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Mare Winningham Cast as Agatha on Under the Dome!

Written by Vaughan Grey   // July 2, 2013

mare winningham, under the dome

Mare Winningham Cast as Agatha on Under the Dome!


CBS’ hit summer Stephen King adaptation Under the Dome is about to get some Oscar-nominated talent aboard for a episode (hopefully more). TV Line is reporting that Oscar-nominee Mare Winningham will be playing a new character in the latter part of Under the Dome as a character known as Agatha. You can read the whole article here. There is no Agatha in the Stephen King novel so, like Natalie Zea‘s Maxine, this will be a completely new character. This is terrific news for a show whose prospects seem to get more and more prosperous by the day. Please note, this will not be her first professional exposure to the world of Stephen King, as she voiced the audio book for Lisey’s Story.


For those who have never heard of Mare Winningham, she is a two time EMMY-winning actress for Amber Waves (no relation to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights film) and George Wallace. She has also been EMMY-nominated for Love is Never Silent, The Boys Next Door, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mildred Pierce, and Hatfields and McCoys. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona on May 16th 1959. She was nominated for an Academy Award in 1996 for Georgia, co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, for which she won an Independent Spirit Award.  According to her IMDB page,


she is an actress and songwriter who has appeared in nearly 100 TV shows and feature films. She began her career in 1976 as a singer, and starred in numerous and diverse film roles before hitting it big as one of the original Brat Pack in Joel Schumacher‘s St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) with Emilio EstevezAndrew McCarthyDemi MooreJudd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy.
Mare attended Chatsworth High School with Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey, but she was bitten by the acting bug much earlier on. She had enjoyed drama and music since primary school, taking a particular interest in the guitar and drums.

Since St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), Mare has played some outstanding roles in a number of big films. She starred in the Tom Hanks comedy Turner & Hooch (1989). She has also starred in two feature films with Kevin CostnerThe War (1994) and the western Wyatt Earp (1994), the latter directed by Lawrence Kasdan and co-starring Gene Hackman. Mare won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role oppositeJennifer Jason Leigh in Georgia (1995).

Bad Day on the Block (1997) saw her starring opposite Charlie Sheen and she put in a superb performance in Brothers (2009/I), a war drama co-starring Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman


Mare Winningham‘s List of Film and Television credits is rather intimidating and would take a very long time just to name half of them. We will try to do her filmography justice, though. According to her wikipedia page,



Winningham began her career as a singer-songwriter. In 1976, she got her break singing The Beatles song “Here, There and Everywhere” on The Gong Show. Though Winningham received no record contracts as result of the appearance, she was signed to an acting contract by Hollywood agent Meyer Mishkin, and received her Screen Actor’s Guild card for doing three lines in an episode of James at 15. That year she was offered a role on Young Pioneers and Young Pioneers Christmas, pilots for the short-lived 1978 drama The Young Pioneers. Though the series ended with just three episodes being broadcast, a number of television projects followed, including parts on Police Woman in 1978 and Starsky and Hutch in 1979. Later that same year, she played the role of teenage outcast Jenny Flowers in the made-for-TV movie of the week called, The Death of Ocean View Park.

In 1980, Winningham starred in Off the Minnesota Strip playing a young prostitute. She then won an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie for her role in the critically acclaimed Amber Waves, a made-for-TV movie about a rough farmer (Dennis Weaver) who finds he is dying of cancer. In that year, she also broke into film in One Trick Pony, starringPaul Simon. In 1983, Winningham was nominated for a Canadian Genie Award for her work in the futuristic 1981 drama Threshold, and appeared in the 1983 epic miniseries The Thorn Birds, in which she played Justine O’Neill. In 1984, she starred as Helen Keller in Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues.

Winningham achieved greater fame in St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) as one of the original “brat pack” alumni. Despite the film’s success, she failed to cash in on her teen idol status, and returned to television in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Love Is Never Silent, for which she received an Emmy nomination. Another well-known and well-received performance was as a homeless young mother in the television movie God Bless the Child. Winningham finished the 1980s with two Hollywood films: the nuclear disaster drama, Miracle Mile (1988), for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 1989, and the Tom Hanks vehicle Turner & Hooch in 1989. In 1988, Winningham also starred in the Los Angeles stage production of Hurlyburly with Sean Penn and Danny Aiello.

In the early 1990s, she returned to film for 1994′s all-star Wyatt Earp and the family drama The War, both starring Kevin Costner. 1995 brought Georgia, a thoughtful character study of two sisters (Winningham and Jennifer Jason Leigh), which earned Winningham Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations. Two years later, she starred opposite Gary Sinise in George Wallace, for which she garnered her first Golden Globe Award nomination and won an Emmy Award.

She made acclaimed appearances on the series ER and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as appearances in the 2001 television project Sally Hemmings opposite Sam Neill and the short-lived David E. Kelley series The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire. Also in 2001, she appeared in the made for TV movie Snap Decision with Felicity Huffman. She also appeared in the independent film Dandelion, which was a staple of film festivals worldwide between 2003 and 2004 and had a limited American release in October 2005.

In 2006, she landed the role of Susan Grey on the ABC drama Grey’s Anatomy where she played the stepmother of one of the main characters, Dr. Meredith Grey. Her character was killed off in May 2007. In 2006, Winningham voiced the audio version of Stephen King‘s Lisey’s Story. In 2007, she voiced Alice Hoffman’s Skylight Confessions. In 2010, Winningham starred in an episode of Cold Case as main character Lilly Rush‘s stepmother, Celeste Cooper. In 2011 she appeared in the fourth episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day as character Ellis Hartley Monroe.  She also starred in miniseries Mildred Pierce and Hatfields & McCoys and garnered two another Emmy nominations. In 2012, she appeared off Broadway as Beth, the mother in an intellectual, though dysfunctional, British family, in the award-winning comic-drama Tribes by Nina Raine.

