Martha Plimpton

Eileen O'Neal
Actor Biography

An accomplished and award-winning actress, Martha Plimpton has achieved success across stage, screen and television.

For her work in the television series Raising Hope, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and twice for a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy. Her memorable TV guest appearances include The Good Wife, for which she won 2012 Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in Drama Series; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, for which she earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series; Fringe; and her recurring roles on How to Make It in America and Younger.

Plimpton has appeared in over 30 films, including The Goonies, The Mosquito Coast, Running on Empty, Beautiful Girls, Parenthood, 200 Cigarettes, Pecker, Eye of God and Small Town Murder Songs. She will be seen opposite Audra McDonald in the forthcoming film adaptation of the musical Hello Again.

On stage, Plimpton's work has garnered three-consecutive Tony Award nominations. In 2009, she starred alongside Stockard Channing in Pal Joey for the Roundabout Theatre Company, garnering her third Tony nomination in as many years, as well as a Drama Desk nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and a Drama League nomination. In 2008, Plimpton starred in Top Girls for the Manhattan Theatre Club and received Tony and Drama Desk nominations, and in 2007, Plimpton appeared in Tom Stoppard's nine-hour trilogy, The Coast of Utopia, at Lincoln Center Theater, for which she earned a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Tony nomination.

She appeared on Broadway most recently opposite John Lithgow and Glenn Close in Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance. She made her London stage debut in the UK premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's acclaimed play Other Desert Cities at the Old Vic.

Other appearances on stage include in the New York Philharmonic concert of Stephen Sondheim's Company, opposite Patti LuPone and Stephen Colbert, Shakespeare in the Park's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shining City, The False Servant (Drama League nomination), HurlyBurly, Hobson's Choice (Obie Award, Lortel nomination) and Lincoln Center Theatre's production of William Shakespeare's Cymbeline. She is also a proud member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble, since 1998, where she has appeared in Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, Stephen Jeffries's The Libertine, opposite John Malkovich, and made her directing debut there with Absolution, in 2001.

Plimpton lives in New York City.

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Character Biography

Highly regarded in the community for her volunteer work and fundraising skills, Eileen, the matriarch of the O’Neal household, definitely has the farthest to fall after the family’s secrets all come out. Eighteen years ago, after an unplanned pregnancy and a shotgun wedding to Pat, Eileen quickly got her act together, reinventing herself as the perfectly put-together Catholic mom she is today. But that image is quickly shattered after the whole community finds out her marriage to Pat is ending. Understandably, Eileen is a little reluctant to embrace this new era of honesty and openness in her family. While there’s a part of her that longs to sweep all of the family’s secrets back under the rug, she’s a loving mother first, and wants to support Pat and the kids. Although sometimes the way she shows it could use some work. Eventually, with the help of her family, especially her son Kenny, Eileen starts to see that the loss of perfection can also be kind of liberating. Maybe she will finally trade in her chinos for a pair of jeans. Or maybe she won't. Change is very hard for Eileen. 

MEET THE CASTEileen O'Neal | Pat O'Neal | Kenny O'Neal | Jimmy O'Neal | Shannon O'Neal | Jodi O'Neal

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