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Mare Winningham

Mare Winningham
File:Mare Winningham 2012.jpg
Winningham in 2012
Born Mary Megan Winningham
(1959-05-16) May 16, 1959 (age 61)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Alma mater Chatsworth High School
Occupation Actress, Singer-songwriter
Years active 1976–present
Spouse(s) A Martinez (1981)
William Mapel (1981–1996)
Jason Trucco (2008–2012)
Children Riley Mapel (deceased)
Happy Atticus Mapel
Jack Mapel
Calla Louise Mapel
Patrick "Paddy" Mapel

Mary Megan "Mare"[needs IPA] Winningham (born May 16, 1959) is an American actress and singer-songwriter.[1] She is an Academy Award, Tony Award and eight-time Emmy Award nominee, winning Emmys in 1980 and 1998.

Winningham began her acting career in the late 1970s on television. In 1980, she starred in the TV movie Amber Waves, winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the 1995 film Georgia. In 1998, she won a second Emmy for the TV Movie George Wallace. Her other film and TV roles include, St. Elmo's Fire (1985), Miracle Mile (1988), Turner & Hooch (1989), The War (1994), Dandelion (2004), Swing Vote (2008), Brothers (2009), Mildred Pierce (2011) and Hatfields & McCoys (2012).

She made her New York stage debut in the 2007 Off-Broadway musical 10 Million Miles, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination. She made her Broadway debut in the 2013 revival of Picnic. In 2014, she starred in the original Broadway production of Casa Valentina, receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Early life

Winningham was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and raised in Northridge, California.[2] She is the daughter of Marilyn Jean (née Maloney) and Sam Neal Winningham.[3][4][5] She has three brothers and one sister. Her father was the chairman of the Department of Physical Education at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and her mother was an English teacher and college counsellor at Monroe High School. She credits her first interest in acting to seeing an interview with Kym Karath (who played Gretl in The Sound of Music) on Art Linkletter's television show House Party when she was five or six years old.

Winningham attended Andasol Ave. Elementary School, where her favorite activities included drama and playing the guitar and drums. She took the extended drama option at Patrick Henry Junior High School and continued to study over her summer vacations at CSUN's Teenage Drama Workshop. It was at this time that she adopted the nickname "Mare". Her mother arranged for her to go to Chatsworth High School. In Grade 12, Winningham starred in a production of The Sound of Music, playing the part of Maria, opposite classmate Kevin Spacey as Captain Von Trapp.



Winningham began her career as a singer-songwriter. In 1976 and 1977, she got her break singing The Beatles song "Here, There and Everywhere" on The Gong Show.[6] Though Winningham received no record contracts as result of the appearance, she was signed to an acting contract by Hollywood agent Meyer Mishkin, and received her Screen Actor's Guild card for doing three lines in an episode of James at 15. That year she was offered a role on Young Pioneers and Young Pioneers Christmas, pilots for the short-lived 1978 drama The Young Pioneers. Though the series ended with just three episodes being broadcast, a number of television projects followed, including parts on Police Woman in 1978 and Starsky and Hutch in 1979. Later that same year, she played the role of teenage outcast Jenny Flowers in the made-for-TV film The Death of Ocean View Park.

In 1980, Winningham starred in Off the Minnesota Strip playing a young prostitute. She then won an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie for her role in the critically acclaimed Amber Waves, a television film about a rough farmer (Dennis Weaver) who finds he is dying of cancer.[1] In that year, she also broke into feature films with One Trick Pony, starring Paul Simon. In 1983, Winningham was nominated for a Canadian Genie Award for her work in the futuristic 1981 drama Threshold, and appeared in the 1983 epic miniseries The Thorn Birds, in which she played Justine O'Neill. In 1984, she starred as Helen Keller in Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues.[2]

Winningham achieved greater fame in St. Elmo's Fire (1985) as one of the original "brat pack" alumni.[2] Despite the film's success, she failed to cash in on her teen idol status, and returned to television in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Love Is Never Silent, for which she received an Emmy nomination. Another well-known and well-received performance was as a homeless young mother in the television movie God Bless the Child. Winningham finished the 1980s with two Hollywood films: the nuclear disaster drama, Miracle Mile (1988), for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 1989, and the Tom Hanks vehicle Turner & Hooch in 1989. In 1988, Winningham also starred in the Los Angeles stage production of Hurlyburly with Sean Penn and Danny Aiello.

