Ann Dowd

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Ann Dowd
Ann Dowd Deauville 2012.jpg
Born (1956-01-30) January 30, 1956 (age 58)
Holyoke, Massachusetts
Occupation Actress
Years active 1985–present

Ann Dowd (born January 30, 1956)[1] is an American film, television, and theatre actress. She appeared as Sandra in the movie Compliance for which she received the National Board of Review award for Best Supporting Actress. Dowd has played supporting roles in several films, including Philadelphia, Green Card, Lorenzo's Oil, Garden State, The Informant!, Marley & Me, The Manchurian Candidate, Flags of Our Fathers and Side Effects. Dowd was a series regular on Nothing Sacred and the HBO series The Leftovers.

Early life[edit]

Dowd was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the daughter of John (1926–1974) and Dolores (née Clark) Dowd. She is one of seven children (siblings, Kathleen, John, Elizabeth, Clare, Deborah, and Gregory), who were raised by her single mother after her father died when she was a senior in high school. Her mother later re-married to Philip Dean (1929–2010), a doctor. Her brother, Gregory, is a doctor of veterinary medicine and another brother, John Dowd Jr., works for The Dowd Agencies, an insurance company started by her great-grandfather. Her paternal grandfather was James "Kip" Dowd, a former Major League baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dowd's family is Irish Catholic. She attended the Williston Northampton School, where she performed in school plays. Dowd became interested in acting at a young age but was dissuaded by her family at first because they did not approve of her pursuing an acting career. She graduated in 1978 from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass where much of Dowd's family also attended and she was a premed student and took acting classes. Dowd credits her instructors and roommate at that time for persuading her to forgo medical school and follow her passion for acting. She traveled to New York City to audition for the Goodman School of Drama at Depaul University in Chicago, where she received an MFA in Acting. While at Depaul, Dowd received a prestigious scholarship from the Sarah Siddons Society,[2] an award that had also gone to Carrie Snodgress. Dowd was classmates with Elizabeth Perkins and also worked as a waitress during this time.[3]

Dowd spent several years performing in regional theatre in the Chicago area, performing often at the Court Theatre, later deciding in 1988 to move to New York City to pursue a bigger stage. She pounded the pavement and her first acting gig there was with the Hartford Stage Company.


Dowd starred in Shiloh (1997) and its sequels, Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season (1999) and Saving Shiloh (2006) as Louise Preston. She appears in the 1997 cult film All Over Me and in the 1998 film Apt Pupil, in which she played the mother of Brad Renfro's character. Dowd has acted in two films directed by Jonathan Demme, as Jill Beckett, sister of Tom Hanks's character, Andrew Beckett, in Philadelphia (1993), and in The Manchurian Candidate (2004), starring Meryl Streep. Also in 2004, Dowd played the mother of Natalie Portman in Garden State and appeared in The Forgotten starring Julianne Moore. In 2005, she starred opposite Gretchen Mol in The Notorious Bettie Page, portraying Edna Page, Bettie Page's mother. She also played the role of Mrs. Strank in the 2006 Clint Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers.

In 2008, Dowd appeared in Marley & Me starring Jennifer Aniston. She received rave reviews for her work in the 2012 movie Compliance, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In the film, Dowd plays Sandra, a fast food restaurant manager caught in a mysterious ethical nightmare. For this role, Dowd was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress and received the National Board of Review award. She has played supporting roles in two Steven Soderbergh films, The Informant! in 2009, and Side Effects in 2013 in which she played the mother of Channing Tatum's character.


Dowd's first appearance was in the 1985 television movie First Steps with fellow Chicago actor Megan Mullally. She has appeared in many popular television shows including House and Louie, on both of which she played a nun. Other shows include Chicago Hope, The X-Files, Third Watch, NYPD Blue, Judging Amy and Freaks and Geeks, in which she played the mother of Busy Phillips. Dowd has also appeared in many episodes of the Law & Order franchise. In 1995 she portrayed Rose Long, Louisiana's first female senator, in the television movie Kingfish, opposite John Goodman. In 2008 she appeared in the television movie Taking Chance starring Kevin Bacon. Dowd was a series regular on Nothing Sacred, which was filmed in Los Angeles and aired for one season (97/98), in which she played a nun. For this role she was nominated for a VQT award for Best Supporting Actress.


