Diane is Pete's first wife, an intense overachiever, and the mother of teenagers Hillary and Warren. Diane is incredibly accomplished: she's a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon and won the silver medal in the 1988 Olympics for the 100-meter breaststroke. In her spare time she enjoys going to museums and correcting the tour guides.
Not surprisingly, Diane and her strong personality intimidate Pete, Jackie, and Kate. Being so successful, Diane can be impatient and critical of those who cannot match her level. She believes the parents are only as strong as the weakest link and doesn't want Kate undoing all the wonderful parenting Diane believes she has done.
Under her impenetrable exterior, Diane does have a warm heart and vulnerabilities. She goes over the kids' homework with them in painstaking detail because she cares about their futures, and she snoops through their rooms because she doesn't want them getting into trouble. She loves her children dearly, just expresses it differently than the other parents.
Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden has forged a remarkable body of work. Her character portraits have been described by critics as "searing," "heartbreaking," "inventive," "astonishing," "authentic" and "sensuous." From the glamorous Ava Gardner in Sinatra to artist Lee Krasner in Pollock (for which she won Best Supporting Actress Oscar®) to the down and out Celeste in Mystic River (another Academy Award® nomination), Harden has created a signature style based in character transformation in such films as Miller's Crossing, The First Wives Club, Meet Joe Black, Mona Lisa Smile, The Hoax and Used People.
Harden is filming Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom on HBO, and recently wrapped production on Elsa & Fred, starring the legendary Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer, as well as CBS Films' Get a Job, with Bryan Cranston, Anna Kendrick and John Cho. Her films The Wine of Summer and The Librarian, which she shot in Costa Rica, are in post-production.
Harden has chosen a life away from mainstream Hollywood, crossing between independent and studio films, and television and theatre. In 2011 she reprised the role she originated on Broadway in the Tony Award®-winning play God of Carnage, along with the original cast, in a tremendously successful stage run at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. In 2009 it was her exceptional Broadway performance in this role that garnered her the Best Actress Tony Award. Her fellow-nominated co-stars in the play included James Gandolfini, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. In addition she received an Outer Circle Critics Award as well as nominations from the Drama Desk and Drama League for her performance. That same year she was nominated for an Emmy® Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her role in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. Other nominations include a Tony nomination for Tony Kushner's Angels in America (she won the Drama Desk and Theatre World Awards), an Emmy nomination for her guest appearance on Law & Order: SVU and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for American Gun.
Television appearances include Lifetime's The Amanda Knox Story, a reprise of her Emmy-nominated role on Law & Order: SVU and co-starring in the FX drama Damages, with William Hurt and Glenn Close. Additional films include If I Were You, co-starring Aidan Quinn, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, with Peter Gallagher and Ellen Burstyn, and Detachment, opposite Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks and Lucy Liu. She also co-starred in Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, Whip It, with her daughter, Eulala Scheel, in The Maiden Heist with William H. Macy, Morgan Freeman and Christopher Walken, Canvas, Rails and Ties, Stephen King's The Mist (for which she won a Saturn Award,) Sean Penn's Into the Wild and The Christmas Cottage with Peter O'Toole.
Harden graduated from the University of Texas with a BA in Theatre and an MFA from the Graduate Acting program at New York University.