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Deanna Dunagan Edit Profile


Deanna Dunagan is a Chicago-based American actress.


Dunagan was born and raised in Monahans, Texas, the daughter of Kathlyn (Cosper) and John Conrad Dunagan. The eldest of five children, her father was a Coca-Cola bottler and president of the Texas Historical Association. Her mother was a stay-at-home parent with an active presence in the community.


Although Dunagan has appeared on television and in films, she is most admired for her work as a stage actress. In an interview, Dunagan light-heartedly described her extended family, "My heritage is a long line of Southern Baptist and Methodist preachers—who were all just frustrated actors." Dunagan earned a degree in music education from the University of Texas, Austin. Following her divorce, Dunagan's parents agreed to fund graduate studies at Trinity University, Texas through the Dallas Theater Center.

While writing her Master's thesis, Dunagan lived in Mexico. Dunagan began her acting career performing in regional theaters such as the Asolo Repertory in Sarasota, Florida, and the Actors of Louisville before trying her luck in New York City. She made her Broadway debut in the 1979 production of George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman at Circle in the Square as an understudy for Ann Sachs.

Sachs became ill at one point during the show's run and Dunagan filled in for her with great success. This exposure led to her to being signed with International Creative Management and helped forward her career. In 1981, Dunagan performed in the first national tour of Children of a Lesser God.

While on this tour, Dunagan visited Chicago for the first time and immediately fell in love with the city. After the end of the tour, Dunagan moved to Chicago and has lived there ever since, performing in more than 30 theaters in the Chicago area. Her work on the Chicago stage has garnered her three Joseph Jefferson Awards and three After Dark Awards.

She has worked in films including, The Naked Face, Running Scared, Men Don't Leave, Losing Isaiah, and Dimension. She has also appeared in more than ten made for television movies, in the TV mini-series A Will of Their Own and Amerika, and as a guest star on the television shows Prison Break, What About Joan, and Missing Persons. In 2007-2008, Dunagan returned to Broadway in the Steppenwolf 's transplant production of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County.

She went on to portray Violet Weston in productions in London's West End in 2009 and in Sydney, Australia in 2010.


  • She is best known for her Tony Award-winning portrayal of Violet Weston in Tracy Letts' August: Osage County and for her portrayal of Nana in M. Night Shyamalan's 2015 film The Visit. For her performance, Dunagan won a Tony Award, World Award and a Drama Desk Award.


  • Other Work

    • Actor: (television films) Will: The Autobiography of G. Godron Liddy, 1982, Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby is a Friend of Mine, 1982, Hard Knox, 1984, A Matter of Principle, 1984, The Roommate, 1985, Two Fathers' Justice, 1985, Under the Biltmore Clock, 1986, Charley Hannah, 1986, Two Fathers: Justice for the Innocent, 1994. (television miniseries) A Will of Their Own, 1998. (films) The Naked Face, 1984, Running Scared, 1986, Men Don't Leave, 1990, Losing Isaiah, 1995, Janey Van Winkle, 2002, Dimension, 2007.

      (plays) Stepping Out, 1989, Still Waters, 1991, Cariolinus, 1991, Private Passage, 1992, A Lie of the Mind, 2002, James Joyce's The Dead, 2003, I Never Sang For My Father, 2004. (Broadway plays) August: Osage County, 2007 (Theatre World award, 2008, Drama Desk award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, 2008, Tony award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, 2008, 2008).