Julianne Nicholson

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Julianne Nicholson
Julianne Nicholson TIFF 2015.jpg
Years active1997–present
(m. 2004)

Julianne Nicholson is an American actress. She is best known for her roles in the film August: Osage County (2013), as well as the television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2006–2009), Masters of Sex (2013–2014), and Mare of Easttown (2021), the lattermost of which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award.[1][2]

Nicholson's other notable credits include Tully (2000), Ally McBeal (2001–2002), Kinsey (2004), Conviction (2006), Boardwalk Empire (2011–2013), Black Mass (2015), I, Tonya (2017), Togo (2019), and The Outsider (2020).

Early life[edit]

Nicholson was born and raised in Medford, Massachusetts (outside Boston), the daughter of Kate (née Gilday) and James O. Nicholson Jr. She is the eldest of four children.[3]

After graduating from Arlington Catholic High School, she modeled in New York for six months, quit for a year, then resumed her modeling career in Paris for another six months. After returning to New York, she attended Hunter College as a general studies major for two years. While in New York, Nicholson supported herself by waitressing and eventually left school to study acting and begin her professional career.[4]



In her first feature film role, Nicholson starred opposite Michael Caine and James Spader in the Peter Yates film Curtain Call. Later she won what proved to be both her breakthrough and favorite role as a headstrong young feminist in Peter Chan's The Love Letter. She has worked with other international directors in films such Alain Berliner's Passion of Mind, and Nick Hurran's Little Black Book. Nicholson's domestic drama credits include William Vincent, Staten Island, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Tully, Kinsey, and August: Osage County, for which the ensemble cast was nominated for several awards. Her domestic comedy credits include Seeing Other People and Puccini For Beginners.


Among Nicholson's television credits are a supporting role in the television miniseries Storm of the Century and guest-starring roles in ER and Law & Order. She was tapped by Steven Spielberg for the lead role in the paranormal drama The Others. In late 2001, Nicholson became one of the main cast members of the hit show Ally McBeal, portraying Jenny Shaw for 13 episodes.[citation needed] She worked on the medical drama Presidio Med and the HBO pilot Marriage. Julianne worked on the short-lived NBC television drama, Conviction and in what is her best known role, as Megan Wheeler, in the sixth season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.[5] Nicholson said her favorite Criminal Intent episode was "Weeping Willow".[6] As of the Criminal Intent episode "Major Case", Nicholson departed the series when she went on maternity leave for the birth of her second child (which was written into the show as the birth of her first child).

In 2011, she guest-starred on Royal Pains as "Jess", one of Dr. Lawson's patients, who has panic attacks. She also appeared on Boardwalk Empire as the recurring character of U.S. Assistant Attorney General Esther Randolph (a character based on the real life Mabel Walker Willebrandt) that same year. In 2012, she guest-starred on The Good Wife as Callie Simko, an attorney who has an interest in Will Gardner.

On October 16, 2016, Nicholson played the lead role of Sheriff Helen Torrance in USA Network's 10-episode police drama, Eyewitness.

In 2021, Nicholson starred in the HBO series Mare of Easttown as Lori Ross, best friend of the titular Mare Sheehan played by Kate Winslet. The series proved to be a ratings hit for HBO breaking viewership records. Her role in the series brought her critical acclaim with critics especially highlighting her harrowing performance in the series finale. The role won Nicholson her first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series. She also earned a nomination at the Critics Choice Awards for the same role.[citation needed]


Nicholson has been in a number of plays in New York. Her work in theater includes plays written by Craig Lucas, Adam Rapp, and Sam Shepard.

Personal life[edit]

In 2004, she married British actor Jonathan Cake in Italy; they met playing a couple on an unaired HBO pilot called Marriage. They have two children, son Ignatius Cake[7] and daughter Phoebe Margaret Cake.[8]

Acting credits[edit]

