In only her third film, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1980 film Melvin and Howard, playing Lynda Dummar. Learn other facts from life and career of actress Mary Steenburgen.
1. Steenburgen was born in Newport, Arkansas.
2. Her mother was Nellie Mae a school-board secretary.
3. Her father is Maurice Steenburgen, a freight-train conductor who worked at the Missouri Pacific Railroad.
4. She has a sister, Nancy Kelly, a teacher.
5. After graduating high school, Steenburgen enrolled at Hendrix College to study drama.
6. She subsequently traveled to Dallas, Texas under the suggestion of her drama teacher to audition for a slot in New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse, which she won.
7. Her full name is Mary Nell Steenburgen.
8. Won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
9. Won Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing the role of Lynda Dummar in Jonathan Demme's 1980 film Melvin and Howard.
10. Steenburgen, who studied at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse in the 1970s, also received a Golden Globe nomination for the 1981 film Ragtime, a BAFTA TV Award nomination for the 1985 TV miniseries Tender is the Night and an Emmy Award nomination for the 1988 TV film The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank.
11. Her other film appearances include Cross Creek, Parenthood, Back to the Future Part III, Philadelphia, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Elf, The Brave One, Step Brothers, The Proposal and The Help.
12. Steenburgen is also an active humanitarian.
13. Is involved with various groups ranging from human rights to environmental causes.
14. Steenburgen moved to Manhattan, New York City in 1972 after being selected by the Neighborhood Playhouse to study acting.
15. She worked waitressing at Magic Pan and for Doubleday while studying under Will Esper.
16. Steenburgen's big break came when she was discovered by Jack Nicholson in the reception room of Paramount's New York office and was cast as the female lead in his second directorial effort, the 1978 Western Goin' South.
17. Steenburgen had a leading role in the 1979 film Time After Time as a modern woman who falls in love with author H. G. Wells, played by her future-first husband Malcolm McDowell.
18. In only her third film, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1980 film Melvin and Howard, playing Lynda Dummar, the wife of Melvin Dummar, then a trucker and aspiring singer, who claimed to have befriended reclusive eccentric Howard Hughes.
19. Another notable film appearance came in the well-received 1983 film Cross Creek, in which she played Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling.
20. In Back to the Future Part III, Steenburgen played Clara Clayton, a school teacher who falls in love with Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd.
21. She was persuaded to play the role in Back to the Future Part III by her children, as well as by fans of the Back to the Future films, and reprised the role by providing the character's voice in Back to the Future: The Animated Series.
22. She had a small part in A Walk in the Woods as Jeannie.
23. In television, Steenburgen starred as Kate Montgomery in the CBS sitcom Ink with her husband, Ted Danson, and co-starred with Danson as Mary Gulliver in the NBC miniseries Gulliver's Travels.
24. She had a recurring role as herself with Danson in the HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm.
25. Steenburgen co-starred as Helen Girardi, the mother of Amber Tamblyn's title character in the CBS fantasy/family drama Joan of Arcadia.
26. In 2011, she had a recurring role as Josephine in the HBO sitcom Bored to Death with Danson again.
27. Steenburgen starred as Anastasia Lee in the 2011 FX pilot, Outlaw Country, but it was passed by the network.
28. She finally appeared on FX in the dark sitcom Wilfred from 2011 through 2013 as Catherine Newman, the title character's eccentric and mentally ill mother.
29. Steenburgen had a recurring role on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock from 2012 to 2013 where she played Diana Jessup.
30. In 2014, she began a recurring role as former Dixie Mafia boss Katherine Hale in the fifth and sixth seasons of the FX crime drama Justified.
31. On June 13, 2014, it was announced that Steenburgen would have a recurring role as Delia in the Netflix crime comedy-drama Orange Is the New Black in the third season.
32. Currently, she plays Gail Klosterman on The Last Man on Earth.
33. In 1978, Steenburgen met and began dating actor Malcolm McDowell.
34. Met McDowell while both were co-starring in Time After Time.
35. Couple married in 1980.
36. Steenburgen and McDowell have two children together, daughter Lilly and son Charlie McDowell.
37. Steenburgen and McDowell separated in 1989 and divorced in 1990.
38. On October 7, 1995, Steenburgen married actor Ted Danson.
39. Met Danson on the set of the film Pontiac Moon in 1993.
40. Became the stepmother to Danson's daughters Kate and Alexis from his previous marriage to producer Cassandra Coates.
41. Steenburgen currently resides in the Los Angeles area with her family.
42. An alumna of Hendrix College, Steenburgen received an honorary doctorate from the institution in 1989.
43. In 2006, Steenburgen received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.
44. 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.
45. Steenburgen is a close friend of former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and supported Clinton's 2008 Presidential campaign along with Danson.