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Marcia Gay Harden (born August 14, 1959) is an Americanmarker actress. She has appeared in films, television, and the theatre. Harden is a winner of the Tony Award and the Academy Award.

Early life

Harden, one of five children, was born in La Jollamarker, San Diegomarker, Californiamarker, the daughter of Beverly (née Bushfield), a housewife, and Thaddeus Harold Harden, a Texasmarker native who was an officer in the United States Navy. One of her siblings is named Thaddeus; her spouse is named Thaddaeus. Harden's family frequently moved because of her father's job, living in Japanmarker, Germanymarker, Greecemarker, California and Marylandmarker. She graduated from Surrattsville High School in Clinton, Marylandmarker in 1977, the University of Texas at Austinmarker with a BA in theatre, and the graduate theatre program at New York Universitymarker's Tisch School of the Arts with a Master of Fine Arts.


Harden's first film role was in a 1979 student-produced movie at the University of Texas at Austinmarker. Throughout the 1980s, she appeared in several television programs, including Simon and Simon, Kojak, and CBS Summer Playhouse. She appeared in the Coen Brothers' Miller's Crossing (1990), a 1930s mobster drama in which she first gained wide exposure. In 1992, she played actress Ava Gardner alongside Philip Casnoff as Frank Sinatra in the made for TV miniseries Sinatra. Throughout the 1990s, she continued to appear in films and television. Notable film roles include The Imagemaker (1986), her first screen role, in which she played a stage manager; the Disney sci-fi comedy Flubber (1997), a popular hit in which she co-starred with Robin Williams; the supernatural drama Meet Joe Black (1998); Labor of Love (1998), a Lifetime Television movie in which she starred with David Marshall Grant; and Space Cowboys (2000), an all-star adventure-drama of aging astronauts.

In 1993, Harden debuted on Broadwaymarker in the role of Harper Pitt (and others) in Tony Kushner's Angels in America. The role earned her critical acclaim and she received a Tony Award nomination (Best Featured Actress in a Play). The winner in that category was Debra Monk in Redwood Curtain.

Harden was awarded the 2000 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of painter Lee Krasner in Pollock (2000). In 2003, she was again nominated in the same category for Mystic River.

Harden guest-starred as FBI undercover agent Dana Lewis posing as a white-supremacist in "Raw", an episode of the popular crime drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2007, this role earned Harden her first Emmy Award nomination for best guest actress in a drama series. She reprised the role in the series' eighth season premiere.

In 2007, Harden appeared in several films, including Sean Penn's critically acclaimed Into the Wild, and Frank Darabont's The Mist, based on the novella by Stephen King.

In 2008, she appeared in Home, of which her co-stars include her daughter, Eulala Scheel, and the comedy The Lonely Maiden with Christopher Walken and Morgan Freeman. Harden starred in the Christmas Cottage (2008), a story of the early artistic beginnings of the Painter of Light, Thomas Kinkade. In 2009, she appeared as a regular on the critically-acclaimed FX series Damages as a shrewd corporate attorney, opposite Glenn Close and William Hurt. Harden received a 2009 Emmy Award nomination for her role in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, a TV film also starring Oscar winner Anna Paquin. She was a Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries nominee, and lost to Shohreh Aghdashloo. If she had won this Emmy, Marcia Gay Harden would have entered the elite group of 'triple-crown' actors; actors who have won the three acting awards of the highest honor: the Academy Award (film), the Tony Award (stage) and the Emmy Award (television). She is yet to win an Emmy.

In 2009, Harden returned to Broadwaymarker in Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage. She starred with James Gandolfini, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. Each lead actor was nominated for the Tony Award and on June 8, Harden won Best Actress in a Play.

Personal life

Harden is married to Thaddaeus Scheel, with whom she worked on The Spitfire Grill (1996), and the couple have three children: a daughter, Eulala Grace Scheel, and twins Julitta Dee Scheel and Hudson Harden Scheel. The family lives in Harlemmarker, New York. On December 15, 2003, her young nephew Sander Waring Harden and niece Audrey Gay Harden died as a result of a tragic fire in their Queens, New York, apartment, owned by her former sister-in-law Rebecca Harden who later died from injuries received in the fire. Rebecca Harden was divorced from the children's father, Thaddeus Harden, who is Marcia Gay Harden's brother.


Year Film Role Notes
1979 Not Only Strangers
1986 The Imagemaker Stage Manager
1990 Miller's Crossing Verna Bernbaum
1991 Fever Lacy TV film
Late for Dinner Joy Husband
1992 Crush Lane Entered into the 1992 Cannes Film Festival
Sinatra Ava Gardner TV film
Used People Norma
1993 Geoffrey Beene 30 Woman
1994 Safe Passage Cynthia
1996 The Spitfire Grill Shelby Goddard
The Daytrippers Libby
The First Wives Club Dr. Leslie Rosen National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Far Harbor Arabella
Spy Hard Miss Cheevus
1997 Flubber Dr. Sara Jean Reynolds
1998 Desperate Measures Dr. Samantha Hawkins
Meet Joe Black Allison Parrish
Labor of Love Annie Pines TV film
1999 Curtain Call Michelle Tippet
2000 Space Cowboys Sara Holland
Pollock Lee Krasner Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female

2001 Gaudi Afternoon Frankie Stevens
2003 Mystic River Celeste Boyle Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Seattle Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast - Motion Picture

Just Like Mona
Casa de los babys Nan
Mona Lisa Smile Nancy Abbey
2004 Welcome to Mooseport Grace Sutherland
P.S. Missy Goldberg
2005 Bad News Bears Liz Whitewood
American Gun Janet Huttenson Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female

Felicity: An American Girl Adventure Mrs. (Martha) Merriman
2005, 2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dana Lewis / Star Morrison Episodes: "Raw" and "Informed"
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress - Drama Series
2006 American Dreamz First Lady
The Dead Girl Melora
The Hoax Edith Irving
Canvas Mary Marino
In From the Night Melora TV film
2007 The Invisible Diane Powell
The Mist Mrs. Carmody
Into the Wild Billie McCandless Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast - Motion Picture
Rails & Ties Megan Stark
2008 Home Inga
Thomas Kinkade's Home for Christmas Maryanne Kinkade
2009 The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler Janina Sendler premiere: 19 April
Damages Claire Maddox TV film
The Maiden Heist Rose Limited Release
Noah's Ark: The New Beginning Aamah voice; post-production
Whip It! Brooke Cavendar


  1. Thad Harold Harden - Entertainment News, Obituary, Media - Variety
  3. Gandolfini Stars on Broadway in God of Carnage The Associated Press, January 12, 2009

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