Patty McCormack

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Patty McCormack
McCormack in a photo release of the television series The New Breed, 1962
Patricia Ellen Russo

(1945-08-21) August 21, 1945 (age 78)
Years active1951–present
Bob Catania
(m. 1967; div. 1973)

Patricia McCormack (born Patricia Ellen Russo August 21, 1945[1]) is an American actress with a career in theater, films, and television.

McCormack began her career as a child actress. She is perhaps best known for her performance as Rhoda Penmark in Maxwell Anderson's 1956 psychological drama The Bad Seed. She received critical acclaim for the role on Broadway and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Mervyn LeRoy's film adaptation.[2] Her acting career has continued with both starring and supporting roles in film and television, including Helen Keller in the original Playhouse 90 production of The Miracle Worker, Jeffrey Tambor's wife Anne Brookes on the ABC sitcom The Ropers, and as Pat Nixon in Frost/Nixon (2008).[3]

She also appeared in the November 11, 1982, season 3 episode 8..."Foiled Again" of Magnum, P.I. with Tom Selleck. She was also cast and appeared as Adriana La Cerva's mother in The Sopranos.

Life and career[edit]

The cast of Peck's Bad Girl: From left: Wendell Corey, McCormack, Ray Farrell, Marsha Hunt

McCormack was a child model at the age of four, and began appearing on television at the age of seven.[citation needed] She made her motion-picture debut in Two Gals and a Guy (1951) and appeared as Ingeborg in the television series Mama with Peggy Wood from 1953 to 1956. Her Broadway debut was in Touchstone (1953), and the following year, she originated the role of Rhoda Penmark, an eight-year-old psychopath and fledgling serial killer, in the original stage version of Maxwell Anderson's The Bad Seed (1954)[4] with Nancy Kelly. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film version (1956). She portrayed Helen Keller in the original 1957 Playhouse 90 production of William Gibson's The Miracle Worker opposite Teresa Wright.

In 1957, she was cast by Orson Welles in his film adaptation of Don Quixote, but filming had to be abandoned for budgetary reasons, and was never fully completed. When a version was edited together in 1992, some years after Welles's death, it did not include any of McCormack's scenes, though they had been central to the framing of the plot.[citation needed] In 1959 she was in an episode of One Step Beyond called "Make Me Not a Witch". She had the role of a pampered child star in the 1958 comedy Kathy O' and recorded the title song for Dot Records. McCormack briefly starred in her own series, Peck's Bad Girl, with Marsha Hunt and Wendell Corey in 1959, and had a leading role in MGM's remake of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with Eddie Hodges. In the early 1960s, she starred in a series of popular teenage delinquent films, including The Explosive Generation with William Shatner and The Young Runaways. In 1962, she portrayed Julie Cannon in the Rawhide episode "Episode of the Wolves"; she appeared on the show again the following year, playing Sarah Higgins in the episode "Incident at Paradise".

Patty McCormack (right) in 1962. She is seen here in the soap opera Young Doctor Malone

She married restaurateur Bob Catania in 1967, and the couple had two children before their marriage was dissolved.[citation needed] After a half-dozen teen roles during the 1960s, her film career gradually declined, but she continued to work in television. In 1970, she played Linda Warren on the soap opera The Best of Everything.[5] She guest-starred on The Streets of San Francisco, season two, episode "Blockade". She also portrayed a San Francisco paramedic on the season-seven Emergency! series episodes "What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing...?" and "The Convention". She resumed her cinema career with Bug in 1975. She played advertising executive Beth Donaldson in "The Little People" episode of "The Love Boat" S2 E10 which aired on 11/24/1978.

McCormack held several recurring roles in popular television series, including Dallas, Murder, She Wrote, and The Sopranos. McCormack also starred as Anne Brookes, the wife of Jeffrey P. Brookes III (played by Jeffrey Tambor) on the ABC television series The Ropers, a spin-off of Three's Company starring Norman Fell and Audra Lindley, from 1979 to 1980. When Kathryn Hays left the CBS soap opera As the World Turns for an extended period, McCormack took Hays' role until she returned. She starred as a psychotic mother in the cult thriller Mommy and its 1997 sequel Mommy 2: Mommy's Day. In 2008, McCormack played First Lady Pat Nixon in the feature film Frost/Nixon. McCormack continues to work regularly and she costarred in the 2012 series Have You Met Miss Jones?. A recent film appearance is in the 2014 release Chicanery and she guest-starred in a 2013 episode of the series Hart of Dixie. Her most notable recent work was in the Paul Thomas Anderson film The Master.

In April 2018, it was announced that McCormack would join the cast of General Hospital temporarily replacing Leslie Charleson in the role of Monica Quartermaine due to injuries Charleson sustained in a fall.[6][7] In September 2018, McCormack portrayed Dr. March, the child psychiatrist consulted in the 2018 television remake of The Bad Seed.[8]


McCormack was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for The Bad Seed.[9] On March 20, 1956, she received the Milky Way "Gold Star Award" as the most outstanding juvenile performer, in which Sal Mineo was placed third and Tommy Rettig second.[10]

Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6312 Hollywood Boulevard. She received the star in 1960 aged 15, making her the youngest honoree on the Walk.[11]

McCormack was a guest for the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, where her films were screened, and she received an award during the closing ceremonies.[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1956 Suspense The Doll[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "McCormack, Patty, 1945- - LC Linked Data Service: Authorities and Vocabularies | Library of Congress, from LC Linked Data Service: Authorities and Vocabularies (Library of Congress)".
  2. ^ "Overview for Patty McCormack". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  3. ^ "FILM NOIR FAVORITES: Before she played Pat Nixon, Patty McCormack was "THE BAD SEED."". Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  4. ^ "The Bad Seed - IBDB". Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  5. ^ TV Guide Guide to TV. Barnes and Noble. 2004. pp. 63. ISBN 978-0-7607-5634-8.
  6. ^ SOD (April 17, 2018). "GH's Leslie Charleson Temporarily Recast". Soap Opera Digest. United States. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  7. ^ SOD (April 17, 2018). "Exclusive! GH Taps Patty McCormack As Temporary Monica". Soap Opera Digest. United States. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 21, 2018). "Mckenna Grace To Play Young Lead In Rob Lowe's 'The Bad Seed' Lifetime Remake, Original's Patty McCormack To Co-Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Clark, Mark (December 31, 2003). Smirk, Sneer and Scream: Great Acting in Horror Cinema. McFarland Publishing. p. 237. ISBN 9780786426829.
  10. ^ Michaud, Michael Gregg (November 2, 2010). Sal Mineo: A Biography. Crown/Archetype. p. 104. ISBN 9780307718693.
  11. ^ "Patty McCormack". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  12. ^ "Patty McCormack (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  13. ^ "Cookie Run: Kingdom".
  14. ^ "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. Vol. 39, no. 1. Winter 2013. pp. 32–41.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rigdon, Walter (ed.) The Biographical Encyclopedia of Who's Who of the American Theatre. New York: James H. Heineman, Inc. c1966.
  • Best, Marc. Those Endearing Young Charms: Child Performers of the Screen, South Brunswick and New York: Barnes & Co., 1971, pp. 171–175.
  • Dye, David. Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914-1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., pp. 138–139.
  • "Patty McCormack." Biography Resource Center. Thomson Gale. February 15, 2005.

External links[edit]