The daughter of actors Keith Carradine and Shelley Plimpton, Martha Plimpton is a critically acclaimed American actress born on November 16, 1970 in New York City. She is a graduate of the Professional Children's School in Manhattan. Her first stage experience was when her mother brought her in costume in the Broadway play The Leaf People.
Martha Plimpton began her career in the entertainment industry as a model for Calvin Klein, for which she appeared as a sophisticated tomboyish little girl. She made her debut in the big screen in 1981, when she did a small role in Rollover. In 1984, she co-starred with Tommy Lee Jones in the independent family drama in The River Hat. The following year, she did her breakthrough performance in the adventure comedy film The Goonies, playing Stephanie "Stef" Steinbrenner.
In 1986, Plimpton played Reverend Spellgood (Andre Gregory)'s daughter in the film adaptation The Mosquito Coast by Peter Weir, co-starring Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, and River Phoenix, who would be her long-time real life partner. The following year, she co-starred with Barbara Hershey in the critically acclaimed film Shy People. In 1988, Plimpton reunited with River Phoenix in the Sidney Lumet film Running on Empty, in which she played Lorna Philips. The role earned her a nomination for the Young Artist Award. The film also earned an Academy Award nomination. In 1989, Plimpton appeared in the Woody Allen film Another Woman. That same year, she portrayed a cancer patient in the German film Zwei Frauen, co-starring Jami Gertz.
In 1997, Plimpton was chosen by Showtime Network to play the female lead role of the made for television movie, The Defenders: Payback. The following year, she appeared in the John Waters film Pecker in which her performance was highly praised by movie critics.
In 2002, Plimpton was nominated for an Emmy Award for her guest appearance on the television drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
In 2010, she was cast as Virginia Chance on the TV series Raising Hope.
- She is a member of The Steppenwolf Theatre Company Ensemble.
- To stop her bad habit of biting her nails, she and director Richard Donner made a bet during the filming of 'The Goonies'. He paid up years later.
- As a teenager, she became a vegetarian after being convinced by her then-boyfriend River Phoenix.
2010-2011: Raising Hope (TV series) - Virginia Chance
2010: Small Town Murder Songs - Sam
2010: Fringe (TV series) - Sheriff Ann Mathis
2010: How to Make It in America (TV series) - Edie Weitz
2009-2010: The Good Wife (TV series) - Patti Nyholm
2010: Remember Me - Alyssa Craig's Mom
2009: Medium (TV series) - Rosemary Widdick
2009: Grey's Anatomy (TV series) - Pam Michaelson
2008: The End of Steve (TV movie) - Lydia
2008: Puppy Love (TV series short) - Leslie
2008: Gone to the Dogs (short) - Leslie
2007: Dante's Inferno - Celia
2006: Law & Order: Criminal Intent (TV series) - Jo Gage
2006: Marvelous - Gwen
2006: Surface (TV series) - "Mr. Big"/Dr. Morris/Mr. Big
2004: 7th Heaven (TV series) - Venus
2004: Hair High - Miss Crumbles (voice)
2003: Karen Sisco (TV series) - Chelsea Wentworth
2003: Hack (TV series) - Louise O'Connor
2002: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (TV series) - Claire Rinato
2001: The Sleepy Time Gal - Rebecca
1999: ER (TV series) - Meg Corwin
1999: 200 Cigarettes - Monica
1998: The Defenders: Taking the First (TV movie) - Mary Jane 'M.J.' Preston
1998: Pecker - Tina
1998: Music from Another Room - Karen
1998: The Defenders: Choice of Evils (TV movie) - Mary Jane Preston
1997: Eye of God - Ainsley DuPree
1997: The Defenders: Payback (TV movie) - M.J. Preston
1997: Colin Fitz - Ann
1996: I'm Not Rappaport - Laurie Campbell
1996: Beautiful Girls - Jan
1996: I Shot Andy Warhol - Stevie
1995: Last Summer in the Hamptons - Chloe Garfield
1994: Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle - Jane Grant
1994: The Beans of Egypt, Maine - Earlene Pomerleau
1993: Josh and S.A.M. - Alison (The Liberty Maid)
1993: The Perfect Woman (short)
1993: Chantilly Lace (TV movie) - Ann
1993: Daybreak (TV movie) - Laurie
1992: Samantha - Samantha
1992: Inside Monkey Zetterland - Sofie
1992: A Blink of Paradise (short) - Mother
1991: A Woman at War (TV movie) - Helene Moszkiewiez
1989: Stanley & Iris - Kelly King
1989: Parenthood - Julie Buckman
1989: Zwei Frauen - Claudia Jacoby
1988: Another Woman - Laura
1988: Running on Empty - Lorna Phillips
1988: Stars and Bars - Bryant
1987: Shy People - Grace
1986: The Mosquito Coast - Emily Spellgood
1986: A Life in the Day (short)
1985: Family Ties (TV series) - Jessie Black
1985: The Goonies - Stephanie 'Stef' Steinbrenner
1984: The River Rat - Jonsy
1983: ABC Afterschool Specials (TV series) - Rhona
1981: Rollover - Fewster's Older Daughter