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Frances Louise McDormand (born June 23, 1957) is an American film, stage, and television actress, well known for her role as Marge Gunderson in Fargo, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1996.

Early life

Frances was born in Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker and was adopted by the McDormands, a Canadian couple: Noreen, a registered nurse and receptionist, and Vernon, a Disciples of Christ pastor. Frances has said that her biological mother may have been one of the parishioners at Vernon's church. McDormand has a sister, Dorothy A. McDormand, who is an ordained Disciples of Christ minister and chaplain, as well as two other siblings, all of whom were adopted by the McDormands, who had no biological children. As her father specialized in restoring congregations, he frequently moved their family, and they lived in several small towns in Illinoismarker, Georgiamarker, Kentuckymarker and Tennesseemarker, before settling in the Pittsburghmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker area town of Monessenmarker, where she graduated from high school in 1975. She attended Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginiamarker, and earned a B.A. in Theater in 1979.

In 1982, McDormand earned an M.F.A. from the Yale Universitymarker School of Drama. She was roommates with Holly Hunter at the time. Her first professional acting job was in Trinidad and Tobagomarker, performing in a play written by poet Derek Walcott and funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Career

McDormand's film debut was in Joel and Ethan Coen's first film, 1984's Blood Simple. In 1985, McDormand, the Coen brothers, Holly Hunter, and director Sam Raimi shared a house in the Bronxmarker. In 1987 she appeared as the wacky neighbor Dot in the hit film Raising Arizona starring Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage.

In addition to her early film roles, McDormand played Connie Chapman in the fifth season of the television police drama Hill Street Blues. In 1988, she played Stella Kowalski in a stage production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. Frances McDormand is an associate member of the experimental theater company The Wooster Group.

McDormand appeared in several theatrical and television roles during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. She has gained renown and critical acclaim for her dramatic work, and is a respected actress, having been nominated for Academy Awards four times. In 1988, she was nominated for a Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Mississippi Burning; in 1996, she won the Academy award for Best Actress for her performance as police chief Marge Gunderson in Fargo; in 2000, she earned her second nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of a concerned mother in Almost Famous. Also for Almost Famous, she won the Best Supporting Actress nod from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics Association, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, San Diego Film Critics Society, Southeastern Film Critics Association, and the Florida Film Critics Circle. For her role in Wonder Boys (2000), she won Best Supporting Actress from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

In 2006, McDormand received her third Best Supporting Actress nod for her performance in 2005's North Country, although she lost to Rachel Weisz. She also had a role in the film Friends with Money, a dark comedy co-starring Jennifer Aniston, Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack, and directed by Nicole Holofcener. She recently received an Independent Spirit Award for her role in Friends with Money. She also voiced the role of the lady principal Melanie Upfoot in the Simpsons episode Girls Just Want to Have Sums, which aired on April 30, 2006. McDormand has recently starred in the films Burn After Reading and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

Personal life

McDormand has been married to director Joel Coen since 1984, and the two adopted a son from Paraguaymarker, Pedro McDormand Coen, in 1994. They live in New York Citymarker. McDormand has starred in six of the Coen Brothers films, including a minor appearance in Miller's Crossing, a secondary role in Raising Arizona and lead roles in Blood Simple, The Man Who Wasn't There, Fargo, for which she won an Academy Award, and more recently Burn After Reading. Additionally, she contributed an uncredited offscreen (voice only) appearance to the opening scene in the Coens' Barton Fink.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1984 Blood Simple Abby
1985 Crimewave Nun
1987 Raising Arizona Dot
1988 Mississippi Burning Mrs. Pell Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress


1989 Chattahoochee Mae Foley
1990 Miller's Crossing Mayor's secretary uncredited
Darkman Julie Hastings
Hidden Agenda Ingrid Jessner
1991 The Butcher's Wife Grace
1992 Passed Away Nora Scanlan
1993 Short Cuts Betty Weathers
1994 Bleeding Hearts Woman on TV
1995 Palookaville June
Beyond Rangoon Andy Bowma
1996 Primal Fear Dr. Molly Arrington
Plain Pleasures
Fargo Marge Gunderson Academy Award for Best Actress
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Actress











Lone Star Bunny
Hidden in America Gus
1997 Paradise Road Dr. Verstak
1998 Madeline Miss Clavel
Talk of Angels Conlon
Johnny Skidmarks Alice
2000 Wonder Boys Dean Sara Gaskell Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress




Almost Famous Elaine Miller Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Nominated - Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role










2001 The Man Who Wasn't There Doris Crane
Upheaval Anne
2002 City by the Sea Michelle
Laurel Canyon Jane
Searching for Debra Winger Herself
2003 Something's Gotta Give Zoe Barry
2004 Last Night Marit Such
2005 North Country Glory Dodge Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated -Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture


Æon Flux The Handler
2006 Friends with Money Jane Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
The Simpsons Melanie Upfoot Voice-over performance
2008 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Guinevere Pettigrew
Burn After Reading Linda Litzke Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy


References

  1. Crowe, Cameron. Frances McDormand interview. Interview. October 2000. FindArticles.com. 25 December 2007.
  2. Disciples "PK" wins best actress' award. Disciples News Service Release. 31 March 2007.
  3. Naked ambition. theage.com.au. 25 October 2003.
  4. I'd love to play a psycho killer. film.guardian.co.uk. 26 January 2001.


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