There's a star in the family---the wider church family. Frances McDormand, daughter of a Benton, Penn., Disciples couple, recently won the voted Oscar award for best actress. She was recognized March 24 for her role as a "homespun Midwestern cop" in the movie "Fargo."
The movie was directed by McDormand's husband, Joel Coen, and produced by her brother-in-law, Ethan Coen. Joel Coen and Frances McDormand live in New York City.
Frances McDormand is the daughter of the Rev. Vernon and Noreen McDormand. Vernon has been pastor of Benton Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for 14 years. Noreen is a retired registered nurse.
The actress was born in Illinois, but spent most of her growing up years in Monessen, Penn., a Pittsburgh suburb, according to her father. She graduated from the local high school in 1975, and attended Disciples-related Bethany (W.Va.) College where she earned a bachelor's degree in theater. She later earned a master's degree in theater and drama from Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Theater and drama have been lifelong interests for Frances McDormand. While growing up she "was in every play she could get in," according to Vernon. And often, while finishing a role in one production, she was practicing for yet another, he said.
The McDormands have one other daughter, an ordained Disciples minister. The Rev. Dorothy A. McDormand is a chaplain at the State Correctional Institute, Greensburg, Penn., and pastor of First Christian Church, Dravosburg, Penn.