Mary Steenburgen

Mary Steenburgen is an Academy Award-winning American actress.

She was born February 8, 1953, in Newport, Arkansas, USA. Her mother, Nellie May (Wall) Steenburgen, was a school-board secretary, and her father, Maurice H. Steenburgen, was a freight-train conductor. Her surname comes from distant Dutch ancestry, and her roots also include English, Scottish, and Welsh.

Young Steenburgen was fond of arts and literature. Mary grew up tap-dancing her way through talent shows and school functions. She was active in her school drama class. After appearing in a number of high school plays, she enrolled at Hendrix College, a highly progressive Southern School located in Conway, Arkansas. Upon the recommendation of her drama professor, she left college in 1972 and moved to New York to study acting professionally. In the past several years, Mary Steenburgen has emerged as one of the most accomplished and sought-after screen actresses. Ever since Jack Nicholson 'discovered' her and cast her as a sassy adventuress in his rollicking western, Goin' South (1978), her career has skyrocketed and she has won acclaim for exceptional performances in each of her diverse film roles. In Nicholas Meyer's Time After Time (1979), Steenburgen was afforded critical praise for her portrayal of a somewhat dippy but liberated young bank clerk in San Francisco who crosses paths, via time machine, with English author H.G. Wells (played by Malcolm McDowell, who later became her husband. In 1980 she shot to fame with her role as Lynda Dummar in Melvin and Howard (1980) for which she won Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. More recently, Steenburgen again impressed audiences and critics alike with her stunning performance as the strong-willed turn-of-the-century Mother in Ragtime (1981).

Steenburgen is a notable patron of arts. She is also an active supporter of humanitarian causes. She has two children from her previous marriage to actor Malcolm McDowell. Since 1995 she has been married to actor Ted Danson, and the couple is living in Los Angeles area.

Known For


Cast Credits

Live with Kelly & Ryan (2017)
Guest starring as Mary Steenburgen (2 episodes)
Blunt Talk (2015)
Guest starring as Margaret Rudolph (4 episodes)
The Last Man on Earth (2015)
Starring as Gail (54 episodes)
Orange Is the New Black (2013)
Guest starring as Delia Powell (5 episodes)
The Talk (2011)
Guest starring as Mary Steenburgen (2 episodes)
Justified (2010)
Guest starring as Katherine Hale
  • Episode 6x09: Burned (Mar 17, 2015)
30 Rock (2006)
Guest starring as Diana Jessup (5 episodes)
Joan of Arcadia (2003)
Starring as Helen Girardi
Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000)
Guest starring as Mary Steenburgen
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999)
Guest starring as Grace Rinato
  • Episode 3x21: Denial (May 3, 2002)
Ink (1996)
Starring as Kate Montgomery (22 episodes)
Gulliver's Travels (1996)
Starring as Mary Gulliver
Frasier (1993)
Guest starring as Marjorie
The Late Show with David Letterman (1993)
Guest starring as Mary Steenburgen (2 episodes)