Mara at the Paris premiere of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2012
|Born||Patricia Rooney Mara
April 17, 1985 
Bedford, New York, U.S.
|Other names||Patricia Mara
|Alma mater||New York University|
Art Rooney, Sr.
Wellington Mara (grandfather)
Dan Rooney (great-uncle)
John Mara (uncle)
Kate Mara (sister)
Patricia Rooney Mara (born April 17, 1985) is an American actress who made her acting debut in 2005 and has gone on to star in films including A Nightmare on Elm Street, the remake of the 1984 horror film, and The Social Network. She rose to prominence starring as Lisbeth Salander, the title character in the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium book series. For her performance in the film, she received critical acclaim and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. In 2013, she starred in the thriller Side Effects, the independent drama Ain't Them Bodies Saints, and the science fiction romance Her.
Mara is also known for her charity work and oversees the charity Uweza Foundation, which supports empowerment programs for children and families in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, one of the largest slums in Africa. She is the younger sister of actress Kate Mara.
Early life and family
Mara was born and raised in Bedford, New York, a town in Westchester County, north of New York City. Mara's mother's family founded the Pittsburgh Steelers and her father's family founded the New York Giants.  Her father, Timothy Christopher Mara, is the vice president of player evaluation for the New York Giants, and her mother, Kathleen McNulty (née Rooney), a part-time real estate agent. She has an older brother, Daniel, an older sister, Kate, and a younger brother, Conor.
Mara's father has Irish, German, and French-Canadian ancestry, and her mother is of Irish and Italian descent. Her Rooney ancestors originated in Newry, County Down. Her paternal grandfather, Wellington Mara, the long-time co-owner of the Giants, was succeeded in that position by her uncle, John Mara. Her maternal grandfather, Timothy James "Tim" Rooney, has run Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York since 1972. Mara is the great-granddaughter of both New York Giants founder Tim Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, Sr., as well as of Kathleen McNulty Rooney. Her great-uncle, Dan Rooney, is chairman of the Steelers, the United States Ambassador to Ireland, and the co-founder of The Ireland Funds charitable organization. U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney from Florida is her first cousin, once removed.
After graduating from Fox Lane High School in 2003, she went to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia in South America for four months as part of the Traveling School, an open learning environment. She attended George Washington University for a year, and then transferred to New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she studied psychology, international social policy, and nonprofits, graduating in 2010.
Mara was inspired to act by seeing musical theatre and classic movies, like Gone with the Wind (1939), Rebecca (1940), and Bringing Up Baby (1938), with her mother. She also wanted to be like her sister, Kate Mara, a professional actress. Patricia resisted pursuing acting as a child, stating to The Journal News that "it never seemed that honorable to me, and I guess I was always afraid that I might fail." Her first and only role in high school was Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, which she got after being signed up to audition by a friend. Mara acted in a few student films while at NYU, and then began her career in acting, first auditioning at the age of nineteen.
Mara first appeared as an extra in films which starred her sister, including a bit-part in the 2005 direct-to-video horror film Urban Legends: Bloody Mary. She found work in television, making her professional debut in a 2006 episode of the drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as a girl who bullies overweight children. She guest-starred on the legal drama Women's Murder Club in 2007, and played a drug addict in an episode of The Cleaner in 2008. Mara made her feature film debut Dream Boy in 2008 and guest-starred as Megan for two episodes of NBC's ER in 2009.
Mara landed her first lead role in Tanner Hall, a coming-of-age film which tells the story of four teenage girls set in a New England boarding school. She played Fernanda, who has an affair with a married family friend (Tom Everett Scott). The feature was the debut of filmmakers Tatiana von Fürstenberg and Francesca Gregorini. Tanner Hall debuted at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and had a limited theatrical release in September 2011. Mara dropped her first name, Patricia, to be known professionally by her middle name after working on the project. "I never really liked my first name," Mara stated to Paper magazine. "I never felt like a Tricia. And Rooney is more memorable". Her father and younger brother also go by their middle names.
Mara's experience led to other film work and appeared in Miguel Arteta's 2009 comedy film, Youth in Revolt as Taggarty, a teenager who tries to sleep with 50 men before she goes to college. The film was based on the 1993 cult novel of the same name by C.D. Payne. Mara had auditioned for the starring role, but was offered the smaller part when the lead went to Portia Doubleday.
Mara appeared with Emmy Rossum in the 2009 independent film, Dare as Courtney, and filmed The Winning Season with Emma Roberts and Sam Rockwell, playing a high school basketball player in a story similar to The Bad News Bears. Her character has an affair with a middle-aged shoe salesman (Kevin Breznahan). Dare and The Winning Season premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Mara was included on Filmmaker magazine's list of "25 New Faces of Independent Film" that year.
Mara starred in a remake of the 1984 horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street, as the protagonist Nancy Holbrook, a high school student victimized by Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley). Mara began shooting the film in Chicago on May 5, 2009, directed by Samuel Bayer. Mara told Filmmaker that she felt that her Nancy was "completely different from the original" and "the loneliest girl in the world". Mara had signed on to continue her role if a sequel was made. She stated to Vogue that she disliked the experience of making the film so much, that it made her question if she wanted to be an actress. Mara appeared at the Hamptons International Film Festival in October 2009 as part of its Breakthrough Performers Program, where she was tutored by Sharon Stone.
