As a child actor, Patty McCormack embraced the dark side playing Rhoda Penmark, the memorable blond-in-braids murderer in 1956’s “The Bad Seed,” a role that earned her a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for best supporting actress at age 11.
Born Patricia Ellen Russo in 1945 in Brooklyn to a professional roller skater and a fireman, McCormack began modeling at age 4. She made her Broadway debut at age 6 in the play “Touchstone,” starring Ossie Davis.
Segueing to film, she famously appeared in “Bad Seed,” then went on to portray a pioneer girl in “All Mine to Give” (1957), a child star in “Kathy O’” (1958) and a tomboy in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1960).
Though it was difficult to break away from the Rhoda Penmark character, McCormack persevered.
“I have a feeling that part of Rhoda was so indelible when I was young that afterward I had a rough time sitting on some of my strengths,” McCormack said in a Dec. 25, 1995, L.A. Times article.
By the 1970s, McCormack was tackling roles on some of television’s biggest hits including “Dallas” and “The Ropers.” More recently, she’s done guest spots on “As the World Turns,” “NYPD Blue,” “Cold Case” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” In 2008, she appeared as Pat Nixon in Ron Howard’s Oscar-nominated feature film “Frost/Nixon.”
McCormack, who married restaurateur Bob Catania in 1967, is divorced. They have two children.
|1956||Best Supporting Actress||The Bad Seed||Nomination|