Mary Kay Place
A versatile and multi-talented performer on film and in television, Emmy winner Mary Kay Place essayed free-thinking, often eccentric women in projects ranging from "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" (syndicated, 1976-77) and "The Big Chill" (1983) to "Being John Malkovich" (1999) and "Big Love" (HBO, 2006- ). Her knack for gentle comedy and singing caught the eye of both Tim Conway and Norman Lear, who provided her first breaks in the early 1970s; a brief stint as an Emmy-nominated writer preceded stardom as Loretta Haggers, would-be country singer on "Mary Hartman," leading to the recording of a successful album as Haggers in 1976. In the 1980s and 1990s, she was a capable character actress, switching deftly from comedy to drama while honing a second career as a TV director. "Big Love" gave her the choicest role of her later career as the Lady Macbeth-like wife of a polygamist leader; her chameleon qualities as an actress, as well as her impressive body of credits, ensured her steady work and admiration from her peers and fans.