Hello Reddit! I am actress Mary McDonnell AKA Captain Sharon Raydor, Stands With First, President Laura Roslin, Rose Darko, etc. New episodes of TNT's Major Crimes start again on November 25th. Ask me anything!

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001521/

Proof: https://twitter.com/MaryMcDonnell10/status/389856051303960576

Update: I've gotta go now, this has been great, can't wait to do it again. Your questions were awesome! - Love Mary

Update: To those of you whose questions I couldn't get to, hopefully next time. Thank you for trying!

Comments: 469 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

marymcdonnell49 karma

I'm here! Let the AMA begin!

AmberGreenawalt37 karma

Hi Mary! A few weeks ago my 5 year old daughter Savannah dressed up as several of the strong female characters that you have played. She has an incurable cellular energy disorder called Mitochondrial Disease and it happened to also be Global Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week. The post was shared by thousands of people and brought much awareness to many who probably had never heard of Mito before. What I am dying to know, along with many of my friends and family, is did you happen to see the blog post of “Mini-Mary” and if so, what did you think of it? Either way, thanks for the inspiration! :)


marymcdonnell55 karma

Dear Amber, I'm so glad that you posted this question. The day that the blog was posted, our intention was to get in touch with you to communicate directly with you and Savannah. We started the process but we never got through to you. Please direct message me on Twitter if you could and I will be in touch. @marymcdonnell10. The truth is, I was blown away by Savannah and her story, and I am very impressed with you as a mother. I would love to talk to you.

Pg21_SubsecD_Pgrph1232 karma

Thank you for doing this!

  • What was your favorite episode of BSG to film and why?

  • How would Laura Roslin handle the U.S. government shut-down and debt ceiling talks?

  • What is your favorite restaurant and why?

marymcdonnell95 karma

Laura Roslin would airlock all of them!

Stands_and_Leans_In26 karma

Thank you for doing this! One of the gifts you've given viewers in the way you portrayed Laura Roslin was the encouragement to love someone even if their time in life is ending, and my family thanks you for that inspiration. Do you think Sharon and Rusty's story will encourage people to love someone even when the outcome is so uncertain?

marymcdonnell20 karma

Yes, that is a great question - there is an element of allowing love in a surprising place to that story that i think we all could benefit from.

Erin_MostlyMary22 karma

Hi, Mary! Here's a fun one, in the spirit of Halloween:

Do you have any superstitions? Do you knock on wood, have any lucky items, or do any rituals before big events?


marymcdonnell26 karma

I am not superstitious. In fact, I try to keep the idea of bad luck out of my mind. But I do like to keep objects and books near me that have ideas in them that help me line up my energy towards positive images, particularly before an important event.

imustgofirst16 karma

Sharon Raydor is a fascinating character (and my favorite!) to watch because she is so understated, usually so tightly controlled, and can convey so much emotion so subtly. For Sharon, what is the source of that control? And as an actor, how do you meet the challenge of keeping that subtlety interesting for yourself and the audience?

marymcdonnell11 karma

The source of Sharon Raydor's self control is her belief that her position requires a deep listening. As an actress, it requires a certain kind of discipline to get the focus outside of the self and pay attention more keenly to what's going on. It has the surprising effect of keeping oneself interesting, and it's fun.

luvthesun114 karma

Do you still teach acting with your husband when you can? What do you enjoy about it?

marymcdonnell16 karma

No, I do not currently but he teaches constantly, he's a fabulous acting teacher and he is about to launch a online public speaking course at USC - very exciting!!

Ellyyyy12 karma

Congratulations, you are now Queen of the Internet

marymcdonnell18 karma

Thank you! I gladly accept the honor...

Emma4567912 karma

Do you get chance to watch any current TV shows? If so what is your favourite?

marymcdonnell25 karma

The Newsroom and Downton Abbey

ShunTheJabberwocky11 karma

Your marriage has lasted for decades, despite the odds against two-actor relationships in Hollywood. How have you defied the odds?

marymcdonnell21 karma

We are both extremely stubborn and committed and we make each other laugh :)

plaguerat8711 karma

Greetings from Israel! What is your favorite place to go on vacation? Is there any place you always wanted to visit and never got to?

marymcdonnell14 karma

I have never been to India and would love to go...

HarkASquirrel10 karma

Are there any roles you were offered that you regret turning down?

Also, what is the best piece of advice you were given when you started out as a young actor?

Thank you for doing this AMA! :)

marymcdonnell24 karma

In the rehearsal process of Sam Shepard's buried child in New York, right before we opened, the director turned to all of us and said I want you to go out there and try some new things, don't be afraid to make a mistake just because it's your opening. It was an extraordinarily freeing concept, we all responded and did some of our very best work. I've kept that close to me during moments of extreme pressure. It is a great reminder that the point is to come out and offer your creativity freely and surprise the audience and hopefully surprise yourself.

TheGeekEra10 karma

I'd just like to point out that Frances Fisher recently (as in last week) tweeted that she had a dream containing you, she, and Kathy Bates rehearsing for a Sam Shepard play. <3 this.

marymcdonnell22 karma

Oh my god!!!! I had the same dream!!!!

averyfriend10 karma

Hi Mary! Congratulations on the season three pick-up.

