Mary Stuart Masterson

Mary Stuart Masterson Headshot

Actress

Birth Date: June 28, 1966

Age: 58 years old

Birth Place: New York, New York

Parents: Peter Masterson, Carlin Glynn

A fresh-faced blonde ingenue, Mary Stuart Masterson made her screen debut at age eight playing the daughter of her real-life father, Peter Masterson, in "The Stepford Wives" (1975). Following her less than auspicious debut (her biggest line was "Daddy, I just saw a man carrying a naked lady"), she effectively stopped working to concentrate on her education, squeezing in only an occasional TV appearance (a 1986 Robert Zemeckis-directed segment of "Amazing Stories" and in the 1980 ABC movie "City of Fear"). By age 18, Masterson had decided to follow in her parents' stead and resumed her career, playing a cancer sufferer who beats the disease only to develop a drug habit and give birth to a drug-addicted baby in the soap opera-ish "Love Lives On" (ABC, 1985).

Masterson returned to features with the Catholic school comedy "Heaven Help Us" (1985), portraying the first of several roles in which she essayed tomboys. With her hair cropped short and her lean, gangly look, she excelled at the roles, although she came close to being typecast. A rare exception was her turn as Sean Penn's love interest in the dark, fact-based thriller, "At Close Range" (1986). Francis Ford Coppola also offered the performer a change of pace, casting her as the college sweetheart of a Vietnam-era soldier in 1987's "Gardens of Stone." (Coppola even hired Peter Masterson and his wife Carlin Glynn to play their real-life daughter's on screen parents.)

Moving to adult roles, Masterson earned plaudits for her turn as a pregnant woman who gives her baby to a wealthy couple in "Immediate Family" (1989) and found a signature part as the latent lesbian Idgie Threadgoode in the sleeper "Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991). She later appeared as the mentally disturbed painter Joon in the off-beat romance "Benny & Joon" (1993), co-starring Johnny Depp. But few of Masterson's films have been as successful as these ("really bad movies" and "bombs," she herself laughingly admitted), although she continued to prove to be a more than capable performer. She was one of a quartet of prostitutes roaming the untamed West in the revisionist "Bad Girls" (1994) and starred as a workaholic romanced by Christian Slater in the treacly romantic comedy "Bed of Roses" (1996).

Masterson was directed by her father in the well-received Showtime adaptation of Horton Foote's play "Lily Dale" in 1996. As the pampered, headstrong titular character who comes into conflict with her stepfather -- a role she had essayed on stage -- the actress delivered a strong turn that earned her critical kudos. The following year, she was seen as a single mother of a two in Timothy Hutton's feature directorial debut "Digging to China." Masterson herself has been anxious to step behind the camera, writing and directing the short "The Other Side" (lensed in 1999) and developing other projects as her anticipated big-screen debut. In the interim, with good roles for women hard to come by in motion pictures, she has turned to television, offering a fine performance as the abused wife of a police detective who tries to flee from her spouse in the thriller "Black and Blue" (CBS, 1999) and headlining her own series, "Kate Brasher" (CBS, 2001), portraying a single mother who finds a renewed sense of self as a caseworker for a legal advocacy center.

Credits

Five Nights at Freddy'sStream

Actor
Aunt Jane
Movie
2023
32%

Sid is DeadStream

Actor
Kim Sandagger
Movie
2023

Isle of Hope

Actor
Victoria
Movie
2022

The Drew Barrymore ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2020

For LifeStream

Actor
Anya Harrison
Series
2020
86%

Daniel Isn't Real

Actor
Claire
Movie
2019

The Rest of Us

Producer
Movie
2019

Skin

Actor
Agent Jackie Marks
Movie
2018

As You Are

Actor
Karen
Movie
2016

BlindspotStream

Guest Star
Eleanor Hirst
Series
2015

TouchStream

Guest Star
Beth Cooper
Series
2012
68%

Blue BloodsStream

Guest Star
Katherine Tucker
Series
2010

Mercy

Guest Star
Show
2009

The Good WifeStream

Guest Star
Rachel Keyser
Series
2009
93%

Cupid

Guest Star
Mira
Show
2009

Tickling Leo

Producer
Movie
2009

Waterfront

Actor
Heather Centrella
Show
2007

The Insurgents

Actor
Director
Movie
2007

The Cake Eaters

Director
Movie
2007

The Cake Eaters

Producer
Movie
2007

The Sisters

Actor
Olga Prior
Movie
2005

Intervention

Actor
Movie
2005

Something the Lord MadeStream

Actor
Dr. Helen Taussig
Movie
2004

NCISStream

Guest Star
Congresswoman Jenna Flemming
Series
2003

Leo

Actor
Brynne
Movie
2002

West of Here

Actor
Genevieve Anderson
Movie
2002

Kate Brasher

Actor
Kate Brasher
Show
2001

Kate Brasher

Producer
Show
2001

On the Edge

Director
Movie
2001

Three Blind Mice

Actor
Patricia Demming
Movie
2001

Law & Order: Special Victims UnitStream

Guest Star
Dr. Rebecca Hendrix
Series
1999
78%

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

Black and Blue

Actor
Frances Benedetto
Movie
1999

El Florentino

Actor
Vikki
Movie
1999

The Book of Stars

Actor
Penny McGuire
Movie
1999

Digging to China

Actor
Gwen Frankovitz
Movie
1998

On the 2nd Day of Christmas

Actor
Patricia "Trish" Tracy
Movie
1997

Dogtown

Actor
Dorothy Sternen
Movie
1997

Bed of RosesStream

Actor
Lisa Walker
Movie
1996

Lily Dale

Actor
Lily Dale
Movie
1996

Heaven's PrisonersStream

Actor
Robin Gaddis
Movie
1996
16%

Cama de Rosas

Actor
Movie
1996

Inside the Actors Studio

Guest
Talk
1994

Histoires fantastiques

Actor
Show
1994

Bad GirlsStream

Actor
Anita Crown
Movie
1994
13%

Radioland Murders

Actor
Penny Henderson
Movie
1994

Benny & JoonStream

Actor
Juniper 'Joon' Pearl
Movie
1993
76%

Mad at the Moon

Actor
Jenny Hill
Movie
1992

Married to It

Actor
Nina Bishop
Movie
1991

Fried Green TomatoesStream

Actor
Idgie Threadgoode
Movie
1991
76%

Funny About Love

Actor
Daphne
Movie
1990

Chances Are

Actor
Miranda Jeffries
Movie
1989

Amazing Stories: The Movie

Actor
Cynthia Simpson
Movie
1989

Immediate Family

Actor
Lucy Moore
Movie
1989

Mr. North

Actor
Elspeth Skeel
Movie
1988

Histoires fantastiques

Actor
Movie
1987

Jardins de pierres

Actor
Movie
1987

Some Kind of WonderfulStream

Actor
Watts
Movie
1987
76%

Gardens of StoneStream

Actor
Rachel Feld
Movie
1987
44%

At Close RangeStream

Actor
Terry
Movie
1986
86%

My Little Girl

Actor
Franny Bettinger
Movie
1986

Amazing StoriesStream

Actor
Series
1985

Love Lives On

Actor
Susan Wallace
Movie
1985

Heaven Help Us

Actor
Danni
Movie
1985

Saturday Night LiveStream

Host
Series
1975