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Marsha Mason

Marsha Mason

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 3, 1942 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri, USA Profession: actor, director, go-go dancer, clerk, race car driver, waitress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Brunette leading lady Marsha Mason made her Broadway debut in "Cactus Flower" (1965) and soon after landed in her first feature film, the low-budget actioner "Hot Rod Hullabaloo" (1966). For the next several years, she appeared in stage productions on and off Broadway as well as played a recurring role on the daytime drama "Love of Life" (CBS). The early 1970s found her at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre, where she acted in such classics as "The Merchant of Venice", "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "A Doll's House" (all 1972) before coming into her own as a film actress in 1973. That watershed year saw her first as one of George Segal's girlfriends in "Blume in Love" and then opposite James Caan as a hooker with an illegitimate black son in the earthy but touching "Cinderella Liberty", for which she earned her first Best Actress Oscar nomination. She also returned to Broadway that year in Neil Simon's "The Good Doctor". Although the show was not successful, Mason won the playwright's heart and they married.Mason starred in Robert Wise's supernatural thriller "Audrey Rose" (1977) before beginning to act almost exclusively in movies with Simon scripts (five in all). Three of them ("The Goodbye...

Brunette leading lady Marsha Mason made her Broadway debut in "Cactus Flower" (1965) and soon after landed in her first feature film, the low-budget actioner "Hot Rod Hullabaloo" (1966). For the next several years, she appeared in stage productions on and off Broadway as well as played a recurring role on the daytime drama "Love of Life" (CBS). The early 1970s found her at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre, where she acted in such classics as "The Merchant of Venice", "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "A Doll's House" (all 1972) before coming into her own as a film actress in 1973. That watershed year saw her first as one of George Segal's girlfriends in "Blume in Love" and then opposite James Caan as a hooker with an illegitimate black son in the earthy but touching "Cinderella Liberty", for which she earned her first Best Actress Oscar nomination. She also returned to Broadway that year in Neil Simon's "The Good Doctor". Although the show was not successful, Mason won the playwright's heart and they married.