You've worked with some great guest stars both on BSG and The Closer/Major Crimes. Are there any shows that you'd like to appear on as a guest star? What sort of character would you like to play?

marymcdonnell30 karma

I would love to work on The Newsroom or maybe be a queen or something on Game of Thrones...

preopticarea9 karma

Welcome to Reddit and thank you very much for taking the time to do this. You mentioned in a recent interview the huge amount of work involved in making a series such as "Major Crimes". I know that there are a lot of people who have no idea about the time involved, the work and commitment it takes. I was wondering if you could tell us what a typical day/week of filming (or rehearsing) is for you, how many hours are involved and how you get organized through the day?


Christine R.

marymcdonnell10 karma

A typical day on Major Crimes starts for Captain Sharon Raydor at about 5am Monday through Friday. The organization of the day really begins in the hair and makeup trailer where the thoughts about the first scene I'll be shooting begin to be discussed. Also while i am in hair and makeup my onset assistant Jane drills me on my lines for the day. Major Crimes usually tries to keep our days to 12 hours, sometimes we don't make it.

lexivincent9 karma

The real question is, are you still committed to Sparkle Motion?

marymcdonnell18 karma

The answer is: completely, now more than ever.

lauraroslinfan9 karma

Hi Mary! Thank you for doing this! You are so lovely! :) I have two questions. I love both Laura Roslin and Sharon Raydor and I think they are both incredibly strong, intelligent and interesting characters. How do you think they would react to meeting each other (after getting past the fact that they have an identical twin out there for no apparent reason). My second question is out of all your characters throughout the years who would you most like to be friends with? And are any of your characters similar to friends you have in real life?

marymcdonnell13 karma

I think they enjoy a bottle of Cabernet together

luvthesun18 karma

What instrument does your son play? Has he met Bear McCreary?

marymcdonnell14 karma

Yes, once but he was very young. He plays guitar, drums and he is a singer songwriter.

Katha888 karma

Hey Mary, thanks so much for doing the IAMA. Greatly appreciate it.

I loved High Society, it is hilarious. Is there any chance that you will appear in a comedy again? I know many fangirls would love to see you in a comedy again.

marymcdonnell7 karma

I would absolutely love to appear in a comedy again. I just recently was in a staged reading of Terrence McNally's 'It's Only A Play' at the Skylight Theater in Los Angeles - I was reminded of just how energizing getting laughs is...

Scarlett_Elyse8 karma

Hi Mary An Aussie here :)

Do you have a favorite perfume?

marymcdonnell9 karma

Most recently, Jo Malone's Pear and Freesia. I also love a spanish perfume, AIRE by Loewe - it was a gift from two of my favorite fans from Spain, Olga and Lourdes.

gfindlay8 karma

Hi Mary! Cheesecake or chocolate fudge?

marymcdonnell14 karma

Chocolate fudge. No contest.

Emma456798 karma

Hi Mary, do you have any other creative outlets other than acting? Perhaps writing poetry or singing?

marymcdonnell15 karma

Watercolor painting

silverstar16108 karma

Getting a lead role on such a popular tv show as a woman in your sixties is an amazing thing considering how the entertainment industry tends to treat women over a certain age (and I wish that the media had taken more notice of it, especially as such a big deal was made of the fact that The Closer starred a woman in her forties). Do you feel that roles for women, and the way audiences react to female characters, is changing at all? And if so, why?

marymcdonnell15 karma

I think it has changed over the course of my career. Women are portrayed with more complexity and more breathed of human behavior, that is encouraging.

juliem57 karma

Hi Mary! Like many of your fans, I love your voice. You have had little bits of singing here and there in various roles, so I'd like to know, would you ever consider a musical or a role that required singing? If so, what?

marymcdonnell12 karma

Well, I am asked that question a lot and I would love to sing in a Musical but I think it would have to be a movie musical because I wouldn't be so frightened of making a mistake but I could do another take!

Emma456797 karma

Hiii, what are your opinions of Meryl Streep? Would love to see you work with her one day especially in Major Crimes, I can definitely see you two being the biggest badasses on there!!

marymcdonnell19 karma

I think she is extraordinary but why does she keep taking all of my parts!

plaguerat877 karma

Are you interested in directing or producing episodes on Major Crimes?

marymcdonnell10 karma

Hmmmmm..... maybe...

Emma456797 karma

If you could partake in a profession other than your own what would you like to do?

marymcdonnell17 karma

Politics...and/or a government position

freevo6 karma

Hi Mary, love your work, thank you for doing this AMA. Here are a few questions for you to pick from:

What music are you listening to these days?

Margin Call: how did that come about? Did you audition or were you offered the role?

Do you have any weird experiences with celebs who turned out to be BSG fans?

My girlfriend is a massive fan, she would murder me to death if I didn't ask you a few questions on her behalf. She can't get over how sexy was the cast of BSG. Who was the sexiest in your opinion?

