‘ER’ actress Mary Mara dies after apparent drowning in New York’s St. Lawrence River

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Actress Mary Mara, best known for her roles in ‘ER’, ‘Nash Bridges’ and ‘Ray Donovan’, died Sunday in what authorities describe as an ‘apparent drowning’ in an upstate river from New York. She was 61 years old.

New York State Police responded to a call about a possible drowning in Cape Vincent on Sunday morning, authorities said in a news release. When first responders arrived at the St. Lawrence River, they discovered a dead woman later identified as Mara.

“Preliminary investigation suggests the victim drowned while swimming,” Maj. Michael S. TenEyck wrote. “The victim’s body showed no signs of foul play and was transported to the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office pending an autopsy to determine an official cause of death.”

Craig Dorfman, her manager, confirmed Mara’s death to The Washington Post on Tuesday.

“Mary was one of the best actresses I’ve ever met,” Dorfman said. “She was electric, funny and a real person, and devoted to her family. Everyone loved him. She will be missed.

A family spokesperson told Deadline that Mara was staying at the summer residence of her sister, Martha Mara. The property is located near the St. Lawrence River, which separates the United States and Canada.

Mara was a famous character actress with over 80 screen credits to her name. She is best known for her stint in the ’90s as a recurring character on NBC’s hit show “ER,” playing patient Loretta Sweet, and her role as Inspector Bryn Carson, a main character on “Nash Bridges. from CBS. Later, she played recurring characters on the Showtime shows “Dexter” and “Ray Donovan.”

Born September 21, 1960 in Syracuse, Mara studied at San Francisco State University and Yale before beginning her acting career. Roger Mara, her brother, told the San Francisco Examiner in 1996 that they were both encouraged to pursue the arts after seeing “their mother’s flair for the dramatic”.

Mary Mara’s first credited role was in the 1989 made-for-TV movie “The Preppie Murder,” according to her IMDb page. After appearing in the 1992 Billy Crystal movie, “Mr. Saturday Night,” Mara broke through on “ER” at a time when the NBC show was the hottest prime-time medical drama on TV. appeared in nine episodes between 1995 and 1996, playing Sweet, a former prostitute diagnosed with cervical cancer.

The recurring spot on “ER” helped catapult Mara into a starring role on “Nash Bridges,” appearing in 23 episodes over the first two seasons between 1996 and 1997. After appearing on shows such as “NYPD Blue,” “Ally McBeal” and “Law and Order,” Mara landed recurring roles as Valerie Hodges on “Dexter” in 2009 and Ms. Sullivan on “Ray Donovan” in 2013.

She most recently appeared in the 2020 film “Break Even.”

Dorfman told the Post that the outpouring of grief he’s received since Sunday has been “extraordinary.” Some of the people who had worked with Mara over the years took to social media to remember a colleague described as a consummate professional.

Actor and director Jon Lindstrom recalled working with Mara at a theatrical performance of “In Heat” in Los Angeles at a time when, he said, she was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.

“She was going through the aftermath of chemo,” Lindstrom wrote, saying that Mara’s death left him “crushed”. “Brave, brilliant, talented from Uber. The Earth will be much less colorful without it.

Screenwriter Bob Saenz posted a black and white photo of Mara, who he said he worked with for “2 great years”.

“It’s the Mary I remember”, Saenz tweeted. “Complete pro, funny, sharp, kind, a first class human being. She was kind enough to participate in a board reading of one of my early scripts.

He added: “RIP Mary. You will miss us.”

Mara is survived by her stepdaughter Katie Mersola, sisters Martha Mara and Susan Dailey, brother-in-law Scott Dailey and nephew Christopher Dailey, according to Variety.

The investigation into Mara’s death is ongoing, police said.

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