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Actress Frances McDormand was born on June 23, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. She studied at Yale Drama School and shared a dorm room with Holly Hunter. She met Joel and Ethan Coen through Hunter and won a lead in their first film Blood Simple. She continued making films. She won her first Oscar in 1988 for her role in Mississippi Burning. She received another one for the movie Fargo and, in 2000,
another one for the film Almost Famous.
Actress Frances McDormand was born on June 23, 1957, in Illinois. The daughter of Canadian parents, McDormand moved a good deal during her childhood, mostly throughout the Midwestern United States, to accommodate her father's profession as a Disciples of Christ preacher. The family eventually settled in Pennsylvania, where McDormand became enamoured of acting after playing Lady Macbeth in a high school theater production. After graduating as the only theater major of her year from Bethany College in West Virginia, she entered the prestigious Yale Drama School.
After Yale, McDormand moved to New York, where she roomed with her Yale Drama classmate Holly Hunter and performed with the O'Neill Playwright's Conference. Her first professional acting job came in 1982, when she traveled to Trinidad to perform in a play written by the Jamaican poet Derek Walcott. Through Hunter, she met Joel and Ethan Coen, two brothers who were casting their debut film, a low-budget thriller.
McDormand won the lead in the film, that of the unfaithful wife of a Texas bar owner who decides to have her and her lover killed. Blood Simple, released in 1984 to overwhelming critical acclaim, marked the beginning of her personal and professional collaboration with director Joel Coen, whom she married in 1994. The couple has an adopted son, Pedro.
McDormand followed up on her turn in Blood Simple with an appearance as a nun in Crimewave (1985), written by Joel and Ethan Coen, and a role in the short-lived television series Leg Work (1987). She reteamed with the Coen brothers with a supporting role in their second major effort, the outlandish comedy Raising Arizona (1987), which featured her old roommate Hunter in her first starring role, opposite Nicolas Cage.
McDormand was still virtually unknown when she garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her emotional portrayal of a Southern woman abused by her bigoted husband in the civil rights drama Mississippi Burning (1988), starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe. That same year, she triumphed on stage as well as on screen, earning a Tony Award nomination for her turn as Stella Kowalski in a Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, costarring Blythe Danner and Aidan Quinn. She returned to Broadway in 1992, playing one of The Sisters Rosensweig in Wendy Wasserstein's acclaimed play.
Instead of courting mainstream success, however, McDormand continued to choose character roles in unusual pictures, choosing to lose herself in her often-eccentric screen alter egos.
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