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|Mary Kay Place|
September 23, 1947|
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, singer, director, screenwriter|
Mary Kay Place (born September 23, 1947) is an American actress, singer, director, and screenwriter. She is known for portraying Loretta Haggers on the television series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, a role that won her the 1977 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series. Her numerous film appearances include Private Benjamin (1980), The Big Chill (1983), Captain Ron (1992) and Francis Ford Coppola's 1997 drama, The Rainmaker. Place also recorded three studio albums for Columbia Records, one in the Haggers persona, which included the Top Ten country music hit "Baby Boy."
Place was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the daughter of Gwendolyn Lucille (née Johnson) and Bradley Eugene Place. She graduated from Nathan Hale High School and the University of Tulsa, where her father was an art professor; she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and received a speech degree.
Place moved to Hollywood with aspirations of becoming an actress and writer. She was hired for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour in the 1970s as a production assistant to both Conway and producer Norman Lear. Conway gave her her first on-camera break, while Lear saw to it that Place received her first writing credit on his subsequent All in the Family. On the episode, she and actress Patty Weaver sang "If Communism Comes Knocking on Your Door, Don't Answer It." She appeared in the third-season episode of M*A*S*H titled "Springtime", for which she also received writing credits.
Lear then cast her in the role of would-be country and western star Loretta Haggers on the satirical soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976-1977). She won an Emmy Award for her work as Loretta, and was later nominated for a Grammy Award for her spin-off musical album Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers. Place wrote two of the songs on Tonite!: "Vitamin L" and "Baby Boy," both of which she sang on the program as Loretta.
Both Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers and its follow up Aimin' To Please featured A-list country and pop performers from the 1970s. Dolly Parton, on whom the Loretta character was loosely based, provided backing vocals as well as the song "All I Can Do" (which Parton also wrote). Emmylou Harris, Anne Murray and Nicolette Larson sang backup as well. Aimin' to Please's "Something to Brag About," a duet with Willie Nelson, earned the pair a place on the music charts in 1977.
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was one of the biggest cult television programs of all time. The show ended when Louise Lasser left the show in 1977, but the remaining cast stayed on for one more year to tape Forever Fernwood. The series ended with Loretta finding out Charlie was not sterile immediately before giving birth to quintuplets conceived by artificial insemination. While working on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Place also wrote scripts for several TV situation comedies, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Phyllis and M*A*S*H, usually in collaboration with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (who would later create Designing Women). She appeared in the M*A*S*H episode "Springtime," which she co-wrote with Bloodworth. She also made an appearance in the sitcom All in the Family in the episode "Archie Goes Too Far" as Betty Sue.
In 1983, Place had a key role in the Lawrence Kasdan ensemble piece The Big Chill as Meg, a single corporate attorney who wishes to be impregnated with her first child by one of her past college friends.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the actress appeared in a number of television movies and a starring role in the 1992 Kurt Russell and Martin Short comedy Captain Ron. 1994 saw her return to television in the recurring role of Camille Cherski on My So-Called Life. In 1996, Place comically portrayed an evangelistic pro-life activist in Alexander Payne's debut feature film Citizen Ruth. She had a strong dramatic role as Dot Black, mother of a terminally ill young man, in Francis Ford Coppola's version of John Grisham's The Rainmaker in 1997.
Place was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her work in the 1996 film Manny & Lo. She plays the matronly Elaine, who would love to have a child and works in a maternity shop, but never married and is past her child-bearing years.
She directed episodes of the HBO sitcom Dream On, NBC's Friends and the series Baby Boom. She provided at least two voices for Fox's animated show King of the Hill in an episode in which Peggy Hill competes in the Mrs. Heimlich County Pageant. She voiced both a competitor and the coordinator of the pageant.
Place appeared in Being John Malkovich as the receptionist with a reception problem, Floris, and in Girl, Interrupted. While not in any scenes together, this marked the third time that Mary Kay had done a film with one of her former My So-Called Life co-stars: first with Claire Danes in The Rainmaker, second with Bess Armstrong in Pecker, then with Jared Leto.
In the original PBS mini-series Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, Place had a self-referential moment as a Maupin character during the Mary Hartman era in which the series is set. Laura Linney's character often watched Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Showtime picked up the Tales franchise, but Place was not in the second installment. She did have a role in the third mini-series, Further Tales of the City (2001), which featured her in the role of "Prue Giroux."
