Who is Frances McDormand?
Frances McDormand is an Academy Award winning American actress, best known for her performance in the movie ‘Fargo’. She is one out of the three adopted children of a Canadian couple and was born in Chicago, Illinois. She spent her early childhood in a number of small towns, such as Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennesse as her father carried out his services as a Disciples of Christ pastor before settling to Monessen. She graduated from Monessen High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bethany College in West Virginia. She completed her Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama. Frances made her film debut with ‘Blood Simple’ and is one of the few performers who have been honored with Triple Crown of Acting. She has also won Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Marge Gunderson in ‘Fargo’. She is married to director and writer, Joel Coen, and has a son, Pedro McDormand Coen.
Childhood & Early Life
Frances McDormand was born on June 23, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois and was adopted by a Canadian couple, Vernon W. McDormand and Noreen E. Her adopted father was a pastor and her mother was a registered nurse and receptionist. She has two siblings who were also adopted by the McDormands.
She spent her early childhood in a number of small towns, such as Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennesse before settling down in Monessen, Pennsylvania.
She graduated from Monessen High School in 1975 and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bethany College in West Virginia in 1979. She further completed her Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama where she was the roommate of Holly Hunter.
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Frances McDormand first acted in play that was written by Derek Walcott and was organized in Trinidad and Tobago. She made her debut in films with ‘Blood Simple’ in 1984.
She then appeared as a Nun in ‘Crimewave’ and also made television appearances in one episode of ‘Hunter’ and six episodes of ‘Hill Street Blues’ in 1985.
She co-starred with Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage in the hit film ‘Raising Arizona’ in 1987. She played the role of Willie Pipal in seven episodes of ‘Leg Work’ in 1987.
Frances appeared in ‘Mississippi Burning’ (1988), ‘Chattahoochee’ (1989), ‘Hidden Agenda’ (1990), ‘Miller's Crossing’ and ‘Darkman’ (1990). She played a stage actress in ‘Barton Fink’ in 1991 and also starred in ‘The Butcher's Wife’ (1991) and ‘Passed Away’ (1992).
Frances played the lead role opposite Tim Robbins in ‘Short Cuts’ in 1993. She did a couple of films in 1984 viz. ‘Bleeding Hearts’ and ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’.
Her film ‘Beyond Rangoon’ in 1995 co-starring Patricia Arquette was a critical and commercial failure. She appeared in ‘Palookaville’ and a television movie ‘The Good ‘Old Boys’ in 1995 and won an Academy Award for her performance in the movie ‘Fargo’ in 1996.
She starred in ‘Primal Fear’ (1996), ‘Lone Star’ (1996), ‘Paradise Road’ (1997), ‘Johnny Skidmarks’ (1998), ‘Madeline’ (1998), ‘Talk of Angels’ (1998) and ‘Wonder Boys’ (2000). She received various nominations for her supporting act as Elaine Miller in ‘Almost Famous’ in 2000.
Frances appeared in ‘The Man Who Wasn't There’ (2001), ‘Laurel Canyon’ (2002), ‘City by the Sea’ (2002) and ‘Something's Gotta Give’ (2003). She received her fourth nomination in Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in ‘North Country’ in 2005.
She had a role in a dark comedy ‘Friends with Money’ in 2006 and appeared in two films in 2008 viz. ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’ and ‘Burn After Reading’.
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She acted in ‘This Must Be the Place’ (2011) and ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ in 2011. She performed in a play ‘Good People’ in 2011 and received a Tony Award for the same.
Frances McDormand gave her voice for ‘Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted’ in 2012 for the character Captain Chantal Dubois. She starred in ‘Promise Land’ in 2012 and produced ‘Every Secret Thing’ in 2014.
She was a voice artist in ‘The Good Dinosaur’ in 2015 and acted in a mini-series ‘Olive Kitteridge ‘ in 2015 and film ‘Hail, Caesar!’ in 2016.
She currently has one film under production for 2017 viz. ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. She will also give her voice in ‘Isle of Dogs’ which is scheduled to release in 2018.
Frances McDormand’s performance in the movie ‘Mississippi Burning’ was highly lauded and she won a couple of awards for it. Her role gave her a lot of recognition among the audiences.
She is best known for her role in the film ‘Fargo’ (1996) for which she received an Academy Award for Best Actress. She also received Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for the same performance along with several other awards and nominations.
Awards & Achievements
Frances McDormand received National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress, Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress and Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress for ‘Mississippi Burning’ in 1988. She was also nominated in Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress for the same performance.
She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for ‘Fargo’ in 1996.
She won Critics Choice Award, Florida Film Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress for ‘Wonder Boys’ and ‘Almost Famous’ in 2001. She was also nominated in Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards for ‘Almost Famous’ for her supporting act.
She won Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in 2011 for ‘Good People’.
She won Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble for ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ in 2012.
She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for ‘Olive Kitteridge’ in 2015.
Personal Life & Legacy
Frances McDormand married director and writer, Joel Coen, in 1984. The couple adopted their son, Pedro McDormand Coen, from Paraguay in 1994.
Frances McDormand once lived in an apartment with Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel and Holly Hunter. She is the sister-in-law of Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke.
She is one of the 26 actresses who have received an Academy Award for their performance in a comedy. She is also one of the 15 actresses to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony).