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Frances Conroy Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (6)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Monroe, Georgia, USA
Birth NameFrances Hardman Conroy
Nicknames Franny
Frannie
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Award-winning stage actress Frances Conroy was introduced and encouraged by her parents to explore the elements of theater. Born Frances Hardman Conroy in Monroe, Georgia, she attended high school in Long Island and experienced classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse as a teenager. The pale, blue-eyed redhead also studied drama at Dickinson College and the Juilliard School (BFA) where she was taught, at the latter college, by theater greats John Houseman and Marian Seldes.

Following potent dramatic roles in such classical productions as "Mother Courage...and Her Children," "King Lear," "All's Well That Ends Well," "Measure for Measure" and "Othello" (as Desdemona) in the late 70s, Frances made her Broadway debut with "The Lady from Dubuque" in 1980. She went on to earn a well-respected name for herself under the Broadway and off-Broadway lights throughout the 1980s in such esteemed plays as "Our Town" (as Mrs. Gibbs), "The Little Foxes (as Birdie) and "In the Summer House." She also appeared with Ms. Seldes in the well-received plays "Ring 'Round the Moon" and "A Bright Room Called Day."

A performer with the The Acting Company, Frances won a Drama Desk Award for "The Secret Rapture" and an Obie for "The Last Yankee." In 2000 she received the Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony nomination for "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan." Her other Broadway credits include "Ring Round the Moon", "The Little Foxes", "The Rehearsal" (Drama Desk Nominee), "Broken Glass", "In the Summer House" (Drama Desk Nominee) and "The Secret Rapture" (Drama Desk Nominee). Conroy's numerous Off- Broadway plays include "The Dinner Party", "The Skin of Our Teeth", "The Last Yankee" and "Othello" (Drama Desk Nominee).

An actress of subtle power, great depth and astonishing versatility, she has both an aloof serenity and faintly sad/sensitive ambiance that makes her all the more mysterious and intriguing. She came out to California in 1985 at the invitation of director Houseman and appeared in more theater plays, including "Richard III," at San Diego's Globe Theater. She also earned a sprinkling of generally overlooked film and TV parts, including small parts in Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979) (debut), Another Woman (1988) and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). Showing a distinct flair for the offbeat and neurotic, nothing really pushed the envelope for her on screen quite like her series' turn as the dowdy, emotionally frail undertaker's widow Ruth Fisher in the cult hit TV series Six Feet Under (2001). During the five-season run she won both a Golden Globe and three Screen Actors Guild awards and was nominated four times for an Emmy.

Film roles have been growing more abundant over the years, offering a number of fascinating featured roles, often as eccentric, often disturbing mothers and matrons. Such movies include Billy Bathgate (1991), Scent of a Woman (1992), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), The Crucible (1996), Maid in Manhattan (2002), Die, Mommie, Die! (2003), Catwoman (2004), The Aviator (2004) (as Kate Hepburn's mother), Shopgirl (2005), The Wicker Man (2006), Humboldt County (2008), The Smell of Success (2009), Love Happens (2009), 6 Souls (2010), Waking Madison (2010), Chasing Ghosts (2014), Making the Rules (2014), Welcome to Happiness (2015), rare leading roles in No Pay, Nudity (2016) and Mountain Rest (2018), and as psychotic Joaquin Phoenix's needy mother in the Oscar-winning psychological drama Joker (2019).

Frances has also appeared to fine advantage in several other TV series of late, most notably American Horror Story (2011) in which she earned her fifth and sixth Emmy nomination. She also had stand-out roles in How I Met Your Mother (2005), Casual (2015), Arrested Development (2003) and Dead to Me (2019), in addition to episodic guest spots on "ER," "Desperate Housewives," "Nip/Tuck," "Grey's Anatomy," "Young Sheldon" and "Castle Rock."

In 1992, she married actor/husband Jan Munroe, an L.A. performance artist. After a few Broadway roles with "The Little Foxes" (as Birdie), "Ring Round the Moon" and "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan," Frances returned to the theatre after a six-year absence, in the 2006 production of "Pyrenees" by David Greig at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Jan Munroe (April 1992 - present)
Jonathan Furst (1980 - ?) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Often plays magical, mystical characters

Trivia (6)

Her father, Vincent Paul Conroy, was born in Ogden, Utah, to Irish-American parents Edward Maurice Conroy and Bertha Augusta Hassett. Her mother, Ossie Hardman (Ray), was born in Georgia, to Harry Anderson Ray and Myrtle Mobley.
Was nominated for Broadway's 2000 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for Arthur Miller's "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan."
Was listed as a potential nominee for the 2005 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress in the universally despised film Catwoman (2004). Fortunately for Conroy, she failed to receive a nomination, unlike the film's star, Halle Berry, who gamely showed up to receive her award in person.
Was good friends with Arthur Miller.
Conroy was in a car crash once and suffered physical trauma to her face. The cornea of the eye can appear glazed or lighter in color after such trauma. This type of corneal scarring is actually fairly common and easy to hide. She has said that she normally wears a colored lens to hide it. However, Ryan Murphy asked her to not cover it while filming American Horror Story: Return to Murder House (2018). He used it as part of Conroy's character (Moira O'Hara)'s storyline. It represented her cause of death, being shot in the eye.
As of 2020, she has been in 3 films that were Oscar nominated for Best Picture: Scent of a Woman (1992), The Aviator (2004), and Joker (2019).

Personal Quotes (2)

I guess you're happy if you have some kind of balance in you. I'm a human being. I have days when I feel paralyzed, days when I feel like a slug. Then I have days when I have good energy, I've read the newspaper and I've done different things.
It's actually meditative to sit in a character for an extended period of time, realizing what your relationship is to who you're playing and then letting go, just being there.

See also

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