Who is Mare Wnningham?

Mare Winningham is an American actress and singer-songwriter, who’s appeared in numerous films, including “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Georgia”, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. She has also had notable roles in TV series such as “American Horror Story” and “The Affair”, in addition to many other projects she’s worked on.

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Mare Winningham Wiki: Age, Childhood, and Education

Mary Megan Winningham was born on 16 May 1959, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. She’s the daughter of Sam Neal Winningham, who held positions as a football coach, athletic director, and chairman of the Department of Physical Education at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and Marilyn Jean Winningham (née Maloney), who worked as an English teacher and college counselor at Monroe High School and Grant High School. She grew up with three brothers and a sister.

Mare’s interest in acting was sparked at a young age, when she saw an interview with actress Kym Karath on Art Linkletter’s television show “House Party”. She attended Andasol Avenue Elementary School, where she enjoyed participating in drama activities, and playing the guitar and drums.

During her time at Patrick Henry Junior High School, she opted for the extended drama program, and continued honing her acting skills at CSUN’s Teenage Drama Workshop during summer breaks; it was during this period that she adopted the nickname “Mare”.

Using her influence, her mother enlisted her into Chatsworth High School, where in her senior year, she starred as Maria in a production of “The Sound of Music” alongside classmate Kevin Spacey, who played Captain Von Trapp. Mare graduated as co-valedictorian of her high school class in 1977, sharing the honor with Spacey.

Career Beginnings

Mare Winningham started her career as a singer-songwriter. In 1976 and 1977, she gained recognition by singing The Beatles’ song “Here, There and Everywhere” on “The Gong Show”. Although the appearance didn’t lead to any record contracts, it caught the attention of Hollywood agent Meyer Mishkin, who signed her for acting. She earned her Screen Actors Guild card by delivering three lines in an episode of James at 15. That same year, she was offered roles in the pilots for the short-lived drama series “The Young Pioneers”, entitled “Young Pioneers” and “Young Pioneers Christmas”.

Mare Winningham continued to build her career with various roles on television. In 1979, she appeared in the popular series “Starsky and Hutch”, portraying Joey Carston in the episode “Ninety Pounds of Trouble”, one of her early television appearances, allowing her to showcase her talent to a wider audience.

The same year, Winningham also made an appearance in the series “Family”, playing the role of Merilee Kalisher in the episode entitled “The Competition”. This provided her with another opportunity to demonstrate her acting abilities, and expand her acting portfolio.

In 1980, Winningham took on a significant role in the television film “Off the Minnesota Strip”, portraying Micki. This project allowed her to delve deeper into a more substantial and central role, further honing her acting skills and gaining critical acclaim.

The following year, Winningham starred as Libby Bellow in the television film “Freedom”. While other roles were minor, they provided her with valuable exposure, and opportunities to work alongside established actors.

Rise to Prominence

After her early television appearances, Mare Winningham continued her career by taking on various projects, which helped her establish herself as a prominent actress.

In 1981, she starred in the television movie “Threshold” portraying Carol Severance, which revolves around a young woman named Carol who discovers that she has psychic abilities. She becomes involved in a government research project that tests her powers, leading to a series of intense and suspenseful situations. Winningham shared the screen with actors like Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum, further establishing her presence in the industry.

One of Winningham’s notable early successes came in 1984 with “The Miracle Continues”. She portrayed the iconic role of Helen Keller, the deaf and blind author and activist, and is a continuation of the story depicted in the acclaimed play and film “The Miracle Worker”. It follows Helen’s journey as she learns to communicate and navigate the world with the help of her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Winningham’s portrayal of Helen Keller earned her critical acclaim.

In 1985, Winningham gained further recognition for her role as Wendy Beamish in the coming-of-age film “St. Elmo’s Fire”. The movie explores the lives and relationships of a group of friends who have recently graduated from college. Winningham’s Wendy is a shy and compassionate girl who navigates the complexities of love and friendship. The movie featured an ensemble including actors Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore and Rob Lowe.

Another notable project in Winningham’s early career was the 1986 film “Nobody’s Fool”, in which she portrayed Pat. The movie tells the story of a man named Cass, played by Eric Roberts, who returns to his hometown after serving time in prison. Pat is a single mother with whom Cass develops a relationship. The film explores themes of redemption, forgiveness, and personal growth. Winningham’s performance in “Nobody’s Fool” further solidified her reputation as a talented actress.

