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
2014, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
2004, Tony — Actress (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
2011, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Winner
2015, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Winner
2015, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Guest Actor/Actress in a Drama Series: Winner
2013, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
2016, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Winner
2017, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
William Everett Martindale — Father
Margaret Pruitt Martindale — Mother
Bobby Tim Martindale — Brother
Bill Martindale — Brother
Bill Boals — Husband
Margaret Boals — Daughter
Attended Lon Morris College, Jacksonville, Texas, United States; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States (BA, 1974)