In August 2010, Mara was cast as the lead in a film adaptation of the Millennium book trilogy by Stieg Larsson. She played Lisbeth Salander, a damaged punk computer hacker who helps journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) attempt to solve a series of murders. Mara won the role over several other actresses after two and a half months of auditions and screen tests. David Fincher directed the first film, based on the novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with Scott Rudin producing. The other books, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, may be adapted, depending on box office performance. Fincher initially did not picture her as the character but changed his mind when she auditioned. He convinced executives at Columbia Pictures to cast her for the part.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo began shooting in Sweden in September 2010. Mara did not consider the film to be a remake, but another interpretation of the novel. "I plan on giving my interpretation of the character," she stated to Variety. Mara's long brown hair was cut short and dyed black, in a style reminiscent of 1970s punk and 1980s goth fashions. She also had each of her ears pierced four times, and had her brow and right nipple pierced for the role. Her nose and lip piercings were fake. She kept the nipple piercing so that it would not need to be re-pierced for a sequel. Mara's eyebrows were bleached, and she wore a temporary dragon tattoo. She began preparing for the role by starting to skateboard and kickbox, and underwent dialect and computer training. She also visited Stockholm, the setting of the novel. The film was released on December 20, 2011. Mara received universal critical acclaim and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her performance. On January 24, 2012, Mara was nominated for her first Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Actress for this role.
In late 2011, it was revealed that Mara had joined the cast of Terrence Malick's untitled and latest film, with Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett and Val Kilmer. Listed as a musical drama that's scheduled to be released sometime in 2013, the plot line of the movie has largely been kept under wraps thus far. An official logline released by FilmNation in February 2012 described Malick's picture as a story of "two intersecting love triangles" and, "sexual obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas."
In early 2012, Mara dropped out of Kathryn Bigelow's action film Zero Dark Thirty due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced by Jessica Chastain. In late April 2012, Mara replaced Carey Mulligan in Spike Jonze's upcoming film project, Her. Variety reported that Mulligan had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, and Mara was selected to fill in alongside Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. The film is due for a release in 2013.
Mara starred in Steven Soderbergh's 2013 crime/thriller film Side Effects, with Jude Law, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Vinessa Shaw. As the lead character, Emily Taylor, she played "a woman who turns to prescription medication as a way of handling her anxiety concerning her husband's upcoming release from prison."
She starred in David Lowery's 2013 independent film Ain't Them Bodies Saints which is described as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde story, alongside Casey Affleck and Ben Foster. The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013 and the rights for U.S. distribution were bought by IFC Films. In May 2013, she became the new face of Calvin Klein new fragrance Down Town.
Mara founded the charity Faces of Kibera, which aimed to provide housing, food, and medical care for orphans in Kibera, a Nairobi, Kenya slum. The charity's goal was to build an orphanage in the region, for which 6 acres of land have been purchased. The charity auctioned memorabilia from the Steelers and Giants, as well as training camp events on eBay to raise money.
Mara visited the area as a volunteer in 2006 and was moved to help the orphans, many whose parents have died from AIDS and HIV-related illnesses. She began the charity due to her frustration with the growing number of nonprofits that are just business opportunities. "The people who need help aren’t really getting it. So I started my own", she told Interview magazine in 2009. Mara was not really working yet when she started the charity, so later found it challenging to balance her charity work and acting career. "I need to do both; I can't just do acting,“ she stated to The Journal News.
In January 2011, Faces of Kibera merged with Uweza Foundation which runs community-based empowerment programs in Kibera, including soccer leagues and after-school tutoring. Uweza is a Swahili word meaning opportunity, ability, and power. Mara serves as the president of the board of directors for the foundation.
Mara moved to Los Angeles in early 2007, and lived with her sister temporarily. Although they do not live together anymore, Mara felt that the experience brought them closer together, and they still regularly discuss the film business and movie scripts. As of January 2012, Mara lives in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. She includes Gena Rowlands among the actors who inspire her, especially her performances in A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and Opening Night (1977). She is a vegan.
Mara's mother's family founded the Pittsburgh Steelers and her father's family founded the New York Giants. The families have maintained at least partial ownership of both teams since their foundings. Mara has described football as "the glue that holds our family together."
|2005||Urban Legends: Bloody Mary||Classroom girl #1||Direct-to-video|
|2009||Winning Season, TheThe Winning Season||Wendy|
|2009||Friends (With Benefits)||Tara|
|2009||Youth in Revolt||Taggarty|
|2010||Nightmare on Elm Street, AA Nightmare on Elm Street||Nancy Holbrook|
|2010||Social Network, TheThe Social Network||Erica Albright|
|2011||Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, TheThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Lisbeth Salander|
|2013||Ain't Them Bodies Saints||Ruth Guthrie|
|2013||Side Effects||Emily Taylor|
|2014||Untitled Terrence Malick project||Post-production|
|2006||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Jessica DeLay||Episode: "Fat"|
|2007||Women's Murder Club||Alexis Sherman||Episode: "Blind Dates and Bleeding Hearts"|
|2008||Cleaner, TheThe Cleaner||Rebecca Smith||Episode: "Rebecca"|
Awards and nominations
|2009||Tanner Hall||Hamptons International Film Festival Award for Rising Star||Won|
|2010||Tanner Hall||Stargazer Award at the Gen Art Film Festival||Won|
|2010||The Social Network||Hollywood Film Award for Ensemble of the Year||Won|
|2010||The Social Network||Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Ensemble Performance||Won|
|2010||The Social Network||Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast||Nominated|
|2010||The Social Network||Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Alliance of Women Film Journalists – Kick Ass Award For Best Female Action Star (tied with Saoirse Ronan)||Won|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Internet Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress||Won|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||National Board of Review Award for Breakthrough Performance (shared with Felicity Jones)||Won|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Nevada Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Performance (tied with Elizabeth Olsen)||Won|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress||Won|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2012 Virtuoso Award||Won|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Academy Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Breakthrough Performance||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakout Star||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Empire Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Georgia Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||MTV Movie Award for Best Performance||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Transformation||Nominated|
|2011||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Saturn Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
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