Before the ’80s ended, Mare continued to make notable appearances in various projects. In 1987, she starred as Candy in the film “Shy People”, which explores the clash of cultures when a New York journalist (played by Jill Clayburgh) visits her distant relatives in the Louisiana Bayou.

The same year, Winningham appeared as Brenda Carlucci in the film “Made in Heaven”, which follows the journey of two souls, played by Timothy Hutton and Kelly McGillis, destined to be together in different lifetimes.

In 1988, Winningham starred in the acclaimed film “Miracle Mile” as Julie Peters. The movie is a thrilling and intense tale that unfolds in real time, following a man who receives a phone call warning him of an imminent nuclear attack on Los Angeles.

The following year, Winningham appeared in the comedy film “Turner & Hooch”, portraying two characters: Vet Dr. Emily Carson and Emily Turner. The movie revolves around a detective, played by Tom Hanks, and his unlikely partnership with a slobbery but lovable dog named Hooch.

The ’90s

Mare continued her career rather successfully into the ’90s. In 1991, Winningham took on the role of Prudence Crandall in the television film “She Stood Alone”. The film, produced by Walt Disney in collaboration with NBC, tells the true story of Prudence Crandall, a 19th-century Connecticut schoolteacher who faced adversity and discrimination when she opened a school for African American girls.

The same year, Winningham appeared in the film “Hard Promises”, in which she portrayed Dawn. The movie follows the story of a man played by William Petersen who, on the eve of his wedding, embarks on a road trip to reunite with his ex-girlfriend.

In 1993, Winningham starred in the film “Sexual Healing” as Marta. The movie is based on the true story of Dr. Alfred Kinsey, played by Liam Neeson, a pioneer in human sexuality research.

The following year, she appeared in the biographical Western film “Wyatt Earp”, as Mattie Blaylock. The film tells the story of the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, played by Kevin Costner, and her character becomes his love interest.

In 1995, Winningham starred in the critically acclaimed film “Georgia”, in which she portrayed  Georgia Flood. The movie focuses on the complicated relationship between two sisters, one of whom is a successful singer, while the other battles drug addiction, co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Nothing changed in the second half of the decade, as she featured in such projects as the thriller film “Bad Day on the Block” by Catherine Beaverton in 1997, and the same year in the television miniseries “George Wallace”, in which she portrayed Lurleen Wallac, which chronicles the life and political career of George Wallace, the controversial Governor of Alabama. Winningham’s role as Lurleen, George Wallace’s second wife, explored the complexities of their relationship, and the impact of politics on their lives.

In 1999, Winningham appeared in the television film “Too Rich”, portraying Chandi Heffner. The film is based on the true story of the wealthy and influential Heffner family, and their struggles with greed, power and family,

The 2000s and Recent Work

In 2003, Mare Winningham appeared as Dottie Shaw in seven episodes of the television series “The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire”, which follows the lives of three brothers in a small New Hampshire town. The same year, Winningham starred in the family adventure film “The Adventures of Ociee Nash”, portraying Aunt Mamie Nash; the movie follows the spirited young girl Ociee as she embarks on various adventures while staying with her aunt in rural Mississippi.

In 2004, Winningham appeared as Layla Mullich in the drama film “Dandelion”, which revolves around a socially awkward teenager who becomes infatuated with a girl from his school. From 2004 to 2005, Winningham appeared in the television series “Clubhouse” as Lynne Young, portraying the character in eleven episodes of the series, which revolves around a teenage boy who becomes the batboy for a professional baseball team, then from 2006 to 2007, she was Susan Grey in the popular medical drama series “Grey’s Anatomy”.

Mare next starred as Belle in the 2007 drama film “War Eagle, Arkansas”, sharing the screen with actors such as Brian Dennehy and Mary Kay Place. The movie tells the story of a small-town teenager with a passion for baseball, and his friendship with a fellow classmate who has a physical disability.

In 2008, she appeared as Larissa Johnson alongside Kevin Costner and Kelsey Grammer in the comedy-drama film “Swing Vote” – the- movie revolves around a presidential election that comes down to a single vote.

