Ms. McDonald, 67, died at the Calvary Hospital in the Bronx.
On Broadway she appeared in Medea with Diana Rigg, Man of La Mancha with Raul Julia, Macbeth with Christopher Plummer and Glenda Jackson, Tennessee Williams' Clothes for a Summer Hotel with Geraldine Page, and in The Lincoln Mask with Eva Marie Saint.
Ms. McDonald made her Broadway debut in Fiddler on the Roof with Zero Mostel. It was in this production that she met and married the late Robert Currie. The marriage ended in divorce.
For the New York Shakespeare Festival she appeared in Hamlet with Kevin Kline and Titus Andronicus with Donald Moffat and Kate Mulgrew. She was Kathleen Chalfant's stand-by in the New York production of Wit.
In the 2002 Laguna Playhouse-created bus-and-truck tour of Michael Frayn's Copenhagen (playing one nighters and short runs mostly in small towns) she played Margrethe Bohr. Other tours included Robert Goulet's Man of La Mancha and Jekyll and Hyde. Early in her career she played Jenny Diver in the Chelsea Theater production of The Beggars Opera. Ms. McDonald worked in regional theatres around the country, appearing in Long Day's Journey into Night, Orpheus Descending, Heartbreak House and A Little Night Music, among others. She appeared opposite David McCallum in Signpost to Murder and was Lady Macbeth opposite Christopher Walken. On TV she appeared in many soap operas and was Nurse Crieger on "Kate & Allie" and Lady Bird Johnson in the mini-series, "Kennedy."
She was born Frances Ethel McDonald on Feb. 13, 1936 in Princeton, Indiana, and was an accomplished pianist and singer as well as an actor. At her graduation from Vassar College she was awarded the Francis Walter Prize for Excellence in Performance and the Reid Hall fellowship for study of music in Paris. There she studied with Nadia Boulanger, Jean Casedesus, and Jean Doyen.
Ms. McDonald is survived by a sister, Irene Kilborne, a brother, Bruce, nieces and nephews and many friends. A memorial will be scheduled in March. Donations in her memory may be made to the Melanoma Research Foundation.