Frances McDormand Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trivia (34)  | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (4)

Born in Gibson City, Illinois, USA
Birth NameFrances Louise McDormand
Nickname Fran
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Frances Louise McDormand was born on June 23, 1957, in Gibson City, Illinois. She was adopted by Canadian-born parents Noreen Eloise (Nickleson), a nurse from Ontario, and Rev. Vernon Weir McDormand, a Disciples of Christ minister from Nova Scotia, who raised her in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. She earned a BA in theater from Bethany College in 1979 and an MFA from Yale University 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 six times - Supporting in Mississippi Burning (1988), Almost Famous (2000), and North Country (2005), and Lead in Fargo (1996), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), and Nomadland (2020), winning the Oscar for the latter three. She also won a Best Picture Oscar as co-producer of "Nomadland." Keenly intelligent and possessed of a sharp wit, McDormand is the antithesis of the Hollywood starlet - rather than making every role about Frances McDormand, she 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 McDormand Coen, who was born in Paraguay, in 1994. They live in New York.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Larry-115

Family (3)

Spouse Joel Coen (1 April 1984 - present)  (1 child)
Children McDormand Coen, Pedro
Pedro McDormand Coen
Parents McDormand, Noreen
McDormand, Vernon

Trivia (34)

Has one son, Pedro McDormand Coen, adopted from Paraguay in 1994.
Once lived in an apartment with Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel, and Holly Hunter.
Was the third and youngest child adopted by her minister father, Vernon McDormand, and his wife, Noreen.
Raised in Monessen, Pennsylvania.
Sister-in-law of Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke.
Both of her adoptive parents were born in Canada. Her father, The Rev. Vernon Weir McDormand, a Disciples of Christ minister, was from Nova Scotia. Her mother, Noreen Eloise (Nickleson) McDormand, a housewife and nurse, was from Ontario.
Graduated from Bethany College, in Bethany, West Virginia, with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Theater in 1979. She graduated from Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, with a Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1982.
Was jury president of the Berlin Film Festival, 2004.
Her Oscar-winning role, as Marge Gunderson in the 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's "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 2013, she is one of six women who has received a Best Actress Oscar nomination, and the only one to have actually won, for a performance directed by her spouse--in McDormand's case, for Fargo (1996), directed by Joel Coen. The other five are Elisabeth Bergner for Escape Me Never (1935), directed by Paul Czinner; Joanne Woodward for Rachel, Rachel (1968), directed by Paul Newman; Jean Simmons for The Happy Ending (1969), directed by Richard Brooks; Gena Rowlands for A Woman Under the Influence (1974) & for Gloria (1980), both directed by John Cassavetes; and Julie Andrews for Victor/Victoria (1982), directed by Blake Edwards. Melina Mercouri received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Never on Sunday (1960), directed by her future husband Jules Dassin, but Mercouri and Dassin weren't yet married at the time of the nomination.
Co-starred with Charlize Theron in two films during the same year (Æon Flux (2005) and North Country (2005)).
Shared an apartment in the Bronx with Holly Hunter in the early 1980s until they moved in with Joel Coen, Ethan Coen and Sam Raimi into a house in Los Angeles.
Won a Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play in 2011. She was awarded for her performance in the play "Good People".
Was the 111th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for Fargo (1996) at The 69th Annual Academy Awards (1997) on March 24, 1997.
In 2015 she became the 23rd performer to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony). She won the 1997 Best Actress Oscar for Fargo (1996), the 2011 Best Leading Actress in a Play Tony for "Good People," and the 2015 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie Emmy for Olive Kitteridge (2014).
Is one of 17 actresses to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony). The others, in chronological order, are Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Audrey Hepburn, Anne Bancroft, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Ellen Burstyn, Helen Mirren, Jessica Lange,Viola Davis and Glenda Jackson.
Friends with Tom Hanks.
Is one of 13 actresses to have won a Best Actress Oscar for playing a character who is pregnant at some point during the film, hers being for Fargo (1996). The others are Helen Hayes for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931), Luise Rainer for The Good Earth (1937), Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind (1939), Ginger Rogers for Kitty Foyle (1940), Olivia de Havilland for To Each His Own (1946), Jane Wyman for Johnny Belinda (1948), Anna Magnani for The Rose Tattoo (1955), Julie Christie for Darling (1965), Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl (1968), Liza Minnelli for Cabaret (1972), Sissy Spacek for Coal Miner's Daughter (1980), Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021).
The longest she has gone without an Oscar nomination is the 12 years between North Country (2005) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).
As of 2021, she has been in 4 films that were Oscar nominated for Best Picture: Mississippi Burning (1988), Fargo (1996), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), and Nomadland (2020), the last film being a winner in that category. She was Oscar nominated for her performances in all of them, and won Best Actress three times for Fargo, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Nomadland. The first 3 films all have names of places in the title.
Is the 1st actress to have won 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. She won for her work on the films Fargo (1996) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).
During her ecstatic Best Actress Oscar acceptance speech for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), McDormand mentioned the term "inclusion rider" that left many scratching their heads. Apparently "inclusion rider" is a clause that an actor can insist be included in his/her contract that requires cast and crew on a particular film to meet a certain level of diversity. The concept was discussed in a 2016 "TED" talk by Stacy Smith in which she determined that casting was not representative of the population, suggesting that an "equity clause" or an "inclusion rider" could be part of the solution.
Is one of 15 actresses to win the Critic's Choice Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and Oscar in the same year, winning for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). The others to achieve this are Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich (2000), Renée Zellweger for Cold Mountain (2003), Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line (2005), Helen Mirren for The Queen (2006), Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (2006), Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008), Mo'Nique for Precious (2009), Natalie Portman for Black Swan (2010), Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011), Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables (2012), Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine (2013), Patricia Arquette for Boyhood (2014), Julianne Moore for Still Alice (2014) and Allison Janney in I, Tonya.
As of 2021, she has won the award each of the three times she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, but lost it every time she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
She wears the wedding ring that originally was worn by her husband Joel Coen's first wife, a brief marriage that had ended in divorce in the late 1970s. She explained that she was being practical, and that the ring shouldn't be wasted.
Her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) was written specifically for her.
According to a 2017 New York Times profile, McDormand was the last of nine children to be adopted and/or fostered by Noreen and Vernon McDormand. She was adopted at the age of 1; her birth name was Cynthia Ann Smith.
Having been nominated for Nomadland, she becomes the third actress (7th actor overall) to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting in 5 different decades (Mississippi Burning 1988, Fargo 1996, Almost Famous 2000, North Country 2005, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri 2017, and Nomanland 2020. Katharine Hepburn and Meryl Streep are the others.
Having been nominated for Nomadland, she becomes the third actress (7th actor overall) to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting in 5 different decades (Mississippi Burning 1988, Fargo 1996, Almost Famous 2000, North Country 2005, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri 2017, and Nomanland 2020). Katharine Hepburn and Meryl Streep are the others.
Second actress, after Katharine Hepburn, to win three Oscars for Best Leading Actress. She won for Fargo (1996), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) and Nomadland (2020). She also won for producing the latter.

Personal Quotes (10)

[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.
I've got a rubber face. It has always served me very well and really helps, especially as I get older, because I still have all my road map intact, and I can use it at will.
[on plastic surgery] I have not mutated myself in any way. Joel (Coen, her director husband) and I have this conversation a lot. He literally has to stop me physically from saying something to people - to friends who've had work. I'm so full of fear and rage about what they've done.
I consider myself an actor not a movie star.

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