American actress Mamie Gummer, daughter of Academy Award winning actress Meryl Streep, followed in the footsteps of her famous mother at a very young age when she portrayed the baby of Streep and Jack Nicholson in “Heartburn” (1986). She would later play a young version of her mom's character in the films “The House of the Spirits” (1993) and “Evening” (2007). Gummer also had supporting roles in the movies “The Hoax” (2006), “Stop-Loss” (2008), “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” (2008) and “Taking Woodstock” (2009) and played daughter-in-law Sally Smith Adams in the HBO critically acclaimed miniseries “John Adams” (2008). Also a stage performer, the graduate of Northwestern University made an auspicious debut as Lucy in the off-Broadway play “Mr. Marmalade” (2005), from which she took home a Theater World award. She picked up a Lucille Lortel nomination for her role in “The Water's Edge” (2006). Other theater credits include “The Autumn Garden” (2007), “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (2008, her Broadway debut) and “Hunting and Gathering” (2008).
Moviegoers should look forward to Gummer's performances in the upcoming films “The Lightkeepers” (2009) and “Coach” (2009).
Childhood and Family:
Mary Willa Gummer was born on August 3, 1983, to actress Meryl Streep (born on June 22, 1949) and sculptor Don Gummer. Nicknamed Mamie, she was raised by her parents in Los Angeles and Connecticut. She has an older brother, Henry, and two younger sisters, Louisa and Grace. After graduating from the esteemed Kent School in Kent, CT, Mamie studied theater and communications at Northwestern University in Evanston/Chicago, Illinois. She graduated in 2005.
Mamie Gummer made her first film appearance when she was a child in “Heartburn” (1986), an unsatisfying collaboration between director Mike Nichols and writer Nora Ephron. In the movie, she played Annie Forman, the daughter of Jack Nicholson and her real-life mother, Meryl Streep. Seven years later, she resurfaced in Bille August's movie adaptation of Isabel Allende's novel, “The House of the Spirits” (1993), which starred her mother. Other popular cast members included Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas, Vanessa Redgrave, Jeremy Irons and Winona Ryder. In the film, she played a young version of Clara del Valle.
Gummer continued to hone in on her craft by starring in a number of high school stage productions. She carried her passion to Northwestern University, where she performed in theater productions such as “The Laramie Project” (2003), “The House of Blue Leaves” and “12 Volt Heart” (both 2004). Around that same period, she returned to film in “Reservations” (2003), a short film directed and written by Joey Elkins and Blake Silver.
After completing her studies in 2005, Gummer kicked off her professional stage career by playing the lead character of Lucy in Noah Haidle's off-Broadway play “Mr. Marmalade,” at the Laura Pels Theatre in New York City. The role brought her a 2006 Theater World Award. She gave a subsequent noticeable portrayal of Erica in the Second Stage Theatre production of “The Water's Edge” (2006), from which she was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award. Still in 2006, Gummer landed her first adult role, which was the character Dana, in Lasse Hallström's “The Hoax,” based on Clifford Irving's book of the same name. The movie starred Richard Gere, Hope Davis, Alfred Molina, Marcia Gay Harden, David Aaron Baker, and Julie Delpy.
The following year, Gummer was reunited with her mother in “Evening,” a romance helmed by Oscar nominee Lajos Koltai and adapted by Michael Cunningham from Susan Minot's novel. She was cast as a young version of Streep's character, Lila. Despite having an all-star cast, which also included Vanessa Redgrave, Toni Collette, Glenn Close, Claire Danes and Natasha Richardson, the film received negative reviews. From August to October 2007, Gummer could be seen starring as Sophie Tuckerman in the revival of Lillian Hellman's “The Autumn Garden,” for director David Jones at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and working with Jennifer Ikeda and Jessica Hecht in a one-night performance of Paula Vogel's “Desdemona, a Play About a Handkerchief,” directed by Jesse Berger at the Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theatre.
Gummer next played the supporting role of Jeanie in the Kimberly Peirce-directed drama “Stop-Loss” (2008), starring Ryan Phillippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rob Brown and Channing Tatum, and appeared with Ann-Margret, Chris Evans and Bryce Dallas Howard in Tennessee Williams' “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” (2008), the directorial debut of actress Jodie Markell. She also memorably portrayed Sally Smith Adams, the daughter-in-law of John and Abigail Adams (played by Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney) in the Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning miniseries “John Adams” (2008). Also that year, Gummer made her Broadway debut as Cécile Volanges in Rufus Norris' “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” at the American Airlines Theatre, and starred as Bess in the off-Broadway production of “Hunting and Gathering” at Primary Stages in New York. The latter play was directed by Leigh Silverman.
Recently, Gummer appeared as Jonathan Groff's assistant in “Taking Woodstock,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2009. She will portray Ruth in a new comedy film, “The Lightkeepers” (2009), for director and writer Daniel Adams. She costars in the film with Richard Dreyfuss, Blythe Danner and Tom Wisdom. She stated, “I do my finest work in a corset. I feel like I’m in a painting but I’m drawn to period pieces like this. It’s a chance to time travel.”
Gummer also will portray Stella in Will Fears' “Coach” (2009). Costars in the movie include Hugh Dancy, Liane Balaban, David Zayas and Gillian Jacobs.
Theatre World: “Mr. Marmalade,” 2006