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Mary Mara, Syracuse native, dies in apparent drowning

CAPE VINCENT, N.Y. (WSYR) — Mary Mara, who worked in Hollywood for nearly 35 years on television shows including “Ray Donovan,” “Dexter,” and “ER,” drowned in the St. Lawrence River on June 26, according to the New York State Police. 

Joe Pantoliano and Mary Mara star in “The Handler” on CBS. (Tony Esparza/CBS/Getty)

Mara, 61, was found in the river by troopers, Cape Vincent Fire and Ambulance around 8:10 a.m. far upstate, close to the Canadian border. Police said that an official cause of death was still pending, but that there were no signs of foul play and that she appeared to have drowned while swimming.

In a statement, her manager, Craig Dorfman, described her as “electric, funny, and a true individual” who was well-loved, as well as a tremendous actress. The investigation is ongoing, and the body has been taken to the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. 

Mara, who resided in Cape Vincent, was a Syracuse native. She graduated from Corcoran High School before heading to San Francisco State University and Yale. Her earliest acting credit goes back to the 1989 movie “The Preppie Murder.”

From there, Mara went on to star in more than 20 movies and 40 television shows, in a combination of repeat characters in some shows and appearances in others. She acted in movies including “Mr. Saturday Night” with Billy Crystal and “Prom Night.” Her last credit was in 2020, in a movie called “Break Even.” Her TV resume includes “Nash Bridges,” “Lost,” “The West Wing,” Law and Order: SVU,” “Shameless,” and “Love Potion No. 9,” according to her IMDb page.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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