In the early 1990s, she returned to film for 1994's all-star Wyatt Earp and the family drama The War, both starring Kevin Costner. 1995 brought Georgia, a thoughtful character study of two sisters (Winningham and Jennifer Jason Leigh), which earned Winningham Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations.[2] Two years later, she starred opposite Gary Sinise in George Wallace, for which she garnered her first Golden Globe Award nomination[7] and won an Emmy Award.[1]

She made acclaimed appearances on the series ER and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as appearances in the 2001 television project Sally Hemmings opposite Sam Neill and the short-lived David E. Kelley series The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire. Also in 2001, she appeared in the made for TV movie Snap Decision with Felicity Huffman. She also appeared in the independent film Dandelion, which was a staple of film festivals worldwide between 2003 and 2004 and had a limited American release in October 2005.

In 2006, she landed the role of Susan Grey on the ABC drama Grey's Anatomy where she played the stepmother of one of the main characters, Dr. Meredith Grey. Her character was killed off in May 2007.[2] In 2006, Winningham voiced the audio version of Stephen King's Lisey's Story. In 2007, she voiced Alice Hoffman's Skylight Confessions. In 2010, Winningham starred in an episode of Cold Case as main character Lilly Rush's stepmother, Celeste Cooper.[8] In 2011 she appeared in the fourth episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day as character Ellis Hartley Monroe.[9] She also starred in miniseries Mildred Pierce and Hatfields & McCoys and garnered another two Emmy nominations.[1] In 2012, she appeared off Broadway as Beth, the mother in an intellectual, though dysfunctional, British family, in the award-winning comic-drama Tribes by Nina Raine.


Winningham has recorded four albums:[2] What Might Be (1992) on the Bay Cities label, Lonesomers (1998) produced by Carla Olson on the Razor and Tie label, and Refuge Rock Sublime (2007) on the Craig & Co. label. Lonesomers is a folksy album dealing with relationship issues. The country/bluegrass/Jewish/folk songs on Refuge Rock Sublime deal mostly with her recent conversion to Judaism, and include the tracks, "What Would David Do," "A Convert Jig" and the Israeli national anthem "Hatikva". She also sings on the soundtrack of Georgia. Winningham released her fourth album What's Left Behind independently on digital outlets in March 2014.

Personal life

Winningham was raised a Roman Catholic. In November 2001, on a friend's recommendation, she took a class given by Rabbi Neal Weinberg at the University of Judaism (now the American Jewish University) in Los Angeles. On March 3, 2003, she converted to Judaism.[10] She has been married three times: to A. Martinez (1981-1981), William Mapel (1981–1996) and Jason Trucco (2008–2012).



