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Actor Mary Mara dies in apparent drowning

Mary Mara, the 61-year-old actor, best known for her recurring roles in ER and Law & Order, died in Cape Vincent, New York, on Sunday after an apparent drowning incident.

In a statement issued on Monday, the New York State Police confirmed that Mara was found by officers in the St. Lawrence River in Cape Vincent just after 8pm on Sunday. Mara had been staying at the summer home of her sister Martha.

The preliminary investigation has deduced that Mara died by drowning while swimming. Her body has now been transported to the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office, where a full autopsy will be performed to determine an official cause of death.

In a statement from Mara’s manager, Craig Dorfman, confirmed her death: “Mary was one of the finest actresses I ever met,” Dorfman wrote. “I still remember seeing her onstage in 1992 in ‘Mad Forest’ off Broadway. She was electric, funny and a true individual. Everyone loved her. She will be missed.”

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Mara was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, before moving to study at San Francisco State University and later Yale. She started her film and TV career in 1989 with the television programme The Preppie Murder and continued to achieve over 80 screen credits over the ensuing three decades.

Mara’s most notable screen appearances included ER, which saw her play the part of recurring patient Loretta Sweet, and the police programme Nash Bridges, which saw her portray inspector Bryn Carson. Other credits include NYPD Blue, Ally McBeal, Farscape, Law & Order, The West Wing, Monk, Shameless, Ray Donovan, Dexter and Criminal Minds.

Mara was also involved in a number of stage productions, including a New York Shakespeare Festival production of Twelfth Night alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, Jeff Goldblum, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Gregory Hines. In 1990, she also co-starred with William Hurt in a Yale Repertory Theatre production of Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov.

Her career in film began in 1992 with an appearance in Love Potion No. 9 and appeared alongside Billy Crystal later that year in Mr. Saturday Night. Other film credits include Bound, A Civil Action, K-Pax, Gridiron Gang and Prom Night. After appearing in the 2020 film Break Even, Mara retired from acting and moved back to Syracuse.