In 2009, Winningham appeared in the war drama film “Brothers” as Elsie Cahill, sharing scenes with Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. The movie follows the story of a soldier who goes missing in Afghanistan, and the impact on his family back home.

Winningham next starred as Ida Corwin in the 2011 television miniseries “Mildred Pierce”, alongside Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce. She appeared in five episodes of the series, which is based on the novel of the same name, and follows the life of Mildred Pierce during the Great Depression.

In 2012, Winningham starred in the fantasy adventure film “Mirror Mirror” as Baker Margaret, sharing the screen with Julia Roberts and Lily Collins. The movie offers a new twist on the classic Snow White fairy tale. She then appeared in the 2013 drama film “Philomena” as Mary Hess alongside Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. The movie is based on a true story, and follows a woman’s search for her long-lost son.

From 2014 to 2018, Winningham appeared in the television series “The Affair” as Cherry Lockhart, sharing the screen with Dominic West and Ruth Wilson. She appeared in 14 episodes of the series, which explores the emotional and psychological effects of an extramarital affair.

In 2015 and 2016, Winningham joined the cast of “American Horror Story: Hotel” and portrayed Hazel Evers, sharing scenes with Lady Gaga and Sarah Paulson. The series is an anthology horror show, and Winningham’s Hazel Evers added a mix of dark humor and suspense to the storyline.

Winningham appeared as Dr. Jennings in the 2017, disaster film “Geostorm”, alongside Gerard Butler and Jim Sturgess. The movie depicts a near-future world where climate-controlling satellites malfunction, causing catastrophic weather events.

In 2018, she starred in the drama film “O.G.” as Janice, sharing the screen with Jeffrey Wright and Theothus Carter. The movie follows the story of a prison inmate preparing for release after serving a long sentence.

The same year, Winningham appeared in the drama film “The Seagull” as Polina, alongside Annette Bening and Saoirse Ronan. The movie is based on the play by Anton Chekhov, and explores the complex relationships among a group of artists and their loved ones.

In 2019, she was cast as Darlene Kiger in the legal drama film “Dark Waters”, sharing scenes with Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway. The movie is based on a true story and follows a corporate defense attorney who uncovers a dark secret involving a chemical company.

In 2020, Winningham starred in the television series “The Outsider” as Jeannie Anderson, sharing the screen with Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo. The series is based on the Stephen King novel and follows a murder investigation involving supernatural elements.

The same year, she appeared in the Western drama film “News of the World” as Doris Boudlin, alongside Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel. The movie tells the story of a Civil War veteran who travels across Texas, delivering news to townspeople.

Then in 2021, Winningham starred in the drama film “All My Puny Sorrows” as Lottie Von Riesen, sharing scenes with Alison Pill and Sarah Gadon. The movie is based on the novel of the same name and explores the complexities of sisterhood and mental health.

The same year, she appeared in the television miniseries “Dopesick” as Diane Mallum, alongside Michael Keaton and Rosario Dawson. The miniseries delves into the opioid crisis in the United States. Since then, she hasn’t been working on any upcoming projects.

Stage Work

Mare Winningham has also made notable contributions to the live theater stage throughout her career. In 2007, she appeared in the production “10 Million Miles”, and three years later, featured in “After the Revolution” as Mel. Then from 2012 to 2013, she was involved as Beth in the play “Tribes”.

In 2013, Winningham took part in the production of “Picnic” as Flo Owens, and in the following year, she joined the cast of “Casa Valentina” as Rita.

In 2016, she participated in “Her Requiem” in the role of Allison.

In recent years, Winningham has been involved in the production of “Girl from the North Country” from 2019 to 2021, in which she portrayed Elizabeth Laine.

Mare Winningham received nominations for the Best Featured Actress in a Play category for her role in “Casa Valentina” in 2014, as well as for the Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her performance in “Girl from the North Country” in 2022.

Net Worth

According to sources, Mare Winningham’s net worth is estimated at $2.5 million, as of mid-2023.

Personal Life, Dating, Married, Husband, Children

Mare has been married four times and three times divorced. Her first marriage was to actor A Martinez in 1981, which lasted less than a year. She next married William Mapel in 1982, and had five children with him before they divorced in 1996. From 2008 to 2012, she was married to Jason Trucco, while since 2021, she’s been married to actor Anthony Edwards.

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