Frances Louise McDormand was born on June 23, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. She was adopted by Canadian minister Vernan McDormand and his wife Noreen, who raised her in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. She earned her B.A. in Theater from Bethany College in 1979 and her MFA from Yale in 1982. Her career after graduation began onstage, and she has retained her association with the theater throughout her career. She soon obtained prominent roles in movies as well, first starring in Blood Simple. (1984), in which she worked with filmmaker Joel Coen, whom she married that year. She frequently collaborated with Coen and his brother Ethan Coen in their films.
McDormand's skilled and versatile acting has been recognized by both the critics and the Academy and, in addition to many critics' awards, she has been nominated for an Academy Award four times - for Mississippi Burning (1988), Fargo (1996) (for which she won the Best Actress Award), Almost Famous (2000) and North Country (2005). Keenly intelligent and possessed of a sharp wit, McDormand is the antithesis of the Hollywood starlet - rather than making every role about Frances McDormand, Frances McDormand dissolves into the characters she plays. Accordingly, she has expressed some reservations about the iconic recognition she has gained from her touching and amusing portrayal of Police Chief Marge Gunderson, the quintessential Minnesota Scandinavian, in Fargo (1996).
McDormand and Coen adopted a son, Pedro, who was born in Paraguay, in 1994. They live in Manhattan, New York.
|Joel Coen||(1 April 1984 - present) 1 child|
Has one son, Pedro McDormand Coen, adopted from Paraguay in 1994
Was the third and youngest child adopted by her minister father Vernon and his wife, Noreen.
Raised in Monessen, Pennsylvania.
Both of her parents were born in Canada. Her father, Vernon McDormand, was a Disciples of Christ minister and her mother, Noreen McDormand, a housewife.
She attended Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia and received her B.A. in Theater, 1979. Then she attended Yale University School of Drama, New Haven, Connecticut and received her M.F.A., 1982.
Was jury president of Berlin film festival 2004.
Her Oscar-winning role, as Marge Gunderson from her film Fargo (1996), was ranked #33 in the American Film Institute's Heroes list in their 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1988 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for a revival of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2006 Razzie Award nominating ballot. She was listed as a suggestion in the Worst Supporting Actress category for her performance in the film Æon Flux (2005). However, she failed to receive a nomination. (Had she gotten the nomination, she would have been one of the few to be nominated for both Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, for North Country (2005), and Worst Supporting Actress at the Razzies in the same year.)
Her performance as Marge Gunderson in Fargo (1996) is ranked #27 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
As of 2007, six women have received Best Actress nominations for performances directed by their spouse - Frances is the only one to actually win. The other five are Gena Rowlands for A Woman Under the Influence (1974) & Gloria (1980), Joanne Woodward for Rachel, Rachel (1968), Julie Andrews for Victor Victoria (1982), Elisabeth Bergner for Escape Me Never (1935) and Jean Simmons for The Happy Ending (1969). Jules Dassin also directed his future wife Melina Mercouri in an Oscar-nominated performance (Never on Sunday (1960)), but they weren't married yet at the time of the nomination.
[on how she got the part in Fargo (1996)] "The fact that I'm sleeping with the director may have something to do with it."
On playing 'mothers': "Those roles weren't just mothers in a story about a male protagonist. First they were specific, three-dimensional people."
On "women's pictures": "Most women's pictures are as boring and as formulaic as men's pictures. In place of a car chase or a battle scene, what you get is an extreme closeup of a woman breaking down. I cry too, maybe three times a week, but it's not in closeup. It's a wide shot. It's in the context of a very large and very mean world."
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.
With most people when there's a pain in their life there's mental scar tissue that forms over the pain and helps you go on living. An actor's scar tissue really never covers over things the same way, not if you're going to be sensitive. With good technique, an actor can do that and walk through life without going insane.
You have to get away from the theater or from the set and live life. If you work constantly from job to job, you're living in a fantasy world and you have nothing else to offer than fantasy.
I don't like award shows. At our house we call this time of year 'the convention'. It's too bad we haven't figured out how to stop it. But I think it will come around because of the Internet - I think it will naturally go away. We'll have other ways to gather; it's not going to be this stuff. The shoes hurt too much.
(August 2010) After a break from film work to focus raising her son, she has returned to work on location in Dublin, Ireland filming This Must Be the Place (2011) with Sean Penn. Also she has been filming her scenes for the upcoming Michael Bay blockbuster sequel Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), overseeing projects as a producer and shortly begins rehearsals for her Broadway return in 'Good People' opposite Tate Donovan, previews beginning February 8, 2011.
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.