With short blonde hair and a lean frame, Mary Stuart Masterson has played many tomboys throughout her acting career. Born to director Peter Masterson and actress Carlin Glynn, she made her film debut in The Stepford Wives at the age of nine. As a teenager, she appeared on Broadway in Alice in Wonderland and played tough girl Dani in Heaven Help Us. She studied anthropology at N.Y.U. and returned to acting in 1987 to star in Some Kind of Wonderful as quintessential '80s tomboy Watt, her most recognizable role. After appearing with her folks in Francis Ford Coppola's Gardens of Stone and opposite Robert Downey Jr. in Chances Are, she played a pregnant woman who gives up her baby to Glenn Close and James Woods in Immediate Family. The '90s saw good roles in successful movies like the ensemble comedy Married to It, the tearjerker Fried Green Tomatoes, and the offbeat romance Benny & Joon. However, she also appeared in some unsuccessful films like the revisionist Western Bad Girls and the sentimental romance Bed of Roses. She then turned to television for a lead in the TV period drama Lily Dale (directed by her father) and her own short-lived series, Kate Brasher. In 2000, she married television director Damon Santostefano and went on to win a Tony for her work in the Broadway musical revival Nine.
Biography by Andrea LeVasseur
- As a youngster, made her film debut in 1975's The Stepford Wives, playing the daughter of her real-life father and saying the line, "Daddy, I just saw a man carrying a naked lady."
- Made her Broadway debut as a teen playing two roles, the Four of Hearts and the Small White Rabbit, in Alice in Wonderland.
- Studied at Stagedoor Manor performing-arts camp in New York and the Sundance Institute in Utah, and took acting lessons from Oscar winner Estelle Parsons.
- Her first feature-film directorial effort, 2007's The Cake Eaters, starred Bruce Dern and Kristen Stewart and won an audience award for best feature at the Ashland Independent Film Festival.
- Has used her diction skills to narrate audio books, notably 2009's CD of Look Again, written by Lisa Scottoline.
- The following year, portrayed Dr. Denise Cabe on the NBC hospital drama, Mercy.