In less than a decade, Carrie Coon has gone from unknown regional theatre talent to in-demand star, Tony Award nominee, and now Emmy nominee.
After graduating with an MFA in Acting from the University of Wisconsin, Coon started working in regional theatres, making her professional stage debut in Our Town at the Madison Repertory Theatre. That appearance led to her four-season stay with American Players Theatre, the Wisconsin-based classic theatre company.
Coon next explored Chicago and broke through in 2010 when she was cast as Honey in Steppenwolf Theatre’s production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The actor continued with the production to Washington, D.C., and to Broadway in 2013—marking her Main Stem debut—where she earned a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of the delicate, nervy house guest of the frenzied Martha and George. In a 2013 interview, Coon told Playbill the biggest challenge of the role was “finding the balance of humor and pathos while trying not to act drunk badly.” Though Coon did not take home the statue that night, the production won for Best Revival of a Play.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? also prompted a milestone in Coon’s personal life, as she met actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts (who won a Tony Award for his work as George). The two married in 2013.
Coon’s Theatre World Award and Tony nod earned her significant recognition, and soon she was cast as Margo Dunne (the sister to Ben Affleck’s character) in David Fincher's thriller Gone Girl and in her first leading television role on The Leftovers, which premiered in 2014 and just ended its final season last month.
But it wasn’t The Leftovers that caught Emmy nominators’ attention. Coon’s screen time as Gloria Burgle in the third season of FX’s Fargo earned the actor her first Emmy nod for playing the chief of Eden Valley Police shaken by a too-close-to-home murder.
The combination of The Leftovers and Fargo earned Coon the nomination for the TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama, and she'll also be seen in the upcoming Steven Spielberg drama The Papers followed by the Steve McQueen-helmed Widows, starring Viola Davis.
Coon has still carved out time for theatre amidst her critically acclaimed screen career. In 2015, she starred in Playwrights Horizons’ Placebo and played the title character in Steppenwolf’s 2016 production of Lett’s Mary Page Marlowe. Having been away from Broadway for four years, it seems Coon may be due for a return.
Tune in to the 69th Emmy Awards September 17 on CBS.
Take a look at Carrie Coon in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway: