Julianne Nicholson

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Julianne Nicholson
Julianne Nicholson TIFF 2015.jpg
Born (1971-07-01) July 1, 1971 (age 49)
Years active1997–present
(m. 2004)

Julianne Nicholson (born July 1, 1971) is an American actress. She is best known for her main and supporting roles in multiple indie or drama films and TV series. In 2004, she won the US Comedy Arts Festival Award for Best Actress.

She played NYPD Detective Megan Wheeler on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and is also known for her roles in Ally McBeal, Boardwalk Empire, The Outsider, Mare of Easttown, and Masters of Sex, as well as her portrayal of Ivy in the film adaptation of August: Osage County.

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.[1]

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.[2]



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 (Jay Anania), Staten Island (James DeMonaco), Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (John Krasinski), Tully (Hilary Birmingham), Kinsey (Bill Condon), and August: Osage County (John Wells), for which the ensemble cast was nominated for several awards. Her domestic comedy credits include Seeing Other People (Wally Wolodarsky) and Puccini For Beginners (Maria Maggenti).


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 began to work with some of television's top producers. 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 produced by David E. Kelley, Ally McBeal, portraying Jenny Shaw for 13 episodes.[citation needed] She worked with John Wells on the medical drama Presidio Med and Steven Bochco on the HBO pilot Marriage. Julianne worked with Dick Wolf in his series 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.[3] Nicholson said her favorite Criminal Intent episode was "Weeping Willow", which she described as "really different from a lot of the ones we've done before and very exciting and current."[4] As of the Criminal Intent episode "Major Case", Nicholson departed the series when Kathryn Erbe came back from maternity leave.

In 2011, she guest-starred on Royal Pains as "Jess", one of Dr. Lawson's patients, suffering from 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 debuted in the lead role of Sheriff Helen Torrance in USA Network's 10-episode police drama, Eyewitness. The series was cancelled after one season.


Nicholson has been in a number of plays in New York. Her work in theater includes the following New York performances:

Title Producer Director Theater
Stranger Craig Lucas Mark Brokaw The Vineyard Theater
Parlor Song Jez Buttersworth Neil Pepe The Atlantic
This Melissa James Gibson Daniel Aukin Playwrights Horizons
Parents Evening Bathsheba Doran Jim Simpson The Flea
The Hallway Trilogy: Rose Adam Rapp Adam Rapp Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
The Hallway Trilogy: Paraffin Adam Rapp Daniel Aukin Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

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[5] and daughter Phoebe Margaret Cake.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Harvest Lou Yates
Long Time Since Phoebe
One True Thing College Student
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 & 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
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
TBA Blonde Post-production
TBA With/In Post-production; Also writer


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
2021 Mare of Easttown Lori Ross TV miniseries


  1. ^ Lee, Luaine (February 22, 2014). "Julianne Nicholson takes 'The Red Road'". Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  2. ^ Salkin, Allen (September 25, 2009). "A Night Out With: Julianne Nicholson Takes a Break From Parenting". Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Reel Vincent D'Onofrio Entry Page". Thereelvincentdonofrio.com. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "Exclusive interview: Julianne Nicholson, of Law & Order: Criminal Intent." BuddyTV, February 27, 2007. Retrieved on September 8, 2008.
  5. ^ Julianne Nicholson Expecting Second Child Celebrity Baby Blog, December 18, 2008
  6. ^ 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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