Aug. 14th, 1959
La Jolla, California, USA
Marcia Gay Harden's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Marcia Gay Harden was born on August 14, 1959, in La Jolla, California, the third of five children. Her father was in the military, and the family relocated often -- she first became interested in the theater when the family was living in Greece, and she had attended plays in Athens. Harden began her college education at American universities in Europe and returned to the US to complete her studies at the University of Texas in 1983; went on to earn an MFA at NYU, and, thereafter, embarked on her acting career.
Although she had acted in a movie as early as 1986, in the little-known The Imagemaker (1986), her first mainstream role, coming alongside some TV movie work, was as a sultry femme fatale in the Coen Brothers' cleverly offbeat homage to the gangster movie, Miller's Crossing (1990). Harden received good reviews for her sultry performance as Verna, a seductive, trouble-making moll. Harden thereafter worked steadily in supporting roles, including the portrayal of Ava Gardner in Sinatra (1992) (TV), a television biopic about Frank Sinatra. Harden also worked in the theater and, in 1993, was part of the Broadway cast of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America", playing Harper, the alienated wife of a closeted gay man. It was a demanding dramatic role, and Harden won acclaim for her work, including a Tony award nomination. She returned to movie making in the mid-1990s, continuing to turn in superb supporting performances in films and television.
Harden's road to success was a long one, her work generally being overlooked because the productions were either critically panned or ignored by audiences. However, it was just a matter of time before Harden got a chance to truly show her quality on-screen, and that time came in 2000, with Ed Harris (I)'s Pollock (2000), in which she played Lee Krasner, artist and long-suffering wife of Jackson Pollock. Harden's performance was deeply moving and unforgettable and earned her the Oscar and New York Film Critic's Circle awards for best supporting actress. Continuing to work prolifically in features and television, she earned another Oscar nomination in 2003 for her supporting role in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River (2003), Harden having earlier worked with Eastwood in 2000's Space Cowboys (2000).
Harden's work often makes otherwise mediocre productions worth watching, fully inhabiting any character she portrays. She married Thaddaeus Scheel, with whom she worked on The Spitfire Grill (1996), in 1996 and the couple have three children, a daughter Eulala Scheel and twins Julitta and Hudson.
- Achieved a degree of notoriety for making the rounds of the spring 2004 awards ceremonies while near-term with twins. When asked about all of the talk her hugely-pregnant figure was generating, she was quoted as saying that, when it comes to pregnancy, when you've got it, flaunt it.
- Was nominated for Broadway's 1993 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for 'Tony Kushner' (qv)'s "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches."
- Graduated from Surrattsville Sr. High in Clinton, Maryland (1976). 'Laura Wright (I)' (qv) also graduated from Surrattsville H.S., but in 1988.
- She was the first University of Texas at Austin graduate to win an Oscar. She won for Best Supporting Actress in 2001 for _Pollock (2000)_ (qv). The second UT grad to win was 'Renée Zellweger' (qv) in 2004.
- (1990) Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1990" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 42.
- Graduated from the University of Texas with a B.A. in theater (1980) and earned an MFA from the graduate theater program at New York University.
- On December 15, 2003, her young nephew and niece were killed in a tragic fire. The deaths occurred when the Queens, New York, apartment, owned by her former sister-in-law, went up in flames after a burning candle set a sofa on fire. Her ex-sister-in-law also later died from injuries received in the fire.
- When she first saw her future husband on the set of _The Spitfire Grill (1996)_ (qv), she asked her co-star, 'Ellen Burstyn' (qv), her opinion of him. Ellen didn't think he was Marcia's type. Fortuneately, Marcia didn't take her advice. Ellen became godmother of Marcia's three children.