Marcia Gay Harden (born August 14, 1959 in La Jolla, California) is an Oscar-winning American film, television, and theatre actress.
Her breakthrough role was in the 1990 film Miller's Crossing; this was followed by several roles which increased her profile, including The First Wives Club, Flubber, and Meet Joe Black. She received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lee Krasner in Pollock in 2000, and was nominated again for Mystic River in 2003. She has also starred in a string of successful mainstream and independent movies, such as Space Cowboys, Into the Wild, and The Mist, the latter of which won her the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.
On television, her most prominent role to date was as FBI Special Agent Dana Lewis on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in a series of appearances beginning in the 2005 episode "Raw"; she returned to the role three more times, the last in 2013. Other roles on the small screen include Claire Maddox on Damages, Diane Buckley in Trophy Wife, and Rebecca Halliday on The Newsroom, as well as guest appearances on Chicago Hope, Body of Proof and Royal Pains. Somewhere in all of the above, she also netted two Emmy nominations.
As of 2015, she stars as Dr. Leanne Rorish on Code Black, in the first primetime leading role of her career.
- Miller's Crossing as Verna Bernbaum
- Chicago Hope as Barbara Tomilson
- Homicide: Life on the Street as Joan Garbarek
- The First Wives Club as Dr. Leslie Rosen
- Spy Hard as Miss Cheevus
- Flubber as Dr. Sara Jean Reynolds
- Desperate Measures as Dr. Samantha Hawkins
- Meet Joe Black as Allison
- Spenser series as Susan Silverman
- Space Cowboys as Sara Holland
- Mystic River as Celeste Boyle
- Mona Lisa Smile as Nancy Abbey
- The Bad News Bears as Liz Whitewood
- Felicity: An American Girl Adventure as Mrs. Merriman
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as FBI Special Agent Dana Lewis
- The Dead Girl as Melora
- The Hoax as Edith Irving
- The Invisible as Diane Powell
- The Mist as Mrs. Carmody
- Into the Wild as Billie McCandless
- The Maiden Heist as Rose
- Whip It as Brooke Cavendar
- Damages as Claire Maddox
- Royal Pains as Dr. Elizabeth Blair
- Body of Proof as Sheila Temple
- TRON: Uprising as Keller
- The Newsroom as Rebecca Halliday
- Trophy Wife as Diane Buckley
- Magic in the Moonlight as Mrs. Baker
- Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed as Grace Trevelyan Grey
- After Words as Jane Taylor
- Code Black as Dr. Leanne Rorish
Tropes relating to the actress and her work:
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Her most common role.
- Author Appeal: She's usually in a political drama or in a Crime and Punishment Series. Her movies on the other hand tend to be thrillers or Black Comedy.
- Death Glare: A hallmark of many of her characters, even the nicer ones.
- Distracted by the Sexy: She has cheerfully admitted to being distracted by Rob Lowe's sexy while working with him on Code Black. Amusingly, their characters immediately develop a very close Like Brother and Sister relationship that contains no hint of romantic or sexual chemistry whatsoever.
- Femme Fatale: Some of her earlier roles.
- Ice Queen: Overlaps with Aloof Dark-Haired Girl.
- Iron Lady: A number of her later roles.
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: The Newsroom was not the first time she had worked with Jeff Daniels. They had starred together in the 2009 Broadway play Gods of Carnage just a few years before.
- Military Brat: Her dad's in the military.
- Old Shame: She doesn't have fond memories of Spy Hard.
- Perpetual Frowner: Due to her roles being the Aloof Darkhaired Girl and Ice Queen. Which is a◊ crying◊ shame◊.
- Playing Against Type: Her role as warm, motherly, domestic Colonial housewife Martha Merriman was a far cry from her usual Aloof Dark-Haired Girl roles.
- Real-Life Relative:
- Her daughter Eulala Scheel frequently acts alongside her mother, often as her onscreen daughter; most notably in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure (Nan Merriman) and Whip It (Shania Cavendar), but also in Trophy Wife and Pollock.
- Her younger daughter Julitta Scheel got in on the action on Code Black, albeit not as a character related to her mother's.
- Rule of Sean Connery: She is guaranteed to immediately elevate anything she is in simply by dint of pure acting talent and charisma.