Mary Nell Steenburgen (born February 8, 1953) is an Academy Award-winning American actress.
Steenburgen moved to New York City in 1972, working at Doubleday's while studying acting at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. Her break came when she was discovered by Jack Nicholson in the reception room of Paramount's New York office and was cast as the lead in his second directorial effort, the 1978 Western Goin' South. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1980 film Melvin and Howard, playing the wife of a man who claims to have befriended reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
Steenburgen played Clara Clayton in Back to the Future Part III (1990), a role which her children, fans of the Back to the Future movies, convinced her to play. She reprised the role by providing the character's voice in the Back to the Future: The Animated Series.
She had a leading role in the 1979 film Time After Time as a modern woman who falls in lo