ER Actress Mary Mara Dead at 61 After Apparent Drowning in NY River: 'Everyone Loved Her'

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Mary Mara, an actress known for her roles in ER and Criminal Minds, has died. She was 61.

The actress' body was discovered Sunday morning after she appeared to have drowned while swimming in St. Lawrence River in Cape Vincent, New York, according to a statement from New York State Police, who noted that an investigation is ongoing.

"The preliminary investigation suggests the victim drowned while swimming," they noted. "The victim's body showed no signs of foul play and was transported to the Jefferson County Medical Examiner's Office pending an autopsy to determine an official cause of death."

According to a statement from her brother-in-law Scott Dailey, Mara was staying at her sister Martha's summer home when the "apparent swimming accident" occurred.

Mara's manager, Craig Dorfman, also confirmed her death in a statement to PEOPLE, remembering her as "one of the finest actresses I ever met."

"I still remember seeing her onstage in 1992 in Mad Forest off-Broadway," Dorfman said. "She was electric, funny, and a true individual. Everyone loved her. She will be missed."

Mary Mara during 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival - "Swedish Auto" Screening at Crest Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/WireImage)
Mary Mara during 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival - "Swedish Auto" Screening at Crest Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/WireImage)

Matthew Simmons/WireImage

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Born Sept. 21, 1960 in Syracuse, N.Y., Mara attended San Francisco State University and Yale School of Drama, also founding a theater group in the Bay Area. Her film, television and stage career spanned more than three decades.

LOVE POTION #9, from left: Dale Midkif, Mary Mara, 1992. © 20th Century Fox / courtesy Everett Collection
LOVE POTION #9, from left: Dale Midkif, Mary Mara, 1992. © 20th Century Fox / courtesy Everett Collection

Everett

The actress had recurring roles on such shows as Criminal Minds, Nash Bridges, NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Ray Donovan, The Practice, Gideon's Crossing, Star Trek: Enterprise, Lost, Dexter and Shameless, as well as appearances in Ally McBeal, Judging Amy, The West Wing, 7th Heaven, Monk, Nip/Tuck and Bones.

"She specialized in complex portrayals of often-troubled characters; perhaps the most familiar was her recurring role in the 1990s of Loretta Sweet, a sympathetic, down-and-out prostitute and single mother on the NBC series, 'ER,'" reads her obituary, which was obtained by PEOPLE.

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Mara also starred in films like Love Potion No. 9, Just Looking, K-PAX, Gridiron Gang and Prom Night (2008), which are among 83 onscreen credits since making her debut in 1989's The Preppie Murder.

Her final onscreen appearance came in the 2020 film Break Even, before she retired and moved back to Syracuse after living a bicoastal life in New York City and Southern California.

Mara is survived by her stepdaughter, Catie Mersola; her sister, Martha Mara; her sister and a brother-in-law, Susan Mara and Scott Dailey; and nephew, Christopher Dailey.

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