Mary Nell Steenburgen (born February 8, 1953) is an American actress. She won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for playing the role of Lynda Dummar in Jonathan Demme's 1980 film Melvin and Howard. Steenburgen was born in Newport, Arkansas, the daughter of Nellie Mae (nee Wall), a school-board secretary, and Maurice Steenburgen, a freight-train conductor who worked at the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Steenburgen grew up in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Steenburgen moved to New York City in 1972, working at Doubleday while studying acting at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse under Will Esper.
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