Ann Dowd

Ann Dowd

Dowd at the Peabody Awards (2012)
Born (1956-01-30) January 30, 1956
Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1985present
Spouse(s) Lawrence Arancio (1984-present; 3 children)
Children Liam, Emily, Trust Arancio

Ann Dowd (born January 30, 1956)[1] is an American film, television, and theatre actress. She appeared as Sandra in the movie Compliance for which she received the National Board of Review award for Best Supporting Actress. Dowd has played supporting roles in several films, including Philadelphia, Green Card, Lorenzo's Oil, Garden State, The Informant!, Marley & Me, The Manchurian Candidate, Flags of Our Fathers and Side Effects. Dowd was a series regular on Nothing Sacred and the HBO series The Leftovers.

Early life

Ann Dowd was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts on January 30, 1956, the daughter of John (19261974) and Dolores (née Clark) Dowd. She is one of seven children (siblings, Kathleen, John, Elizabeth, Clare, Deborah, and Gregory), who were raised by her single mother after her father died when she was a senior in high school. Her mother later remarried to Philip Dean (19292010), a doctor. Her brother, Gregory, is a doctor of veterinary medicine and another brother, John Dowd Jr., works for The Dowd Agencies, an insurance company started by her great-grandfather. Her paternal grandfather was James "Kip" Dowd, a former Major League baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dowd's family is Irish Catholic. She attended the Williston Northampton School, where she performed in school plays. Dowd became interested in acting at a young age but was dissuaded by her family at first because they did not approve of her pursuing an acting career. She graduated in 1978 from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass where much of Dowd's family also attended and she was a premed student and took acting classes. Dowd credits her instructors and roommate at that time for persuading her to forgo medical school and follow her passion for acting. She traveled to New York City to audition for the Goodman School of Drama at Depaul University in Chicago, where she received an MFA in Acting. While at Depaul, Dowd received a prestigious scholarship from the Sarah Siddons Society,[2] an award that had also gone to Carrie Snodgress. Dowd was classmates with Elizabeth Perkins and also worked as a waitress during this time.[3]

Dowd spent several years performing in regional theatre in the Chicago area, performing often at the Court Theatre, later deciding in 1988 to move to New York City to pursue a bigger stage. She pounded the pavement and her first acting gig there was with the Hartford Stage Company.


Dowd starred in Shiloh (1997) and its sequels, Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season (1999) and Saving Shiloh (2006) as Louise Preston. She appears in the 1997 cult film All Over Me and in the 1998 film Apt Pupil, in which she played the mother of Brad Renfro's character. Dowd has acted in two films directed by Jonathan Demme, as Jill Beckett, sister of Tom Hanks's character, Andrew Beckett, in Philadelphia (1993), and in The Manchurian Candidate (2004), starring Meryl Streep. Also in 2004, Dowd played the mother of Natalie Portman's character in Garden State and appeared in The Forgotten starring Julianne Moore. In 2005, she starred opposite Gretchen Mol in The Notorious Bettie Page, portraying Edna Page, Bettie Page's mother. She also played the role of Mrs. Strank in the 2006 Clint Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers.

In 2008, Dowd appeared in Marley & Me starring Jennifer Aniston. She received rave reviews for her work in the 2012 movie Compliance, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In the film, Dowd plays Sandra, a fast food restaurant manager caught in a mysterious ethical nightmare. For this role, Dowd was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress and received the National Board of Review award. She has played supporting roles in two Steven Soderbergh films, The Informant! in 2009, and Side Effects in 2013 in which she played the mother of Channing Tatum's character.


Dowd's first appearance was in the 1985 television movie First Steps with fellow Chicago actor Megan Mullally. She has appeared in many popular television shows including House and Louie, on both of which she played a nun. Other shows include Chicago Hope, The X-Files, Third Watch, NYPD Blue, Judging Amy and Freaks and Geeks, in which she played the mother of Busy Phillips. Dowd has also appeared in many episodes of the Law & Order franchise. In 1995 she portrayed Rose Long, Louisiana's first female senator, in the television movie Kingfish, opposite John Goodman. In 2008 she appeared in the television movie Taking Chance starring Kevin Bacon. Dowd was a series regular on Nothing Sacred, which was filmed in Los Angeles and aired for one season (97/98), in which she played a nun. For this role she was nominated for a VQT award for Best Supporting Actress. Dowd currently co-stars on The Leftovers as Patti Levin, leader of the group The Guilty Remnant.


