11 times we saw Mary McDonnell on TV outside of The Closer and Major Crimes

By: Start TV Staff    Posted: September 22, 2021, 4:07PM

Two-time Oscar nominee Mary McDonnell is known far and wide for her incredible acting talents. Whether it's on the stage or the screen, McDonnell can be found all across Hollywood.

While she has had some incredible performances over the years, her most recognized role will always be Sharon Raydor on The Closer and Major Crimes. Seamlessly transition from antagonist to protagonist of the series, McDonnell impressed both critics and fans alike as Sharon Raydor.

Commander Raydor might be her most memorable, but we bet you've probably seen her in a lot of your other favorite shows as well! Here are some of her other incredible roles that might take you down memory lane.


As the World Turns (1980)

Mary McDonnell made her onscreen debut in the popular '80s soap opera As the World Turns as Claudia Colfax. She had been acting for close to a decade before this. She never considered doing on-screen work until her acting teacher who was casting for the series invited her on to appear in an episode.


E/R (1984–85)

McDonnell is part of a distinct club of actors who appear on both the E/R (1984) and ER (2001). The other one being George Clooney. In the original series — a sitcom, by the way — she played Dr. Eve Sheridan, who worked in an emergency room of a Chicago hospital. McDonnell auditioned and was cast to appear in the show's original pilot. However, because of a previous commitment, she had to back out of the pilot. Impressed with her performance they called her back up to return for the third episode, where she became a part of the main cast for the remainder of the series.


A Man Called Hawk (1989)

One year before receiving her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Dances With Wolves, McDonnell guest-starred on A Man Called Hawk. The series was a spin-off of Spencer: For Hire which starred Avery Brooks as Hawk. In the episode, McDonnell played Mrs. Kirkpatrick, who hires Hawk to protect her family following an attempted kidnapping.


High Society (1995–96)

McDonnell would make her return to television years later in the short-lived comedy High Society. In the sitcom, McDonnell played the role of Dorothy 'Dott' Emerson, a publisher who was recently divorced. Newly single, Emerson and her best friend Ellie Walker (the fantastic Jean Smart) would take New York City by storm as they lived out their extravagant lives.


ER (2001–02)

Mary McDonnell returns to the hospital for an entirely different (and far more serious and successful) series titled ER, but not as a doctor. In the new series, she played Eleanor Carter, mother of John Carter — who was played by Noah Wyle, a fellow castmate of McDonnell's in the 2001 cult-horror film Donnie Darko. McDonnell would receive her first Emmy nomination for her performance in the role.


Touched by an Angel (2002)

Mary McDonnell made a guest-star appearance in the popular '90s to early-2000s drama Touched by an Angel as Sister Theodore Claire. Working at a Catholic school, Sister Claire attempted to stop two troubled teens from blowing up the school.


That's Life (2000–02)

Mary McDonnell guest-starred in the short-lived early 2000s drama That's Life as Jules O'Grady. The series told the story of Lydia DeLucca, who broke off an engagement to instead pursue college. McDonnell played the irresponsible mother of Lydia's friend, Jackie O'Grady.


Grey's Anatomy (2008–09)

Mary McDonnell can't seem to stay away from hospital dramas! In this hit series, McDonnell appeared as Dr. Virginia Dixon. Diagnosed with Aspergers, Dr. Dixon was often blunt and to the point with both her patients and fellow doctors at Seattle Grace Hospital. At one point she was asked to be the cardiothoracic surgery of the hospital which she declined.


Battlestar Galactica (2004–09)

Apart from The Closer and Major Crimes, the role of President Laura Roslin was McDonnell's arguable biggest and longest ongoing role. In the reboot Battlestar Galactica series Roslin worked tirelessly to lead and save humanity from extinction at the hands of the Cylons.


Fargo (2017)

Following the conclusion of Major Crimes, Mary McDonnell made her next appearance on the third season of the Fargo TV series. McDonnell popped up as an antagonist in the season, Ruby Goldfarb, "the storage queen of The Great Lakes region." This part was a rare villain role for her.


Veronica Mars (2019)

Mary McDonnell made a guest-star appearance in the series finale of Veronica Mars. In the 2019 revival season for the series, McDonnell played the part of Veronica's therapist, Jane.

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