Marcia Gay Harden (born August 14, 1959) is an American film and theatre actress. Harden's breakthrough role was in Miller's Crossing (1990) and then The First Wives Club (1996) which was followed by several roles which gained her wider fame including the hit comedy Flubber (1997) and Meet Joe Black (1998). She received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lee Krasner in Pollock (2000). She has starred in a string of successful mainstream and independent movies, such as Space Cowboys (2000), Into the Wild (2007) and The Mist (2007). Harden's recent credits include Lasse Hallström's film, The Hoax, opposite Richard Gere, and The Walt Disney Company's The Invisible, directed by David S Goyer. She was also recently seen in Lakeshore Entertainment's The Dead Girl, directed by Karen Moncrief and starring Toni Colette, Kerry Washington, Mary Steenburgen and Brittany Murphy. In 2009, Harden received a Tony Award for the Broadway play God of Carnage. She has been nominated for an Emmy Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award two times.
Harden's first film role was in a 1979 student-produced movie at the University of Texas at Austin. Throughout the 1980s, she appeared in several television programs, including Simon & Simon, Kojak, and CBS Summer Playhouse. She appeared in the Coen brothers' Miller's Crossing (1990), a 1930s mobster drama in which she first gained wide exposure. In 1992, she played actress Ava Gardner alongside Philip Casnoff as Frank Sinatra in the made for TV miniseries Sinatra. Throughout the 1990s, she continued to appear in films and television. Notable film roles include The Imagemaker (1986), her first screen role, in which she played a stage manager; the Disney sci-fi comedy Flubber (1997), a popular hit in which she co-starred with Robin Williams; the supernatural drama Meet Joe Black (1998); Labor of Love (1998), a Lifetime Television movie in which she starred with David Marshall Grant; and Space Cowboys (2000), an all-star adventure-drama of aging astronauts.
In 1993, Harden debuted on Broadway in the role of Harper Pitt (and others) in Tony Kushner's Angels in America. The role earned her critical acclaim and she received a Tony Award nomination (Best Featured Actress in a Play). The winner in that category was Debra Monk in Redwood Curtain.
Harden was awarded the 2000 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of painter Lee Krasner in Pollock (2000). In 2003, she was again nominated in the same category for Mystic River.
Harden guest-starred as FBI undercover agent Dana Lewis posing as a white-supremacist in "Raw", an episode of the popular crime drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2007, this role earned Harden her first Emmy Award nomination for best guest actress in a drama series. She reprised the role in the series' eighth season premiere and again in the twelfth season episode "Penetration" as a rape victim (aired Nov. 10, 2010).
In 2007, Harden appeared in several films, including Sean Penn's critically acclaimed Into the Wild, and Frank Darabont's The Mist, based on the novella by Stephen King. Also in 2007 she shared joint top billing with Kevin Bacon in Rails & Ties, the directorial debut of Alison Eastwood.
In 2008, she appeared in Home playing a woman who has had a mastectomy. One central scene called for her to bare her breasts, with the missing breast "removed" using computer-generated imagery. In Home, her co-stars include her daughter, Eulala Scheel. Harden starred in the Christmas Cottage (2008), a story of the early artistic beginnings of the Painter of Light, Thomas Kinkade. In 2009, she appeared as a regular on the critically acclaimed FX series Damages as a shrewd corporate attorney, opposite Glenn Close and William Hurt. Harden also played in the comedy The Maiden Heist (2009) with Christopher Walken and Morgan Freeman. Harden received a 2009 Emmy Award nomination for her role in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, a TV film also starring Oscar winner Anna Paquin. She was a Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries nominee, and lost to Shohreh Aghdashloo. If she had won this Emmy, Marcia Gay Harden would have entered the elite group of 'triple-crown' actors; actors who have won the three acting awards of the highest honor: the Academy Award (film), the Tony Award (stage) and the Emmy Award (television). She has yet to win an Emmy.
In 2009, Harden co-starred with Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore in Whip It. The film was a critical success. It was also in this year that Harden returned to Broadway in Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage. She starred with James Gandolfini, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. Each lead actor was nominated for the Tony Award and on June 8, Harden won Best Actress in a Play.
Together, Harden's films have grossed $724,487,920 domestically and $1,128,784,661 worldwide.
She currently has three films in development, Noah's Ark: The New Beginning (2010), The No Game (2010) and If I Were You (2011).
She joined the cast of Royal Pains in a multi-episode arc for season 2 starting June 3, 2010. She played Dr. Elizabeth Blair, a surgeon and a board member of Hamptons Heritage Hospital who is a "mentor-turned-adversary to Jill"