In 2002, Place had a sizable role in the Reese Witherspoon movie Sweet Home Alabama as Witherspoon's character's mother, Pearl Smooter. That same year she was in Human Nature starring Tim Robbins and Patricia Arquette and A Woman's a Helluva Thing with Penelope Ann Miller as well as with Albert Brooks in the dark comedy My First Mister. The story focuses on a developing relationship between an isolated, rebellious 18-year-old (Leelee Sobieski) and an engaging older man (Brooks). Place played Brooks' best friend. The film marked the directorial debut of actress Christine Lahti.
Lily Tomlin and Place did the pilot and 5 episodes of 12 Miles of Bad Road from Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, who wrote television scripts with Place in the 1970s. HBO chose not to air the series, and producers were seeking other networks to air it.
|1976||Bound for Glory||Sue Ann|
|1977||New York, New York||Bernice Bennett|
|1979||More American Graffiti||Teensa|
|1980||Private Benjamin||Pvt. Mary Lou Glass|
|1982||Waltz Across Texas||Kit Peabody|
|1983||The Big Chill||Meg Jones|
|1983||Terms of Endearment||Doris (voice)|
|1988||A New Life||Donna|
|1992||Captain Ron||Katherine Harvey|
|1996||Citizen Ruth||Gail Stoney|
|1996||Manny & Lo||Elaine|
|1997||Eye of God||Claire Spencer|
|1997||The Rainmaker||Dot Black|
|1998||Naturally Native||Madame Celeste|
|1998||How to Make the Cruelest Month||Mary Bryant|
|1999||Judgment Day: The Ellie Nesler Story||Jan Martinez|
|1999||Being John Malkovich||Floris|
|1999||Girl, Interrupted||Barbara Gilcrest|
|2001||My First Mister||Patty|
|2001||The Safety of Objects||Helen Christianson|
|2002||Sweet Home Alabama||Pearl Smooter|
|2003||Latter Days||Sister Gladys Davis|
|2004||Killer Diller||Dr. Gwen Bradley|
|2004||Silver City||Grace Seymour|
|2005||Nine Lives||Dr. Alma Wyatt|
|2007||War Eagle, Arkansas||Jessie|
|2008||City of Ember||Mrs. Murdo|
|2013||You're in Charge||Penny Guidry|
|2014||Miss Meadows||Mrs. Davenport|
|2015||I'll See You in My Dreams||Rona|
|2015||The Breakup Girl||Joan Baker|
|2016||Youth in Oregon||Estelle Engersol|
|2017||Downsizing||Land's End Customer|
|1973||All in the Family||Betty Sue||"Archie Goes Too Far"|
|1974||M*A*S*H||Lt. Louise Simmons||"Springtime"|
|1975||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Sally Jo Hotchkiss||"Murray in Love"|
|1976||The Cheerleaders||Margie||TV film|
|1976-77||Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman||Loretta Haggers||Main role|
|1977||Forever Fernwood||Loretta Haggers||TV series|
|1980||Act of Love||Becky Wiggins||TV film|
|1984||ABC Afterschool Special||Ellie Skinner||"Mom's on Strike"|
|1984||For Love or Money||K.K||TV film|
|1985||The History of White People in America||Joyce Harrison||TV film|
|1986||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color||Prissy Thrash||"The Girl Who Spelled Freedom"|
|1986||The History of White People in America: Volume II||Joyce Harrison||TV film|
|1988||Portrait of a White Marriage||Joyce Harrison|
|1989||Out on the Edge||Sondra Evetts||TV film|
|1990||Thirtysomething||Patsy Klein||"Happy New Year"|
|1990||Traitor in My House||Elizabeth Van Lew||TV film|
|1991||Crazy from the Heart||Merrilee Playton||TV film|
|1992||Bed of Lies||Jean Daniel Murph||TV film|
|1992||Just My Imagination||Shilda Hawk||TV film|
|1993||Telling Secrets||Shelley Jefferson Carp||TV film|
|1993||Tales of the City||Prue Giroux||TV miniseries|
|1994||In the Line of Duty: The Price of Vengeance||Norma Williams||TV film|
