Criminal Minds Wiki

Mary Megan "Mare" Winningham is an American actress and singer-songwriter.


Winningham was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but raised in Northridge, California. Her parents are Marilyn Jean (née Maloney) and Sam Neal Winningham, and she has three brothers and one sister. According to her, her first interest in acting came after seeing an interview with Kym Karath (who played the character of Gretl in The Sound of Music) on Art Linkletter's TV series House Party when she was five or six years old. For her primary education, Winningham attended Andasol Ave. Elementary School, where her favorite activities included drama and playing the guitar and drums. She later took the extended drama option at Patrick Henry Junior High School and continued to study over her summer vacations at the Teenage Drama Workshop program at California State University, Northridge, where her father was the chairman of the physical education department. It was at this time that she adopted the nickname "Mare". When she was a senior in high school, Winningham starred in an onstage production of The Sound of Music, playing the part of Maria, starring alongside classmate Kevin Spacey as Captain Von Trapp.

Winningham started her professional career as a singer-songwriter. In 1976 and 1977, she got her break singing The Beatles song "Here, There and Everywhere" on The Gong Show. Though Winningham received no record contracts as result of the appearance, she was signed on to an acting contract by Hollywood agent Meyer Mishkin, and later received her Screen Actor's Guild card for doing three lines in an episode of the drama series James at 15. During that year, Winningham was offered a role on Young Pioneers and Young Pioneers Christmas, both pilots for the short-lived 1978 drama The Young Pioneers. Though the series ended with just three episodes being broadcast, a number of TV projects followed for Winningham, including parts on Police Woman in 1978 and Starsky and Hutch in 1979. Later that same year, she played the role of teenage outcast Jenny Flowers in the made-for-TV film The Death of Ocean View Park.

In 1980, Winningham starred in Off the Minnesota Strip, in which she portrayed a young prostitute. She then won an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie for her role in the critically-acclaimed, made-for-TV film Amber Waves. In that year, she also broke into feature films with One Trick Pony. In 1983, Winningham was nominated for a Canadian Genie Award for her work in the futuristic 1981 drama Threshold, and she also appeared in the 1983 epic miniseries The Thorn Birds, in which she portrayed Justine O'Neill. In 1984, she starred as Helen Keller in Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues. Winningham achieved greater fame in St. Elmo's Fire as one of the original "brat pack" alumni. Despite the film's success, she was in financial ruin over her teen idol status, and returned to television in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Love Is Never Silent, for which she received an Emmy nomination. Another well-known and well-received performance by her was as a homeless young mother in the made-for-TV movie God Bless the Child.

Winningham then finished the 1980s off with roles in two Hollywood films: the nuclear disaster drama Miracle Mile, for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 1989; and the comedy-drama film Turner & Hooch. In 1988, Winningham also starred in the Los Angeles stage production of Hurlyburly. In the early 1990s, she returned to film for the 1994 films Wyatt Earp and The War. The following year, she appeared in Georgia, of which she won Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations for her performance. Two years later, she starred in George Wallace, for which she garnered her first Golden Globe Award nomination, as well her winning an Emmy Award. She then made acclaimed appearances on the series ER and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as appearances in the 2001 TV project Sally Hemmings and the short-lived series The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire. Also, in 2001, Winningham appeared in the made-for-TV movie Snap Decision and the indie film Dandelion.

In 2006, Winningham landed the role of Susan Grey on the ABC-produced drama Grey's Anatomy, but her character was killed off in May 2007. Also, in 2006, she voiced the audio version of Stephen King's Lisey's Story. In 2007, she provided her voice for Skylight Confessions. In 2010, Winningham starred in an episode of Cold Case as main character Lilly Rush's stepmother, Celeste Cooper. In 2011, she appeared in the fourth episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day as Ellis Hartley Monroe. She also starred in the miniseries Mildred Pierce and Hatfields & McCoys; in addition, she garnered another two Emmy nominations. During the following year, she appeared off-Broadway as Beth, the mother in an intellectual, though dysfunctional, British family, in the award-winning comic-drama Tribes. For her musical career, Winningham has recorded three albums: What Might Be on the Bay Cities label, Lonesomers on the Razor and Tie label, and Refuge Rock Sublime on the Craig & Co. label. She also sung on the soundtrack of Georgia.

In her personal life, Winningham was raised a Roman Catholic, but in November 2001, on a friend's recommendation, she took a class given by Rabbi Neal Weinberg at the University of Judaism (now the American Jewish University) in Los Angeles, California. On March 3, 2003, she converted to Judaism.

On Criminal Minds[]

Winningham portrayed survivor Nancy Riverton in the Season Six episode "Safe Haven".


