Frances McDormand

Actor
As the good-natured, but sharp-minded sheriff on the trail of two murderers in her breakout film, "Fargo" (1996), actress Frances McDormand made a significant mark as an actress, playing one of the more unique, homespun ... Read more »
Born: 06/22/1957 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (62)

Olive Kitteridge 2014 - 2015 (TV Show)

Actor

The Good Dinosaur 2015 (Movie)

Momma (Voice)

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted 2012 (Movie)

Captain Chantel DuBois (Actor)

Moonrise Kingdom 2012 (Movie)

Mrs. Bishop (Actor)

Promised Land 2012 (Movie)

Sue Thomason (Actor)

This Must Be the Place 2012 (Movie)

Jane (Actor)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon 2011 (Movie)

Mearing (Actor)

Gourmet Adventures With Ruth 2009 - 2010 (TV Show)

Actor

Burn After Reading 2008 (Movie)

Linda Litzke (Actor)

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day 2008 (Movie)

Miss Pettigrew (Actor)

Friends With Money 2006 (Movie)

Jane (Actor)

Precinct Hollywood 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Narrator

Aeon Flux 2005 (Movie)

Handler (Actor)

North Country 2005 (Movie)

Glory (Actor)

Last Night 2003 (Movie)

(Actor)

Laurel Canyon 2003 (Movie)

Jane (Actor)

Searching for Debra Winger 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Something's Gotta Give 2003 (Movie)

Zoe Barry (Actor)

City by the Sea 2002 (Movie)

Michelle (Actor)

State of Grace 2000 - 2002 (TV Show)

Voice

7th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Scottsboro: An American Tragedy 2001 (Movie)

(Voice)

The Man Who Wasn't There 2001 (Movie)

Doris Crane (Actor)

Almost Famous 2000 (Movie)

Elaine Miller (Actor)

Wonder Boys 2000 (Movie)

Sara Gaskell (Actor)

Upheaval 1999 (Movie)

(Actor)

Johnny Skidmarks 1998 (Movie)

Alice (Actor)

Madeline 1998 (Movie)

Miss Clavel (Actor)

Talk of Angels 1998 (Movie)

Conlon (Actor)

The 70th Annual Academy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Inside the Academy Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Paradise Road 1997 (Movie)

Doctor Verstak (Actor)

Bleeding Hearts 1996 (Movie)

Woman on TV (Actor)

Fargo 1996 (Movie)

Marge Gunderson (Actor)

Lone Star 1996 (Movie)

Bunny (Actor)

Palookaville 1996 (Movie)

June (Actor)

Primal Fear 1996 (Movie)

Dr Molly Arrington (Actor)

American Cinema 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

Beyond Rangoon 1995 (Movie)

Andy Bowman (Actor)

Talking With 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Short Cuts 1993 (Movie)

Betty Weathers (Actor)

Passed Away 1992 (Movie)

Nora Scanlan (Actor)

Hunter 1984 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The Butcher's Wife 1991 (Movie)

Grace (Actor)

Chattahoochee 1990 (Movie)

Mae Foley (Actor)

Darkman 1990 (Movie)

Julie Hastings (Actor)

Hidden Agenda 1990 (Movie)

Ingrid Jessner (Actor)

Leg Work 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Mississippi Burning 1988 (Movie)

Mrs Pell (Actor)

Raising Arizona 1987 (Movie)

Dot (Actor)

Crimewave 1986 (Movie)

Nun (Actor)

Blood Simple 1985 (Movie)

Abby (Actor)

Scandal Sheet 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Crazy in Love (TV Show)

Actor

Hidden in America (TV Show)

Actor

Scandal Sheet (Movie)

(Actor)

The Botany of Desire (TV Show)

Narrator

The Good Old Boys (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (2)

Every Secret Thing 2014 (Movie)

(Producer)

Every Secret Thing 2013 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

As the good-natured, but sharp-minded sheriff on the trail of two murderers in her breakout film, "Fargo" (1996), actress Frances McDormand made a significant mark as an actress, playing one of the more unique, homespun characters in cinema history. Prior to her award-winning performance, McDormand essayed a variety of roles, but mainly focused on put-upon wives or classic femme fatales in films like "Blood Simple" (1984) and "Mississippi Burning" (1988). Later in her career, she branched off into more diverse leading and supporting roles for "Lone Star" (1996), "Wonder Boys" (2000) and "Almost Famous" (2000), though she continued to make her strongest appearances in husband Joel Coens' darkly comic noirs, including "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001). By the time she received her third Academy Award nomination for her supporting performance in "North Country" (2005), it was well established that McDormand was a gifted actress in both comedy and drama and whose best work never failed to impress critics and fans alike.

Relationships

Joel Coen Screenplay

Husband
Began dating 1984 Married April 1, 1984 Worked together in films including "Raising Arizona" (1987), "Fargo" (1996) and "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001)

Ethan Coen Screenplay

Brother-In-Law
Worked together in films including "Raising Arizona" (1987), "Fargo" (1996) and "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001)

Pedro Coen

Son
Adopted from Paraguay in 1994; father, Joel Coen

Vernon McDormand

Father
Member of the Disciples of Christ denomination

Noreen McDormand

Mother
Canadian

EDUCATION

Attended high school in Monessing, Pennsylvania

Bethany College

Bethany , West Virginia 1979

Yale University

New Haven , Connecticut 1982
Attended the Yale School of Drama; awarded the Carol Dye Award for Excellence

Milestones

2012

Cast as the mother of a preteen runaway in Wes Anderson's romantic adventure "Moonrise Kingdom"

