Mary Steenburgen’s role on The Conners premiere last night was dark. Fans of the show had wondered how the writers would kill off Roseanne Barr’s character, Roseanne Conner, and Mary’s role of Marcy Bellinger appeared to play a role in her death.
While viewers already knew that Roseanne was dead, many expected that she had died of a heart attack. However, as the episode progressed, the story changed, revealing Roseanne Conner died of an opioid overdose.
The premiere took place three weeks after Roseanne Conner’s funeral, and before they know the truth. Mary Steenburgen’s Marcy gave Roseanne her fatal batch of pills. Dan calls her out for killing Roseanne, but Marcy stops by the house to make amends.
The show tackles the subject of opioid addiction with an honest and heartbreaking reality. As Marcy explains to Dan, she was not alone in her suffering. Many people in their neighborhood were doing so also, trading prescription pills to manage illness, pain and dealing with inadequate insurance coverage.
But who is the woman who plays the role of Marcy so well? Mary Steenburgen is an Academy Award-winning American actress, with over 20 total award wins and 21 nominations. She’s also an Oscar winner.
She was born in 1953 in Arkansas, and from a young age she was fond of arts and literature. Mary was active in school plays and she later went to the highly progressive Southern School located in Conway, Arkansas. After her professor told her to pursue acting, she moved to New York to pursue it professionally.
She was married to Malcolm McDowell from 1980 to 1990 and they have two children. In 1995, she married Ted Danson and the two have been happily married ever since.
Steenburgen’s resume is incredibly long, as she began acting way back in 1978. Her IMDb lists over 104 credits as an actress, four credits for producing, eight for soundtracks, and 99 credits for personal appearances or shows where she played herself.
Most notably, she played Clara Clayton Brown in Back to the Future Part III and continued the role on Back To The Future the TV series a few years later. She also played Betty Carver in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and Belinda Conine in Philadelphia. Mary appeared in Gulliver’s Travels in 1996, Ink, Noah’s Ark, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Capital City and Becker.
She also plays the beloved mother Emily in the Christmas movie Elf. Fans may also remember her as Helen Girardi on Joan of Arcadia, as Athena on Robot Chicken, as Josephine on Bored to Death, and as Diana Jessup on 30 Rock.
In the past five years alone, she’s worked on Wilfred, Justified, Orange Is the New Black, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Last Man on Earth and now, The Conners. She has one movie completed for this year called Antiquities, where she plays Dr. Margot.
The Conners airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.