Mary McDonnell
Mary McDonnell
Kris De Leon
Kris De Leon
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Take the BuddyTV Personality Quiz: Which Battlestar Galactica Character Are You?

Mary McDonell as Laura Roslin

Mary McDonnell was born on April 28, 1952 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Ithaca, New York and pursued her tertiary education at the State University of New York at Fredonia. After her graduation, she trained at a drama school and became affiliated with the Long Wharf Theater Company, where she devoted two decades of her life. Her performance in the production, Still Life, earned her an Obie Award in 1980. Her other stage credits include Execution of Justice, The Heidi Chronicles and Summer and Smoke.

She made her television debut on the soap opera, As the World Turns, where she appeared as Claudia Colfax. From there, she went on to appear in more small screen productions, such as Money on the Side, E/R, Courage, O Pioneers!, The American Clock, High Society, Woman Undone, Two Voices, 12 Angry Men, Evidence of the Blood, Behind the Mask, Replacing Dad, A Father’s Choice, For All Time, That’s Life, Chestnut Hill, ER (for which she garnered an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Appearance in a Drama Series), Touched by an Angel, The Locket and Mrs. Harris. In 2003, McDonnell was cast in the role of Laura Roslin in the miniseries, Battlestar Galactica, and she, at present, reprises the role in the equally successful weekly series.

In an interview with the TV Tattler, McDonnell explained her reason for wanting the role on Battlestar Galactica, saying, “The entire story drew me to the role. I was very drawn to the script as a miniseries and I didn't expect to be because I said, ‘Battlestar Galactica’ -- what? For me? That doesn't make any sense.’ This happened to be a really superb role because it is a middle-aged woman who is dealing with everything. She is also dealing with breast cancer, which is our biggest female pandemic, and she is dealing with loneliness on a very profound level. In the beginning, she was dealing with a gender power struggle with the military. She had to figure out how to quietly cut through that every time it came at her because if she reacted, all hell would have broken loose and she would have gotten nothing accomplished.”

In addition to her success on television, McDonnell has several big screen projects under her belt, including Garbo Talks, Matewan, Sneakers, Passion Fish (for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role), Grand Canyon, Blue Chips, Mariette in Ecstacy, Dances with Wolves (for which she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Donnie Darko, Independence Day, Tiger Warsaw, Mumford, Spanish Fly and Nola.