elcome to Mary McDonnell Vault, your online resource dedicated to actress Mary McDonnell. You better know Mary for her role as Captain Sharon Raydor for the TNT crime series The Closer & Major Crimes. But she also did others like Battlestar Galactica, Independence Day, Donnie Darko, Dances with Wolves, Sneakers and many others. Site is comprehensive of a big photogallery with events, photoshoots, magazines, stills, a media archive dedicated to all fans fanarts on Mary, an extensive press library to collect all the articles and interviews on her and a video gallery section for recorded interviews, sneak peeks and trailers of her projects. We claim no rights to know her personally and it's absolutely respectful of her privacy and paparazzi-free!!!

Oscar nominee, Pell Award recipient Mary McDonnell talks about her career

Andy Smith

May 17, 2018

Article taken from Providence Journal.

She was Stands With A Fist in “Dances with Wolves,” President Laura Roslin in “Battlestar Galactica,” Captain Sharon Raydor in “The Closer” and then “Major Crimes.”

She was Stands With A Fist in “Dances with Wolves,” President Laura Roslin in “Battlestar Galactica,” Captain Sharon Raydor in “The Closer” and then “Major Crimes.”

Now actress Mary McDonnell, a two-time Oscar nominee — for “Dances with Wolves” and “Passion Fish” — is also winner of the 2018 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, presented each year by Trinity Repertory Company. The award will be presented at a ceremony on Monday, May 21, at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence.

“I’m so moved by it. Kind of stunned, really. It’s been a wonderful thing to contemplate for the last month or so,” McDonnell said in a phone interview with The Providence Journal.

McDonnell said Trinity Rep spoke to her sister, Bryant University professor Judy McDonnell, first, and then sent an email to her. McDonnell said her sister is a longtime supporter of the arts in Rhode Island, and loves Trinity. “For both of us, it’s kind of emotional, actually,” she said.

In announcing the award, Trinity Rep artistic director Curt Columbus said, “Mary McDonnell’s extraordinary work exemplifies the artist as a socially responsible citizen. Her portrayal of strong women, from Stands With A Fist to President Roslin to Sharon Raydor, have inspired and captivated women.”

So does McDonnell consider herself a socially responsible artist?

She sighed. “I think I evolved into it,” she said.

McDonnell, 66, who grew up in Ithaca, New York, spent her early career working as a theater actress in New York City, often in projects sponsored by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. During that time, she said, she collaborated with people such as Julia Miles, founder of the Women’s Project Theater (now the WP Theater). So she developed her craft while working with socially responsible playwrights.

“I found a voice acting in plays off-Broadway, and off-off-off-off. Through that process I found what I responded to,” she said.

McDonnell said she is naturally drawn to stories of women struggling to improve their their circumstances, whatever they may be. On the other hand, she could see her way to playing a bad person in a good story, such as the great TV series “The Wire.” (McDonnell noted that her sister teaches a course on “The Wire” at Bryant.)

She was calling from Nashville, where she had just attended a convention with some other cast members of “Battlestar Galactica,” a sharp remake of the old 1970s sci-fi show that ran from 2004 to 2009. The remake was a critical favorite that touched on religion, political leadership, terrorism, the war in Iraq and what it means to be human. McDonnell said almost the entire “Battlestar” cast will be going to Germany shortly for a panel about the program.

“That show was so prescient and ahead of its time, so inside the pulse of what humanity is being led into,” McDonnell said. “Human rights, the environment, women, reconciliation . . . it was all in the show. It’s fascinating to me, given the [political] climate we’re enduring, that it seems even more prescient.”

After “Battlestar,” McDonnell played Captain (later Commander) Sharon Raydor in two police procedurals, first “The Closer” and then its spinoff “Major Crimes.” On “The Closer,” she played an antagonist to lead character Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick). On “Major Crimes,” which ran from 2012 to the start of 2018, she was the lead.

“I was originally told to give Brenda Leigh a really hard time. And I said, ‘Where do I sign?’ Very fun. I got who this person is, she does not care what people think. And I love that,” McDonnell said.

The key to turning her into a lead character, McDonnell said, was to maintain some of the qualities that gave Raydor the nickname “Darth Raydor,” but expand the character’s story. One way to do that, she said, was to emphasize her maternal qualities, so the show had Raydor take a young witness in a big case into her own home.

When the show was cancelled by TNT, its creators decided to kill off Sharon Raydor before the show itself ended. The idea, McDonnell said, was to have fans simultaneously grieve Raydor and the end of the series. But the death came as a shock, and many fans were not happy.

They were even less happy when McDonnell’s name was removed from the show credits after she died. So some of them changed the pictures on their social-media profiles to a shot of McDonnell’s name as it had appeared in the credits, in stark black and white. Tickled, McDonnell followed suit for a little while.

“It made me laugh so hard I finally cried,” she said. “It was just so clever.”

With “Major Crimes” in her past, McDonnell has been reading some scripts, but also looking into developing some projects on her own. “I’m leaning into producing now,” she said. “There are a couple of pieces of writing that I love . . . it’s a way of expanding my involvement in storytelling.”