Mary Steenburgen   [1953]

Stage and Screen Performer

With a name like Steenburgen one would expect that it must be Dutch. Or at least it sounds Dutch. The original name was probably Steenbergen, a name which not only sounds like it is Dutch but in fact is as Dutch as it can be. And sure enough Mary Steenburgen is of partially Dutch background.

Steenburgen as an actor is not as renowned as some of her Dutch American compatriots, but she certainly has earned to be included in the listing of prominent Dutch Americans.  The Academy Award she won for Best  Supporting Actress in only her second motion picture, “Melvin and Howard” in 1980, definitely qualifies her for inclusion in the listing of prominent Dutch Americans.

Steenburgen pursued drama in college, and in 1972, when only 19 years old, she headed for New York City to develop her craft as an actress. In New York City she worked with an improvisational troupe, and was eventually spotted by Jack Nicholson who casted her in the film, “Going South”, in 1978. She played opposite Nicholson as his feisty frontier wife. The following year she had a role in the movie, “Time after Time”. In 1980 she performed in the movie, “Melvin and Howard” and won her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

She had roles in 12 more films during the remainder of the eighties, her most productive performance time period. The most notable productions during that time period were: “Rag Time” in 1981, “Romantic Comedy” in 1983, ”One Magic Christmas” in 1985, the TV Series, “Tender is the Night” also in 1985, “Dead of Winter” in 1987, “Miss Firecracker” in 1989, “Parenthood” also in 1989, and the TV Series, “The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank”, in 1988. In 1988 she was also the Executive Producer of “End of The Line”, in which she also acted.

Her most notable performances in the nineties as an actress were in, ”Back to the Future, Part III” in 1990, “The Butcher’s Wife” in 1991, “Philadelphia” in 1993, “The Gift” in 1994, “Pontiac Moon” also in 1994, “Nixon” in 1995, the TV Series “Ink” in 1996, the Miniseries “Gulliver’s Travels” also in 1996, and “Noah’s Ark” in 1999. In 1990 she also was the narrator of “The Long Walk Home”. 

Steenburgen has remained active to this day. She performed among others in “Picnic” in 2000, in “Living with the Dead” in 2002, and “Elf” in 2003. She also acted in the TV Series, “Joan of Arcadia” in 2003, in “It Must Be Love” in 2004, and in “Capital City” in 2004. During her entire professional performance career, Steenburgen has performed in 47 productions, consisting largely of motion pictures but also TV series, TV programs, and sitcoms.

Steenburgen was born in Newport, Arkansas, in 1953 and was the daughter of a railroad employee. She was married for ten years to fellow actor, Malcolm McDowell. Since 1995 she has been married to Ted Danson, the actor of “Cheers” fame. Steenburgen’s other claim to fame is the fact that she is a close personal friend of Hillery Rodham Clinton, the former first lady and currently one of the U. S. Senators of New York State.

 

 REFERENCES

Mary Steenburgen, www.answers.com/topic/mary-steenburgen

Mary Steenburgen,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Steenburgen

E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON; GOOGLE: Kindle Store Pegels

 

PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS, CURRENT AND HISTORIC

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FIFTEEN PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE VAN BURENS, KOCH BROTHERS, VOORHEES AND OTHERS, 2015

PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, 2015

 

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THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS: MEMOIRS, 2017

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