Martha Plimpton, May 23, 2010
|Born||Martha Campbell Plimpton
November 16, 1970
New York, NY
|Occupation||Actress, singer, model|
Martha Plimpton is an American stage, film, and television actress, singer, and former model. Her feature film debut was in The River Rat (1984) before rising to prominence in the Richard Donner film The Goonies (1985). She has also appeared in The Mosquito Coast (1986), Running on Empty (1988), Parenthood (1989) and Small Town Murder Songs (2011).
She is recognized on Broadway for her roles in The Coast of Utopia (2006–2007), Top Girls (2007–2008), Pal Joey (2008–2009) and Shining City (2006–2007). She has performed in theatre productions of The Playboy of the Western World, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Glass Menagerie, The Sisters Rosensweig, and Uncle Vanya. She returns to Broadway in the fall of 2014 in a revival of A Delicate Balance co-starring Glenn Close and John Lithgow.
Plimpton most recently played Virginia Chance on the Fox sitcom Raising Hope, which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She has also received three Tony Award nominations as well as a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2002. She won an Emmy for the same category in 2012 as attorney Patti Nyholm in the CBS legal drama The Good Wife.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Political campaigns
- 4 Other work
- 5 Media references
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Theatre
- 8 Filmography
- 9 Awards and nominations
- 10 References
- 11 External links
She is a "very distant" cousin of writer and editor George Plimpton, and, despite the different spelling, cartoonist Bill Plympton. She attended the Professional Children's School in Manhattan. Her first stage appearance was when her mother brought her on stage in costume for the curtain call of the short-lived Broadway play The Leaf People then another play in "The Ass and the Heart."
Plimpton began her career as a model, securing an early 1980s campaign for Calvin Klein, making an impression as a sophisticated but tomboyish little girl. She made her feature film debut in 1981, when at the age of eleven, she had a small part in the film Rollover. In 1984, she appeared in the Deep South drama The River Rat opposite Tommy Lee Jones, as his "hoydenish daughter". Her breakthrough performance was as Stef Steinbrenner in the 1985 film The Goonies. She also appeared that year on the sitcom Family Ties.
This began a trend of Plimpton being cast in the role of a rebellious tomboy, beginning with her performance as the Reverend Spellgood (Andre Gregory)'s daughter in the 1986 film The Mosquito Coast, starring Harrison Ford. The critically praised but commercially unsuccessful 1987 film Shy People (co-starred with Barbara Hershey and Jill Clayburgh) was followed by a performance in the 1988 ensemble comedy Stars and Bars. This was released shortly before Running on Empty, an Academy Award-nominated film starring River Phoenix, for which she was nominated for a Young Artist Award.
She began a career trend, making small independent film appearances with supporting roles in big-budget films. She appeared in the 1988 Woody Allen film Another Woman. She co-starred with Jami Gertz as a cancer patient in the German film Zwei Frauen (1990) (released in America as Silence Like Glass). The film was nominated for Outstanding Feature Film at the German Film Awards. Plimpton shaved her head to play a cancer patient in Zwei Frauen,.
She played the role of the independent teenage daughter of Dianne Wiest in Parenthood. Plimpton appeared with Joaquin Phoenix (then credited as Leaf Phoenix), who portrayed her brother. Parenthood grossed over $126 million and received two Academy Award nominations, one of her most successful movie appearances since The Goonies.
Plimpton appeared in the Robert De Niro 1990 film Stanley & Iris in a supporting role. She also appeared in the 1991 TV movie A Woman At War as the lead, "Helene Moskiewicz" alongside Eric Stoltz.
She had a featured role in the film Josh and S.A.M. (1993) as a runaway who takes care of the two boys. She played the lead in the 1994 film adaptation of the Carolyn Chute novel The Beans of Egypt, Maine. Plimpton also appeared as herself in the independent film by Eric Schaeffer My Life's in Turnaround (1993), a movie about filmmakers trying to make a movie. She appeared as a close friend of radical feminist Valerie Solanas in the film I Shot Andy Warhol (1996).
