- Has one son, Pedro McDormand Coen, adopted from Paraguay in 1994
- Once lived in an apartment with Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel and Holly Hunter
- Was the third and youngest child adopted by her minister father Vernon and his wife, Noreen.
- Raised in Monessen, Pennsylvania.
- Sister-in-law of Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke.
- Both of her parents were born in Canada. Her father, Vernon McDormand, was a Disciples of Christ minister and her mother, Noreen McDormand, a housewife.
- She attended Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia and received her B.A. in Theater, 1979. Then she attended Yale University School of Drama, New Haven, Connecticut and received her M.F.A., 1982.
- Was jury president of Berlin film festival 2004.
- Her Oscar-winning role, as Marge Gunderson from her 1996 film Fargo (1996), was ranked #33 in the American Film Institute's Heroes list in their 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.
- Was nominated for Broadway's 1988 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for a revival of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire."
- Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2006 Razzie Award nominating ballot. She was listed as a suggestion in the Worst Supporting Actress category for her performance in the film Æon Flux (2005). However, she failed to receive a nomination. (Had she gotten the nomination, she would have been one of the few to be nominated for both Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, for North Country (2005), and Worst Supporting Actress at the Razzies in the same year.)
- With the exception of Almost Famous (2000) and Mississippi Burning (1988), two of her four Oscar-nominated roles were in films that took place in Minnesota: Fargo (1996) and North Country (2005).
- Her performance as "Marge Gunderson" in Fargo (1996) is ranked #27 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
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