Ann Dowd

Ann Dowd (born January 30, 1956)[1] is an American actress. She has played supporting roles in several films, including Green Card (1990), Lorenzo's Oil (1992), Philadelphia (1993), Garden State (2004), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Marley & Me (2008), Side Effects (2013), St. Vincent (2014), Captain Fantastic (2016), and Hereditary (2018). Dowd appeared as Sandra in the thriller film Compliance (2012), for which she received the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Ann Dowd
Dowd at the 2012 Peabody Awards
Born (1956-01-30) January 30, 1956
ResidenceNew York City, New York, U.S.
EducationCollege of the Holy Cross (BA)
DePaul University (MFA)
Years active1985–present
Lawrence Arancio (m. 1984)

Dowd was a series regular on the HBO series The Leftovers (2014–2017), for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. In 2017, she began playing Aunt Lydia on the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale, for which she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Early life

Ann Dowd was born on January 30, 1956, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the daughter of John (1926–1974) and Dolores (née Clark) Dowd. She is one of seven children, who were raised by their mother after her father died when Ann was a senior in high school. Her mother later married Philip Dean (1929–2010), a doctor. Her sister Kathleen (Kate) Dowd is a casting director based in London[2]; brother John Dowd Jr. is president of The Dowd Agencies, an insurance company started by their great grandfather; sister Elizabeth Dowd is a developmental therapist and parenting coach; sister Clare Dowd is executive director of the Creative Action Institute[3]; sister Deborah Dowd is a psychotherapist, and president of the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis[4]; and brother Gregory Dowd is a doctor of veterinary medicine. 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, Massachusetts 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,[5] an award that had also gone to Carrie Snodgress. Dowd was classmates with Elizabeth Perkins and also worked as a waitress during this time.[6]

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. She played the supporting role of Joan in the 2018 horror film Hereditary.


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 Philipps. 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 also co-starred on The Leftovers as Patti Levin, leader of the group The Guilty Remnant. In 2017, Dowd began starring on the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award.


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.[7][8] 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 said she was "masterful in this role."[9] In 2011, Dowd performed Off-Broadway in Blood from a Stone, playing the mother of Ethan Hawke.[10][11][12]

Personal life

Dowd and her husband, Lawrence "Larry" Arancio, both coach acting and are frequent collaborators.[13][14] Arancio, who is from New York City, is a writer and acting chair for the CAP21 program who has also taught at the HB Studio and Columbia College Chicago. He has worked with Lady Gaga as her acting coach.[15] Dowd and Arancio met while students in Chicago. They have three children, Liam, Emily, and Trust, and reside in New York City. Dowd is a foster care advocate.[16][17] Her alma mater College of the Holy Cross conferred an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree on her on May 27, 2016.[17]



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
2004 The Manchurian Candidate Congresswoman Beckett
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
2009 The Informant! FBI Special Agent Kate Medford
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 Bertrang
2016 Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer Carol Raskin
2016 Collateral Beauty Sally Price
2016 The Great & The Small Detective Dupre
2017 Hedgehog Joan
2018 American Animals Betty Jean "BJ" Gooch
2018 Nancy Betty Freeman
2018 Tyrel Silvia
2018 Hereditary Joan
2018 A Kid Like Jake Catherine
TBA Rebecca Mrs. Van Hopper Post-production


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"
2007 House Mother Superior Episode: "Damned If You Do"
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 True Detective Betty Childress Episode: "Form and Void"
2014 Love's a Bitch Wes' Mom Episode: "Family Time"
2014 The Divide Ida Bankowski 2 episodes
2014–2017 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
2016–2017 Good Behavior FBI Agent Rhonda Lashever 7 episodes
2017 Girls Phaedra Episode: "Goodbye Tour"
2017–present The Handmaid's Tale Aunt Lydia Clements 19 episodes
2018–2019 3Below: Tales of Arcadia Zeron Omega (voice) 6 episodes
2019 Lambs of God Sister Margarita 4 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
1987 The Normal Heart Dr. Emma Brookner Ivanhoe Theatre, Chicago
1993 Candida Miss Proserpine Garnett
1996 Taking Sides Tamara Sachs
2007 Doubt Sister Aloysius George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick
2008 The Seagull Polina

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1998 Viewers for Quality Television Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series Nothing Sacred Nominated
2012 Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Compliance Nominated
National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Won
St. Louis Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Won
Utah Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2013 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Female Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2015 Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film The Leftovers Nominated
2016 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2017 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series The Handmaid's Tale Won
Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated [18]
2018 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated


  1. Date of birth,; accessed May 31, 2014.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 5, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "The Profile". December 18, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  7. "`Normal Heart` Even Stronger - tribunedigital-chicagotribune". July 2, 1987. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  8. "Jeff Awards". Jeff Awards. April 24, 2017. Archived from the original on January 2, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  9. Naomi Siegel (December 9, 2007). "Moral Uncertainty Never Looked So Good". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "Ann Dowd Theatre Credits and Profile". Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 15, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. Kabaker, Marion (February 20, 1987). "Romance Behind The Scenes In Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  14. "Lawrence Arancio". CAP21 Conservatory. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  15. "Archived copy". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on November 27, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. "FPA-Foundation-The People's Movement". July 22, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  17. "Honorary Degree Citation – Ann Dowd". College of the Holy Cross. May 27, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  18. Bradley, Laura (January 8, 2018). "Golden Globes 2018: See Laura Dern's Inspiring Acceptance Speech". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
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