In 1997, the Showtime Network cast Plimpton as the female lead in the television film, The Defenders: Payback. Two more episodes (The Defenders: Choice of Evils and The Defenders: Taking the First) were aired in 1998. This show was a retooling of the classic television show by the same name, and the characters were descendants of Lawrence Preston, a role reprised by actor E.G. Marshall. Plimpton played the granddaughter, "M.J. Preston".  The intent was to spin the program off as a series, but Marshall died in 1998. The decision was made to not continue production due to Marshall's death.
In 1998 she appeared in the John Waters film Pecker. The film received mixed reviews. For example, the SF Gate reviewer wrote that "...Waters' patented brand of off-color fun is watered down." but wrote that Plimpton's work was "solid". The 1999 film, 200 Cigarettes received generally negative reviews, but the AllMovie reviewer wrote of Plimpton: "...woefully underappreciated Martha Plimpton gets laughs as a bundle of neuroses who grows more and more stressed out as people fail to appear for her party..." 
In 2001, she co-starred with Jacqueline Bisset in The Sleepy Time Gal. In 2002, she appeared in the documentary Searching for Debra Winger and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her guest appearance on the television drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Plimpton was the voice of Miss Crumbles in the 2004 animated film Hair High by Bill Plympton. In 2004, she guest-starred on an episode of 7th Heaven. She wrote the episode of the show entitled "Red Socks", which aired in 2005. She had a recurring role on the NBC show Surface (2005–06).
From October 2006 to May 2007, she was in The Coast of Utopia, a trilogy of plays by Tom Stoppard at Lincoln Center. She won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony award, Featured Actress in a Play. From August to September 2007 Plimpton appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Public Theater Shakespeare in the Park production as "Helena".
She co-founded a production company, Everything is Horrible, which has produced short films for the Internet.
Plimpton received her second nomination for a Tony Award in 2008, Best Performance by a Featured Actress In a Play, for her work in Top Girls at the Biltmore Theater. In November 2008, she earned a positive review from Ben Brantley in The New York Times for her role as Gladys Bumps in the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Pal Joey on Broadway. "...the ever-daring Ms. Plimpton exudes a been-there, frowzy sensuality that summons a host of hard-bitten dames from 1930s movie melodramas. Leading the nightclub act 'That Terrific Rainbow,' she has the period style down pat and a more than passable voice." She received her third consecutive Tony nomination, for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
Plimpton appeared in the 2008 Entertainment Weekly photo issue spread as one of "The Hardest Working Actors In Showbiz." she appears In the spread with Lance Reddick, Celia Weston, John Slattery, Bobby Cannavale, James Rebhorn, Lynn Cohen, Matt Servitto and Bob Balaban. Plimpton said in the write-up "I went to jury duty the other day, and somebody said, 'You always play drug addicts!' I've played a few on TV, and I imagine because the shows get replayed, it seems like more. But yeah, people tend to see me as this pregnant teenage heroin addict."
In November 2009, Plimpton signed on for the Fox sitcom Raising Hope. The show premiered on September 21, 2010, receiving strong reviews for Plimpton and the pilot. The New York Times called Raising Hope "the most promising" of "the best new fall shows," and said "Plimpton isn't the only reason 'Raising Hope' could be the best new sitcom of the season, but she is the main reason." Plimpton was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal as Virginia Chance in Raising Hope.
She guest starred in five episodes of CBS legal drama The Good Wife. She played attorney Patti Nyholm who appeared through four seasons. Her performance earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2012.
In 2014, Plimpton returned to Broadway as Julia, the daughter of Glenn Close and John Lithgow in a revival of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance. The limited engagement ran 18 weeks at the Golden Theatre and co-stars Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban and Clare Higgins.