Last one: favorite salad?

marymcdonnell6 karma


luvthesun16 karma

Your daughter's voice sounds like a Disney princess to me. How is her career going?

marymcdonnell11 karma

Great, she's on a roll! She is going to be posting her new demo on website soon... www.oliviamell.com

ShunTheJabberwocky6 karma

Beer or wine? Favorite winery/brewery?

marymcdonnell19 karma

I am a cabernet girl :)

sophie1410956 karma

How was it working with Tom Berenger again?

marymcdonnell12 karma

It was fantastic... Tom is really a remarkable actor, he's funny, generous and DANGEROUS - and I like that :)

NoFap_Express6 karma


marymcdonnell16 karma

I am not at all sick of people saying "tatanka", in fact I love that any word in Lakota is being spoken by the general public. It is a beautiful language, and the more it is heard and the more it is restored, the more esteem is given back to Native American people. Particularly Children.

lindafgoodrich6 karma

Mary...Hillary in 2016???

marymcdonnell14 karma

Hillary 2016!!!!

ubiquitousmixie6 karma

What are your thoughts on the lack of lesbian visibility on Major Crimes? Gay and transgender characters and storylines have been portrayed throughout the entirety of The Closer and Major Crimes - but lesbian (and bisexual) identities have been overlooked. Since Laura Roslin and Sharon Raydor have such a huge lesbian fanbase, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

marymcdonnell15 karma

In general, I feel like there should more lesbian characters on television. Girl Power!

Allison_EZ5 karma

Major Crimes is my favorite show!! I absolutely love it!! My question is will we see Sharon and Andy develop a relationship?

marymcdonnell10 karma

That is a question for James Duff :)

emma_p5 karma

Thank you for doing the AMA!

Have you been reading any book lately? If yes, which one? =)

marymcdonnell10 karma

Currently I am almost finished with Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are two of my favorite books I have ever read. This third book has a complexity and a kind of haunting beauty that I am just beginning to understand as I near the end.

plaguerat875 karma

Hello Mary, Thanks for doing this AMA. I enjoyed watching your on-stage chemistry with your husband on "O' Pioneers!". What is like work with him and do you plan to work together again in the future?

marymcdonnell9 karma

O Pioneers was an absolutely remarkable experience, we had a tremendous amount of fun working together and we talk about working and we are offered plays together but it hasn't been the right time or place, lately... hopefully sometime in the future we will again be on stage together

jagncis5 karma

Since we're in playoff season I have to ask... I've always wanted to ask. Are you a Baseball fan? If so, do you have a favorite team? All my favorite actresses are so I hope the trend continues... :) <can't wait for new season of Major Crimes on 11/25 - Happy Thanksgiving!>

marymcdonnell11 karma

I have two words... Go Dodgers! However, I must admit I am a football fan and my favorite team is the Green Bay Packers! I love the Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.

EvaMardali4 karma

Hello Mary! Which is your favourite colour?

marymcdonnell9 karma

Currently, Coral

mfsknight4 karma

Hello Mary, Thanks for doing the AMA. I'd like to ask about some of the charities/organizations that are close to your heart. I know that Major Crimes helps raise money for the Sunshine Kids, but are there any organizations that you like to support and why? Thanks! Mary S. ~ marycares

marymcdonnell6 karma

Four of the Organizations that I support are:

Sinte Gleska University Autism Speaks National Lime Disease Association Everett Company Stage and School Ozark Center for Autism in Joplin, Missouri

Ritu253 karma

Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or either? :)

marymcdonnell8 karma


marymcdonnell8 karma

with some Red wine

Emma456793 karma

Are you an easy person to make laugh?

marymcdonnell9 karma


Ellyyyy3 karma

Do you have a dog Mary? What breed/name? :)

marymcdonnell7 karma

Jacco, he is a mutt and we adore him

sophie1410952 karma

If Eddie was to guest star on Major Crimes, who would you want him to play?

marymcdonnell11 karma

The President

plaguerat872 karma

If you could have a super-power, what would it be?

marymcdonnell9 karma

Heal disease

Emma456792 karma

Do you prefer the business or a city or the quietness of the country?

marymcdonnell9 karma

Love both... the trick would be to be able to choose when to have each... and that is the luxury.

startmakingbabies2 karma

What draws you to politics?

marymcdonnell9 karma

I am very interested in how human beings manage themselves. I always hope that we can do it better than we have... and I am very moved by great political leaders in our history.

lauraroslins2 karma

Do you have a favorite quote or saying to live by?

marymcdonnell9 karma

No worries

luvthesun12 karma

What is your ideal girlfriend / sister night? In or out? Cozy fuzzy socks or clubbing?

marymcdonnell11 karma

Actually, I prefer a girlfriend/sister weekend - 1st night clubbing, 2nd night in with Cozy Fuzzy socks :)

Trollicorn1 karma

Hello, Mary, I just have a few random questions:

1) How are you? 2) What is your favorite animal? 3) What kind of music do you listen to? 4) Are conventions fun, or overwhelming and scary for you?

Thank you for doing this AMA, you are very brave! Stay amazing!

marymcdonnell7 karma

Dogs :)

Emma456791 karma

Are you a sweet or savoury kind of gal?

marymcdonnell3 karma

A like a combo of both