Well-connected from the time she broke into showbiz, Mary Steenburgen was discovered by Jack Nicholson in New York. He cast her as Julia Tate in his film “Goin’ South,” earning her a Golden Globe nod for playing a single woman who marries a convict to save him from the gallows.
By 1981, she was married to her “Time After Time” costar Malcolm McDowell and had accepted an Oscar and Golden Globe for her supporting role as a frustrated wife in “Melvin and Howard.”
Steenburgen continued to win over audiences with roles in “Parenthood,” “Back to the Future III” and her Emmy-nominated take on Miep Gies in “The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank.” She played very much against type in two of her most compelling films. In "Philadelphia," she was surprisingly convincing as a frosty, tough-as-nails lawyer, while "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" featured Steenburgen as a lascivious housewife in a permanent frenzy over a small-town grocery clerk played by Johnny Depp.
The actress split with McDowell in 1989 and later married her “Pontiac Moon” costar Ted Danson in 1995. The Hollywood power couple, who had the Clintons as wedding guests, went on to share the screen in “Gulliver’s Travels,” “Ink” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Steenburgen, whose stage work includes “Boston Marriage” and “Marvin’s Room,” added several comedies to her resume in recent years, such as “Elf,” “Step Brothers,” “The Proposal” and “Did You Hear About the Morgans?”
Born in Arkansas, Steenburgen spent her 40th birthday at the White House with two old pals from her home state, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
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