Elizabeth McGovern (born July 18, 1961) is an American film, television, and theater actor, and musician.
McGovern was born in Evanston, Illinois, the daughter of Katharine Wolcott (née Watts), a high school teacher, and William Montgomery McGovern, Jr., a university professor. Her paternal grandfather was adventurer William Montgomery McGovern and her maternal great-grandfather was US diplomat Ethelbert Watts. The McGovern family moved to Los Angeleswhere her father accepted a teaching position with the law school at UCLA. Her younger sister is novelist Cammie McGovern.
McGovern started acting in plays while attending The Oakwood School in North Hollywood. Agent Joan Scott saw her performance in The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, was impressed by her talent, and recommended she take acting lessons. McGovern studied at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, then at The Juilliard School in New York City.
When she was 23, McGovern was engaged to actor Sean Penn whom she met on the set of Racing with the Moon. In 1992 she married British film director and producer Simon Curtis, and the couple have two children.