Sheila McCarthy (born January 1, 1956) is a Canadian actress and singer. She has worked in film, television, and on stage. McCarthy is one of Canada's most honoured actors, having won two Genie Awards (film), two Gemini Awards (television), an ACTRA Award, and two Dora Awards (theatre), along with multiple nominations.
McCarthy at the 2012 Genie Awards
McCarthy attended Thornlea Secondary School in Thornhill in her youth. Her first appearance on stage was at Toronto's Elgin Theatre in Peter Pan at 6 years old. She later attended the University of Victoria and spent a year studying with the influential acting teacher Uta Hagen at her HB Studio in New York City, and also workshopped with the Second City troupe in Toronto.
After several years of television work under her belt, McCarthy secured a role in the made-for-television movie A Nest of Singing Birds (1987), receiving early recognition for her talent with a Gemini Award nomination for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Dramatic Program. That year, she made her first notable impression on the Canadian movie scene as Polly, the quirky, "organizationally challenged girl" in Patricia Rozema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing. For this role, McCarthy won the Genie Award for Best Actress. The film went on to become wildly popular in Canada, earning many international and domestic awards and critical acclaim, with some critics dubbing it an instant Canadian classic.
She played Sarah Hamoudi in the Canadian television series Little Mosque on the Prairie (2007-2012), a role for which she was nominated for a Gemini award. One of her most recognized big-screen roles is as Samantha, the news reporter in the movie Die Hard 2 with Bruce Willis. Her most recent role is as Connie Hendrix, mother of the clone Alison in the critically acclaimed BBC America series Orphan Black and is playing the character called Agnes, the owner/baker/waitress in the show The Umbrella Academy aired on Netflix.
She is also an accomplished voice-over actress, having performed characters voices in Free Willy, Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, The Neverending Story, Rolie Polie Olie, Bad Dog and Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse.
McCarthy was born in Toronto, Ontario. She was married to actor Peter Donaldson, who died January 8, 2011 two years after being diagnosed with cancer. Together they had two children, including Mackenzie Donaldson, who is also in show business (producer of Whatever, Linda and Orphan Black).
|1987||A Nest of Singing Birds||Anna|
|1987||I've Heard the Mermaids Singing||Polly Vandersma||Won the Genie Award for Best Actress|
|1988||Gandahar||Council Spokeswoman (voice)|
|1989||Friends, Lovers, & Lunatics||Kathy|
|1989||George's Island||Miss Birdwood|
|1990||Beautiful Dreamers||Molly Jessop|
|1990||Die Hard 2||Samantha 'Sam' Coleman|
|1990||Pacific Heights||Liz Hamilton|
|1991||Montréal vu par...||Ann Stuart||Segment: "Desperanto"|
|1993||Journey to the Planets||Oracle (voice)||Short film|
|1993||The Lotus Eaters||Diane Kingswood||Won the Genie Award for Best Actress|
|1994||The Biggest Little Ticket|
|1996||House Arrest||Gwenna Krupp|
|1997||Shadow Zone: My Teacher Ate My Homework||Mrs. Hackett|
|2002||Duct Tape Forever||Easterbrook (uncredited)|
|2004||Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen||Mrs. Gerard|
|2004||The Day After Tomorrow||Judith|
|2004||Being Julia||Grace Dexter|
|2004||Geraldine's Fortune||Tina Larose|
|2005||Bailey's Billion$||Peggy Delaney|
|2005||The Multiple Selves of Hannah Maynard||Hannah Maynard||Short film|
|2006||Small Avalanches||Nancy's Mother||Short film|
|2007||Breakfast with Scot||Miss Patterson|
|2007||The Stone Angel||Doris Shipley|
|2009||Year of the Carnivore||Mrs. Smalls|
|2014||A Fighting Man||Rose|
|2016||Considering Love and Other Magic||Veronica Guest|
|1982||Hangin' In||Episode: "The Princess and the Pea"|
|1983||Today's Special||Sourpuss Sal||Episode: "Smiles"|
|1984||The Littlest Hobo||Murielle||Episode: "Three Monkeys of Bah Roghar: Part 1"|
Episode: "Three Monkeys of Bah Roghar: Part 2"
|1985||Love & Larceny||Mary Bigley||TV movie|
|1985||Tucker and the Horse Thief||TV movie|
|1986||The Marriage Bed||Lynn Reailly||TV movie|
|1986||Hot Shots||Jenny||Episode: "Cut Off in His Prime"|
|1987||Much Ado About Nothing||Margaret||TV movie|
|1987||Really Weird Tales||Ellie Hutchins||Episode: "Cursed with Charisma"|
|1988||Mount Royal||Luise Blaikie||Episode: "Still Life"|
