Steenburgen at the 2009 ceremony to receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Mary Nell Steenburgen
February 8, 1953
Newport, Arkansas, United States
|Children||2 (with McDowell)|
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress:
Melvin and Howard (1980)
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture:
Melvin and Howard (1980)
Mary Nell Steenburgen (born February 8, 1953) is an American actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing the role of Lynda Dummar in Jonathan Demme's 1980 film Melvin and Howard.
Steenburgen, who studied at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse in the 1970s, also received a Golden Globe nomination for the 1981 film Ragtime, a BAFTA TV Award nomination for the 1985 TV miniseries Tender is the Night and an Emmy Award nomination for the 1988 TV film The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank. Her other film appearances include Cross Creek (1983), Parenthood (1989), Back to the Future Part III (1990), Philadelphia (1993), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Elf (2003), The Brave One (2007), Step Brothers (2008), The Proposal (2009) and The Help (2011).
Steenburgen is also an active humanitarian who is involved with various groups ranging from human rights to environmental causes.
- Early life 1
- Early career 2.1
- Film career 2.2
- Television career 2.3
- Personal life 3
- Film 4.1
- Television 4.2
- Awards and nominations 5
- References 6
- External links 7
Steenburgen was born in Newport, Arkansas, the daughter of Nellie Mae (née Wall; 1923–2010), a school-board secretary, and Maurice Steenburgen (1914–1989), a freight-train conductor who worked at the Missouri Pacific Railroad. She has a sister, Nancy (Steenburgen) Kelly, a teacher.
Steenburgen's big break came when she was discovered by Jack Nicholson in the reception room of Paramount's New York office and was cast as the female lead in his second directorial effort, the 1978 Western Goin' South.
In only her third film, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1980 film Melvin and Howard, playing Lynda Dummar, the wife of Melvin Dummar, then a trucker and aspiring singer, who claimed to have befriended reclusive eccentric Howard Hughes. Another notable film appearance came in the well-received 1983 film Cross Creek, in which she played Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling.
In Back to the Future Part III (1990), Steenburgen played Clara Clayton, a school teacher who falls in love with Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd. She was persuaded to play the role by her children, as well as by fans of the Back to the Future films, and reprised the role by providing the character's voice in Back to the Future: The Animated Series.
Other performances have been: in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), as a woman who is having an affair with the title character (played by Johnny Depp); the role of Hannah Nixon in the Oliver Stone biopic, Nixon (1995); and in the Will Ferrell 2003 comedy Elf, as a woman who discovers that her husband is the father of one of Santa's elves.
In recent years, she has been in the comedy films, Step Brothers (2008), starring Will Ferrell, playing the mother of Ferrell's character; Four Christmases (2008) opposite Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon; and The Proposal (2009) opposite Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.
Dirty Girl, which features Steenburgen along with Juno Temple, Milla Jovovich and William H. Macy, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 12, 2010. She also appeared in the critically acclaimed film The Help (2011), starring alongside Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Bryce Dallas Howard, and had a featured role as a lounge singer, who is the romantic interest in a love triangle, in the 2013 comedy Last Vegas.
In television, Steenburgen starred in the sitcom Ink (1996) with her husband, Ted Danson, and co-starred in the television miniseries Gulliver's Travels (1996) with Danson. She appeared as herself, alongside Danson, in the HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm. Steenburgen played the mother of the title character in the CBS drama series Joan of Arcadia. In 2011, she made guest appearances in Bored to Death, again alongside Danson. Steenburgen starred in the 2011 FX pilot, Outlaw Country, but FX decided against making a series. She finally appeared on FX in the dark comedy Wilfred (U.S. TV series) 2011 through 2013 as Catherine, the lead character's eccentric and mentally ill mother. Steenburgen recurred on the NBC comedy 30 Rock in 2012 and 2013, playing the role of Diana Jessup.
In 2014, she began an extended guest role as former Dixie Mafia boss Katherine Hale in seasons five and six of FX's Justified.
On June 13, 2014, it was announced that Steenburgen was joining Orange Is the New Black for its third season.
In 1978, Steenburgen met and began a relationship with actor Malcolm McDowell while both were co-starring in Time After Time. They married in 1980 and had two children together, Lilly and Charles. Steenburgen and McDowell split up in 1989.
On October 7, 1995, Steenburgen married actor Ted Danson, whom she met on the set of the film Pontiac Moon in 1993, and became the stepmother to Danson's daughters Kate and Alexis from his previous marriage to producer Cassandra Coates. Steenburgen currently resides in the Los Angeles area with her family.
An alumna of Hendrix College, Steenburgen received an honorary doctorate from the institution in 1989. In 2006, Steenburgen received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. In September 2005, she and Danson gave a guest lecture for students at the Clinton School of Public Service where they discussed their roles in public service as well as the foundations and causes in which they are involved.
