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Catherine Keener
Born Catherine Ann Keener
March 23, 1959 (1959-03-23) (age 50)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Dermot Mulroney (1990–2007)

Catherine Ann Keener (born March 23, 1959)[1] is an American actress. She has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress twice, for Being John Malkovich and Capote.


Early life

Keener, the third of five children, was born in Miami, Florida, the daughter of Evelyn and Jim Keener, a manager of an automotive store.[2] She is of Irish descent on her father's side and of Lebanese descent on her mother's.[3] Her sister Elizabeth is also an actress. Keener attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Hialeah, Florida. Although she didn’t get into trouble growing up, by the time she reached high school at Monsignor Edward Pace High School, Keener began rebelliously acting out. She was eventually expelled from the 11th grade, although she later returned to Hialeah High School, and kept her grades up enough to be accepted into college.[citation needed]

She attended Wheaton College, in Norton, Massachusetts, where she lived with an aunt in order to save on room and board, feeling out of place among her more privileged peers. Keener majored in English and history, enrolling in a theater course only when she was unable to get into a photography class. Her first theatrical production was the Wendy Wasserstein play,Uncommon Women and Others, during her Junior year at Wheaton. She took on the character, "Rita";

After graduating in 1983 Keener moved to New York, where she interned as an assistant to casting agent Gail Eisenstadt. When Eisenstadt relocated to Los Angeles shortly afterward, Keener followed, although she was still relatively unambitious. But when Eisenstadt had a heart-to-heart with her about her future, she admitted that she wanted to try acting—an unusual transition from the casting industry. Eisenstadt pulled some strings and Keener began landing small acting parts.[citation needed]


Keener's first film appearance was one line in About Last Night (1986). Although she struggled professionally over the next few years one low-quality project had an unexpected dividend. Keener met her future husband, actor Dermot Mulroney in 1987 while working on Survival Quest (1989), after Mulroney became stuck while attempting to scale a cliff.

She also guest-starred as an artist on an episode of Seinfeld called "The Letter". She played Jerry's girlfriend, an artist who painted the infamous portrait of Kramer. Keener then earned her first starring role in Johnny Suede with the then unknown, Brad Pitt. Her performance gained critical acclaim and earned her her first Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead. She went on to work with director Tom Dicillo, again, in Living in Oblivion (1995). Two years later she was once again nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her performance in Walking and Talking, an independent cult-comedy film. Critics fell in love with Keener's naturalness onscreen.

In 2000, Keener earned her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Being John Malkovich directed by Spike Jonze. In 2001, she worked with director Nicole Holofcener in Lovely and Amazing garnering her a third Independent Spirit Award nomination. In 2002, she co-starred with Edward Norton in the off-Broadway revival of Burn This and the films Full Frontal, and S1m0ne, all of which were box office disappointments when released, but many have since gained a following[citation needed].

In 2005, she made a huge comeback starring in the political thriller The Interpreter, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, opposite Daniel Day-Lewis, and was cast as the love interest of Steve Carell in Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Keener's performance as writer Harper Lee in Capote (also 2005) earned her several awards and nominations, including her second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 2006, she starred in the film Friends with Money, directed by Nicole Holofcener.

In 2007, Keener played Jan Burres in Sean Penn's critically acclaimed film Into the Wild, based on Jon Krakauer's best-selling book of the same name. In 2008, her film An American Crime, the true story of Gertrude Baniszewski, a middle-aged mother who tortured and killed Sylvia Likens in her Indiana home, was aired on Showtime. Keener plays Baniszewski and her portrayal earned her an Emmy nomination in the Best Actress TV Mini-Series or Movie category. In 2008, Keener portrayed Philip Seymour Hoffman's wife Adele in the critically acclaimed Charlie Kaufman directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York. Keener played a mother in the film Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief which was released in 2010. The film was based on the series of books by Rick Riordan.

Personal life

Keener married actor Dermot Mulroney in 1990. The couple had a son Clyde Keener Mulroney (born June 21, 1999), before separating in September 2005.[4] In June 2007, Mulroney filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.[5] The divorce became final on December 19, 2007. Keener is a close friend of actor Brad Pitt,[6] Pitt and Keener having met while filming Johnny Suede. Keener has homes in Los Angeles and North Carolina.

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

BAFTA Awards

  • 2006 Best Supporting Actress for Capote (nomination)

Chlotrudis Awards

Critics Choice Awards

  • 2006 Best Supporting Actress for Capote (nomination)
  • 2008 Best Supporting Actress for Into the Wild (nomination)

Primetime Emmy Awards

  • 2008 Best Performance by and Actress in a Mini-series or TV-Movie for An American Crime (nomination)

Golden Globes, USA

  • 2000 Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Being John Malkovich (nomination)
  • 2008 Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-series or TV-Movie for An American Crime (nomination)

Independent Spirit Awards

Satellite Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • 2000 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Being John Malkovich, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for Being John Malkovich (nomination)
  • 2006 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Capote, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for Capote (nomination)
  • 2008 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Into the Wild, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for Into the Wild (nomination)

Saturn Awards


Year Film Role Notes
1986 About Last Night... Cocktail Waitress
1989 Survival Quest Cheryl
1990 Catchfire Trucker's girl
1991 Switch Steve's Secretary
Johnny Suede Yvonne
1992 The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag Suzanne
1995 Living in Oblivion Nicole Springer
1996 Walking and Talking Amelia
Boys Jilly
Box of Moon Light Floatie Dupre
1997 The Real Blonde Mary
1998 Out of Sight Adele
Your Friends & Neighbors Terri
1999 8mm Amy Welles
Simpatico Cecilia
Being John Malkovich Maxine Lund
2001 Lovely & Amazing Michelle Marks
2002 Adaptation. Herself cameo
Full Frontal Lee
Death to Smoochy Nora Wells
S1m0ne Elaine Christian
2005 The Ballad of Jack and Rose Kathleen
The Interpreter Dot
The 40-Year-Old Virgin Trish Piedmont
Capote Nelle Harper Lee
2006 Friends with Money Christine
2007 An American Crime Gertrude Baniszewski
Into the Wild Jan Burres
2008 Hamlet 2 Brie Marschz
What Just Happened Lou Tarnow
Synecdoche, New York Adele Lack
Genova Barbara
2009 The Soloist Mary Weston
Where the Wild Things Are Connie
2010 Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Sally Jackson
Please Give Kate
Cyrus Jamie
Nailed Rep. Pam Hendrickson forthcoming film
2011 Trust Post-Production


External links

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