|1989||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Sarah Hollister||Episode: "For Art's Sake"|
|1989||Trying Times||Jenny Amber||Episode: "A Good Life"|
|1990||Labour of Love||TV movie|
|1990||E.N.G.||Carol Barton||Episode: "Till Death Us Do Part"|
|1990||Back to the Beanstalk||Garbanza||TV movie|
|1990||Steel Magnolias||Annelle Dupuy-Desoto||TV pilot (unsold)|
|1990||Street Legal||Stephanie Coleman||Episode: "The Psychic"|
|1991||The Soulmates: The Gift of Light||(voice)||TV movie|
|1991||Rupert||Additional Voices||13 episodes|
|1991||The Hidden Room||Episode: "Rogue in the Bathroom"|
|1992||Beethoven Lives Upstairs||Sophie||TV movie|
|1992||A Private Matter||Diane Callaghan||TV movie|
|1992||The Ray Bradbury Theater||Francine||Episode: "The Lonely One"|
|1994||Free Willy||Annie||TV series|
|1994||Dan Redican Comedy Hour||Various||TV movie|
|1994||Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills||Jill Lansing||TV movie|
|1995||A Woman of Independent Means||Totsie||TV movie|
|1995||The Awakening||Nancy||TV movie|
|1995–1996||Picket Fences||Sue Walsh||4 episodes|
|1996||Road to Avonlea||Betty Blaine||Episode: "King of the Great White Way"|
|1996||The Care and Handling of Roses||Carol Doster||TV movie|
|1998||Bad Dog||(voice)||TV series|
|1998||More Tales of the City||Mildred||TV miniseries|
|1998||Dead Husbands||Jane Armitage||TV movie|
|1998–2000||Emily of New Moon||Laura Murray||46 episodes|
|1999||You Know My Name||Mrs. Lynn||TV movie|
|1999||Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke||Tammy||TV movie|
|1999||Mythic Warriors||Clotho (voice)||Episode: "Damon and Pythias"|
|2000||Virtual Mom||Holly||TV movie, also writer|
|2000||Super Rupert||Aunt Rhonda||TV series|
|2000||Marvin The Tap-Dancing Horse||Elizabeth the Emotional Pig (voice)|
|2001||Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series||Mrs. King (voice)||Episode: "Oh, Brother!"|
|2001||Royal Canadian Air Farce||Anne Robinson / Dr. Joy Thomas||Episode: "9.2"|
|2001||I Was a Rat||Mrs. Tapscrew||TV movie|
|2001||The Endless Grind||Various||TV series|
|2002||Lathe of Heaven||Penny||TV movie|
|2002||The Rats||Miss Paige||TV movie|
|2003||Custody of the Heart||Alice||TV movie|
|2003||Full-Court Miracle||Mrs. Klein||TV movie|
|2004||The Shields Stories||Hazel||Episode: "Hazel"|
|2005||Puppets Who Kill||Miss Wickham||Episode: "Cuddles the Artist"|
|2005||Missing||Dr. Eleanor Reese||Episode: "Analysis"|
|2006||Cow Belles||Fran Walker||TV movie|
|2007–2012||Little Mosque on the Prairie||Sarah Hamoudi||80+ episodes|
|2009||The Ron James Show||Episode: "1.5"|
|2010||Love Letters||Melissa||TV movie|
|2013||Murdoch Mysteries||Felicity Dawes||Episode: "Lovers in a Murderous Time"|
|2014||Saving Hope||Violet||Episode: "Breathless"|
|2014||Dear Viola||Peggy||TV movie|
|2015||Orphan Black||Connie Hendrix||Episode: "Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate"|
|2016||Ice Girls||Auntie Ginger||TV movie|
|2016||Brace for Impact||Faradee Gilchrist||TV movie|
|2019||Star Trek: Discovery||Amesha||Episode: "New Eden"|
|2019||The Umbrella Academy||Agnes||Recurring role|
- 2006: "All Good Now" – from the movie Cow Belles
Awards and nominations
- This section needs to be expanded to include further awards and nominations.
|1999||Emily of New Moon||14th Gemini Awards||Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role||Nominated|
|2000||Sesame Park||15th Gemini Awards||Best Performance in a Pre-School Program or Series||Won|
|2000||The City||15th Gemini Awards||Best Performance by an Actress in a Guest Role Dramatic Series||Nominated|
- Ben Kaplanr (31 January 2013). "Sheila McCarthy: the star on collaborating with Liza Minnelli and why she loves life at Yonge & St. Clair". POST CITY TORONTO. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
- "The Canadian Encyclopedia".
- HB Studio Alumni
- "Roger Ebert".
- "A profile of Sheila McCarthy".
- "Peter Donaldson was 'finest actor's actor'". MSN CA. CBC News. January 9, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "Actress finds inspiration even in sadness of death". Herald Arts&Life. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
- "Dear Viola". Dear Viola Cast. UPtv.com. February 19, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
- "Gemini Awards – 1999". Winners & Nominees. awardsandwinners.com. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
- "Sheila McCarthy". Awards & Nominations. awardsandwinners.com. Retrieved June 22, 2014.