Marsha Mason

Marsha Mason

Born: April 3, 1942
Age: 82
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
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Marsha Mason (born April 3, 1942) is an American actress and director. She is a four-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Golden Globe Award winner.

Mason's first film role was in Hot Rod Hullabaloo in 1966. She received four Academy Award nominations for Best Actress for her performances in Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Goodbye Girl (1977), Chapter Two (1979) and Only When I Laugh (1981). Her other films include, Blume in Love (1973), The Cheap Detective (1978), Max Dugan Returns (1983) Heartbreak Ridge (1986), Stella (1990) and Drop Dead Fred (1991). On television, she appeared in the soap opera Love of Life (1971-1972) and received an Emmy nomination for her recurring role in the sitcom Frasier (1997-1998).

She has also had an extensive career on stage, making her Broadway debut as a replacement in the comedy Cactus Flower in 1968. Other Broadway credits include The Night of the Iguana (1996), Impressionism (2005) and Steel Magnolias (2009). In 1999, she starred in a revival of The Prisoner of Second Avenue in London, and received a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album for the 2000 recording. In 2006, she starred in the American premier production of Hecuba at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

She was married for ten years (1973-1983) to the playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon, who was the writer of three of her Oscar nominated roles.


Personal life

Mason was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Jacqueline Helena (Rakowski) and James Joseph Mason, a printer. She and her younger sister, Linda (b. 1943), were raised Catholic and grew up in Crestwood. Mason is a graduate of Nerinx Hall High School and Webster University, both in Webster Groves. She raced a Mazda RX-3 in SCCA events.

A resident of New Mexico, she had a farm in Abiquiu that grows certified organic herbs. In the late 1990s, Mason sold herbs wholesale to companies both locally and regionally before starting a line of wellness and bath and body products called "Resting in the River".

Mason is a staunch Democrat who has donated over $4,000 to Democratic candidates.


Marsha Mason has had a distinguished career in film and theater. Neil Simon cast her in his Broadway play The Good Doctor in 1973. Shortly afterwards, Mason and Simon, a widower, fell in love and got married. That same year, Mason co-starred opposite James Caan in the 20th Century Fox film Cinderella Liberty, which netted her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. In 1977, Mason's performance in Simon's smash hit film, The Goodbye Girl, won her a second Best Actress Academy Award nomination. In 1979, Simon successfully cast Mason as Jennie MacLaine in the screen adaptation of his hit play Chapter Two, which was based on Mason's relationship with Simon up to their marriage. The film proved to be another big hit, garnering her a third Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

In 1981, Mason starred along with Kristy McNichol, James Coco, and Joan Hackett, in Only When I Laugh, Simon's film adaptation of his Broadway comedy-drama The Gingerbread Lady; it was another box-office success. For her performance as Georgia Hines, Mason was highly praised and earned a fourth Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Mason's Max Dugan Returns (1983), also written by Simon, grossed a modest $17.6 million at the box office. Despite a stellar cast led by Mason, Donald Sutherland, Jason Robards and Matthew Broderick, the film was a slow starter, becoming more popular after premiering on cable TV and VHS. By this time, Mason and Simon had divorced, and her film career lost momentum. She co-starred with Clint Eastwood in the 1986 film Heartbreak Ridge, which was fairly well received and a commercial success.

Mason played in a New York production of Harold Pinter's Old Times. She next directed the play Juno's Swans (1986), by E. Katherine Kerr, at the Second Stage Theatre in Los Angeles.

Her stage credits include Norman Mailer's The Deer Park, Israel Horovitz's The Indian Wants the Bronx, Neil Simon's The Good Doctor and King Richard III at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Mason starred on Broadway in a revival of Night of the Iguana in 1996, and the following year in Michael Cristofer's Amazing Grace. Mason reunited with Goodbye Girl co-star Richard Dreyfuss and writer Neil Simon in Duncan Weldon and Emanuel Azenberg's production of The Prisoner of Second Avenue in 1999, which was performed at the L.A. Theatre Works shortly after a revival in London's West End. She earned a Grammy nomination in comedy.

She appeared in Charles L. Mee’' Wintertime at the Second Stage theatre in New York. In August 2005 Mason starred as Hecuba at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and on Broadway Steel Magnolias, with Delta Burke, Frances Sternhagen, Rebecca Gayheart, Lily Rabe and Christine Ebersole. She appeared in A Feminine Ending at Playwrights Horizons, and in the Shakespeare Theater Company's performance of "All's Well That Ends Well" in Washington, D.C.

Mason's recent television work includes guest roles on Seinfeld, Lipstick Jungle, and Army Wives. Mason starred in her own series, Sibs, which ran from 1991-92. In 1997 and 1998, she had a recurring role on the TV show Frasier as Sherry Dempsey. In February 2010, she co-starred in California Suite at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

As of 2010 Mason plays Patricia Heaton's mother in ABC comedy series The Middle.

In April 2010, Mason co-starred with Keir Dullea and Matt Servitto in an Off-Broadway production of I Never Sang for My Father. For her performance as Margaret Garrison, Mason received good reviews.

Marsha Mason has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.


Year Title Role Notes
1966 Hot Rod Hullabaloo Marcia Hamden
1968 Beyond the Law Marcia Stillwell
1969 Dark Shadows Audrey
Where the Heart Is Laura Blackburn
1971-1972 Love of Life Judith Cole
1972 Cyrano de Bergerac Roxane TV movie
Young Dr. Kildare Nurse Marsha Lord 2 episodes
1973 Blume in Love Arlene
Cinderella Liberty Maggie Paul Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
1977 Audrey Rose Janice Templeton
The Goodbye Girl Paula McFadden Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1978 The Cheap Detective Georgia Merkle
The Good Doctor Various roles TV movie
1979 Promises in the Dark Dr. Alexandra Kendall Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Chapter Two Jennie MacLaine Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1981 Only When I Laugh Georgia Hines Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
1982 Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal Lois Gibbs TV movie
1983 Max Dugan Returns Nora McPhee
1985 Surviving: A Family in Crisis Lois TV movie
1986 Trapped in Silence Jennifer Hubbell TV movie
Heartbreak Ridge Aggie
1988 Hothouse Courtney Woods Episode "The Actress"
1989 Dinner at Eight Millicent Jordan TV movie
1990 The Image Jean Cromwell TV movie
Stella Janice Morrison
1991 Drop Dead Fred Polly Cronin
Sibs Nora Ruscio TV movie
1993 One Life to Live Sabrina Episode dated 1 December 1993
1994 I Love Trouble Senator Gayle Robbins
1995 Broken Trust Ruth TV movie
Nick of Time Governor Eleanor Grant
1996 2 Days in the Valley Audrey Hopper
1997-1998 Frasier Sherry Dempsey 6 episodes
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress - Comedy Series
1999 Dead Aviators Lydia TV movie
2001 Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows Ethel Gumm TV movie
2002 The Education of Max Bickford Lilith Bigelow Episode "The Egg and I"
2004 The Long Shot Mary Lou O'Brian TV movie
Bride & Prejudice Catherine Darcy
Bereft Helen TV movie
2006 Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King Aunt Trudy Episode "The Road Virus Heads North"
2008 Lipstick Jungle Lorraine Lipman Episode "Chapter Seven: Carpe Threesome"
Army Wives Charlotte Meade 2 episodes
2010-2016 The Middle Pat Spence 10 episodes

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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