March 7, 2010
TATE Accepts Nominations for Mary Kay Place Legacy Award
By James D. Watts, Jr.
Tulsa native Mary Kay Place, whose career as an actor, writer, and director has included work on some of the most popular and innovative TV series and films, has been selected to receive the 2010 Distinguished Artist Award from the Tulsa Awards for Theatre Excellence.
Place will be in Tulsa to accept the award at the TATE ceremony, which will be June 13 at the Cascia Hall Performing Arts Center, 2520 S. Yorktown Ave.
Teresa Miller, chairman of the selection committee for the Distinguished Artist Award, said, “Mary Kay’s career has been so wide-ranging and so accomplished that she seemed to us to embody that desire for excellence that’s at the heart of the TATE awards.”
Place is the second person to be honored with the TATE Distinguised Artist Award. Kristin Chenoweth was the first recipient in 2009. Place won an Emmy Award for her role in the ground-breaking soap opera satire “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” where she playing the aspiring country singer Loretta Haggers. (Place would also record two albums in the Haggers persona.)
She has since appeared in shows including “M*A*S*H,” “The West Wing,” and her current recurring role in the HBO series “Big Love.”
With Linda Bloodworth-Thompson, the creator of “Designing Women,” Place wrote scripts for such series as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “M*A*S*H,” and has directed episodes of the series “Friends,” “Baby Boom,” and Arli$$.”
She appeared in such films as The Big Chill, Manny and Lo, Sweet Home Alabama, and, most recently, the comedy Youth in Revolt (which included Place making a reference to the old Otasco store radio ads).
Miller said Place will give a short talk during the ceremony, emphasizing the importance of the arts and touching on a few career highlights.
Place grew up in Tulsa – her father, Bradley Place, was for many years a professor of art and chairman of the School of Art at the University of Tulsa. She graduated from Nathan Hale High School and TU, with a degree in radio and TV production, then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career.
In an interview with the Tulsa World in 2002, Place said, “It’s highly unusual in this business to be able to do so many different things. And to be honest, it might have been a better plan if I had focused on one thing, as far as establishing a career is concerned.
“But the great thing about this business is that anything is possible at any time. I really enjoy the work I do, and I am so gratefult to be able to make a living doing what I love.”