Mary Nell Steenburgen (born February 8, 1953) is an American actress. She won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for playing the role of Lynda Dummar in Jonathan Demme's 1980 film Melvin and Howard.

Personal lifeEdit

Steenburgen married actor Malcolm McDowell in 1980 and they had two children together: Lilly Amanda (now Lilly McDowell Walton), born January 31, 1981, and Charles Malcolm, born July 10, 1983. Steenburgen and McDowell divorced in 1990.

On October 7, 1995, Steenburgen married actor Ted Danson. 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. 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.

She is a close friend of former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton, and supported Clinton's 2008 Presidential campaign along with Danson.

She splits her time living in Ojai, California and Martha's Vineyard, in addition to sharing a condominium with Danson in the River Market District of Little Rock.

In January 2012, Steenburgen became a grandmother when her daughter Lilly gave birth to a girl named Clementine Mae.


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Goin' South Julia Tate / Moon
1979 Time After Time Amy Robbins
1980 Melvin and Howard Lynda Dummar
1981 Ragtime Mother
1982 A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy Adrian
1983 Faerie Tale Theatre Mary / Little Red Riding Hood Little Red Riding Hood
Cross Creek Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Romantic Comedy Phoebe Craddock
1985 One Magic Christmas Ginny Hanks Grainger
Tender Is the Night Nicole Warren Diver
1987 The Whales of August Young Sarah
Dead of Winter Julie Rose / Katie McGovern / Evelyn
1988 The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank Miep Gies
End of the Line Rose Pickett
1989 Parenthood Karen Buckman
Miss Firecracker Elain Rutledge
1990 The Long Walk Home Narrator
Back to the Future Part III Clara Clayton
1991 The Butcher's Wife Stella Keefover Did her own singing
Back to the Future: The Animated Series Clara Clayton-Brown Voice
1993 Philadelphia Belinda Conine
What's Eating Gilbert Grape Betty Carver
1994 Pontiac Moon Katherine Bellamy
The Gift TV
It Runs in the Family Mrs. Parker (mother)
Clifford Sarah Davis
1995 Nixon Hannah Nixon
The Grass Harp Sister Ida
My Family Gloria
Powder Jesse
1996 Gulliver's Travels Mary Gulliver TV miniseries
Ink Kate Montgomery TV Series
1998 About Sarah Sarah Elizabeth McCaffrey
1999 Noah's Ark Naamah TV
2000 Curb Your Enthusiasm Herself 4 episodes
Picnic Rosemary Sydney TV
2001 I Am Sam Dr. Blake
Life as a House Colleen Beck
The Trumpet of the Swan Mother Voice
Nobody's Baby Estelle
2002 Wish You Were Dead Sally Rider
Sunshine State Francine Pinkney
Talking to Heaven / Living with the Dead Detective Karen Condrin TV
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit Grace Rinato Episode: "Denial"
2003–05 Joan of Arcadia Helen Girardi
2003 Elf Emily Hobbs
Casa de los Babys Gayle
Hope Springs Joanie Fisher
2004 Capital City Elaine Summer TV
It Must Be Love Clem Gazelle TV
2005 Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School Marienne Hotchkiss
2006 The Dead Girl Beverley, Leah's Mother
Inland Empire Visitor #2
2007 Reinventing the Wheelers Claire Wheeler TV
Elvis and Anabelle Geneva
Numb Dr. Cheryl Blaine
Nobel Son Sarah Michaelson
The Brave One Carol
Honeydripper Amanda Winship
2008 Step Brothers Nancy Huff
Four Christmases Marilyn
2009 In the Electric Mist Bootsie Robicheaux
The Open Road Katherine
The Proposal Grace Paxton
Did You Hear About the Morgans? Emma Wheeler
2010 Dirty Girl Peggy
2011 The Help Elain Stein
Bored to Death Josephine 4 episodes
Wilfred Ryan's Mother Katherine 2 episodes
2012 30 Rock Diana Jessup 3 episodes
2013 Last Vegas Diana
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Julia

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