Ann Dowd

Ann Dowd

Dowd initially pursued a career as a health professional at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Performing in plays was a secondary consideration, but with the encouragement of teachers and friends, she decided to make acting her primary goal. After graduating in 1978, she studied at the Theatre School at DePaul University and earned a master's degree from the Goodman School of Drama. Dowd soon began performing on Chicago's celebrated theater scene, earning Joseph Jefferson Citations for Outstanding Performances in 1983 and 1984 and finally claiming the award for Best Supporting Actress in 1987. Dowd's screen career began in 1985, and soon led to bit and supporting roles in features like "Lorenzo's Oil" (1992) and the Oscar-winning "Philadelphia" (1993). That same year, she claimed the Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Female for her turn in a production of George Bernard Shaw's "Candida."Dowd progressed to more substantive film and television roles in the 1990s, including Rose McConnell Long, wife of Governor Huey P. Long and Louisiana's first female senator, in "Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long" (TNT, 1995) and the much-lauded but controversial "Nothing Sacred" (ABC, 1997-98) as a feminist nun, which garnered a Q Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Television series. Dowd also played her share of mother figures in projects ranging from "Shiloh" (1995) and "Apt Pupil" (1998) to the acclaimed "Freaks and Geeks" (NBC, 1999-2000), which cast her as the matriarch of Kim Kelly's (Busy Phillips) dysfunctional household. In 2004, she earned one of her better showcases as Natalie Portman's garrulous mother in Zach Braff's cult favorite "Garden State," which preceded a string of supporting roles in major features like Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006), "Marley & Me" (2008) and Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant!" (2008). In 2012, Dowd received her star-making role in "Compliance," a polarizing thriller about the staff of a fast food restaurant under siege by an unknown caller posing as a police officer. Dowd was top-billed as the restaurant's manager, whose belittlement at the hands of her employees appeared to fuel her strict adherence to the caller's requests, which required her to humiliate and abuse a member (Dreama Walker) of her staff. While critics and audiences were divided over the film's content and the behavior of its characters, nearly all parties were unified in their praise for Dowd's performance, which soon attracted considerable buzz during the beginning of the 2012-13 awards season. In November of that year, Dowd picked up her first major nomination with a Best Supporting Actress nod from the Independent Spirit Awards. She was soon in demand as a featured player in a number of independent films, from the bawdy comedy "The Bachelorette" (2012) to the gritty drama "Gimme Shelter" (2013). By Paul Gaita


Guest Appearances