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10 Facts About Frances McDormand Who Became a Star at 40, Refuses to Hide Her Wrinkles, and Won 4 Oscars

She grew up in a foster family, started a serious career at a mature age when others were already leaving the track, broke stereotypes about women’s beauty, and won 4 Oscars. These are all facts about the truly cult Hollywood actress — Frances McDormand.

We at Bright Side decided to find out how she managed to get through to the Olympics of fame and preserve the sincerity and naturalness that viewers appreciate so much nowadays.

Her name is not Frances McDormand.

Frances McDormand was born in 1957 in Gibson, Illinois, and her birth name was Cynthia Smith. She was given a new name and a new life when she was adopted by Vernon, who was a pastor, and Noreen McDormand, his wife. There were 9 kids in their family in total. “They even took in stray cats,” McDormand joked in one of her interviews.

She has been married for 38 years.

Frances McDormand and Joel Coen

Frances McDormand created her own family with director Joel Coen (it’s thanks to him that we now have No Country for Old Men and The Big Lebowski). They met each other at the audition for the neo-noir thriller called Blood Simple in 1984 and got married soon afterward. Later on, they would end up working together on many other projects.

Frances McDormand became a star at 40.

The breakthrough role for Frances McDormand was when she played Marge Gunderson in the spectacular tragedy Fargo (directed by her husband), which she got an Oscar for. At that time, the actress was almost 40. She confessed that it was her sister Dorothy who inspired her for this role, where she played a person with very strong character. Dorothy worked as a warden in a maximum-security prison.

She defies stereotypical roles.

There are hardly any classical female roles in Frances McDormand’s portfolio, perhaps only at the beginning of her career. “I’m a character actress, plain and simple...” she says about herself. All of her iconic characters defy type and normality, and fall outside of common Hollywood standards. Whether that is the police chief Marge Gunderson (Fargo), an unbreakable single mother Mildred Hayes (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), or the modern nomad, Fern (Nomadland).

The actress doesn’t like attention.

Despite universal acclaim, Frances McDormand has never really embraced her star status. She keeps the details of her personal life in secret, doesn’t give autographs, and reluctantly appears on red carpets. “I don’t like award shows. At our house, we call this time of year ’the convention.’ It’s too bad we haven’t figured out how to stop it,” the actress confessed.

Frances McDormand doesn’t hide her wrinkles.

Unlike many of her Hollywood colleagues, Frances McDormand is far from cosmetology and plastic surgery. “I have not mutated myself in any way,” she joked in one of her interviews. On the contrary, the actress is sure that the process of aging deserves respect.

And she doesn’t use cosmetics.

Most of all, the actress wants to stay natural like her characters. That’s why McDormand won’t be seen with makeup on outside of film sets. She doesn’t care about dying her gray hair or styling it. She doesn’t even have a full-size mirror at home.

She has 4 Oscars...

Frances McDormand has been awarded the most significant world-renowned movie award, the Oscar, 4 times. Apart from those, she also has dozens of prestigious awards, including a Tony award for her role in the play Good People and an Emmy award for the Olive Kitteridge series. If McDormand got a Grammy award, she could become one of 16 EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) laureates like Audrey Hepburn and Helen Hayes.

...she almost lost one of them.

In 2018, Frances McDormand became the first actress who got an award for Best Female role twice in one evening — first at the Oscar ceremony and then after the statuette was stolen by a thief obsessed with celebrities at the after-party. Fortunately, the loss was quickly noticed. And actor Gary Oldman awarded it to Frances once again.

Frances McDormand fights for equality in the movie industry.

The actress is also known in Hollywood for her active position on gender equality issues.

“Someone told me that the definition of feminism is equal pay for equal work. That seemed like a good idea to me. I was also told that I could have it all, and lo and behold, I did,” Frances said once. “But many of you haven’t. Many of you haven’t, and we are still feminists, which means that there is still not equal pay for equal work. And that is not okay by me.”

At the Oscar ceremony in 2018, she gave a bright speech where she addressed directors and producers with a request for them to support women in the film industry.

Do you like movies with Frances McDormand? Which ones are your favorite?

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