As mentioned above, Mare Winningham is also an accomplished musician, a talent she displayed to great effect in Georgia, according to this section of her Wikipedia page,


Winningham has recorded three albums: What Might Be (1992) on the Bay Cities label, Lonesomers (1998) produced by Carla Olson on the Razor and Tie label, and Refuge Rock Sublime(2007) on the Craig & Co. label. Lonesomers is a folksy album dealing with relationship issues. The country/bluegrass/Jewish/folk songs on Refuge Rock Sublime deal mostly with her recent conversion to Judaism, and include the tracks, “What Would David Do,” “A Convert Jig” and the Israeli national anthem “Hatikva“. She also sings on the soundtrack of Georgia.


She is certainly over-qualified for her role on Under the Dome. Here is some trivia about her via her page:


Children: Riley Mapel (1981-2005), Patrick “Paddy” Mapel and Jack Mapel (b. 1985), Calla Louise Mapel (b. 1987), and Happy Atticus Mapel (born 1988).

Her TV debut at age 16 was on “The Gong Show” (1976).

She is also a folk singer-songwriter with a couple of albums.

Went to Chatsworth High School in Los Angeles with Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey. During their senior year, Kevin played von Trapp and Mare played Maria in a school production of “The Sound of Music.” Upon hearing of their Oscar nominations in 1996, Winningham sent a telegram to Spacey saying: “Captain von Trapp – congratulations on your nomination – Maria.”

When she appeared as a contestant on TV’s “The Gong Show” (1976) (c. 1978), she was introduced as Sharon Shamus by host Chuck Barris. She played guitar and sang the Lennon & McCartney song “Here, There and Everywhere.” And no. . . she did not get gonged. The panel loved her.

Learned American Sign Language for her role as Maggie in Love Is Never Silent (1985) (TV).

Is the only brat packer ever to be nominated for an Academy Award (for Georgia (1995)).

She played a virgin in the movie St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) while she was pregnant.

She, Kate Winslet and Vanessa Redgrave are the only actresses nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actress category for playing the title role in a movie. Redgrave won the Oscar for the character Julia in Julia (1977), Winslet was nominated for Iris (2001/I) and Winningham was nominated for the character Georgia in Georgia (1995). (Claude Rains holds the same distinction in the Best Supporting Actor category. He was nominated for his work on Mr. Skeffington (1944).).

Was one of the nine original members of the 1980s “brat pack,” along with Judd NelsonAndrew McCarthyAnthony Michael HallDemi Moore,Rob LoweMolly RingwaldEmilio Estevez, and Ally Sheedy.

Though born an Irish Catholic, in 2000, Winningham felt her spiritual life was lacking, and, based on a recommendation from a friend, in November 2001, she signed up for a class given by Rabbi Neal Weinberg at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, California. On March 3, 2003, she converted to Judaism and became a member of two Conservative synagogues, Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles and Temple Knesset Israel in Hollywood, California.

Winningham attended Andasol Avenue Elementary School in Northridge, California. Her favorite subjects included drama. She also signed up for guitar lessons at a local park, and by the 6th grade, was, in her view, “pretty good.” It was at this time that she adopted the nickname “Mare.” She attended Patrick Henry Junior High School, taking the extended drama option, and on summer vacations, she studied drama at CSUN’s Teenage Drama Workshop.

Winningham was raised in Northridge, California, with three brothers and one sister. Her father was the Chairman of the Department of Physical Education at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and her mother was an English teacher and college counselor at a local high school. She credits her first interest in acting to seeing an interview with Kym Karath (who played Gretl in The Sound of Music (1965)) on Art Linkletter‘s television show “The Linkletter Show” (1952) when she was five or six years old.

Oldest child, son Riley Mapel, committed suicide on August 14, 2005.

She is the oldest member of the Brat Pack.

Met first husband, A. Martinez while both acted in “The Young Pioneers” (1978). Their marriage in 1981 lasted only a few months. She married her second husband, Bill Mapel, the same year.

Born to Catholic parents, she turned to Judaism in 2002.

Sister of musician Patrick Winningham who fronted “The New Breed” band featured in sister Mare’s breakthrough movie St. Elmo’s Fire (1985).



Read TV Line’s Article on Mare Winningham Being Cast on Under the Dome!

Mare Winningham is taking a trip Under the Dome.

The two-time Emmy winner — most recently nominated for her turn on Hatfields & McCoys — will guest-star on CBS’ summer smash, TVLine has learned, in a role that is mysterious and maybe even a bit… malevolent?

Winningham will appear in a late-August episode as Agatha, a deceptively warm caretaker who welcomes Big Jim into the Chester’s Mill home she’s looking after. However, it quickly becomes apparent that her intentions are anything but pure.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Mare Winningham on Under the Dome,” executive producer Neal Baer said in a statement. “She’s my good-luck charm: I worked with her on ER, as well as on Law & Order: SVU (for which she was Emmy-nominated as Best Guest Actress). She brings truth and believability to every role, and she will definitely leave viewers talking.”


Watch Mare Winningham in This Musical Clip From Her Oscar-Nominated Performance in Georgia!



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