Mason starred in Robert Wise's supernatural thriller "Audrey Rose" (1977) before beginning to act almost exclusively in movies with Simon scripts (five in all). Three of them ("The Goodbye Girl" 1977, "Chapter Two" 1979 and "Only When I Laugh" 1981) brought Best Actress Oscar nods for her somewhat harried, defensive but ultimately vulnerable urban "Everywoman" persona and they remain her best-known work. Since the break-up of their marriage, Mason has kept a lower profile, preferring to exercise her passion for racing cars in national competitions. Although she did star opposite Clint Eastwood in "Heartbreak Ridge" (1986), she has done mostly supporting turns in movies like "I Love Trouble" (1994) and "Nick of Time" (1995). In addition to NYC stage appearances in "Night of the Iguana" (1996) and as a convicted murderer facing death in Michael Cristofer's "Amazing Grace" (1998), Mason had the recurring role as the blowzy, declasse girlfriend of Martin Crane on NBC's "Frasier", reuniting her with her "Dinner at Eight" (TNT, 1989) co-star John Mahoney.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Little Miss Perfect (1987) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Bride and Prejudice (2004) Darcy'S Mother
2.
 Restless Spirits (1999) Lydia
3.
 2 Days in the Valley (1996) Audrey Hopper
4.
 Nick of Time (1995) Governor Eleanor Grant
5.
 Broken Trust (1995) Ruth Fraser
6.
 I Love Trouble (1994) Senator Gayle Robbins
8.
 Drop Dead Fred (1991) Polly
9.
 Stella (1990) Janice Morrison
10.
 Image, The (1990) Jean Cromwell
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Moved to New York to continue stage career
1965:
Broadway debut, "Cactus Flower"
1966:
Film debut in "Hot Rod Hullabaloo"
:
Played Judith Cole on daytime soap, "Love of Life" (CBS)
1967:
Landed role in Norman Mailer's Off-Broadway play "The Deer Park"
1972:
Portrayed Nurse Marsha Lord in syndicated TV series "Young Dr Kildaire"
1973:
Received first of four Best Actress Oscar nominations for "Cinderella Liberty", co-starring James Caan
1973:
Appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon's "The Good Doctor"; later married the playwright
1974:
Appeared in the PBS "Great Performances" production of "Cyrano de Bergerac"
1977:
Starred in Robert Wise's reincarnation thriller "Audrey Rose"
1977:
First feature role in a film with a Neil Simon screenplay, "The Goodbye Girl"; earned Best Actress Oscar nomination
1979:
Reunited with James Caan in "Chapter Two", adapted by Simon from his stage play; third Academy Award nomination as Best Actress
1981:
Earned fourth Best Actress Oscar nomination as an alcoholic actress in "Only When I Laugh"
1982:
Network TV movie debut in "Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal" (CSB)
1982:
Last of five feature film collaborations with husband-screenwriter Neil Simon, "Max Dugan Returns"
1986:
Acted opposite Clint Eastwood, playing his foul-mouthed ex-wife struggling to survive by pushing drinks in a town bar, in "Heartbreak Ridge"
1986:
Directed "Juno's Swans" at NYC's Second Stage Theatre
1987:
TV directorial debut, the "CBS Schoolbreak Special" entitled "Little Miss Perfect"
1989:
Appeared in the TNT remake of "Dinner at Eight"; cast opposite John Mahoney
1991:
Starred in short-lived ABC-TV series, "Sibs" (also known as "Grown-Ups")
1995:
Played Governor Eleanor Grant, the target of assassination, in "Nick of Time", starring Johnny Depp
1996:
Returned to NYC stage in Tennessee Williams' "Night of the Iguana"
1996:
Appeared in the feature film "2 Days in the Valley"
1997:
Had recurring role of Sherry, the blowsy girlfriend of Martin Crane (John Mahoney), on NBC sitcom "Frasier"
1998:
Reteamed with Richard Dreyfuss on stage in "House", produced on Long Island, New York
1999:
Co-starred with Dreyfuss in London production of Neil Simon's play "The Prisoner of Second Avenue"
2001:
Cast as Ethel Gumm in the ABC miniseries "Me and My Shadows: Life With Judy Garland", based on Lorna Luft's memoir
2005:
Cast as Mr. Darcy's mother in "Bride and Prejudice" Gurinder Chadha's Bollywood update of Jane Austen's classic tale
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Directing Workshop for Women, American Film Institute: Los Angeles , California -
Webster College: Webster Groves , Missouri -
Webster College: Webster Groves , Missouri -
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1977

Notes

"Neil [Simon] was considered our greatest [living playwright] at the time [of their marriage]. Maybe he still is; I don't know. But anyway, he was hugely successful, and I just kind of got folded into that. And in some ways, he protected me, but in other ways, I wasn't fully able to step out, you know? He didn't want me to go away so much. The work that we did together was great, and I don't regret it, but what I am saying is that I didn't get an opportunity to explore some other areas that were offered to me early on. I took what I might call a U-turn." --Marsha Mason quoted in In Theater, March 20, 1998.

A racing aficionado, Mason finished second in her division in 1993 in her car of choice--a Mazda RX-7. Asked "What's the highest speed you ever clocked?", she replied: "Well, in one instance, not a regular race but a special race--where we were on more or less a straightaway in a real big souped-up Mustang--we were in excess of 200 mph. In a normal type of race, it was about 180 mph." --Marsha Mason to Daily News, March 17, 1996.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Gary Campbell. Divorced in 1964.
husband:
Neil Simon. Playwright, screenwriter. Married on October 25, 1973; divorced October 1983.
companion:
Lewis Smith. Actor. Dated in the mid-1980s.

Family close complete family listing

father:
James Joseph Mason.
mother:
Jacquelina Helena Mason.
step-daughter:
Ellen Simon. Playwright, screenwriter. Born in 1957; wrote screenplay for "Moonlight and Valentino" (1995), adapted from her play.
step-daughter:
Nancy Simon. Writer. Born c. 1963.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Journey: A Personal Odyssey" Simon & Schuster

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