Margo Martindale

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Margo Martindale
Margo Martindale MFF 2016.jpg
Martindale at the Montclair Film Festival, May 2016
Born1951 (age 71–72)
EducationLon Morris College
University of Michigan (BA)
Years active1987–present
Bill Boals
(m. 1986)
RelativesBilly Martindale (brother)

Margo Martindale (born 1951)[1] is an American character actress who has appeared on television, film, and stage. In 2011, she won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Critics' Choice Television Award for her recurring role as Mags Bennett on Justified. She was nominated for an Emmy Award four times for her recurring role as Claudia on The Americans, winning it in 2015[2] and 2016.[3] She has had starring roles in the films August: Osage County (2013), Uncle Frank (2020), and Cocaine Bear (2023), as well as supporting roles in a number of others, including The Rocketeer (1991), Lorenzo's Oil (1992), The Firm (1993), Dead Man Walking (1995), Marvin's Room (1996), ...First Do No Harm (1997), The Hours (2002), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Paris, je t'aime (2006), Eye of God (2007), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), The Savages (2007), Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009), Orphan (2009), Secretariat (2010), Forged (2010) and Win Win (2011). She was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in 2004 for her performance in the play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She also voiced a fictionalized version of herself in the Netflix adult-animated show BoJack Horseman.

Early life[edit]

Martindale was born in Jacksonville, Texas, the youngest of three children and only daughter of William Everett and Margaret (née Pruitt) Martindale.[4][1] In addition to owning and operating a lumber company in Jacksonville, her father was known as a champion dog handler in Texas and throughout the Southern United States.[citation needed]

Her oldest brother is the professional golfer and golf course designer Billy Martindale. The middle child, brother Bobby Tim, died in 2004.[4] Margo participated in golf, cheerleading and drama at school, and was crowned Football Sweetheart[5] and Miss Jacksonville High School 1969.[6]

Following graduation in 1969,[7] she attended Lon Morris College, then transferred to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. While at Michigan, she attended summer courses at Harvard University, appearing onstage with future movie and TV stars Jonathan Frakes and Christopher Reeve.[6]



In the early 1980s, Martindale worked for four years at the Actors Theatre, Louisville, Kentucky, where she became good friends with fellow actress Kathy Bates.[8]

Martindale made her Broadway debut in 2004 as Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, for which she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play.[9][10]

Prior to that, she starred in several off-Broadway stage productions, most notably originating the role of Truvy Jones in the first production of Steel Magnolias, and starring in its first national tour.[11]


Martindale's film roles include turns as Susan Sarandon's character's fellow nun in Dead Man Walking, and, again with Sarandon, in Lorenzo's Oil. She appeared as Leonardo DiCaprio's character's doctor in Marvin's Room; and as Hilary Swank's character's selfish mother in Million Dollar Baby. Other films include The Human Stain with Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman, Nobody's Fool with Paul Newman, 28 Days with Sandra Bullock, Proof of Life with Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan, and Practical Magic, again with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. She was featured in Paris, je t'aime. She played Mama Cox in the 2007 film Walk Hard, played Ruby in Hannah Montana: The Movie and played Miss Elizabeth Ham in the movie Secretariat.[citation needed]

Martindale had a role in August: Osage County (2013), a film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts. She played Mattie Fae Aiken, the sister of lead character Violet Weston (Meryl Streep). Filming took place in the fall and winter of 2012.[12][13]


Martindale has been described as a character actress.[citation needed]

One of her first television roles came in the miniseries Lonesome Dove. A series of character and guest appearances followed in a wide range of TV shows. Martindale played recurring character Camilla Figg on the first three seasons of Dexter and had a recurring role in the A&E courtroom drama 100 Centre Street with Alan Arkin.

