Raised in rural Salisbury, CT, and schooled at Northwestern, Mamie Gummer -- the eldest daughter of five-star actress Meryl Streep and sculptor Don Gummer -- followed in the footsteps of her wildly famous mother by entering the acting limelight. She did so at the wee age of 18 months -- appearing as the baby of Streep and Jack Nicholson -- in the disappointing Mike Nichols-Nora Ephron collaboration Heartburn (1986). (The scene reportedly required Gummer to scream her head off, and the filmmakers accommodated the infant by giving her a piece of candy and promptly tearing it away.) In addition to lead roles in many high-school stage productions, scattered film appearances ensued, with a young Gummer typically cast in supporting roles or bit parts of Streep pictures, including the 1993 The House of the Spirits and the 2006 The Devil Wears Prada.
Gummer signed for her first substantial role in 2007, with her portrayal of a younger Streep in the poorly received Evening. Critics responded unevenly to Gummer's work in the film. Nearly all who commented on the blossoming ingenue in her early years belabored her striking and attractive (though not conventionally beautiful) allure. With a countenance that almost perfectly mirrored her mother's at a young age, the resemblance -- and the comparisons it engendered -- were inescapable.
She appeared in the Iraq War drama Stop-Loss, and had a small role in Ang Lee's period comedy Taking Woodstock. She had major roles in 2010's The LIghtkeepers and 2011's The Ward. Gummer then tried her hand at television, appearing in two quickly-cancelled series. She first appeared in Shonda Rimes' short-lived 2011 series Off The Map (called "Grey's Anatomy in the jungle"). When the show wasn't picked up for a second season, she took the title role in the CW's medical drama Emily Owens, M.D. Low ratings plagued the show and it was cancelled after airing 13 episodes.