Dowd has appeared on Broadway three times. In 1993 she received the Clarence Derwent Award for her Broadway debut performance in the play Candida starring Mary Steenburgen. She next appeared in Taking Sides (1996) with Elizabeth Marvel, and Vera Farmiga, who was Dowd's understudy. In 2008 she appeared in The Seagull starring Carey Mulligan and Kristin Scott Thomas. Dowd has also won three Jeff Awards for her work in Chicago theatre, including a 1987 Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Emma Brookner in The Normal Heart.[4][5] In 2007, Dowd played the role of Sister Aloysius in Doubt at the George Street Playhouse. The New York Times described her performance as "..chilling..and ..masterful in this role.[6] In 2011, Dowd performed Off-Broadway in Blood from a Stone, playing the mother of Ethan Hawke.[7][8][9]

Personal life[edit]

Dowd and her husband both coach acting and are frequent collaborators.[10][11] Her husband is Lawrence "Larry" Arancio, a writer and acting chair for the CAP21 program who has also taught at the HB Studio and Columbia College Chicago. Arancio has worked with Lady Gaga as her acting coach.[12] Dowd and Arancio met while students in Chicago, Arancio being from New York City. They have three children, Liam, Emily, and Trust, and reside in New York City. Dowd is a foster care advocate.[13]


Year Title Role Notes
1985 First Steps Debby
1990 Green Card Peggy
The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Nurse Courtney
1992 Lorenzo's Oil Pediatrician
1993 Philadelphia Jill Beckett
1994 It Could Happen to You Carole
The Cosby Mysteries
Heaven & Hell: North & South, Book III Maureen 3 Episodes
1995 Chicago Hope Eleanor Robertson
Bushwhacked Mrs. Patterson
Kingfish: A Story of Huey Long Rose Long
1996 Shiloh Louise Preston
1997 All Over Me Anne
1997–1998 Nothing Sacred Sister Maureen "Mo" Brody Series Regular, 20 Episodes
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Q Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series
1998 Apt Pupil Monica Bowden
1999 Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season Louise Preston
Providence Mary
The X-Files Mrs. Reed
2000 NYPD Blue Ann Collins
Freaks and Geeks Cookie Kelly 2 Episodes
Judging Amy Mrs. Schleewee 2 Episodes
Family Law
2001 Amy & Isabelle Lenora
The Education of Max Bickford Jean
2001–2009 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Louise Durning, Sally Wilkens, Lillian Siefeld 3 Episodes
2002–2003 Third Watch Sgt. Beth Markham
2004 Garden State Olivia
House Mother Superior
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Laurie Manotti
2005 The Notorious Bettie Page Edna Page
2006 Saving Shiloh Louise Preston
Flags of Our Fathers Mrs. Strank
2007 Alice Upside Down Aunt Sally
Gardener of Eden Ma Harris
The Living Wake Librarian
The Babysitters Tammy Lyner
2008 Marley & Me Dr. Platt
2009 Taking Chance Gretchen
2011 The Art of Getting By Mrs. Grimes
Pan Am Marjorie Lowrey
2012 Compliance Sandra National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
Santa Barbara International Film Festival—Virtuoso Award
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Nominated—IndieWire Critics Poll Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Village Voice Film Poll for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Bachelorette Victoria
2013 Gimme Shelter Kathy
Side Effects Martin's Mom
Masters of Sex Estabrook Masters
2014 True Detective Betty Childress
The Leftovers Patti Levin Pending - Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film
Big Driver Ramona Norville
Olive Kitteridge Bonnie Newton HBO television miniseries; 4 episodes
2016 Our Brand Is Crisis Filming


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