Mary Stuart Masterson

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Mary Stuart Masterson
Mary Stuart Masterson at Tribeca 2007 cropped 2.jpg
Masterson at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival
Born (1966-06-28) June 28, 1966 (age 56)
Alma materNew York University
Occupation(s)Actress, film director
Years active1975–present
George Carl Francisco
(m. 1990; div. 1992)

(m. 2000; div. 2004)

(m. 2006)
Parent(s)Carlin Glynn
Peter Masterson

Mary Stuart Masterson (born June 28, 1966) is an American actress and film director. She has starred in the films At Close Range (1986), Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), Chances Are (1989), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and Benny & Joon (1993). She won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1989 film Immediate Family, and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for the 2003 Broadway revival of Nine.

Early life and education[edit]

Masterson was born June 28, 1966, in Manhattan (some sources cite Los Angeles, CA)[1] the daughter of writer-director-actor-producer Peter Masterson and singer-actress Carlin Glynn. She has two siblings: Peter Jr., and Alexandra. As a teenager, she attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in upstate New York with actors Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Cryer. Later, she attended schools in New York, including eight months studying anthropology at New York University.[2]


Masterson's first film appearance was in The Stepford Wives (1975) at the age of eight, playing a daughter to her real-life father. Rather than continue her career as a child actor, she chose to continue her studies, although she did appear in several productions at the Dalton School. In 1985, she returned to cinema in Heaven Help Us as Danni, a courageous teen running the soda shop of her gravely depressed father. She appeared with Sean Penn and Christopher Walken in the film At Close Range (1986) as Brad Jr's girlfriend Terry, a film based on an actual rural Pennsylvania crime family led by Bruce Johnston, Sr. during the 1960s and 1970s. She later starred as the tomboyish drummer Watts in the teenage drama Some Kind of Wonderful (1987). As a result, she is loosely connected with the Brat Pack.[3] The same year Francis Ford Coppola cast her in Gardens of Stone in which she acted with her parents who were hired by Coppola to play her on-screen parents.[4] In 1989, she played in Chances Are alongside Cybill Shepherd, Ryan O'Neal and Robert Downey Jr., and she starred as Lucy Moore, a teenage girl giving up her first baby to a wealthy couple, played by Glenn Close and James Woods in Immediate Family. For her work in that film she received a "Best Supporting Actress" award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.


Masterson continued acting in films and television during the 1990s. In 1991, she starred in Fried Green Tomatoes, a film based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The film was well-received, with film critic Roger Ebert applauding Masterson's work.[5] The following year she was invited to host Saturday Night Live. In 1993, she played opposite Johnny Depp in Benny & Joon as Joon, his mentally ill love interest. In 1994, she acted in Bad Girls, playing Anita Crown, a former prostitute, who joins with three other former prostitutes (played by Madeleine Stowe, Andie MacDowell and Drew Barrymore) in traveling the Old West. In 1996, Masterson acted alongside Christian Slater in the romantic drama Bed of Roses.


Although Masterson carried on her work in the film industry, by 2000 she had made a move towards television. In 2001, she produced her own television series, Kate Brasher, which was canceled by CBS after six episodes. In 2004, Masterson played Dr. Helen Taussig in the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning HBO biographical drama Something the Lord Made. Between 2004 and 2007, she made five guest starring appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Dr. Rebecca Hendrix. A decade later, she appeared in a recurring role as FBI director Eleanor Hirst in the second and third seasons of Blindspot.

Masterson has appeared in Broadway theater productions, and was nominated for a 2003 Tony Award as "Best Featured Actress in a Musical" in the Maury Yeston musical Nine: The Musical, directed by David Leveaux.[6]

Masterson has narrated several audiobooks, including I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass, Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell, The Quickie by James Patterson[7] and Look Again by Lisa Scottoline.[8]


In May 1993, Masterson revealed she had written a screenplay for a film tentatively entitled Around the Block, a romantic comedy about a "woman who conquers her fears by becoming a singer"; in a cover story about Benny & Joon's box office success, she told Entertainment Weekly she was going to direct it herself, with principal photography expected that autumn.[9]

In 2001, she began her directing career with a segment titled "The Other Side" in the television movie On the Edge.[10]

Masterson made her feature film directorial debut in 2007, with The Cake Eaters, which premiered at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival as well as the Ashland Independent Film Festival where it received the 'Audience Award – Dramatic Feature' prize in 2008.[11] Of her move to directing, Masterson said in an interview, "When I signed to do this, I wasn't scared but, yes, it was scary. I'm already 40, although we don't want to talk about that. In '92, I wrote my first screenplay, which I then was to direct, but I ended up taking an acting job because it takes forever to get a movie made."[12]

Personal life[edit]

