McDonnell was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and raised in Ithaca, New York. After graduating from the State University of New York at Fredonia, she attended drama school and joined the East Coast’s prestigious Long Wharf Theatre Company, with whom she worked for over 20 years.
McDonnell made her film breakthrough in 1990 as ‘Stands With A Fist’, a European American raised by Sioux Indians, in Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves. Portraying the adopted daughter of Graham Greene’s character ‘Kicking Bird’, McDonnell, then 37, was actually two months older than Greene and less than two years younger than Tantoo Cardinal, who played ‘Black Shawl’, her adoptive mother. Her other notable films include Grand Canyon, Sneakers, Independence Day and Donnie Darko. In 1997 she played the judge in the film 12 Angry Men. The film also featured future Battlestar Galactica cast mate Edward James Olmos.
In 2003, McDonnell starred in the mini-series Battlestar Galactica as the ex-school teacher, ‘Laura Roslin’, who is violently thrust into the Presidency of the 12 colonies. The mini-series led to the subsequent weekly series with McDonnell reprising her role. The much loved series ended in March 2009 to much fanfare.
Mary looks forward to meeting all her fans at both the Brisbane and Melbourne events in 2010. There are signing and photo sessions throughout each Saturday (10.30am to 5.30pm) and Sunday (11am to 5pm) excluding breaks. Mary is conducting Q&A session each day.
- Autograph ($30 each) and photograph ($40 each) fees apply
- Q&A sessions free with admission
- Guest confirmed health and other commitments pending