Mary Stuart Masterson

Mary Stuart Masterson
Mary Stuart Masterson

Masterson at 2007 Tribeca Film Festival
Born June 28, 1966 (1966-06-28) (age 45)
New York City, New York, United States
Occupation Actress/Director
Years active 1975–present
Spouse Jeremy Davidson (2006–present)

Mary Stuart Masterson (born June 28, 1966) is an American film, stage and television actress and director.


Life and career

Early life

Masterson was born in New York City to writer/director Peter Masterson and actress Carlin Glynn. She has two siblings: Peter Masterson Jr., and Alexandra Masterson, who are both involved in the entertainment industry. As a teen, she attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in upstate New York with actors Robert Downey, Jr. and Jon Cryer. Later, she attended schools in New York, including eight months studying anthropology at New York University.[1]

Early career

Masterson's first film appearance was in The Stepford Wives (1975) at the age of eight, playing a daughter to her real-life father. Rather than continue her career as a child actor, she chose to continue her studies, although she did appear in several productions at the Dalton School. In 1985, she returned to cinema in Heaven Help Us as Danni, a rebellious high school dropout working at a soda fountain. She appeared with Sean Penn and Christopher Walken in the film At Close Range (1986) as Brad Jr's girlfriend Terry, a film based on an actual rural Pennsylvania crime family led by Bruce Johnston, Sr. during the 1960s and 1970s. She later starred as the tomboyish drumming Watts in the teenage drama Some Kind of Wonderful (1987). As a result, she is loosely connected with the Brat Pack.[2] The same year Francis Ford Coppola cast her in Gardens of Stone in which she acted with her parents, hired by Coppola to play her on-screen parents.[3] In 1989, she starred as Lucy Moore, a teenage girl giving up her first baby to a wealthy couple, played by Glenn Close and James Woods in Immediate Family. For her work in that film she received a "Best Supporting Actress" award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.


Masterson continued acting in both films and television during the 1990s. In 1991, she starred in Fried Green Tomatoes, a film based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The film was well-received, with film critic Roger Ebert applauding Masterson's work.[4] The following year she was invited to host Saturday Night Live. In 1993, she played opposite Johnny Depp in Benny & Joon as Joon, his mentally unstable love interest. In 1994, she acted in Bad Girls, playing Anita Crown, a former prostitute, who joins with three other former prostitutes (played by Madeleine Stowe, Andie MacDowell and Drew Barrymore) in traveling the Old West. In 1996, Masterson acted alongside Christian Slater in the romantic drama Bed of Roses.


Although Masterson carried on her work in the film industry, by 2000 she had made a move towards television. In 2001, she produced her own television series, Kate Brasher. The show received mediocre reviews[citation needed] and was canceled by CBS after six episodes. In 2004, Masterson starred in the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning HBO biographical drama Something the Lord Made. In 2004, she began guest starring on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Dr. Rebecca Hendrix, a role for which one critic wrote that "Masterson is perhaps best known...."[5]

Masterson has appeared in Broadway theatre productions, and was nominated for a 2003 Tony Award as "Best Featured Actress in a Musical" in the Maury Yeston musical Nine: The Musical, directed by David Leveaux.[6]

Masterson has narrated several audiobooks, including I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass, Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell, and Look Again by Lisa Scottoline.[citation needed]


By May 1993, Masterson revealed she had written a screenplay for a film tentatively entitled Around the Block, a romantic comedy about a "woman who conquers her fears by becoming a singer"; in a cover story about Benny & Joon's box office success, she told Entertainment Weekly she was going to direct it herself, with principal photography expected that autumn.[7]

In 2001, she began her directing career with a segment titled "The Other Side" in the television movie On the Edge.[citation needed]

Masterson made her feature film directorial debut in 2007, with The Cake Eaters, which premiered at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival as well as the Ashland Independent Film Festival where it received awards for "Best Picture".[citation needed] Of her move to directing, Masterson said in an interview, "When I signed to do this, I wasn't scared but, yes, it was scary. I'm already 40, although we don't want to talk about that. In '92, I wrote my first screenplay, which I then was to direct, but I ended up taking an acting job because it takes forever to get a movie made."[8]

