Kate Mulgrew Biography

Television Actress (1955–)
Actress Kate Mulgrew first rose to fame as a soap star in 'Ryan's Hope,' then conquered space in 'Star Trek: Voyager' and now stars in 'Orange Is The New Black.'

Who Is Kate Mulgrew?

Born on April 29, 1955, in Dubuque, Iowa, actress Kate Mulgrew started performing as a teenager. She attended New York University, earning an associate degree in 1976. Mulgrew launched her professional career around this time as a cast member on the soap opera Ryan's Hope. Beginning in the mid-1990s, she starred as Captain Kathryn Janeway on the science-fiction series Star Trek: Voyager. Mulgrew did a lot of theater work before finding acclaim on the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, which debuted in 2013.

Personal Life and Daughter

In addition to acting, Mulgrew released a 2015 memoir on her life, Born With Teeth, which chronicles her Irish-Catholic family background and later career in showbiz. Mulgrew has two sons, Ian and Alexander, from her first marriage to director Robert Egan. She also has a daughter named Danielle, whom she had given up for adoption in the late 1970s. 

After searching for 22 years, Mulgrew found her daughter, who is now a yoga teacher out West. The two have a close relationship.

"My daughter's capacity for forgiveness is something I have never seen before in my life," Mulgrew told AARP. "That sense of abandonment was excruciating in her life. There is not enough time to make up for it, only enough time to love. We cried a lot. All we can do is move forward. So we do. When I told her I was writing a memoir that would include her, she was thrilled."

Early Life and Career

Born on April 29, 1955, in Dubuque, Iowa, actress Kate Mulgrew has enjoyed tremendous success on television, from the classic soap Ryan's Hope to the beloved sci-fi series Star Trek: Voyager. She also appears in the critically acclaimed Orange Is The New Black. She is the oldest daughter of Joan and Thomas Mulgrew and grew up in rural Iowa. As she told Redbook, "we lived wa-a-a-ay out in the country, in our own world."

As a teenager, Mulgrew discovered her passion for acting. She attended numerous acting camps during her summers. After high school, Mulgrew enrolled at New York University and studied at the Stella Adler Conservatory. She earned an associate's degree and then dropped out to focus on her acting career.

Mulgrew first rose to fame in the mid-1970s on television. On Ryan's Hope, she played Mary Ryan, a member of the show's tight-knit Irish family. Mulgrew left the show after a few years to star in her own series Kate Loves a Mystery, which was a spin-off of sorts from the Peter Falk hit show Columbo. She played the wife of famed TV detective Lieutenant Columbo. Her time as a crime solver however only lasted for one season.

'Star Trek'

In the mid-1990s, Mulgrew saw her career revitalized by a new role. She became a ground breaker in the world of science fiction as the first female captain in the Star Trek universe. In 1995, audiences got their first glimpse of Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager. The show developed quite a following, lasting for seven years.

After Star Trek: Voyager wrapped in 2001, Mulgrew had several high-profile stage roles. She hit the Broadway stage in 2003 in the one-woman show Tea at Five, playing legendary actress Katharine Hepburn. Off-Broadway, Mulgrew won accolades for her work on Our Leading Lady and Iphigenia 2.0., winning an Obie Award in 2008 for the latter. That same year, Mulgrew also appeared with Daniel Radcliffe in the Broadway revival of Equus.

'Orange Is the New Black' (OITNB)

In 2013, Mulgrew wowed viewers with her impressive turn as a Russian criminal in Orange Is The New Black. She plays Galina "Red" Reznikov, a seasoned inmate, on the popular prison drama, which also stars Taylor Schilling, Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox, among others. The ensemble series has received much praise from critics and numerous award nominations, including an Emmy nomination in 2014 for Mulgrew for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

For Mulgrew, her portrayal of Red brought her the first Emmy Award nomination of her career. She explained to Adweek how she prepared for the role: "I watched a lot of Russian movies. I studied the Russian language. . . I read about Russian prisoners of war."

Mulgrew is working on an upcoming book, Unti Mulgrew Memoir, which is expected to be released in the spring of 2019.

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