|1994-95||My So-Called Life||Camille Cherski||Recurring role|
|1995||Chicago Hope||Joanna Kenneally||"Freeze Outs"|
|1996||My Very Best Friend||Molly Butler||TV film|
|1996||For My Daughter's Honor||Betty Ann Dustin||TV film|
|1997||Love in Another Town||Sam||TV film|
|1998||Point Last Seen||Coreen Davis||TV film|
|1998-09||King of the Hill||Various (voice)||3 episodes|
|2000||The Wild Thornberrys||Nancy Tucker (voice)||"Birthday Quake"|
|2001||Further Tales of the City||Prue Giroux||TV miniseries|
|2001||A Woman's a Helluva Thing||Cecilia Piloski||TV film|
|2001||Citizen Baines||Francesca Dunlop||"The Appraisal"|
|2001-04||The West Wing||Surgeon General Millicent Griffith||"Ellie", "In the Room", "Impact Winter"|
|2002||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Hope Garrett||"Vulnerable"|
|2004||The Handler||Naomi Prince||"Acts of Congress"|
|2005||Jack & Bobby||Rev. Rindhart||"A Child of God"|
|2006-18||Grey's Anatomy||Olive Warner||"Superstitions", "Hold Back the River"|
|2006-11||Big Love||Adaleen Grant||Regular role|
|2007||The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman||Jeanette||"We're Number Two!", "The Carolina Moonshiners"|
|2008||12 Miles of Bad Road||C.Z. Shakespeare||Main role|
|2008||Saving Grace||Dorothy Edwina Talbert||"It's Better When I Can See You"|
|2008||Pushing Daisies||Annabelle Vandersloop||"The Legend of Merle McQuoddy"|
|2010||Bored to Death||Kathryn Joiner||Recurring role|
|2012||The Life & Times of Tim||Dorothy (voice)||"Action Packed Heist/Fall Foliage"|
|2013||Suburgatory||Gam Gam||"Blowtox and Burlap"|
|2013||The New Normal||Colleen||"The Big Day", "Finding Name-O"|
|2013||A Country Christmas Story||Sarah||TV film|
|2013||Holidaze||Elaine Gerard||TV film|
|2014||Rake||Judge Cunningham||"Jury Tamperer"|
|2014-15||Getting On||Dr. Ann Killigrew||Recurring role|
|2015||Looking||Sarah||"Looking for a Plot"|
|2015||Ellen More or Less||Virginia||TV film|
|2015-16||Grace and Frankie||Amanda||"The End", "The Credit Cards", "The Chicken"|
|2016-17||Lady Dynamite||Marilyn Bamford||Main role|
|2017||Black-ish||Doctor Harris||"Good Dre Hunting"|
|1973||The Shape of Things||Writer, TV special|
|1973-74||M*A*S*H||Writer, "Hot Lips and Empty Arms", "Springtime", "Mad Dogs and Servicemen"|
|1974||Paper Moon||Writer, "Gimme That Old Time Relation"|
|1974||Friends and Lovers||Writer, "The Groupie"|
|1975||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Writer, "Mary's Delinquent"|
|1975||Phyllis||Writer, "So Lonely I Could Cry"|
|1988||Baby Boom||Director, "Stress"|
|1994||Dream On||Director, "Where There's Smoke, You're Fired", "Those Who Can't, Edit"|
|1995||Friends||Director, "The One with the List"|
|1996||Dream On||Director, "Tenants, Anyone?"|
|1996||Arliss||Director, "The Company You Keep"|
|2007||The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman||Director, "Straight up Your Heart", "Good Times and Great Oldies"|
|1976||Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers||6||Columbia|
|1977||Aimin' to Please||40||Columbia|
|2011||Almost Grown||--||Wounded Bird/Sony|
Note: Both of Place's albums just missed charting on the general pop Billboard Hot 200 chart, her 1976 bubbled under in the ten runnerup slots at #202 and the 1977 at #203.
|US Country||US||CAN Country|
|1976||"Baby Boy"||3||60||6||Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers|
(credited to "Mary Kay Place as Loretta Haggers")
|"Something to Brag About" (with Willie Nelson)||9||--||15||Aimin' to Please|