Dowd has appeared on Broadway three times. In 1993 she received the Clarence Derwent Award for her Broadway debut performance in the play Candida starring Mary Steenburgen. She next appeared in Taking Sides (1996) with Elizabeth Marvel, and Vera Farmiga, who was Dowd's understudy. In 2008 she appeared in The Seagull starring Carey Mulligan and Kristin Scott Thomas. Dowd has also won three Jeff Awards for her work in Chicago theatre, including a 1987 Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Emma Brookner in The Normal Heart.[4][5] In 2007, Dowd played the role of Sister Aloysius in Doubt at the George Street Playhouse. The New York Times described her performance as "..chilling..and ..masterful in this role.[6] In 2011, Dowd performed Off-Broadway in Blood from a Stone, playing the mother of Ethan Hawke.[7][8][9]

Personal life

Dowd and her husband both coach acting and are frequent collaborators.[10][11] Her husband is Lawrence "Larry" Arancio, a writer and acting chair for the CAP21 program who has also taught at the HB Studio and Columbia College Chicago. Arancio has worked with Lady Gaga as her acting coach.[12] Dowd and Arancio met while students in Chicago, Arancio being from New York City. They have three children, Liam, Emily, and Trust, and reside in New York City. Dowd is a foster care advocate.[13]



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Green Card Peggy
1992 Lorenzo's Oil Pediatrician
1993 Philadelphia Jill Beckett
1994 It Could Happen to You Carole
1995 Bushwhacked Mrs. Patterson
1996 Shiloh Louise Preston
1997 All Over Me Anne
1998 Apt Pupil Monica Bowden
1999 Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season Louise Preston
2001 Amy & Isabelle Lenora
2004 Garden State Olivia
2005 The Notorious Bettie Page Edna Page
2006 Saving Shiloh Louise Preston
2006 Flags of Our Fathers Mrs. Strank
2007 Alice Upside Down Aunt Sally
2007 Gardener of Eden Ma Harris
2007 The Living Wake Librarian
2007 The Babysitters Tammy Lyner
2008 Familiar Strangers Dottie Worthington
2008 Marley & Me Dr. Platt
2011 The Art of Getting By Mrs. Grimes
2012 Compliance Sandra
2012 Bachelorette Victoria
2013 Gimme Shelter Kathy
2013 Side Effects Mrs. Taylor
2014 St. Vincent Shirley
2014 The Drop Dottie Stipler
2015 Our Brand Is Crisis Nell
2016 Captain Fantastic Abigail
2017 Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer Carol Raskin


Year Title Role Notes
1985 First Steps Debby Television movie
1990 The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Nurse Courtney Episode:" Here's a Rare Photo Opportunity"
1991 Law & Order Teresa Franz Episode: "Sonata for Solo Organ"
1994 Law & Order Dorothy Baxter Episode: "Breeder"
1994 Heaven & Hell: North & South, Book III Maureen 3 episodes
1994 The Cosby Mysteries N/A Television movie
1995 Chicago Hope Eleanor Robertson Episode: "Growth Pains"
1995 Kingfish: A Story of Huey Long Rose McConnell Long Television movie
1996 Law & Order Patricia Smith Episode: "Pro Se"
1997–1998 Nothing Sacred Sister Maureen "Mo" Brody 20 episodes
1999–2000 Judging Amy Mrs. Schleewee 2 episodes
1999 Providence Mary Episode: "Home Again"
1999 The X-Files Mrs. Reed Episode: "Rush"
2000 NYPD Blue Ann Collins Episode: "Along Came Jones"
2000 Freaks and Geeks Cookie Kelly 2 episodes
2000 Family Law N/A Episode: "Love and Money"
2001–2002 The Education of Max Bickford Jean 3 episodes
2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Louise Durning Episode: "Victims"
2002–2003 Third Watch Sgt. Beth Markham 3 episodes
2003 Law & Order Dr. Beth Allison Episode: "Compassion"
2003 Touched by an Angel Paula Episode: "Song for My Father"
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sally Wilkens Episode: "Soulless"
2004 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Laurie Manotti Episode: "Inert Dwarf"
2004 House Mother Superior Episode: "Damned If You Do"
2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury Karen Ames Episode: "Truth or Consequences"
2009 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lillian Siefeld Episode: "Lead"
2009 Taking Chance Gretchen Television movie
2010 Louie Nun Episode: "God"
2011 Pan Am Marjorie Lowrey Episode: "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"
2013–2014 Masters of Sex Estabrook Masters 7 episodes
2014 Love's a Bitch Wes' Mom Episode: "Family Time"
2014 The Divide Ida Bankowski 2 episodes
2014 True Detective Betty Childress Episode: "Form and Void"
2014–present The Leftovers Patti Levin 14 episodes
2014 Olive Kitteridge Bonnie Newton 4 episodes
2014 Big Driver Ramona Norville Television movie
2016 Quarry Naomi 4 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Candida Miss Proserpine Garnett
1996 Taking Sides Tamara Sachs
2008 The Seagull Polina

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1998 Viewers for Quality Television Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series Nothing Sacred Nominated
2012 Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Compliance Nominated
National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Won
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Won
Utah Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2013 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Female Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2015 Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film The Leftovers Nominated
2016 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated


External links

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