Year Title Role Notes
1976 Young Pioneers Nettie Peters Television movie
1976 Young Pioneers' Christmas Nettie Peters Television movie
1978 Special Olympics Janice Gallitzin Television movie
1979 Steeletown Aggie Modgelewsky Television movie
1979 The Death of Ocean View Park Jenny Flowers Television movie
1980 Amber Waves Marlene Burkhardt Television movie
1980 Off the Minnesota Strip Micki Johansen Television movie
1980 The Women's Room Chris Television movie
1980 One Trick Pony Modeena Dandridge
1981 Threshold Carol Severance
1981 Freedom Libby Bellow Television movie
1981 A Few Days in Weasel Creek Locksley Claitor Television movie
1982 Missing Children: A Mother's Story Kate Bradshaw Television movie
1983 The Thorn Birds Justine O'Neill
1984 Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues Helen Keller Television movie
1984 Single Bars, Single Women Bootsie Television movie
1985 St. Elmo's Fire Wendy Beamish
1985 Love Is Never Silent Margaret Ryder Television movie
1986 A Winner Never Quits Annie Television movie
1986 Who Is Julia? Mary Frances Bodine Television movie
1986 Nobody's Fool Pat
1987 Shy People Candy
1987 Made in Heaven Brenda Carlucci
1987 Eye on the Sparrow Ethel Lee Television movie
1988 God Bless the Child Theresa Johnson Television movie
1988 Miracle Mile Julie Peters
1989 Turner & Hooch Dr. Emily Carson
1990 Love and Lies Kim Paris Television movie
1990 Crossing to Freedom Nicole Rougeron Television movie
1991 Fatal Exposure Jamie Hurd Television movie
1991 She Stood Alone Prudence Crandall Television movie
1991 Hard Promises Dawn
1992 Those Secrets Faye Television movie
1992 Intruders Mary Wilkes Television movie
1993 Sexual Healing Marta
1993 Better Off Dead Kit Killner Television movie
1994 Betrayed by Love Dana Television movie
1994 Teresa's Tattoo Singer
1994 Wyatt Earp Mattie Blaylock
1994 The War Lois Simmons
1995 Georgia Georgia Flood
1995 Letter to My Killer Judy Parma Television movie
1996 The Boys Next Door Sheila Television movie
1996 The Deliverance of Elaine Elaine Hodges Television movie
1997 Bad Day on the Block Catherine Braverton
1997 George Wallace Lurleen Wallace Television movie
1998 Everything That Rises Kyle Clay Television movie
1998 Little Girl Fly Away Catherine Begley Television movie
1999 Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke Chandi Heffner Television movie
2000 Sally Hemings: An American Scandal Martha Jefferson Randolph Television movie
2000 Sharing the Secret Dr. Nina Moss Television movie
2001 Snap Decision Jennifer Bradley Television movie
2002 Tru Confessions Ginny Television movie
2003 The Maldonado Miracle Maisie Television movie
2003 The Adventures of Ociee Nash Aunt Mamie Nash
2004 Dandelion Layla Mullich
2005 The Magic of Ordinary Days Martha Television movie
2007 War Eagle, Arkansas Belle
2008 Swing Vote Larissa Johnson
2009 Brothers Elsie Cahill
2012 Mirror Mirror Baker Margaret
2013 Philomena Mary Hess
2016 Geostorm Dr. Jennings Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1977 James at 15 Wanda Episode: "The Girl with the Bad Rep"
1978 Police Woman Linda Episode: "Battered Teachers"
1978 The Young Pioneers Nettie Peters Episode: "Sky in the Window"
1979 Starsky and Hutch Joey Carston Episode: "Ninety Pounds of Trouble"
1979 Family Merilee Kalisher Episode: "The Competition"
1985 ABC Afterschool Specials Beth Episode: "One Too Many"
1985 Hallmark Hall of Fame Margaret Ryder Episode: "Love Is Never Silent"
1986 The Twilight Zone Norma Lewis Episode: "Button, Button"
1997–1998 Mad About You Sarah McCain 2 episodes
1999 ER Dr. Amanda Lee 4 episodes
2001 Night Visions Kate Morris Episode: "Still Life"
2002 Six Feet Under Eileen Piper Episode: "The Plan"
2002 Touched by an Angel Maggie Episode: "The Bells of St. Peters"
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sandra Blaine Episode: "Manic"
2003 The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire Dottie Shaw 7 episodes
2004–2005 Clubhouse Lynne Young 11 episodes
2007 Boston Legal Patrice Kelly 2 episodes
2007 Grey's Anatomy Susan Grey 6 episodes
2009 CSI: NY Katherine Donovan Episode: "Greater Good"
2010 Cold Case Celeste Cooper Episode: "The Good Soldier"
2010 24 Elaine Al-Zacar 2 episodes
2010 Criminal Minds Nancy Riverton Episode: "Safe Haven"
2011 Mildred Pierce Ida Corwin 5 episodes
2011 Torchwood: Miracle Day Ellis Hartley Monroe 3 episodes
2012 Hatfields & McCoys Sally McCoy 3 episodes
2013 Hawaii Five-O Terry Beckett Episode: "Ho'opio"
2013 Under the Dome Agatha 2 episodes
2013 American Horror Story: Coven Alicia Spencer Episode: "The Replacements"
2014–present The Affair Cherry Lockhart 8 episodes
2014 American Horror Story: Freak Show Rita Gayheart Episode: "Orphans"


Year Title Role Notes
2007 10 Million Miles The Women
2010 After the Revolution Mel
2012–2013 Tribes Beth
2013 Picnic Flo Owens
2014 Casa Valentina Rita

Awards and nominations


  • 1992: What Might Be
  • 1998: Lonesomers
  • 2007: Refuge Rock Sublime
  • 2014: What's Left Behind


External links

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