Masterson was married to George Carl Francisco from 1990 to 1992 and to filmmaker Damon Santostefano from 2000 to 2004. In 2006, Masterson married actor Jeremy Davidson after they starred together in the 2004 stage production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In October 2009, Masterson gave birth to their first child, son Phineas Bee.[13][14] She gave birth to twins in August 2011, son Wilder and daughter Clio.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
1975 The Stepford Wives Kim Eberhart
1985 Heaven Help Us Danni
1986 At Close Range Terry
1987 Some Kind of Wonderful Watts
Gardens of Stone Rachel Feld
My Little Girl Franny Bettinger
1988 Mr. North Elspeth Skeel
1989 Chances Are Miranda Jeffries
Immediate Family Lucy Moore
1990 Funny About Love Daphne Delillo
1991 Fried Green Tomatoes Imogene "Idgie" Threadgoode
1992 Mad at the Moon Jenny Hill
1993 Married to It Nina Bishop
Benny & Joon Juniper "Joon" Pearl
1994 Bad Girls Anita Crown
Radioland Murders Penny Henderson
Bed of Roses Lisa Walker
Heaven's Prisoners Robin Gaddis
1997 Dogtown Dorothy Sternen
Digging to China Gwen Frankovitz
The Postman Hope, Postman's Daughter Uncredited Cameo
1999 The Book of Stars Penny McGuire
The Florentine Vikki
2002 West of Here Genevieve Anderson
Leo Brynne
2005 The Sisters Olga Prior
Whiskey School G.G.
2006 The Insurgents Director
2017 As You Are Karen
2018 Skin Agent Jackie Marks
2019 Daniel Isn't Real Claire Nightingale
TBA Five Nights at Freddy's Unnamed villain Filming

As director[edit]

Year Title Notes
2001 On the Edge Television film
Segment: "The Other Side"
2007 The Cake Eaters Feature film


Year Title Role Notes
1980 City in Fear Abby Crawford ABC television film
1985 Love Lives On Susan Wallace ABC television film
1986 Amazing Stories Cynthia Simpson Segment: "Go to the Head of the Class (Book Two)"
1992 Saturday Night Live Herself / Host Episode: "Mary Stuart Masterson/En Vogue"
1996 Lily Dale Lily Dale Showtime television film
1997 On the 2nd Day of Christmas Patricia "Trish" Tracy Lifetime Television television film
1999 Black and Blue Frances Benedetto CBS television film
2001 Kate Brasher Kate Brasher 6 episodes
Three Blind Mice Patricia Demming CBS television film
2002 R.U.S./H. Elaine Burba Unsold CBS pilot
2003 Gary the Rat Caroline Swanson Voice role
Episode: "Old Flame"
2004 Blue's Clues Cinderella Episode: "Love Day"
Something the Lord Made Dr. Helen Taussig HBO television film
2004–2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dr. Rebecca Hendrix 5 episodes
2006 Waterfront Heather Centrella 5 episodes
2009 Cupid Mira Episode: "Live and Let Spy"
2010 Mercy Dr. Denise Cabe 4 episodes
2012 Touch Beth Cooper Episode: "The Road Not Taken"
2013 The Good Wife Rachel Keyser Episode: "Whack-a-Mole"
2015 Blue Bloods Catherine Tucker Episode: "Absolute Power"
2017 NCIS Congresswoman Jenna Flemming 3 episodes
2017–2019 Blindspot FBI Director Eleanor Hirst 11 episodes
2020 For Life Anya Harrison Main role (season 1)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Ashland Independent Film Festival

  • 2008: Won, "Best Dramatic Feature" – The Cake Eaters

DVD Exclusive Awards

  • 2001: Nominated, "Best Actress" – The Book of Stars

Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival

  • 2007: Won, "Best American Indie" – The Cake Eaters

Lone Star Film & Television Awards

  • 1997: Won, "Best TV Actress" – Lily Dale

MTV Movie Awards

  • 1994: Nominated, "Best On-Screen Duo" – Benny and Joon (shared w/Johnny Depp)

National Board of Review of Motion Pictures

  • 1989: Won, "Best Supporting Actress" – Immediate Family

Satellite Awards

  • 2005: Nominated, "Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television" – Something the Lord Made


  1. ^ "Mary Stuart Masterson".
  2. ^ Mary Stuart Masterson profile, The New York Times; accessed May 20, 2014.
  3. ^ Jamie Currie. "Possibly Pack". Archived from the original on July 12, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  4. ^ "Yahoo TV". Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  5. ^ Roger Ebert (January 10, 1992). "Fried Green Tomatoes". Archived from the original on September 13, 2005. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  6. ^ "The 2003 Tony Award nominations". Los Angeles Times. May 13, 2003. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  7. ^ The Quickie. June 27, 2017. ISBN 9781594839276.
  8. ^ "Look Again | Mary Stuart Masterson | Macmillan". US Macmillan. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  9. ^ Murphy, Ryan (May 7, 1993). "A Perfect Mismatch". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 16, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2011. Because there aren't enough good parts to go around, Masterson has written her own. In Around the Block, an independent production she'll also direct this fall, she plays a woman who conquers her fears by becoming a singer. 'It's a romantic comedy too,' she says proudly. 'Who knows? Maybe it will become a big date movie. If I'm lucky.'
  10. ^ "Movies directed by Mary Stuart Masterson". IMDb. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  11. ^ "Ashland independent film festival-- Ashland, Oregon 97520". Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  12. ^ Actress Goes In Film Direction – New York Post Archived May 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Joyce Eng (November 3, 2009). "Mary Stuart Masterson Welcomes a Son". TV Guide.
  14. ^ Michael Nassberg. "Local filmmaker to screen his film, "Tickling Leo," Nov. 22". The Reporter Group.
  15. ^ "Breaking Celeb News, Entertainment News, and Celebrity Gossip". E! Online. March 4, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

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