Actress Mary Mara, best known for her roles on Ray Donovan and ER, has been found dead of an apparent drowning at age 61. According to a press release from New York State Police, officers responded to a call on Sunday and discovered a female deceased in the St. Lawrence River when they arrived on the scene. Mary was a resident of Syracuse, New York, and had been staying at her sister’s summer home.
“The preliminary investigation suggests the victim drowned while swimming,” the press release states. “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. The investigation is continuing.”
Although Mary was primarily a character actress — specializing in unusual side roles rather than leading ones — she starred in nine episodes of ER between 1995 and 1996. The show, which premiered in 1994, became NBC’s highest rated drama.
Mary also had a regular role on CBS’ Nash Bridges, and guest-starred on myriad hit shows including NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Ally McBeal, The West Wing, The Practice, Third Watch, and Star Trek: Enterprise. Most recently, she had roles on three successful Showtime series: Dexter, Shameless, and Ray Donovan.
Mary grew up in Syracuse and moved to the San Francisco Bay area in the 80s, where she co-founded a theater group and attended San Francisco State University. She went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of drama. After pursuing her acting career in New York City and Los Angeles for many years, Mary retired from acting in 2020 and returned to live a quieter life in upstate New York.