Frances Louise McDormand (born June 23, 1957) is an American film and stage actress. She has starred in a number of films, including her Academy Award-winning performance as Marge Gunderson in Fargo, in 1996. She won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in 2011 for her performance in Good People as Margie Walsh, and was nominated for the same category in 1988 for her performance in A Streetcar Named Desire.
McDormand is a three-time nominee of the Academy Award For Best Supporting Actress for her performances in Mississippi Burning, Almost Famous, and North Country, and has also been nominated for four Golden Globes, three BAFTA Awards, and an Emmy Award. She also starred in the Coen Brothers debut, Blood Simple.
McDormand was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was adopted by a Canadian-born couple - Noreen E. (Nickleson), a registered nurse and receptionist, and Vernon W. McDormand, a Disciples of Christ pastor. She has said that her biological mother may have been one of the parishioners at Vernon's church. She has a sister, Dorothy A. McDormand, who is an ordained Disciples of Christ minister and chaplain, as well as another sibling, both of whom were adopted by the McDormands, who had no biological children. As her father specialized in restoring congregations, he frequently moved their family, and they lived in several small towns in Illinois, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, before settling in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area town of Monessen, where she graduated from high school in 1975. She attended Bethany College, West Virginia, and earned a B.A. in Theater in 1979.
In 1982, McDormand earned an M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Drama. She was a roommate of Holly Hunter at the time. Her first professional acting job was in Trinidad and Tobago, performing in a play written by poet (and Nobel laureate) Derek Walcott and funded by the MacArthur Foundation.
McDormand has been married to director Joel Coen since 1984, and the two adopted a son from Paraguay, Pedro McDormand Coen, in 1994. They live in New York City. McDormand has starred in six of the Coen Brothers films, including a minor appearance in Miller's Crossing, a secondary role in Raising Arizona and lead roles in Blood Simple, The Man Who Wasn't There, Fargo, for which she won an Academy Award, and more recently Burn After Reading. Additionally, she contributed an uncredited offscreen (voice only) appearance to the opening scene in the Coens' Barton Fink.
Frances McDormand also participates as a member of the Jury for the NYICFF, a local New York City Film Festival dedicated to screening films for children between the ages of 3 and 18.