Mary Nell Steenburgen (born February 8, 1953) is an American actress. Steenburgen has appeared in many films throughout her career. Steenburgen garnered an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her role as Lynda Dummar in Jonathan Demme's Melvin and Howard.
Steenburgen was born in Newport, Arkansas, the daughter of Nellie Mae (née Wall), a school-board secretary, and Maurice Steenburgen, a freight-train conductor who worked at the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Steenburgen grew up in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Steenburgen moved to New York City in 1972, working at Doubleday's while studying acting at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse under Will Esper. Her break came when she was discovered by Jack Nicholson in the reception room of Paramount's New York office and was cast as the lead in his second directorial effort, the 1978 Western Goin' South. She had a leading role in the 1979 film Time After Time as a modern woman who falls in love with author H. G. Wells, played by her husband-to-be Malcolm McDowell.
In only her third film, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1980 film Melvin and Howard, playing the wife of a man who claims to have befriended reclusive...
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