Not yet released Denotes works that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Harvest Lou Yates
Long Time Since Phoebe
One True Thing College Student
Curtain Call / It All Came True Sandra Hewson
1999 The Love Letter Jennifer McNeely
2000 Hero Young German Woman Short film
Passion of Mind Kim
Godass Nancy
Tully Ella Smalley Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
2001 Dead Dog Charity
2002 Speakeasy Rebecca
Strike a Light Girl
I'm with Lucy Jo
2004 Seeing Other People Alice US Comedy Arts Festival Award for Best Actress
Little Black Book Joyce Moore
Kinsey Alice Martin
2005 Seagull Julianne
Her Name Is Carla Carla
2006 Flannel Pajamas Nicole Reilly
Puccini for Beginners Samantha
Two Weeks Emily Bergman
2009 Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Sara Quinn
Staten Island Mary Halverson
2010 Shadows and Lies Ann
2012 Keep the Lights On Claire
2013 August: Osage County Ivy Weston Hollywood Film Festival for Ensemble of the Year
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble
2015 Black Mass Marianne Connolly
Ten Thousand Saints Harriet Horn
2016 Sophie and the Rising Sun Sophie Willis
From Nowhere Jackie
2017 Novitiate Nora Harris
I, Tonya Diane Rawlinson
Who We Are Now Beth
2019 Monos Dr. Sara Watson
Togo Constance Seppala
Iniciales S.G Jane
2021 With/In: Volume 2 Segment: "Touching"; also director
2022 Blonde Gladys Pearl Baker
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Mary Yankovic


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Nothing Sacred Cara Episode: "Parents and Children"
1998 Dellaventura Carol Dakin Episode: "David & Goliath"
New York Undercover Daisy Episode: "Sign o' the Times"
1999 Storm of the Century Kat Withers TV miniseries
2000 The Others Marian Kitt Main role (13 episodes)
2001 Law & Order Jessie Lucas Episode: "All My Children"
2001–2002 Ally McBeal Jenny Shaw Main role (13 episodes)
2002 Presidio Med Dr. Jules Keating Main role
2004 ER Jordan Episodes: "Just a Touch", "Abby Normal"
2006 The Water Is Wide Barbara TV film
Conviction Christina Finn Main role (13 episodes)
2006–2009 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Det. Megan Wheeler Main role (Season 6–8)
2011 Royal Pains Jess Walsh Episode: "Fight or Flight"
2011–2013 Boardwalk Empire Esther Randolph Recurring role (11 episodes)
2012 The Good Wife Callie Simko Episodes: "Pants on Fire", "The Penalty Box"
Covert Affairs Anna Lise Pound Episode: "The Last Thing You Should Do"
2013–2014 Masters of Sex Dr. Lillian DePaul Recurring role (12 episodes)
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series
2014–2015 The Red Road Jean Jensen 12 episodes
2016 Eyewitness Sheriff Helen Torrance Main role (10 episodes)
2017 Law & Order True Crime Jill Lansing Main role
2020 The Outsider Glory Maitland TV miniseries
Robot Chicken Winifred Sanderson (voice) Episode: "Ghandi Mulholland in: Plastic Doesn't Get Cancer"
2021 Mare of Easttown Lori Ross TV miniseries
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television
Nominated—Gold Derby TV Award for Best Supporting Actress in an Anthology Series or Television Movie
Nominated—Hollywood Critics Association TV Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Television Movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film
2022 Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty Cranny McKinney 6 episodes


Year Title Role Playwright Director Notes
2000 Stranger Craig Lucas Mark Brokaw The Vineyard Theater
2009 This Jane Melissa James Gibson Daniel Aukin Playwrights Horizons
2010 Parents' Evening Judy Bathsheba Doran Jim Simpson The Flea
2011 The Hallway Trilogy: Rose Mary Adam Rapp Adam Rapp Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
2011 The Hallway Trilogy: Paraffin Margo Adam Rapp Daniel Aukin Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
2012 Heartless Sally Sam Shepard Daniel Aukin Signature Theatre


  1. ^ Complex, Valerie (September 19, 2021). "Julianne Nicholson Wins Her First Emmy, Tells Kate Winslet "I Owe This To You"". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  2. ^ Walsh, Savannah (September 19, 2021). "Mare of Easttown's Julianne Nicholson Upsets Kathryn Hahn at Emmys 2021". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on October 16, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  3. ^ Lee, Luaine (February 22, 2014). "Julianne Nicholson takes 'The Red Road'". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Salkin, Allen (September 25, 2009). "A Night Out With: Julianne Nicholson Takes a Break From Parenting". The New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Reel Vincent D'Onofrio Entry Page". Thereelvincentdonofrio.com. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  6. ^ "Exclusive interview: Julianne Nicholson, of Law & Order: Criminal Intent." BuddyTV, February 27, 2007. Retrieved on September 8, 2008.
  7. ^ "Julianne Nicholson Expecting Second Child Celebrity Baby Blog". December 18, 2008. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008.
  8. ^ Broadway.com Staff (May 4, 2009). "Broadway Buzz: Jonathan Cake and Wife Julianne Nicholson Welcome Daughter". Broadway.com. Retrieved August 10, 2014.

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