- Was a high-school cheerleader, and was voted Football Sweetheart and Miss Jacksonville Sweetheart in her senior year.
- Received a theater scholarship to the University of Michigan.
- After college, performed with Christopher Reeve in a 1974 Harvard Summer School Repertory Theater production of The Threepenny Opera.
- Performed with Actors Theatre of Louisville in 1982 and '83 before landing in New York, where her credits included the original production of Steel Magnolias ('87).
- Had a small role in Lonesome Dove (1989); later TV credits include recurring roles in Dexter, 100 Centre Street and The Riches.
- Made movie debut in the 1990 Tom Cruise NASCAR action adventure Days of Thunder; other notable films include The Rocketeer ('91), Lorenzo's Oil ('92), Dead Man Walking ('95), Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Hannah Montana: The Movie ('09).
- Earned a 2004 Tony nomination for her Broadway debut as Big Mama in a revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
- 2013, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2013, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 2011, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Winner
- 2014, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 2004, Tony — Actress (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
- William Everett Martindale — Father
- Bill Boals — Husband
- Margaret Boals — Daughter
- Margaret Pruitt Martindale — Mother
- Bobby Tim Martindale — Brother
- Bill Martindale — Brother
- Lon Morris College, Jacksonville, TX (1971)
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (BA, 1974)
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