Mary Steenburgen

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Steenburgen in 2013, photo by PrPhotos

Birth Name: Mary Nell Steenburgen

Place of Birth: Newport, Arkansas, U.S.

Date of Birth: February 8, 1953

Ethnicity: English, Scottish, Welsh, distant Dutch

Mary Steenburgen is an American actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Melvin and Howard (1980).

Mary is the daughter of Nellie Mae/May (Wall) and Maurice Hoffman Steenburgen. Her surname, originally spelled Steenbergen, traces back to Peter Steenbergen, who was born, c. 1723, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the son of Dirck/Dirk Steenbergen and Bartha Croonenburgh/Corooninburgh/Cresenburgh. Mary is of approximately 1/128th Dutch descent through that line. Most of her lineage is English, Scottish, and Welsh.

Mary is married to actor, writer, and producer Ted Danson. She has two children with her former husband, British actor Malcolm McDowell, including director and writer Charlie McDowell.

Mary’s paternal grandfather was William Sidney Steenburgen (the son of Silas Noel Steenburgen/Steenbergen and Martha V. Brown). William was born in Arkansas. James was the son of Marcus Lafayette Steenburgen/Steenbergen and Lucy Ann K. Stone.

Mary’s paternal grandmother was Aimee Pauline Davis (the daughter of Origin L./J. Davis and Mary Orto). Aimee was born in Arkansas. Origin was the son of William H. T. Davis and Naomi Dodd. Naomi was English. Mary’s great-grandmother Mary Orto was the daughter of Leonidas/Leonidous Orto and Henrietta Carson.

Mary’s maternal grandfather was Thomas Wade Wall (the son of John H. “Jinks” Wall and Lou/Love “Luella” Allen). Thomas was born in Kentucky. John was the son of Joseph Barnett Wall and Julia Ann Abigail Waltrip.

Mary’s maternal grandmother was Irma/Erma Phillips (the daughter of James Oliver Phillips and Eliza/Elizabeth Newberry). Irma was born in Arkansas. James was the son of Emmett Herchal/Hershel Phillips and Benjamina Arabel “Belle” Pinckley.

Sources: Genealogies of Mary Steenburgen –

Mary’s paternal great-grandmother, Mary Orto, on the 1870 U.S. Census –

Mary’s maternal grandparents, Thomas Wade Wall and Irma/Erma Phillips, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

5 Responses

  1. Freerk says:

    Declarations like “distant Dutch” are always irritating when she has an obvious Dutch surname…

    • bablah says:

      “Mary is of approximately 1/128th Dutch descent ”

      How would you describe someone who has a 5 times great-grandfather who was Dutch. They’re certainly not full, half, or quarter Dutch.

  2. andrew says:

    It would be very interesting to know where “Orto” comes from in this family tree

    I suppose it may come from French “Orteau” or something. It seems unlikely an Italian or Spanish origin in Tennessee but who knows.

  3. cdonorab says:

    Correction. Found some info on her great grandmothers. Found the death certificate of Thomas Wade Walls sister and it said her mother was Love (but probably Lou) Allen. Also found info on Eliza or Elizabeth Phillips. Her maiden name was Newberry.

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