Katherine McNamara

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Katherine McNamara
Katherine McNamara - November 2014 (cropped).jpg
McNamara in November 2014
Katherine Grace McNamara

(1995-11-22) November 22, 1995 (age 24)
Alma materDrexel University
Years active2007–present

Katherine Grace McNamara[1] (born November 22, 1995[1][2]) is an American actress. She is known for her lead role as Clary Fray on the 2016–2019 Freeform fantasy series Shadowhunters.[3][4] In 2018, McNamara joined the cast of Arrow for its seventh season, playing Mia Smoak, the daughter of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak.[5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

McNamara was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the only child of Ursula and Evan McNamara, who served in the U.S. military.[7] She was raised in Lee's Summit, Missouri,[8] and moved to Los Angeles, California in 2011.[9]

While growing up, McNamara was an advanced student in certain subjects, resulting in her being part-homeschooled; she received her high school diploma at age 14.[10] At age 17, McNamara graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Drexel University, completing much of her course work online.[8] In July 2017, she said that she was enrolled in an online master's degree literature program at Johns Hopkins University.[11]


McNamara began her acting career on stage in Kansas City.[7][12][13] She then participated in motion picture productions filmed in the Kansas City area, such as Matchmaker Mary in 2008 and the short film "Get Off My Porch".[14][15] In 2010, she appeared in the 2009 Broadway revival of A Little Night Music with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury.[7][16][17] She began making guest appearances in television series, including Law & Order: SVU, 30 Rock, and Drop Dead Diva. McNamara appeared in theatrical movies such as New Year's Eve and in the Disney Channel original movie Girl vs. Monster, playing the role of Myra Santelli.[18][19] She co-starred in the film Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, playing the role of Tom's girlfriend Becky Thatcher.[20] McNamara also appeared in the independent films Contest[21] and A Sort of Homecoming.[22]

She appeared on three episodes of the Disney XD series Kickin' It, in which she had a recurring role as Claire, Kim's rival, and in two episodes of the Disney Channel series Jessie, playing Bryn Brietbart, a rival to Emma Ross. She also appeared in an episode of the Nickelodeon series The Thundermans. McNamara was cast in the MTV series Happyland as Harper Munroe, a theme park photographer.[23] It was announced that McNamara would playing the recurring role of Kat on the third season of The Fosters in 2015.[24]

On May 6, 2015, ABC Family (now Freeform) announced that McNamara would be playing the lead character Clary Fray in Shadowhunters, a television adaptation of Cassandra Clare's bestselling book series The Mortal Instruments.[25][26] McNamara appeared in The Maze Runner film sequel, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, as Sonya, a co-leader of Group B.[27] She reprised the role in the 2018 sequel, Maze Runner: The Death Cure.[28] In September 2018, McNamara was cast in the seventh season of Arrow as the recurring character of Mia Smoak, the daughter of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak;[5][6] McNamara was later promoted to a series regular for Arrow's eighth and final season.[29] In October 2019, The CW announced plans for a potential Arrow spin-off featuring Mia Smoak.[30] A backdoor pilot for the spin-off aired as the ninth episode of Arrow's final season.[31]

In October 2019, McNamara was cast as Julie Lawry in the CBS All Access limited series adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand.[32] Principal photography on the limited series was completed in March 2020, and CBS All Access has announced a premiere date of December 17, 2020.[33][34][35]

During May and June 2020, McNamara participated in the making of The Untitled Horror Movie, a movie that was shot by cast members receiving direction from Nick Simon via remote videoconferencing. This was due to restrictions necessitated by COVID-19 distancing protocols.[36]


During the course of her career, McNamara has sung songs that were used in movies or television series in which she appeared. She wrote and sang "Chatter" for Contest, and she also appeared in a music video for that song.[37] She wrote "My Heart Can Fly", which her character sings during a talent competition in Little Savages.[38] She sang "Wait for You", the end credits song for A Sort of Homecoming.[39][40] She also sang "Stay True", the end credits song for R.L. Stine's Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls.[41] Her song "Ember" was played during the 20th episode of the second season of Shadowhunters.[42][43]

In December 2019, McNamara was featured as the voice of singer Sally Jessup in the animated Christmas special episode of the Dreamworks series Spirit Riding Free entitled "Spirit of Christmas", which premiered on Netflix. She also provided the vocals for several songs featured in the special.[44]

Charitable works[edit]

