Law & Order And ER Actress Mary Mara Has Passed Away

Actress Mary Mara, beloved for her appearances on Law & Order and ER, has tragically passed away at age 61.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

mary mara

Mary Mara, who is known for her work as a character actress on shows like Law & Order and ER has died. She was aged 61 years old. Her lifeless body was discovered on Sunday morning in the St. Lawrence River in Cape Vincent, New York. According to a statement from police, her death is the result of an apparent drowning as there was no indication of foul play. She was transported to the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy will be carried out to determine an official cause of death. The investigation is still ongoing.

Speaking to Deadline, a spokesperson for Mary Mara’s family said she was staying at her sister’s summer home when the deadly accident occurred. The property fronts the river outside the Village of Cape Vincent, in the Thousand Islands region, where the St. Lawrence River separates Canada and the United States. Her manager, Craig Dorfman, also confirmed the Nash Bridges alum’s death, remembering her as one of the most electric, funny, and talented people he’s ever met. “I still remember seeing her onstage in 1992 in Mad Forest off-Broadway. She will be missed,” he told People.

Born in 1960 in Syracuse, New York, Mary Mara attended San Francisco State University and Yale School of Drama. During that time she also founded a theater group in the Bay Area. Her film, television, and stage career spanned more than three decades. She made her acting debut in 1989’s television movie, The Preppie Murder, and appeared as a series regular on the first two seasons of Nash Bridges. The actress also specialized in complex portrayals of troubled characters. This was evidenced by her recurring role on ER as Loretta Sweet – a sympathetic, single mother who also happened to be a down-and-out prostitute.

Her list of movie credits is equally impressive with comedic roles in Love Potion No. 9, Just Looking, K-PAX, Gridiron Gang, and Prom Night. Mary Mara also received praise for her portrayal of the vulnerable adult daughter of Billy Crystal’s stand-up comic in 1992’s Mr. Saturday Night. The 61-year-old’s final movie appearance was in the 2020 film Break Even. Thereafter she retired and moved back to Syracuse after splitting her time between New York City and Southern California during the height of her career.

While Mary Mara isn’t known for leading roles, she has shared the screen and stage with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. She appeared opposite Michael J. Fox in The Hard Way, Billy Crystal in Mr. Saturday Night, Sandra Bullock in Love Potion No. 9, John Travolta in A Civil Action, and Mandy Patinkin in Criminal Minds. On stage, she starred alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, Jeff Goldblum, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Gregory Hines in a New York Shakespeare Festival production of Twelfth Night in 1989.

She also co-starred with William Hurt in a 1990 Yale Repertory Theatre performance of Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov. Mary Mara is survived by her stepdaughter Katie Mersola, her sister Martha Mara, another sister and a brother-in-law (Susan Mara and Scott Dailey), and a nephew named Christopher Dailey. She will also be missed by everyone in the entertainment industry.