From 2007 to 2008, she had a recurring role as Nina Burns, a neighbor of the Malloy/"Rich" family in The Riches with Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard.[14]

In 2011, Martindale joined the cast of Justified for the second season. She played the role of Mags Bennett, matriarch of the Bennett crime family which controlled much of the drug activity in the fictional version of Harlan County, Kentucky.[15] She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance.[16]

After learning of the nomination, Martindale told CNN she hoped that it would open up more doors for older women in Hollywood. "People really identify with this character [Mags Bennett] and I think it's because it is a character that is powerful and older and extremely mean", she said.[17] She won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the Critics' Choice Television Awards for her role as Mags Bennett.[18]

In February 2012 it was announced Martindale had been cast in the ABC comedy pilot Counter Culture, which was not picked up.[19][20]

Martindale returned to television in late January 2013 in the spy drama The Americans on FX Network. She played Claudia, the KGB "handler" of two Soviet spies living in 1980s Cold War America.[21]

She co-starred in the sitcom The Millers on CBS. In 2015, she began a recurring role as Ruth Eastman, Peter Florrick's new campaign manager on The Good Wife. Martindale took up the role of Ruth again in 2018 in season two of The Good Fight, the sequel to The Good Wife. She appears as a fictionalized version of herself on the Netflix animated comedy BoJack Horseman. Her fictional version is easily angered and temperamentally violent, moonlighting as a bank robber and going on frequent criminal heists. BoJack consistently refers to her as "Esteemed Character Actress Margo Martindale", while most other characters begin addressing her with "Beloved."[22]

Martindale played Audrey Bernhardt, matriarch of the family on the Amazon series Sneaky Pete starring Giovanni Ribisi, for the 2015 pilot, the first season which aired in January 2017,[23] and the second and third seasons as well.[24] She also played Mike's ‘Aunt Rosemary’ in two episodes of Mike & Molly.

In 2020, Martindale portrayed US Congresswoman Bella Abzug on the FX miniseries Mrs. America and received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.


I Spy, a podcast hosted by Martindale and produced by Foreign Policy, was released in November, 2019.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Martindale has been married to musician Bill Boals since 1986. They have a daughter, Margaret.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Days of Thunder Donna
1991 The Rocketeer Millie
1992 Lorenzo's Oil Wendy Gimble
1993 Emma and Elvis Jenny
1993 The Firm Nina Huff
1994 Nobody's Fool "Birdy"
1995 Dead Man Walking Sister Collegeville
1995 Sabrina Nurse
1996 Marvin's Room Dr. Charlotte Samit
1996 Ghosts of Mississippi Clara Mayfield
1997 Critical Care Constance "Connie" Potter
1997 Eye of the God Dorothy
1998 Twilight Gloria "Mucho" Lamar
1998 Practical Magic Linda Bennett
1999 In Dreams Nurse Floyd
1999 Ride with the Devil Wilma Brown
2000 28 Days Betty
2000 Proof of Life Ivy
2002 The Hours Mrs. Latch
2003 It's All About Love Betsy
2003 The Human Stain Psychologist
2004 The Best Thief in the World Miss Mason
2004 Million Dollar Baby Earline Fitzgerald
2006 Out There Jeri
2006 Wedding Daze Betsy
2006 Paris, je t'aime Carol
2007 The Savages Roz
2007 Rocket Science Coach Lumbly
2007 Mo Pam
2007 The Death and Life of Bobby Z Macy
2007 Rails & Ties Judy Neasy
2007 Feast of Love Mrs. Maggarolian
2007 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Ma Cox
2008 Management Trish Flux
2009 The Winning Season Donna
2009 Hannah Montana: The Movie Grandma Ruby
2009 Orphan Dr. Browning
2009 La soga Flannigan
2010 Forged Dianne
2010 Secretariat Elizabeth Hamm
2010 Main Street Myrtle Parker
2011 Win Win Eleanor Cohen
2011 Scalene Janice Trimble
2013 Beautiful Creatures Aunt Del
2013 Bluebird Crystal
2013 August: Osage County Mattie Fae Aiken
2014 Heaven is for Real Nancy Rawling
2016 Sophie and the Rising Sun Anne Morrison
2016 The Hollars Sally Hollar
2016 The Boss Sister Agnes Aluminata
2016 Mother's Day Florence "Flo"
2016 My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea Mrs. Brinson (voice)
2017 Wilson Alta
2017 Table 19 Freda Eckberg
2017 Cars 3 Louise "Barnstormer" Nash (voice)
2017 Downsizing Woman On Shuttle Cameo
2018 Instant Family Sandy Wagner
2019 Blow the Man Down Enid Nora Devlin
2019 The Kitchen Helen O'Carroll
2020 Uncle Frank Mammaw Bledsoe
2020 Lazy Susan Mary O'Connell
2022 Family Squares Diane Worth Also C & D Camera Operator
2023 Cocaine Bear Ranger Liz