McNamara has participated in anti-bullying efforts by describing how she was bullied as a child.[45][46][47][48] McNamara has also worked with the Lollipop Theater Network, visiting children who are confined to hospitals due to the severity of their illnesses.[49][50] In 2017, she recorded the song "Glass Slipper", which was used as part of a charity campaign for the United Nations Girl Up program.[51] She also created a t-shirt with the "Glass Slipper" lyrics as part of this campaign.[52] In 2018 and 2019, she participated in the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend, which raises donations for the Kansas City Children's Mercy Hospital.[53][54]

On March 31, 2020, McNamara announced that she was working on a song to be released on April 8. On April 8, the song "Just Like James" was made available in the Google Play Store, Apple's iTunes store, and Spotify. Proceeds from the song will be donated to the World Health Organization (WHO) for Covid-19 relief efforts. Google will donate funds matching sales from the first 30 days. (She originally recorded the song in 2014.)[55][56][57][58][59]

On May 8, 2020, McNamara participated in a live-reading adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice with Acting for a Cause.[60][61]



Year Title Role Notes
2008 Matchmaker Mary Mary Carver aka Beyond Puppy Love[62]
2009 Sam Steele and the Junior Detective Agency Emma Marsh aka Jr. Detective Agency[63]
2011 Sam Steele and the Crystal Chalice Emma Marsh aka The Junior Spy Agency[64]
2011 New Year's Eve Lily Bowman "Mother & Daughter" story
2013 Contest Sarah O'Malley
2014 Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn Becky Thatcher
2015 A Sort of Homecoming Rosa
2015 Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls Lilith Direct-to-video film
2015 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Sonya
2016 Little Savages Tiffany [65][66]
2016 Natural Selection Paige Thomas [67][68]
2016 Is That a Gun in Your Pocket? Sandy Keely [69]
2018 Maze Runner: The Death Cure Sonya [70][71][72]
2019 Assimilate Hannah Originally titled Replicate[73][74]
2021 Finding You Taylor Risdale Post-production; previously known as There You'll Find Me[75][76][77]
TBA Untitled Horror Movie TBA Awaiting release[36]
TBA El Tonto TBA Post-production[78]


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jasmine Episode: "Flight"
2011 30 Rock Meagan Episode: "TGS Hates Women"[26]
2011 Drop Dead Diva Ann Logan Episode: "Ah, Men"
2012–2013 Kickin' It Claire 3 episodes
2012 Glee Bunhead #1 Episode: "Makeover"
2012 Girl vs. Monster Myra Santelli Television movie (Disney Channel)
2012 Sketchy Iris Episode: "This Is 14"
2012 Madison High Cherri O'Keefe Unsold television pilot[79]
2013 Touch Evie Woods Episode: "Reunions"
2013 Jessie Bryn Breitbart Episodes: "Kids Don't Wanna Be Shunned", "Diary of a Mad Newswoman"
2013 The Haunting Hour: The Series Jodanna Episode: "Worry Dolls"
2013 The Thundermans Tara Campbell Episode: "Dinner Party"
2013 The Surgeon General Lily Sherman Unsold television pilot[80]
2014–2016 Transformers: Rescue Bots Priscilla Pynch Recurring voice role; 6 episodes
2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Angela Ward / Tangerine Episode: "Long Road Home"
2014 Workaholics Haley Episode: "Beer Heist"
2014 Unforgettable Young Carrie Wells Episode: "Reunion"
2014 Happyland Harper Munroe Main role
2014 A Wife's Nightmare Jackie Television movie (Lifetime)
2015 The Fosters Ekaterina 3 episodes
2016–2019 Shadowhunters Clary Fray Main role
2016 The Grinder Ginger Episode: "From the Ashes"; uncredited[81]
2016 Indiscretion Lizzy Simon Television movie (Lifetime)
2018–2020 Arrow Mia Smoak[6] Recurring role (season 7);[5] main role (season 8)[29]
2018 Happy Together Sarah Episode: "Home Insecurity"
2019 Spirit Riding Free: Spirit of Christmas Sally Jessup Voice role; television special[44]
2019 Supergirl Mia Smoak Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 1"[82]
2019 Batwoman Mia Smoak Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 2"
2019 The Flash Mia Smoak Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3"
2020 The Stand Julie Lawry Upcoming miniseries[32]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref
2016 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Breakout Star Shadowhunters Nominated [83]
2018 People's Choice Awards Female TV Star Shadowhunters Won [84]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actress Shadowhunters Nominated [85]
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actress Shadowhunters Won [86]


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  31. ^ [1]
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