  • American Horror Story (2013) as Alicia Spencer
  • Under the Dome (2013) as Agatha Seagrave (2 episodes)
  • Philomena (2013) as Mary
  • Hawaii Five-0 (2013) as Terry Beckett
  • Hatfields & McCoys (2012) as Sally McCoy (TV miniseries, 3 episodes)
  • Mirror Mirror (2012) as Baker Margaret
  • Torchwood (2011) as Ellis Hartley Monroe (3 episodes)
  • Mildred Pierce (2011) as Ida Corwin (TV miniseries, 5 episodes)
  • Criminal Minds - "Safe Haven" (2010) TV episode - Nancy Riverton
  • 24 (2010) as Elaine Al-Zacar (2 episodes)
  • Cold Case (2010) as Celeste Cooper, 2010
  • Brothers (2009) as Elsie Cahill
  • CSI: NY (2009) as Katherine Donovan
  • Swing Vote (2008) as Larissa Johnson
  • Boston Legal (2007) as Patrice Kelly (2 episodes)
  • War Eagle, Arkansas (2007) as Belle
  • Grey's Anatomy (2006-2007) as Susan Grey (6 episodes)
  • Clubhouse (2004-2005) as Lynne Young (11 episodes)
  • The Magic of Ordinary Days (2005) as Martha
  • Dandelion (2004) as Layla Mullich
  • The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire (2003) as Dottie Shaw (7 episodes)
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2003) as Sandra Blaine
  • The Adventures of Ociee Nash (2003) as Aunt Mamie Nash
  • The Maldonado Miracle (2003) as Maisie
  • Touched by an Angel (2002) as Maggie
  • Tru Confessions (2002) as Ginny
  • Six Feet Under (2002) as Eileen Piper
  • Night Visions (2001) as Kate Morris
  • Snap Decision (2001) as Jennifer Bradley
  • Sharing the Secret (2000) as Dr. Nina Moss
  • Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000) as Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph
  • Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke (1999) as Chandi Heffner
  • ER (1998-1999) as Dr. Amanda Lee (4 episodes)
  • Little Girl Fly Away (1998) as Catherine "Cath" Begley
  • Everything That Rises (1998) as Kyle Clay
  • Mad About You (1997-1998) as Sarah McCain (2 episodes)
  • George Wallace (1997) as Lurleen Wallace
  • Bad Day on the Block (1997) as Catherine Braverton
  • The Deliverance of Elaine (1996) as Elaine Hodges
  • The Boys Next Door (1996) as Sheila
  • Letter to My Killer (1995) as Judy Parma
  • Georgia (1995) as Georgia Flood
  • The War (1994) as Lois Simmons
  • Wyatt Earp (1994) as Mattie Blaylock
  • Teresa's Tattoo (1994) as Singer
  • Betrayed by Love (1994) as Dana
  • Sexual Healing (1993) as Marta (short)
  • Better Off Dead (1993) as Kit Kellner
  • Intruders (1992) as Mary Wilkes
  • Those Secrets (1992) as Faye
  • Hard Promises (1991) as Dawn
  • She Stood Alone (1991) as Prudence Crandall
  • Fatal Exposure (1991) as Jamie Hurd
  • The Pied Piper (1990) as Nicole Rougeron
  • Love and Lies (1990) as Kim Paris
  • Turner & Hooch (1989) as Dr. Emily Carson
  • Miracle Mile (1988) as Julie Peters
  • God Bless the Child (1988) as Theresa Johnson
  • Eye on the Sparrow (1987) as Ethel Lee
  • Made in Heaven (1987) as Brenda Carlucci
  • Shy People (1987) as Candy
  • Nobody's Fool (1986) as Pat
  • Who Is Julia? (1986) as Mary Frances Bodine
  • A Winner Never Quits (1986) as Annie
  • The Twilight Zone (1986) as Norma Lewis (segment "Button, Button")
  • Love Is Never Silent (1985) as Margaret Ryder
  • St. Elmo's Fire (1985) as Wendy Beamish
  • ABC Afterschool Specials (1985) as Beth
  • Single Bars, Single Women (1984) as Bootsie
  • Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues (1984) as Helen Keller
  • The Thorn Birds (1983) as Justine O'Neill (TV miniseries)
  • Missing Children: A Mother's Story (1982) as Kate Bradshaw
  • A Few Days in Weasel Creek (1981) as Locksley Claitor
  • Threshold (1981) as Carol Severance
  • Freedom (1981) as Libby Bellow
  • One-Trick Pony (1980) as Modeena Dandridge
  • The Women's Room (1980) as Chris
  • Off the Minnesota Strip (1980) as Micki Johansen
  • Amber Waves (1980) as Marlene Burkhardt
  • The Death of Ocean View Park (1979) as Jenny Flowers
  • Steeletown (1979) as Aggie Modgelewsky
  • Family (1979) as Merilee Kalisher
  • Studs Lonigan (1979) as Helen Shyers (TV miniseries)
  • Starsky and Hutch (1979) as Joey Carston
  • The Young Pioneers (1978) as Nettie Peters
  • Police Woman (1978) as Linda
  • Special Olympics (1978) as Janice Gallitzin
  • James at 16 (1977) as Wanda (uncredited)
  • Young Pioneers' Christmas (1976) as Nettie Peters
  • Young Pioneers (1976) as Nettie Peters


  • IF I WANTED (1995) - Georgia
  • MERCY (1995) - Georgia
  • Save Myself (1994) - Teresa's Tattoo
  • On My Way to Me (1981) - Freedom
  • Dear Billy (1981) - Freedom
  • Sugar Mountain (1981) - Freedom
  • Me and Bobby McGee (1980) - One-Trick Pony

External Links[]

For an up-to-date filmography, see here.