Began acting on the stage with the Teenage Drama Workshop at California State University when she was 12.
Performed with the Los Angeles Free Shakespeare Company for two years, while still attending high school.
First TV gig was playing the guitar while performing a Beatles tune on The Gong Show in 1976.
Played lead role of Maria in her senior-class production of The Sound of Music, opposite Kevin Spacey's Captain Von Trapp; her performance was seen by Hollywood talent agent Meyer Mishkin, who was so impressed that he signed her as a client.
Learned American Sign Language for her role as Maggie, the daughter of deaf parents eager to make a life of her own, in the acclaimed TV-movie Love Is Never Silent (1985).
In 1992, released her first album, a collection of folk songs, entitled What Might Be.
Converted to Judaism in 2003.
1986, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Special: Nominee
1998, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
1998, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Winner
2004, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
1980, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Special: Winner
1996, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress for a Miniseries or a Special: Nominee
1995, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
1983, Genie Awards — Best Performance by a Foreign Actress: Nominee
1997, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
2011, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
1990, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Female: Nominee
2012, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
2014, Tony — Actress (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
1995, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
1996, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Female: Winner
Jack Walter Mapel — Son
Happy Atticus Mapel — Son
Dave Maloney — Great-uncle
Patrick Mapel — Son
Val Kilmer — Ex-significant Other
Calla Louise Mapel — Daughter
A Martinez — Ex-husband
William Sweet Mapel — Ex-husband
Marilyn — Mother
Riley Sam Mapel — Son
Attended California State University, Northridge, California, United States