDonnell starred in the miniseries Battlestar Galactica as Laura Roslin. The miniseries led to the weekly series, with McDonnell's 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. The session also included Michael Hogan, as well as scientists Nick Bostrom and Kevin Warwick.
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. McDonnell received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2011 for the role.
After The Closer wrapped up its final season 2012, McDonnell's character continued as the lead in the spin-off, Major Crimes, which debuted August 13, 2012 and finally finished in January of 2018 with the death of her character Sharon Raydor.
McDonnell is married to actor Randle Mell. They have two children, Michael and Olivia.
In December 2021, the couple ended their relationship for unknown reasons.
|1984||Garbo Talks||Lady Capulet|
|1988||Tiger Warsaw||Paula Warsaw|
|1990||Dances with Wolves||Stands with a Fist|
|1992||Passion Fish||May-Alice Culhane|
|1994||Blue Chips||Jenny Bell|
|1996||Independence Day||First Lady Marilyn Whitmore|
|1996||Mariette in Ecstasy||Prioress|
|1997||Woman Undone||Terri Hansen|
|1998||You Can Thank Me Later||Diane|
|2001||Donnie Darko||Rose Darko|
|2004||Crazy Like a Fox||Amy Banks|
|2011||Scream 4||Kate Roberts|
|2011||Margin Call||Mary Rogers|
|2021||The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf||Lady Zerbst||Voice role|
|1980||As the World Turns||Claudia Colfax||Unknown episodes|
|1982||Money on the Side||Terri||Television film|
|1984–1985||E/R||Dr. Eve Sheridan||20 episodes|
|1995–1996||High Society||Dorothy "Dott" Emerson||13 episodes|
|1997||12 Angry Men||Judge Cynthia Nance||Television film|
|1998||Evidence of Blood||Dora Overton||Television film|
|1999||Replacing Dad||Linda Marsh||Television film|
|1999||Ryan Caulfield: Year One||Rachel Caulfield||2 episodes|
|2000||A Father's Choice||Susan Shaw||Television film|
|2000||For All Time||Laura Brown||Television film|
|2001–2002||ER||Eleanor Carter||5 episodes|
|2002||Touched by an Angel||Sister Theodore||Episode: "Minute by Minute"|
|2002||The Locket||Helen Staples||Television film|
|2003||Battlestar Galactica||President Laura Roslin||Television miniseries|
|2004–2009||Battlestar Galactica||President Laura Roslin||71 episodes|
|2005||Mrs. Harris||Vivian Schulte||Television film|
|2008–2009||Grey's Anatomy||Dr. Virginia Dixon||3 episodes|
|2009||Killer Hair||Rose||Television film|
|2009||Hostile Makeover||Rose Smithsonian||Television film|
|2009–2012||The Closer||Captain Sharon Raydor||23 episodes |
Recurring Role Season 5–6
Main Cast Season 7
|2012–2018||Major Crimes||Captain (later Commander) Sharon Raydor||105 episodes |
|2017||Fargo||Ruby Goldfarb||4 episodes|
|2019||Veronica Mars||Jane||Episode: "Years, Continents, Bloodshed"|
|2021||Rebel||Helen Peterson||2 episodes|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|1991||Academy Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Dances with Wolves||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture||Nominated|
|1993||Academy Awards||Best Actress||Passion Fish||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama||Nominated|
|2002||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series||ER||Nominated|
|2009||Saturn Awards||Best Actress on Television||Battlestar Galactica||Won|
|2011||Gotham Awards||Best Ensemble Cast||Margin Call||Nominated|
|Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards||Best Cast||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series||The Closer||Nominated|
- Butkiewicz, Joe (February 18, 1993). "Mary McDonnell Nominated for Best Actress". Times Leader. Wilkes-Barre. pp. 1 & 2B. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
- https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J2MP-N3V accessed 8/16/2014
- "Mary McDonnell". Retrieved November 30, 2017.
- "Zap2it Interview". MSNBC. Archived from the original on December 23, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
- Battlestar Galactica World Science Festival, June 10–14, 2009, New York City
- Creepy, Uncle (July 2, 2010). "And the Body Count Continues – More Scream 4 Casting: Mary McDonnell and Alison Brie". Dreadcentral.com. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Ausiello, Michael (March 22, 2009). "'The Closer' exclusive: It's McDonnell vs. Sedgwick!". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 24, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "Primetime Emmy Awards nominations for 2011 – Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series". Emmys.com. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Fienberg, Daniel (May 18, 2011). "TNT orders 'Closer' spinoff 'Major Crimes' starring Mary McDonnell". HitFix. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "Mary Mcdonnell Biography". TV Guide.
- "'Battlestar Gallactica' Star Mary McDonnell & Husband Randle Mell Split". Extra. December 10, 2021. Retrieved December 10, 2021.