Frances Lee McCain
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|Frances Lee McCain|
McCain with Tony Bill, 1977.
July 28, 1944 |
San Diego, California, U.S.
Early life and education
McCain was born in San Diego, California and grew up in New York, Illinois, Colorado in addition to California. She graduated from Ripon College with a BA in Philosophy and then studied acting for 3 years at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England. She completed a Master's degree in Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2000.
She returned to New York where she appeared on Broadway in Woody Allen's Play it Again Sam, and off-Broadway in Lanford Wilson's Lemon Sky, creating the role of Carol. She joined the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco under William Ball and played a variety of roles in repertory.
Apple's Way TV show (1974-75) and other 1970s work
She began her career in film and television after appearing opposite Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway in A Streetcar Named Desire, eventually co-starring with Ronny Cox as the female lead in her own television series, CBS-TV's Apple's Way in 1974. She appeared in a variety of television series and miniseries throughout the 1970s, including the Quincy ME episode Eye Of The Needle playing a Holistic practitioner. In 1978 she played Charles Grodin's wife in Albert Brooks' debut feature film, Real Life.
1980s acting work
In the 1980s, she was cast in several major films, usually always playing the mother of a main character. In 1984, she co-starred in the blockbuster film Gremlins as Lynn Peltzer, the mother of main character, Billy Peltzer. Also that year, she played Ethel McCormack, mother to Kevin Bacon's character, in Footloose. In 1985 she appeared in the hit film Back to the Future as Stella Baines, the mother to the character played by Lea Thompson. In 1986, she played the role of Mrs. Lachance, the mother of Gordie Lachance (played by Wil Wheaton), in the hit drama film Stand by Me.
McCain continued to work in television after relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1980s and also appeared in Scream (1996) as the mother of Rose McGowan's character, and Patch Adams (1998).
In 2004 McCain initiated a theater project based on oral histories of the blue collar workers responsible for the building and maintaining of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico which received workshop readings at the Lensic Center for Performing Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, most recently at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. McCain is an Associate Artist of the ZSpace Studio in San Francisco, and is an ensemble member of the AlterTheater Ensemble in San Rafael, California. She currently resides in Albuquerque, NM (2015)
- The Laughing Policeman (1973)
- The War Widow (1976)
- Real Life (1979)
- Honky Tonk Freeway (1981)
- Tex (1982)
- Gremlins (1984)
- Footloose (1984)
- Back to the Future (1985)...as Stella Baines
- Stand by Me (1986)
- It Takes Two (1988)
- Scream (1996)
- Patch Adams (1998)
- True Crime (1999)
- No Return (2003)
- Stitch in Time (2012)