Year Title Role Notes
1988 The Child Saver Alma TV film
1989 Lonesome Dove "Buffalo" Heiffer Episode: "The Plains"
1994 New York Undercover Nurse Warner Episode: "Tasha"
1996 Law & Order Ms. Best Episode: "Atonement"
1996 Ruby Jean and Joe Frankie TV film
1997 ...First Do No Harm Marjean TV film
1999 Homicide: Life on the Street Verna Henderson Episode: "The Same Coin"
1999 Earthly Possessions Libby TV film
1999 Snoops Hannah Larson Episode: "Pilot"
2000 Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenét and the City of Boulder Linda Hoffmann-Pugh TV film
2001 Welcome to New York Rose Episode: "Dusting Diva"
2001 A Girl Thing May TV film
2001 What Girls Learn Lainey TV film
2001–2002 100 Centre Street Michelle Grande 14 episodes
2002 The Laramie Project Trish Steger TV film
2003 Ed Amanda Myers Episode: "Partners"
2003 An Unexpected Love Maggie TV film
2004 Iron Jawed Angels Harriot Blatch TV film
2004 Plainsong Mrs. Beckman TV film
2005 Silver Bells Mrs. Quinn TV film
2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Rita Gabler Episode: "Cage"
2006–2008 Dexter Camilla Figg 5 episodes
2007–2008 The Riches Nina Burns Regular role (20 episodes)
2009 Hung Molly Episode: "The Pickle Jar"
2009–2010 Mercy Nurse Klowden Recurring role (11 episodes)
2011 Harry's Law Gina Powell Episode: "Innocent Man"
2011 Justified Mags Bennett Recurring role (10 episodes)
2011 Chaos Doris Balshik Episodes: "Pilot", "Proof of Life"
2011–2012 A Gifted Man Rita Perkins-Hall Main role (16 episodes)
2012 Counter Culture Billie TV film
2012 Suits Nell Sawyer Episode: "Meet the New Boss"
2012 Person of Interest Barbara Russell Episode: "Bad Code"
2013 Smash Miriam Abramson Episode: "The Fallout"
2013 New Girl Bonnie Episode: "Chicago"
2013 Masters of Sex Miss Horchow Episode: "Pilot"
2013–2014 The Millers Carol Miller Main role (34 episodes)
2013–2018 The Americans Claudia Recurring role (32 episodes)
2014–2020 BoJack Horseman Character Actress Margo Martindale (voice) Guest starring (8 episodes), fictionalized version of self
2015 Mike & Molly Rosemary Ritter 2 episodes: "Mudlick or Bust" and "Mother From Another Mudlick"
2015–2016 The Good Wife Ruth Eastman Recurring role (13 episodes)
2015–2019 Sneaky Pete Audrey Bernhardt Main role (30 episodes)
2016 BrainDead Dr. Joanne Alaimo Episode: "Back to Work: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Congress and How It Gets Things Done (and Often Doesn't)"
2017–2021 DuckTales Ma Beagle (voice) 8 episodes
2017 The Guest Book Alice 3 episodes
2018–2021 The Good Fight Ruth Eastman 4 episodes
2019 The Act Emma Lois Gisclair Pitre Episode: "A Whole New World"
2020 Mrs. America Bella Abzug Main role; Miniseries
2020–2021 Your Honor Senator Elizabeth Guthrie 5 episodes
2021 Infinity Train Judge Morpho (voice) Recurring; Book 4 – Duet
2021 Ada Twist, Scientist Great Aunt Rose (voice) Episode: "Movie Night/The Banana Peel Problem"
2021 Impeachment: American Crime Story Lucianne Goldberg 5 episodes
2022 The Watcher Maureen 7 episodes
2023 Accused Joanna Lynn Pierce Episode: "Laura's Story"
2023 Mrs. Davis Mother Superior 3 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Year Award Category Film Result
2004 Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Nominated
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
Richard Seff Award[26] Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Broadway or Off-Broadway Production Won
2011 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Justified Won
Online Film & Television Association Award[27] Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Won
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Drama Nominated
2013 Online Film & Television Association Award[28] Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series The Americans Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2014 Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture August: Osage County Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series The Americans Nominated
2015 Gracie Awards Outstanding Female Actor in a Featured or Guest Role Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Won
2016 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series The Good Wife Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series The Americans Won