|1978||Goin' South||Julia Tate Moon|
|1979||Time After Time||Amy|
|1980||Melvin and Howard||Lynda Dummar|
|1982||Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, AA Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy||Adrian|
|1983||Cross Creek||Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings|
|1983||Romantic Comedy||Phoebe Craddock|
|1985||One Magic Christmas||Ginny Grainger|
|1987||Dead of Winter||Julie Rose / Katie McGovern / Evelyn|
|1987||Whales of August, TheThe Whales of August||Young Sarah|
|1987||End of the Line||Rose Pickett|
|1989||Miss Firecracker||Elain Rutledge|
|1990||Back to the Future Part III||Clara Clayton Brown|
|1990||Long Walk Home, TheThe Long Walk Home||Narrator (voice)|
|1991||Butcher's Wife, TheThe Butcher's Wife||Stella Keefover|
|1993||What's Eating Gilbert Grape||Betty Carver|
|1994||Pontiac Moon||Katherine Bellamy|
|1994||It Runs in the Family||Mrs. Parker (Mother)|
|1995||Grass Harp, TheThe Grass Harp||Sister Ida|
|1995||Nixon||Hannah Milhous Nixon|
|2001||Trumpet of the Swan, TheThe Trumpet of the Swan||Mother (voice)|
|2001||Life as a House||Colleen Beck|
|2001||I Am Sam||Dr. Blake|
|2002||Sunshine State||Francine Pinkney|
|2002||Wish You Were Dead||Sally Rider|
|2003||Hope Springs||Joanie Fisher|
|2003||Casa de los Babys||Gayle|
|2005||Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School||Marienne Hotchkiss|
|2006||Dead Girl, TheThe Dead Girl||Leah's Mother|
|2007||Elvis and Annabelle||Geneva|
|2007||Nobel Son||Sarah Michaelson|
|2007||Brave One, TheThe Brave One||Carol|
|2008||Step Brothers||Nancy Huff|
|2009||In the Electric Mist||Bootsie Robicheaux|
|2009||Proposal, TheThe Proposal||Grace Paxton|
|2009||Open Road, TheThe Open Road||Katherine|
|2009||Did You Hear About the Morgans?||Emma Wheeler|
|2011||Keepin' It Real Estate||Claire||Short film|
|2011||Help, TheThe Help||Elain Stein|
|2012||Mrs. Pilgrim Goes to Hollywood||Mary|
|2013||Brahmin Bulls||Helen West|
|2015||A Walk in the Woods||Jeannie|
|2016||The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea||Julia||In post-production|
|1983||Faerie Tale Theatre||Mary / Little Red Riding Hood||Episode: "Little Red Riding Hood"|
|1985||Tender Is the Night||Nicole Warren Diver||Television miniseries|
|1988||Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank, TheThe Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank||Miep Gies||Television film|
|1991–92||Back to the Future||Clara Clayton (voice)||Main role (26 episodes)|
|1994||Gift, TheThe Gift||Catherine||Television short film|
|1995||Frasier||Marjorie (voice)||Episode: "Retirement Is Murder"|
|1996||Gulliver's Travels||Mary Gulliver||Television miniseries|
|1996–97||Ink||Kate Montgomery||Main role (22 episodes)|
|1998||About Sarah||Sarah Elizabeth McCaffrey||Television film|
|1999||Noah's Ark||Naamah||Television film|
|2000||Picnic||Rosemary Sydney||Television film|
|2000–09||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Mary Steenburgen||5 episodes|
|2002||Living with the Dead||Det. Karen Condrin||Television film|
|2002||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Grace Rinato||Episode: "Denial"|
|2003–05||Joan of Arcadia||Helen Girardi||Main role (45 episodes)|
|2004||It Must Be Love||Clem Gazelle||Television film|
|2004||Capital City||Elaine Summer||Television film|
|2007||Reinventing the Wheelers||Claire Wheeler||Television film|
|2009||Happiness Isn't Everything||Audrey Veill||Television film|
|2010||Southern Discomfort||Television film|
|2011–13||Wilfred||Catherine Newman||4 episodes|
|2011||Robot Chicken||Athena (voice)||Episode: "The Core, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover"|
|2011||Bored to Death||Josephine||4 episodes|
|2012||30 Rock||Diana Jessup||5 episodes|
|2012||Outlaw Country||Anastasia Lee||Television film|
|2014–15||Justified||Katherine Hale||13 episodes|
|2015||Orange Is the New Black||Delia Powell||5 episodes|
|2015||The Last Man on Earth||Gail Klosterman||12 episodes|
|2015||7 Days in Hell||Louisa Poole||Television film|
Awards and nominations
In addition to these recognitions, Steenburgen received the 1,337th star on Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 16, 2009.
- "Mary Steenburgen Sees Herself in Her Latest Role". 3 October 1998.
- "PBS Interview". PBS. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JBF4-S5Q 8/16/2014
- "Mary Steenburgen Biography (1953-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
- "Stony Reception in Little Rock; Film by Mary Steenburgen Draws Cries of Foul in Arkansas - The Washington Post | HighBeam Research - FREE trial". Highbeam.com. 1988-04-03. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
- "Mary Nell Steenburgen (1953â€")". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
- http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/mary-steenburgen/bio/165140 8/16/2014
- Mary Steenburgen: Biography. TV Guide.com.
- "Mary Steenburgen Saddles Into Outlaw Country Pilot". TVGuide.com.
- "FX says no to ‘Outlaw Country’". Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- "Oscar-winner Mary Steenburgen joins the cast of Orange is the New Black in season three". dailymail.co.uk.
- Chambers, Andrea. "Malcolm McDowell's Romance with Mary Steenburgen Has Gone Just Like Clockwork." People, Sept. 1, 1980, p.64.
- Sheridan, Emily (April 19, 2013). "See, some Hollywood marriages do last! Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen look as in love as ever on sunny stroll".
- "Current Home". Clinton School of Public Service. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- "Hendrix College". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
- "Acclaimed actress, Arkansas native to receive honorary Lyon degree". Lyon College Newsletter. 2 October 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- "The Clinton School Speaker Series - Inspiring Ideas and Action". Clintonschoolspeakers.com. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
- "Danson to Hit the Road for Clinton Again". The Washington Post. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- Mary Steenburgen at the Internet Movie Database
- Mary Steenburgen at AllMovie
- Mary Steenburgen Named 27th Sexiest Woman Over 50
- Mary Steenburgen: The Gift of Giving