Plimpton is an abortion rights campaigner who has lobbied Congress on behalf of Planned Parenthood and is on the board of directors of "A Is For..."; according to the organization's website, Plimpton has been politically active in abortion rights since her teenage years and speaks at campuses and rallies.
In 2014, Plimpton wrote a lengthy article decrying both U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and McCullen v. Coakley and revealing in part that she herself has had an abortion more than once. She wrote that her purpose was "A) to contribute to the dismantling of an oppressive, artificial and unfair shaming of women who seek abortion care, B) make clear just how normal, common, and healthy a decision it is for the women who make it, and C) to encourage women who are part of this one third to be unashamed and come out of the abortion closet."
In this same article, Plimpton wrote:
"I wasn’t raped, but I didn’t have to be to know I had the right to terminate an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy. My health wasn’t compromised by pregnancy, but it didn’t have to be for me to know I have the right to decide when or if to have children. My pregnancies weren’t the result of incest or abuse of any kind, but they didn’t have to be for me to know I have the right to determine my own physical life and future. I wasn’t underage, but I didn’t have to be to know that having a kid at that time wasn’t right for me. And I wasn’t free of all emotion about it, but I didn’t have to be to know that my life has value, that I am a whole person, and that I come first when making decisions about what is best for me and what I am capable of."
In 2008, Plimpton performed a duet with singer Lucy Wainwright Roche recording 8 More singing the Bruce Springsteen song Hungry Heart. The two had performed the song in 2008 at Joe's Pub and later in 2008 at the Zipper Factory.
In 2010, she sang another Springsteen song, Thunder Road, on the public radio program Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, accompanied by whistler Eric Gilliland. She has appeared multiple times as a guest on public radio's The Leonard Lopate Show, and performed in a roast of Lopate celebrating the 25th anniversary of his radio program.
Plimpton is on the board of directors of The Players, a New York City social club founded in 1888 by actor Edwin Booth. In 2009, she was profiled by The New York Times for their " A Night Out With..." series, in which Plimpton hosted an evening of poker at The Players.
In January 2010, she performed a one-woman show, Martha Plimpton Sings? for the Lincoln Center's American Songbook program. This show explored her experiences growing up in 1970s New York City. Her performance, well received by critics, included songs "Jolly Coppers on Parade", "Woman Is the Nigger of the World", and The Smiths's "Ask" tied together with humorous monologues.
Source: PlaybillVault 
- Top Girls (2008) - Nominated, Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play
- The Coast of Utopia (2007) - Nominated, Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play; Won Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play; Won Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play
- Cymbeline (2007-2008)
- Pal Joey (2008-2009) - Nominated, Tony Award, Best Featured Actress in a Musical; Nominated, Drama Desk Award, Best Featured Actress in a Musical
- Sixteen Wounded (2004)
- Shining City (2006)
- A Delicate Balance (2014-2015)
The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
- The Libertine (1996) as "Elizabeth Barry"
- Playboy of the Western World (1998) as "Pegeen Mike"
- The Glass Menagerie (1998) as "Laura"
- Hedda Gabler (2001)
- Absolution (2001) (Director)
Source: Internet Off-Broadway Database
- The False Servant (2005)
- Flesh and Blood (2003)
- Boston Marriage (2002)
- Hobson's Choice (2002) - Won Obie Award for Outstanding Performance
- Suburbia (1994)
- Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1991)
- The Haggadah (1980)
Seattle Repertory Theatre
- Uncle Vanya (1996) as "Sonya"
- The Heidi Chronicles (1988) as "Denise", "Clara", "Becky"
- The Sisters Rosensweig
New York Philharmonic
|1981||Rollover||Fewster's Older Daughter|
|1984||The River Rat||Jonsy|
|1985||The Goonies||Stef Steinbrenner||Nominated—Young Artist Award for Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Motion Picture|
|1986||A Life in the Day|
|1986||The Mosquito Coast||Emily Spellgood||Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Female Superstar in Motion Pictures|