2018 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Sneaky Pete Nominated
2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series The Americans Nominated
2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Mrs. America Nominated
2021 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Martindale Family is a Family of Champions". The Cherokeean. Rusk, Texas. September 9, 1965. Retrieved September 28, 2011 – via Texas History Portal.
  2. ^ "67th Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners : Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series - 2015". Emmy Awards. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  3. ^ "68th Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners : Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series - 2016". Emmy Awards. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Bobby Tim Martindale". Longview News-Journal. Longview, Texas. July 18, 2004. Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  5. ^ "Margo Martindale". BuddyTV. 2009. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Jacksonville's Margo Martindale wins Emmy for TV show 'Justified'". The Cherokeean Herald. September 21, 2011. Archived from the original on May 29, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "Margo Martindale biography". Yahoo! Movies. 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  8. ^ "Justified star Margo Martindale on Mags Bennett". March 30, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  9. ^ "List of nominees for 2004 Tony Awards". USA Today. May 11, 2004.
  10. ^ "Review". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 12, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  11. ^ "Review". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  12. ^ Patten, Dominic (August 1, 2012). "'August: Osage County' Adds Margo Martindale". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  13. ^ Simpson, Andrea (October 1, 2012). "George Clooney Brings Star Power to Oklahoma As He Films New Movie 'August: Osage County' (PHOTOS)". Celebuzz. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "Interview: Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver from 'The Riches' on FX". March 16, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  15. ^ Bryant, Adam (December 1, 2010). "Justified First Look: Margo Martindale Is Raylan's New Nemesis". Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  16. ^ "Margo Martindale profile". Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  17. ^ "A birthday surprise for Justified actress Martindale". The Marquee Blog, CNN. July 14, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  18. ^ "Showclips:Margo Martindale Wins Award". TV June 14, 2011.
  19. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 29, 2012). "Margo Martindale To Star In ABC Comedy Pilot 'Counter Culture'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  20. ^ Ausiello, Michael (February 29, 2012). "Scoop: Margo Martindale Joins ABC Comedy Pilot Counter Culture – Is A Gifted Man Doomed?". TV Line. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  21. ^ Prudom, Laura (December 12, 2012). "Margo Martindale cast in FX's spy drama The Americans". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  22. ^ Egner, Jeremy (May 23, 2018). "Margo Martindale on 'The Americans' and Life as an 'Esteemed Character Actress'". The New York Times.
  23. ^ "'Sneaky Pete': Exclusive Photos of Bryan Cranston, Margo Martindale and More". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  24. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (March 7, 2018). "Sneaky Pete's Margo Martindale Teases Americans Farewell, Revisits BoJack, New Girl, Justified and Other Roles". TVLine. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  25. ^ "I Spy podcast website".
  26. ^ "Richard Seff Award (NOT PAGE) | actorsequityfdn".
  27. ^ "2010-11: The Season of Mildred Pierce". Online Film & Television Association. Archived from the original on June 29, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  28. ^ "2012-13: The Season of American Horror Story: Asylum". Online Film & Television Association. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2013.

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