2012

Co-starred with Matt Damon as corporate salespersons in "Promised Land," directed by Gus van Sant; film co-written by Damon and John Krasinski

2012

Voiced character of Captain Chantel DuBois in "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"

2011

Returned to the stage in the David Lindsay-Abaire play "Good People"; earned a Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

2011

Appeared in the third installment of the franchise "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

2008

Played the title role in "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day"

2008

Nominated for the 2008 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy ("Burn After Reading")

2008

Joined an ensemble cast for the Coen's brothers' "Burn After Reading"

2006

Co-starred with Joan Cusack, Jennifer Aniston, and Catherine Keener in director Nicole Holofcener's "Friends with Money"

2005

Co-starred with Charlize Theron in "North Country," a fictionalized account of the first successful sexual harassment case in the U.S.; earned Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG nominations for Best Supporting Actress

2005

Re-teamed with Charlize Theron for the feature adaptation of MTV's cartoon "Aeon Flux"

2003

Played Diane Keaton's sister in Nancy Meyers' "Something's Gotta Give"

2002

Returned to the NYC stage opposite Willem Dafoe in "To You, the Birdie!"

2002

Co-starred in the drama "Laurel Canyon"; received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for best supporting female

2001

Played a straying spouse in the Coen brothers' modern noir "The Man Who Wasn't There"

2000

Protrayed an eccentric, overprotective mother in Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous"; received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination

2000

Co-starred as Michael Douglas' lover, a college chancellor, in "Wonder Boys"

1998

Portrayed Miss Clavell in "Madeline," the adaptation of a children's book series written by Ludwig Bemelmans

1998

Returned to the New York stage, co-starring with Billy Crudup in off-Broadway production of "Oedipus"

1998

Starred as Blanche Du Bois in an Irish production of "A Streetcar Named Desire"

1997

Cast as a German doctor forced into an internment camp with other European women in Bruce Beresford's "Paradise Road"

1996

Earned critical praise for her performance as the pregnant police chief in the Coen brothers' "Fargo"

1996

Delivered a gem of a turn as Gus, a tough mechanic, in HBO's acclaimed "Hidden in America"

1995

Acted in Tommy Lee Jones' critically acclaimed writing-directing debut "The Good Old Boys" (TNT)

1995

Portrayed Patricia Arquette's sister in John Boorman's "Beyond Rangoon"

1993

Cast in featured role as Tim Robbins' girlfriend in Robert Altman's "Short Cuts"

1992

Played Pfeni, the youngest of three sisters, in the original Broadway production of "The Sisters Rosenzweig"

1990

Appeared uncredited in a bit part as a secretary in the Coens' "Miller's Crossing"

1990

Reteamed with Raimi in "Darkman"

1990

Co-starred in Ken Loach's controversial political thriller "Hidden Agenda"

1988

Earned a Tony nomination for her turn as Stella Kowalski in a Broadway revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire"

1988

Won substantial acclaim and a Best Supporting Oscar nomination for her turn in "Mississippi Burning"

1987

Co-starred on the CBS drama series "Leg Work"

1987

Re-teamed with the Coen brothers for "Raising Arizona"; starred former roommate Holly Hunter

1985

TV-movie acting debut, "Scandal Sheet" (ABC)

1985

Credited as Fran McDormand for Sam Raimi's "Crimewave"

1984

Film acting debut, "Blood Simple"; first collaboration with the Coen brothers

1983

New York stage debut, Tina Howe's "Painting Churches"

1980

Stage acting debut in "Winterset: Four New American Plays" at Yale Repertory Theater

Before age eight, moved frequently with family, before settling in Pennsylvania

Moved to NYC, initially sharing a Bronx apartment with friend and fellow Yale graduate Holly Hunter

First professional stage role, "Trinidad"; written by Jamaican poet Derek Walcott

Bonus Trivia

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McDormand was actively involved with the 52nd Street Project, a non-profit group that brought members of New York's theatrical world together with children ages 8 though 18 from Hell's Kitchen. She began her long connection with the organization when she met founder Willie Reale in 1985, working on a production for Ensemble Studio Theater (also located on 52nd St). She became a member of its board of directors in 1992 and its chairwoman in 1997.

.

"I'm a character actress, plain and simple. Who can worry about a career? Have a life. Movie stars have careers – actors work, and then they don't work, and then they work again." – McDormand quoted in Movieline, April 1996

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About getting cast by the Coens in "Blood Simple": "They told me later that I was the only actor who had read the scene in the way they had envisioned when they wrote it. After the audition, they asked me to come back later in the day, at four. But I had this friend who had got his first job on a soap opera and I was going to watch him at that time. They were both, like, 'Doesn't she realize that we want her to play Abby? What do you mean she's got to watch a soap opera? Well, can you come back at five?'" – McDormand quoted in Empire magazine, June 1996

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"The only control I have is to choose to do the work I want to do, not to follow the Academy Award with something that's pre-described for someone who wins an Academy Award. There's always that sense of anticipation: What will she do next?" "I'm trying to use the clout in my way, not someone else's prescribed way. By saying I'm a character actor and that I play supporting roles in films, I'm not being self-deprecating. That's my agenda, because character actors work until they decide not to work. Leading women can work forever on stage, but they have peaks and valleys in film work. By saying this is what I am, I have control." – McDormand to The Los Angeles Times, July 19, 1998

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About working with the Coens: "It's heaven. Their sets are a nice place to be. And their scripts are like plays. You don't mess with them and you don't paraphrase." – McDormand to The Los Angeles Times, July 19, 1998

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