|1987||Shy People||Grace||Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female|
|1988||Stars and Bars||Bryant|
|1988||Running on Empty||Lorna Phillips||Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama|
|1989||Zwei Frauen||Claudia Jacoby|
|1990||Stanley & Iris||Kelly King|
|1992||A Blink of Paradise||Mother|
|1992||Inside Monkey Zetterland||Sofie|
|1993||The Perfect Woman|
|1993||Josh and S.A.M.||Alison (The Liberty Maid)|
|1993||My Life's in Turnaround||Herself|
|1994||The Beans of Egypt, Maine||Earlene Pomerleau|
|1994||Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle||Jane Grant|
|1995||Last Summer in the Hamptons||Chloe|
|1996||I Shot Andy Warhol||Stevie|
|1996||I'm Not Rappaport||Laurie Campbell|
|1997||Eye of God||Ainsley Dupree|
|1998||Music from Another Room||Karen Swan|
|2001||The Sleepy Time Gal||Rebecca|
|2004||Hair High||Miss Crumbles||Voice|
|2008||Gone to the Dogs||Leslie|
|2010||I Thought About You||Gloria|
|2010||Small Town Murder Songs||Sam|
|2010||Remember Me||Helen Craig||Uncredited|
|1985||Family Ties||Jessie Black||Episode: "You've Got a Friend"|
|1999||ER||Meg Corwin||4 episodes|
|2002||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Claire Rinato||Episode: "Denial"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
|2003||Karen Sisco||Chelsea Wentworth||Episode: "The One That Got Away"|
|2003||Hack||Louise O'Connor||Episode: "Black Eye"|
|2004||7th Heaven||Venus||Episode: "Regret to Inform"|
|2006||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Jo Gage||Episode: "Blind Spot"|
|2006||Surface||Mr. Big/Dr. Morris||2 episodes|
|2009||Medium||Rosemary Widdick||Episode: "Pain Killer"|
|2009||Grey's Anatomy||Pam Michaelson||2 episodes|
|2009–2013||The Good Wife||Patti Nyholm||5 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series
|2010||Fringe||Sheriff Ann Mathis||Episode: "Northwest Passage"|
|2010||How to Make It in America||Edie Weitz||6 episodes|
|2010–2014||Raising Hope||Virginia Chance||88 episodes
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (2011–12)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Awards and nominations
Plimpton has received three consecutive Tony Award nominations: in 2007 for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role in Top Girls, in the same category in 2008 for Coast of Utopia, and for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 2009 for Pal Joey. 
In 2002, she received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination in 2011 for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy in the first season of Raising Hope. Plimpton won the 2012 Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series as Patti Nyholm on The Good Wife.
Plimpton won the 2001 Obie Award for Outstanding Performance for Hobson's Choice. She also won the 2007 Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critic's Circle Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play in 2008 for her role in Coast of Utopia, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in 2009 for Pal Joey.
In film, Plimpton was nominated for three Young Artist Awards: Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress for Goonies,  Best Young Female Superstar in Motion Pictures for The Mosquito Coast, and Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture for Running on Empty (1987-1988). She was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in 1987 in the Best Supporting Female category for her performance in Shy People.
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- Plympton, Bill http://www.plymptoons.com/scrapbook/scrap101609.html "But through my beautiful and talented cousin, Martha Plimpton (the star of Broadway), David, her uncle, was kind enough to do a starring voice in my wonderful film "Hair High."
- Ryzik, Melena. "So Odd, but Lately in Classic Fashion", The New York Times, November 25, 2007. Retrieved November 25, 2007. "ON a break from rehearsals for 'Cymbeline' at Lincoln Center Martha Plimpton dashed outside for a cigarette and immediately ran into a classmate from her alma mater, the nearby Professional Children’s School."
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- [dead link]
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- Martha Plimpton at the Internet Movie Database
- Martha Plimpton at the Internet Broadway Database
- Martha Plimpton at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Martha Plimpton at Emmys.com
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