Mary Pat Gleason

Mary Pat Gleason

Birth Name


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Mary Pat Gleason started in the entertainment industry in the 1980's landing her first role on the TV program Texas. For the next two decades she landed roles in Steel Magnolias, Basic Instinct, Traffic and many TV shows such as Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City and has…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • Mary:(On using humor to talk about painful experiences) One of the people I began working with was Michael Patrick King, who wrote [many episodes of]Sex and the City. Michael has been a dear friend of mine since I was 21 or 22 years old. Michael and [director] Lonny Price have got to be two of the funniest people on this planet. Whenever I would start to tell a story that was scary, or depressing or frightening, Michael would literally scream at me, "Don't scare me!" And I said, "Michael, there are people out there that are scary." And he said, "I don't want to hear about them from you... you can make me laugh.That's what I need. There's no point for you to go onstage and scare me, but not many people can walk onstage and make us laugh." Both Michael and I and Lonny and I agree that Norman Cousins is right. If you can laugh at something, it loses its power over you. If you can laugh about it and talk about it, you can heal.

    • Mary:(About her "The Middleman" co-star Matt Keeslar) I think he is happy and he's a delight to work with. He is one of the hardest working actors that I've ever met and he is on it all the time. He takes beautiful care of himself, he's fit and he eats well and he's not a spoiled actor at all. He's always funny and prepared. Both Natalie and Matt have their lines down and they know what they are doing and that makes it so easy for everyone around them, because it's so easy for a lot of actors to develop bad work habits.

    • Mary:(About the physical aspects of her role on "The Middleman") The give me stuff to do and I have to make myself limber in two weeks sometimes! I don't know if there is another group of writers that think that a woman over forty can move and can speak foreign tongues and do the stuff that I get to do. I'm sure I'll have lots of friends that will be calling me and telling me I am so lucky because of what I get to do.

    • Mary Pat Gleason:(On what she likes about her character on "The Middleman") I'm a big fan of the genre, but Javier and our writers are really geniuses in this area. They were running way in front of me, and quoting things and I had none of that before, but what I did have was that most of my friends who have been in the business like I have for the last thirty-five or forty years usually get hired to come in and tell a couple of jokes or be in once scene that turns things around. This was the first time I was being offered a role of a character that really was a daily part of what was going on, and she also had energy and power. I thought what could be more fun than being a middle-aged actress with this much fun stuff to do in a role? The writers aren't limited in their imagination as to what Ida can do and what powers she has. That is an actor's dream because I get something every week that is fun to do. Or in this case it could require you to go to the gym all the time during the week to be able to do something. [Laughs] You have to be ready to be running through things, or crawling around, or falling, you just don't know!

    • Mary Pat Gleason:(On how she landed a role on "The Middleman") Actually I was called by the casting director and audition for it, and that was the first that I had heard about it. I went in and met Javier and Jeremiah Chechik the director on the pilot and I really had a wonderful audition experience with them. They made the audition fun and they cracked jokes and just really made it easy, so did the casting director, that office is just sensational. I got a call back on it, and every now and then you get a feeling about something you've auditioned for, and I felt that I might've been on the same wavelength as they are and that my instincts were the same as the writer and the director. So then when I got it I was thrilled.

    • Mary:(On talking about her illness on-stage) It gives me clarity. I began to realize that some of these episodes [happened] because of things I was taught as a child or because I believed that God punishes us. I got to go after that and heal some of that stuff. The best part is that I'm actually standing there doing this. The doctors said, "We don't know how you're going to be able to repeatedly, night after night, talk about the episodes and not have one yourself." The truth is, it's been delightful, and people have been enjoying it, but it was a process. I had to go to everybody mentioned in the show and ask if I could use their names and that really helped because I'm not making up people.

    • Mary:(On what people can learn from her show "Stopping Traffic") What's wonderful for other actors is this: The truth is enough. I think so frequently in life people alter the truth to make the story more interesting. In one-person shows, the subject matter is people's own personal experiences or an incident that they went through, but I think it's important for artists to look around and know that everyday life is dramatic and interesting. People can get catastrophic [medical] diagnoses or an illness that completely alters their life, and it's important for people to know that others have had that experience, and that they are happy and they are having a good life. I really fought hard for the opportunity to do this [work as an actor with bipolar disorder].

    • Mary: My belief was that the theater does heal. Sometimes people in the audience see things on the stage that they are not able to talk about that they've experienced, or it's a forbidden subject in the family, and it opens up a conversation for them.