West Wing Deputy
Making her stage debut in a production of Gian Carlo Menotti's Christmas opera "Amahl and the Night Visitors" at age 12, Mary McCormack hit the big screen as famed shock-jock Howard Stern's long-suffering wife Alison in the autobiographical Private Parts (1997). Mary, the sister of actor Will McCormack (“The Sopranos” and “American Outlaws”), has since appeared in such films as Deep Impact (1998), Harvest (1998), True Crime (1999), The Big Tease (1999), Mystery, Alaska (1999), Gun Shy (2000), K-PAX (2001), High Heels and Low Lifes (2001), Full Frontal (2002), Right at Your Door (2006) and For Your Consideration (2006). She will star alongside John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in Mikael Håfström's upcoming adaptation of Stephen King horror/thriller short story, 1408.
On the small screen, the 5' 8" tall, attractive, blonde actress was widely remembered as Justine Appleton (1995-1997), the attractive, dedicated and principled junior attorney on ABC's popular crime series "Murder One," and as the President's Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper (2004-2006) on NBC serial drama "The West Wing." Next, she will star as Mary Shannon, a U.S. Federal Marshal who works with the witness protection program in USA Network's new weekly one-hour light drama series "In Plain Sight."
New Jersey Native
Childhood and Family:
In Plainfield, New Jersey, Mary McCormack was born on February 8, 1969. Her parents, William McCormack (born in 1940; owned car dealership and ice cream parlor) and Norah McCormack (born in 1942), divorced in 1990. Mary is the sister of actor Will McCormack (born in 1974; of “The Sopranos” and “American Outlaws” fame), with whom she co-starred in the 1997 independent comedy Colin Fitz. She also has one older sister called Bridget McCormack (born in 1967) who taught at Yale Law School.
Mary graduated from The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, New Jersey in 1987 and went on to receive a BA in English and painting in 1991 from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She later finished an acting program at the William Espor Studio, New York, New York.
In July 2003, Mary married Brothers and Sisters producer Michael Morris and welcomed their first child together on September 3, 2004, a daughter named Margaret Morris. Mary is now expecting her second child.
In Plain Sight
“I was twelve but looked like an eight-year-old boy. As luck would have it, none of the boys in town could sing, so I got the part and wore a hat.” Mary McCormack.
At the age 12, Mary McCormack made her stage debut in a production of Gian Carlo Menotti's Christmas opera "Amahl and the Night Visitors." And after graduating from college, she moved to New York City to pursue a stage career. She studied at the William Esper Studio and went to perform at many New York theater productions, including The Atlantic Theater Company and Naked Angels.
Mary arrived in feature film with a small role in Les Mayfield's 1994 remake of George Seaton’s 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, starring Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins and Dylan McDermott. The next year, she was cast opposite Robert Mitchum in A. Dean Bell's little seen spoof of Ron Howard's 1991 film Backdraft, Back Fire! She also made her TV debut with a guest spot in a May 1994 episode of NBC police procedural and legal drama "Law & Order," followed by a regular role as Justine Appleton (1995-1997), the attractive, dedicated and principled junior attorney on ABC's popular crime series "Murder One."
During her "Murder One" stint, Mary teamed with her brother Will in Robert Bella's comedic independent feature about love, death and rock 'n roll, Colin Fitz (1997; starring John C. McGinley, Matt McGrath and William H. Macy), which was premiered at Sundance Film Festival. She also landed her first major film role which would help boosting her name on screen, as Howard Stern’s long-suffering wife Alison in Private Parts, Betty Thomas' biographical film of Howard Stern's rise to shock jock success. The film, based on Stern's autobiography with the same name which was released in 1993, premiered at the top of the box-office in its opening weekend with a gross of $14.6 million and received mostly positive reviews from critics.
Following her first success, more film roles rolled in. Mary played Stanley Tucci's devious assistant in writer-director Evan Dunsky's adaptation of Keith Reddin's play, The Alarmist (1997; a.k.a. Life During Wartime), and as a pilot in Mimi Leder's disaster/sci-fi film Deep Impact (1998; starring Elijah Wood, Téa Leoni, Morgan Freeman, Leelee Sobieski and Robert Duvall). She also played a DEA agent investigates local farmers who have started growing marijuana simply to keep their farms operational in Stuart Burkin's drama Harvest (1998) and portrayed an infertile woman married to a religious fanatic in Lisanne Skyler's debut feature which premiered at Sundance, Getting to Know You (1999). Additionally, she was featured as a romantic partner in director-star Clint Eastwood’s action thriller film inspired by Andrew Klavan's novel, True Crime (1999), and portrayed Russell Crowe’s wife in Jay Roach's hockey movie Mystery, Alaska (1999).
On stage, Mary assumed role of Sally Bowles in the New York City stage revival of the popular musical "Cabaret" and starred in the London staging of Neil LaBute's three dark one act plays under the collective title " Bash: Latter-Day Plays." Back on the big screen, she starred with Frances Fisher and Craig Ferguson in Kevin Allen's comedy feature The Big Tease (a.k.a. Je m'appelle Crawford), co-starred with James Caveziel in William Bindley's sports drama set in 1971, Madison (premiered at Sundance Film Festival), and co-starred as Jeff Bridges’ wife in Iain Softley's comedic drama film inspired by Gene Brewer's novel, K-PAX (also starring Kevin Spacey). She also appeared in writer-dircetor Eric Blakeney's romantic crime comedy movie starring Sandra Bullock, Liam Neeson and Oliver Platt, Gun Shy, played the no-nonsense wife of a carpenter in writer-director Bart Freundlich's drama film World Traveler (premiered in Toronto; screened at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival) and teamed with Minnie Driver playing two destitute friends who tried to blackmail and trap burglars in Mel Smith's chick flick High Heels and Low Lifes.
Next, Mary was seen in writer-director Steven Soderbergh’s low-budgeted ensemble comedy Full Frontal (2002), playing Catherine Keener's sister Linda, and starred in the political HBO series about lobbyists and politicians in Washington, D.C., "K Street" (2003), which was helmed by Steven Soderbergh and produced by George Clooney. She also had a recurring role as Debbie (2003-2006) on popular NBC medical drama "ER" and had a regular role as the President's Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper (2004-2006) on NBC serial drama "The West Wing." Meanwhile, she cast as Carol McKay in the three-part USA Network's miniseries "Traffic," based on the 1989 British series with the same name, appeared in Christopher Guest's comedy film For Your Consideration (2006; starring Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey and Harry Shearer), and starred as Rory Cochrane's wife Lexi in writer-director Chris Gorak's thriller about a dirty bomb detonated in Los Angeles, Right at Your Door (2006).
Mary just completed Mikael Håfström's upcoming adaptation of Stephen King horror/thriller short story, 1408, alongside John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. She will also star as Mary Shannon, a U.S. Federal Marshal who works with the witness protection program in USA Network's new weekly one-hour light drama series "In Plain Sight."