Personal life

Masterson has been married three times. In 1990, she married George Carl Francisco; they divorced in 1992.[citation needed] In 2000, she married American film director Damon Santostefano; they divorced in 2004.[citation needed] In 2006, Masterson married actor Jeremy Davidson. Both had starred in the 2004 production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Masterson gave birth to their son on October 11, 2009.[9] It was announced on March 8, 2011, that she is expecting twins. Masterson is due to give birth in August of 2011.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1975 Stepford Wives, TheThe Stepford Wives Kim Eberhart
1985 Heaven Help Us Danni
1986 At Close Range Terry
1987 Some Kind of Wonderful Watts
1987 Gardens of Stone Rachel Feld
1987 My Little Girl Franny Bettinger
1988 Mr. North Elspeth Skeel
1989 Chances Are Miranda Jeffries
1989 Immediate Family Lucy Moore
1990 Funny About Love Daphne
1991 Fried Green Tomatoes Idgie Threadgoode
1992 Mad at the Moon Jenny Hill
1993 Married to It Nina Bishop
1993 Benny & Joon Juniper 'Joon' Pearl
1994 Bad Girls Anita Crown
1994 Radioland Murders Penny Henderson
1996 Bed of Roses Lisa Walker
1996 Heaven's Prisoners Robin Gaddis
1997 Dogtown Dorothy Sternen
1997 Postman, TheThe Postman Hope Uncredited Role
1998 Digging to China Gwen Frankovitz
1999 Book of Stars, TheThe Book of Stars Penny McGuire
1999 Florentine, TheThe Florentine Vikki
2002 West of Here Genevieve Anderson
2002 Leo Brynne
2005 Sisters, TheThe Sisters Olga Prior
2005 Whiskey School G.G.
2006 Insurgents, TheThe Insurgents Director
2007 Cake Eaters, TheThe Cake Eaters Director


Year Title Role Notes
1980 City in Fear Abby Crawford ABC television film
1985 Love Lives On Susan Wallace ABC television film
1986 Amazing Stories Cynthia Simpson Segment: "Go to the Head of the Class (Book Two)"
1992 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Mary Stuart Masterson/En Vogue"
1996 Lily Dale Lily Dale Showtime television film
1997 On the 2nd Day of Christmas Patricia "Trish" Tracy Lifetime Television television film
1999 Black and Blue Frances Benedetto CBS television film
2001 Kate Brasher Kate Brasher
2001 Three Blind Mice Patricia Demming CBS television film
2001 On the Edge Director, Writer
Segment: "On the Other Side"
2002 R.U.S./H. Elaine Burba Unsold CBS pilot
2003 Gary the Rat Caroline Swanson Voice role
Episode: "Old Flame"
2004 Blue's Clues Cinderella Episode: "Love Day"
2004 Something the Lord Made Dr. Helen Taussig HBO television film
2004–06 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dr. Rebecca Hendrix Episodes: "Weak", "Contagious", "Identity", "Ripped" & "Philadelphia"
2006 Waterfront Heather Centrella
2009 Cupid Mira Episode: "Live and Let Spy"
2010 Mercy Episodes: "There is No Room For You on My Ass" & "Of Course I'm Not"

Awards and nominations

Ashland Independent Film Festival

  • 2008: Won, "Best Dramatic Feature" - The Cake Eaters

DVD Exclusive Awards

  • 2001: Nominated, "Best Actress" - The Book of Stars

Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival

  • 2007: Won, "Best American Indie" - The Cake Eaters

Lone Star Film & Television Awards

  • 1997: Won, "Best TV Actress" - Lily Dale

MTV Movie Awards

  • 1994: Nominated, "Best On-Screen Duo" - Benny and Joon (shared w/Johnny Depp)

National Board of Review of Motion Pictures

  • 1989: Won, "Best Supporting Actress" - Immediate Family

Satellite Awards

  • 2005: Nominated, "Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television" - Something the Lord Made


  1. ^ Mary Stuart Masterson - Trailer - Showtimes - Cast - Movies - The New York Times
  2. ^ Possibly Pack | Mary Stuart Masterson | Jami Gertz
  3. ^ Mary Masterson - Yahoo! TV
  4. ^ Fried Green Tomatoes :: :: Reviews
  5. ^ Barry, Mike. "Films Are the Stars," Anton News (July 11, 2008)
  6. ^ L.A. Times
  7. ^ Murphy, Ryan (May 7, 1993). "A Perfect Mismatch". Entertainment Weekly.,,306282,00.html. Retrieved 2011-09-29. "Because there aren't enough good parts to go around, Masterson has written her own. In Around the Block, an independent production she'll also direct this fall, she plays a woman who conquers her fears by becoming a singer. 'It's a romantic comedy too,' she says proudly. 'Who knows? Maybe it will become a big date movie. If I'm lucky.'" 
  8. ^ Actress Goes In Film Direction - New York Post
  9. ^ Joyce Eng. "Mary Stuart Masterson Welcomes a Son". 
  10. ^ "Is Sexy Delta Guy Jeremy Davidson Leaving Army Wives?", March 4, 2011, E Online

External links

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