The Blair Witch Project
“Acting is just something I always knew I wanted to do--acting and writing. I could read at a very early age and I loved stories, losing myself in stories, novels.” Heather Donahue
Actress Heather Donahue is possibly best known for her roles in the horror film “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) and as Mary Crawford in the TV miniseries “Taken” (2002). She picked up a Razzie Award, an Online Film Critics Society nomination and a Blockbuster Entertainment nomination for the first project and a Saturn nomination for the latter. She has also acted in several stage productions.
Upper Darby Girl
Childhood and Family:
Heather Donahue was born on December 22, 1974, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Her father, James Donahue (born in 1949), was a printer, while her mother, Joan Donahue (born in 1952), was an office manager. She graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1991 and then from University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1995, with a BFA in acting. As college internship, she had a brief stint at Battersea Arts Centre in London. During her time there, she performed in a play called “ Fried Blood.”
As for her private life, Donahue is romantically linked to Gregor Hrynisdak (together from 1995).
Heather Donahue made her screen debut as Sadey in the video “ Raw: Stripped to the Bone” (1997). Her big breakthrough arrived two years later when she won the lead role on the horror film “The Blair Witch Project” (1999), along side Joshua Leonard and Michael C. Williams. The film won 11 awards, including an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature - Under $500,000 and the Cannes Film Festival Award of the Youth for Foreign Film. For her acting effort, Donahue received an Online Film Critics Society nomination for Best Actress and a Blockbuster Entertainment nomination for Favorite Actress - Newcomer (Internet Only). She also won a 2000 Razzie for Worst Actress. Talking about her character in the film, she said, “It's so funny because I've heard people say it's a feminist movie because there's a woman in charge and I've heard it called a completely anti-feminist movie because this woman screws everything up. It's just who cares really? It's just a movie. But I think you can look at it as a feminist film. I mean, well, hell, if the Blair Witch is a woman, she's really ultimately control of everyone in the film.”
1999 also saw Donahue in commercials for Steak N' Shake restaurants and in print ad with Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick for John Dewar & Sons Co. whisky.
In 2000, Donahue starred with Giampiero Judica and Dan Fogler in Philip Botti's film, “Home Field Advantage,” and was cast as a socially inept electrical engineering student named Megan in “Boys and Girls,” a romantic comedy directed by Robert Iscove and starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Claire Forlani, Jason Biggs, Amanda Detmer and Alyson Hannigan. In 2001, she guest starred as Claire Linkwood in an episode of “The Outer Limits” called “ The Surrogate,” portaryed Wit in the independent film “Seven and a Match,” opposite Eion Bailey, and did voice over for the short film “The Velvet Tigress.”
It was in 2002 that Donahue gained another boost when she was cast as Mary Crawford – Adult in the Emmy Award winning science fiction miniseries “Taken,” which aired on the Sci-Fi Channel from December 2 to 13, 2002. She was nominated for a 2003 Saturn Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series for her performance. 2002 also found roles in the short “The Walking Hack of Asbury Park” (as Wendy), the TV film “ The Big Time” and the feature film “New Suit” (as Molly).
In 2003, Donahue made a guest appearance in an episode of “Without a Trace.” She resurfaced on the small screen two years later with a guest spot in “ It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (2005). The same year, she also portrayed Cpl. Keats in the made for television film “Manticore.”
In 2008, Donahue resumed her film career by playing the supporting role of Nan in the horror/thriller “The Morgue,” starring Bill Cobbs, Lisa Crilley and Chris Devlin.
Donahue has appeared in several theater productions, including “Red Shag Improv Comedy,” “The Hungry Girls,” “On the Third Day,” “Life in a Wind Tunnel,” “Dierdre of the Sorrows,” “Kindertransport,” “Don Juan,” “Leaving Montana,” “Major Barbara,” “Butterfingers Angel,” “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” “In the Boom Boom Room,” “Rockaby,” “Tulip Futures,” “Fried Blood,” “Into the Woods” and “The Maids.”
Razzie: Worst Actress, “The Blair Witch Project,” 2000