Photo of Melissa Leo Melissa Leo

Born Sept. 14, 1960, in New York City, prolific character actress Melissa Leo disappears so thoroughly in her roles that despite decades of film and television work, she goes largely unrecognized out in public.

Educated at the State University of New York, Purchase, Leo began her screen career in 1984 with a stint on "All My Children," receiving a Daytime Emmy nod for her work. She soon became a small-screen staple, appearing in myriad guest roles before landing her next series gig on "The Young Riders." The TV work for which she's best known, however, is her portrayal of Kay Howard on "Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993-97).

Leo also has numerous films to her credit, earning critical acclaim as Benicio Del Toro's wife in 21 Grams (2003) and receiving an Oscar nod for her depiction of a struggling single mom in 2008's Frozen River. She won her first Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 2011 for her supporting turn in The Fighter.

Melissa Leo in Snowden

Snowden

2016 R

In 2013, CIA technical expert Edward Snowden stunned the world by revealing a stolen trove of classified U.S. government documents. This Oliver Stone-helmed drama tells the story of the bold theft that exposed secret NSA mass surveillance programs.

  • Melissa Leo in The Equalizer The Equalizer
  • Melissa Leo in London Has Fallen London Has Fallen
  • Melissa Leo in The Big Short The Big Short
  • Melissa Leo in Flight Flight
  • Melissa Leo in Prisoners Prisoners
  • Melissa Leo in Oblivion Oblivion
  • Melissa Leo in Olympus Has Fallen Olympus Has Fallen
  • Melissa Leo in Conviction Conviction
  • Melissa Leo in The Fighter The Fighter
  • Melissa Leo in Everybody's Fine Everybody's Fine
  • Melissa Leo in All the Way All the Way
  • Melissa Leo in Seven Days in Utopia Seven Days in Utopia
  • Melissa Leo in Wayward Pines Wayward Pines
  • Melissa Leo in 21 Grams 21 Grams
  • Melissa Leo in Hide and Seek Hide and Seek
  • Melissa Leo in Burn Country Burn Country
  • Melissa Leo in Charlie Countryman Charlie Countryman
  • Melissa Leo in The Alphabet Killer The Alphabet Killer
  • Melissa Leo in Mr. Woodcock Mr. Woodcock
  • Melissa Leo in The Ballad of Little Jo The Ballad of Little Jo
  • Melissa Leo in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
  • Melissa Leo in Righteous Kill Righteous Kill
  • Melissa Leo in American Gun American Gun
  • Melissa Leo in Stephanie Daley Stephanie Daley
  • Melissa Leo in Welcome to the Rileys Welcome to the Rileys
  • Melissa Leo in Last Summer in the Hamptons Last Summer in the Hamptons
  • Melissa Leo in Black Irish Black Irish
  • Melissa Leo in Frozen River Frozen River
  • Melissa Leo in Don McKay Don McKay
  • Melissa Leo in The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
  • Melissa Leo in Call Me Crazy: A Five Film Call Me Crazy: A Five Film
  • Melissa Leo in The Equalizer: Season 1 The Equalizer: Season 1
  • Melissa Leo in The Young Riders The Young Riders
  • Melissa Leo in Venice / Venice Venice / Venice
  • Melissa Leo in Homicide: Life on the Street: Season 5 Homicide: Life on the Street: Season 5
  • Melissa Leo in Confess Confess
  • Melissa Leo in Runaway Runaway
  • Melissa Leo in Secret Shorts Secret Shorts
  • Melissa Leo in The Cake Eaters The Cake Eaters
  • Melissa Leo in Hollywood Dreams Hollywood Dreams
  • Melissa Leo in Racing Daylight Racing Daylight
  • Melissa Leo in One Night One Night
  • Melissa Leo in Lullaby Lullaby
  • Melissa Leo in True Adolescents True Adolescents
  • Melissa Leo in According to Greta According to Greta
  • Melissa Leo in Dear Lemon Lima Dear Lemon Lima
  • Melissa Leo in Stephanie's Image Stephanie's Image
  • Melissa Leo in Treme Treme
  • Melissa Leo in The Dry Land The Dry Land
  • Melissa Leo in The Space Between The Space Between
  • Melissa Leo in Mildred Pierce Mildred Pierce
  • Melissa Leo in Red State Red State
  • Melissa Leo in Why Stop Now Why Stop Now
  • Melissa Leo in Veronika Decides to Die Veronika Decides to Die