Frances McDormand Profile
Frances McDormand Profile Photo

Frances McDormand

Famous As
Actress
Birth Name
Frances Louise McDormand
Birth Date
Jun 23, 1957
Birth Place
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Famous As
Actress
Popular for
As Mrs. Pell in "Mississippi Burning" (1988)
Birth Name
Frances Louise McDormand
Birth Date
Jun 23, 1957
Birth Place
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Height
5' 6"
Nationality
American
Hair Color
Blonde
Education
  • Graduated from Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia in 1979 with a BA degree in theater
  • Graduated from Yale University School of Drama, New Haven, Connecticut with an MFA degree in 1982
Father
Vernon McDormand
Mother
Noreen McDormand
Sister
Dorothy A. McDormand (older, ordained Disciples of Christ minister and chaplain)
Spouse
Joel Coen (film director, since 1984)
Son
Pedro McDormand Coen (adopted in 1994)

Not only skilled at constructing three-dimensional characters in her portrayals, Frances Louise McDormand is also known for her ability to dissolve into the roles she plays, which clearly points out that she has become more than just a good character actress that people highly respect of. One of the three adopted children of Canadian couple named Vernon and Noreen McDormand, she was born on June 23, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois and has legally become the member of the family since she was still a mere toddler of one and a half years old. Her early childhood was spent in a succession of small Bible-Belt towns which covered Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennesse to follow her father carrying out his service as a Disciples of Christ pastor specialized in restoring failing Disciples congregations. Since the nomadic life caused her to move often, she consequently became an awkward also solitary girl who did not enjoy her schooltime much, and this condition still continued when the family finally settled in Monessen, a quiet city located in the suburban area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by the time she turned eight.

Though she took little interest in studying at school, Frances was an enthusiastic student in English subject and paid great attention on dramatic works, in this case the selections from Shakespeare that were part of the syllabus, during her high school years. This was later noticed by her English teacher who then invited her to take part in the institution's annual stage production she directed. Accepted the offer, the teen unexpectedly found herself to be very serious in preparing for her role to eventually realize that this performing thing had really taken roots within her. Intended to learn more about drama after her graduation in 1975, the blonde subsequently took a major in theater at Bethany College, West Virginia where she earned her B.A degree by 1979 before continued her study to the prestigious Yale University School of Drama to gain an MFA degree 3 years later.

Set out to build a professional acting career afterwards, Frances boldly headed for New York City and managed to perform in several theatrical projects, like “Painting Churces” also "Awake and Sing!" by 1984. Within a year, she delightfully made her way to enter big screen production through Coen brothers' first film effort, “Blood Simple” (1985), thanks to her roommate, Holly Hunter, who introduced her to them when she had to give up the role. It was in this intense drama flick that she finally found the man of her life in director Joel Coen who later married her shortly before the movie's release. Moving together to a house in Silver Lake, a Los Angeles neighborhood east of Hollywood, the couple worked on their own path persistently in the industry, once again joined forces in “Raising Arizona” (1987) which resulted fairly well in the box-office with domestic income of almost 23 million dollars.

Gradually became a familiar face onscreen, Frances hit hard both critics and audience when she appeared opposite Gene Hackman playing a meek Southern woman abused by her Klansman husband in Alan Parker's “Mississippi Burning” (1988). It was a remarkably convincing portrayal that AMPAS concluded to grant her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in Supporting Role category a year later. Although she did not win, the attainment unquestionably catapulted her to widespread attention as a worthwhile talent to watch of that year, directing the actress to secure more diverse roles as seen in “Darkman” (1990), “The Butcher's Wife” (1991), “Passed Away” (1992) and “Beyond Rangoon” (1995). Her career ultimately reached its highlight in 1997 as she wonderfully was named Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 69th Annual Academy Awards for delivering such an impressive turn of a pregnant police officer in “Fargo” (1996), another collaboration she made with her husband and brother-in-law.

Also won the category of Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role at Screen Actors Guild Awards while gained nomination at Golden Globe Awards, Frances amazingly repeated garnering the triple nods less than five years through her enactment alongside star-studded cast of Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, plus Anna Paquin in “Almost Famous” (2000). Therefore solidified her position as one of prominent female thespians in Hollywood, she kept moving on to shine, appearing in a handful of high-profile movies namely “The Man Who Wasn't There” (2001), “City By the Sea” (2002), and “Something's Gotta Give” (2003), the latter being a huge success either critically or commercially. 2006 even saw her once again becoming the nominee of those three prestigious award events for “North Country” (2005) though she in the end was beaten by Rachel Weisz who gloriously swept all the honors.