Mary McDonnell Interview

Cindy Pearlman

February 2015

Article taken from Act TWO Online

Mary McDonnell solves Major Crimes as TV’s most arresting 62-year-old detective.

How does she look so gorgeous?

“I don’t walk around looking the way I do on Major Crimes,” she says. “My hair isn’t perfect. My lashes aren’t as long. Genetically, I do have good hair, but I’m like every other woman in that my hair is better if someone else does it.  My hairdresser even wrote, ‘Thank you for being such a great vehicle for my hairdos!’”

When McDonnell goes home after a long day, she’s all about the peace, quiet and meditating for good health.

“Meditation is very calming and it helps me to train my mind to stay focused in one place for a sustained period of time,” says the 62-year-old.  “Meditation tells my body at this age that it isn’t time to quit.  In fact, I’m just getting started.”
Winding down in her dressing room on the set of Major Crimes, McDonnell is upfront and honest about aging.

“For women over 50 with hormonal imbalances, our mind starts bouncing around,” she says. “You need to teach your mind new ways to stay focused.  With meditation, you’re basically strengthening your mind.”

To learn meditation, McDonnell says that she studied with a Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher.  “What I learned is that keeping the mind sharp leads to a higher happiness factor,” she says.

She says that meditation also forces women to think about what they’re doing. “I really encourage women to think about what we’re asking ourselves to do because from 50 onward, we’re breaking new ground,” she says. “Women are pushing themselves even harder in the later decades. That’s a gigantic shift.”

“That push requires tremendous curiosity and work when it comes to keeping the body and mind healthy,” she says. “Just doing 10 minutes of meditation a day can create a strong mind.”

She has made other conscious health choices in the last decade. “When I turned 45, I really looked into my family’s genetics. It’s important to know your history and discuss that with your doctor,” she says.

She has also worked hard on balancing her hormones. “I’ve worked very hard in the past decade finding ways to balance any hormonal deficits that we naturally enter into as we age. You might need to supplement certain hormones,” she says. “If you want to sustain the lifestyle you love, then talk to your doctor about hormones.”

She doesn’t torture herself with hours upon hours at the gym.  “I love to swim and lift weights.  The point is, you’ve got to keep moving. No excuses!” she says.

She says that you have to keep a healthy perspective about aging.   “We’re going to have a woman running for president and she’s a grandmother. That’s so inspiring.”


Will she ever reunite with her Dances With Wolves co-star Kevin Costner?  “Everyone wants that to happen,” says Mary. “It’s only going to happen at some point if someone hands us the right script. A script will have to come out of somewhere and we’ll both read it and say, ‘This is the one.’”

Script developed by Never Enough Design