- Frances Louise McDormand
June 23, 1957 (age 63)
- Actor, Singer, Voice Actor
- Joel Coen
- Vernon W. McDormand, Noreen E. Nickleson
Frances Louise McDormand (born June 23, 1957) is an American actress. She has been married to director and writer Joel Coen since 1984 and has starred in several of the Coen brothers' films, including Blood Simple (1984), Raising Arizona (1987), Fargo (1996), The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) and Burn After Reading (2008). McDormand is one of the few performers who have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting. In 1997, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Fargo. In 2011, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the original Broadway production of Good People, and in 2015 she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for Olive Kitteridge.
McDormand made her Broadway debut in the 1984 revival of the play Awake and Sing, and received a Tony Award nomination for her performance as Stella Kowalski in the 1988 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. She returned to Broadway for the first time in 20 years to star in the 2008 revival of The Country Girl, receiving a Drama Desk Award nomination. Her work in the films Mississippi Burning (1988), Almost Famous (2000) and North Country (2005), earned her Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominations. Her other films include Short Cuts (1993), Primal Fear (1996), Wonder Boys (2000) and Something's Gotta Give (2003).
McDormand was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was adopted by a Canadian-born couple – Noreen E. (Nickleson), a registered nurse and receptionist, and Vernon W. McDormand, a Disciples of Christ pastor. She has said that her biological mother may have been one of the parishioners at Vernon's church. She has a sister, Dorothy A. McDormand, who is an ordained Disciples of Christ minister and chaplain, as well as another sibling, both of whom were adopted by the McDormands, who had no biological children. As her father specialized in restoring congregations, he frequently moved their family, and they lived in several small towns in Illinois, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, before settling in Monessen, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Monessen High School in 1975. McDormand attended Bethany College in West Virginia, earning a Bachelor of Arts in theater in 1979. In 1982, she earned an Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama. She was a roommate of Holly Hunter at the time.
McDormand's first professional acting job was in Trinidad and Tobago, performing in a play written by Derek Walcott and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. Her film debut was in the 1984 Coen brothers first film, Blood Simple. In 1985, Frances, Holly Hunter and director Sam Raimi shared a house in The Bronx. In 1987, she appeared as the wacky friend Dot in the hit film Raising Arizona, starring Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage. In addition to her early film roles, McDormand played Connie Chapman in the fifth season of the television police drama Hill Street Blues. In 1988, she played Stella Kowalski in a stage production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. McDormand is an associate member of the experimental theater company The Wooster Group.
McDormand appeared in several theatrical and television roles during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. She has gained renown and critical acclaim for her dramatic work, and is a respected actress, having been nominated for Academy Awards four times. In 1988, she was nominated for a Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Mississippi Burning. In 1996, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as police chief Marge Gunderson in Fargo. In 2000, she was nominated for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her portrayal of an overbearing mother in Almost Famous. For her role in Wonder Boys (2000), she won Best Supporting Actress from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. In 2006, McDormand received her fourth nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in 2005's North Country, although she lost to Rachel Weisz. She also had a role in the film Friends with Money, a dark comedy co-starring Jennifer Aniston, Catherine Keener, and Joan Cusack, and directed by Nicole Holofcener. She received an Independent Spirit Award for her role in Friends with Money. She also voiced the role of the lady principal Melanie Upfoot in the Simpsons episode "Girls Just Want to Have Sums", which aired on April 30, 2006.
McDormand has recently starred in the films Burn After Reading and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. McDormand starred in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the sequel after Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. She played the US government's National Intelligence Director, alongside Burn After Reading co-star John Malkovich. She returned to the stage in the David Lindsay-Abaire play Good People, in a limited engagement on Broadway from February 8, 2011 to May 29, 2011. Her performance earned her a Tony Award win for Best Leading Actress in a Play. In the animated film Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, she voiced Capitain Chantel Dubois and also sang a version of the French song "Non, je ne regrette rien". She also starred in Promised Land with Matt Damon, filmed in April 2012 and released on December 28, 2012. In November 2014, HBO telecast a four-part mini-series based upon the series of short stories by Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge, co-produced by and starring McDormand. The role won her an Emmy Award and a SAG Award. With her Emmy win, she became only the 12th actress in history to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting, for competitive Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award wins in the acting categories.