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Mary Mara’s family mourns following ER actress’ reported death by drowning

Bruno Cooke June 28, 2022
mary mara family

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New York State police are investigating a “drowning incident” in Cape Vincent involving 61-year-old ER actress Mary Mara.

Among those who have paid tribute to Mary Mara following her untimely death on 26 June 2022 are her brother-in-law Scott Dailey and her manager Craig Dorfman.

According to a statement seen by People, Scott said Mary was at her sister Martha’s summer home when the accident occurred.

Mary has two sisters, Martha and Susan Mara, but what do we know about the remainder of her family who are mourning her passing?

Photo by Matthew Simmons/WireImage

Mary Mara’s nuclear family: Meet sisters Martha and Susan

Mary was staying at Martha Mara’s summer home when the reported swimming incident occurred on 26 June 2022, Mary’s brother-in-law – the husband of her sister Susan – confirmed to People. 

The actress was said to have regularly swum in the St Lawrence River as Mary regularly posted about it on her Instagram. The large river flows from Lake Ontario northeasterly into the Gulf of St Lawrence.

It connects the Great Lakes to the North Atlantic; on one side is New York State – and Mary Mara’s sister Martha’s summer home in Cape Vincent, Jefferson County – while on the other are the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Susan has a son with husband Scott Dailey, Christopher, who is Mary’s nephew.

Mary Mara also survived by ex-husband Jerry Mersola and stepdaughter Catie

Among family mourning for Mary Mara are ex-husband Jerry Mersola and stepdaughter Catie (The Wrap spells her name with a K).

Photo by Tony Esparza/CBS via Getty Images

Gossip Next Door reports Mary married Jerry Mersola on 23 September 2006 – the website cites a dated photograph of them standing together. 

They didn’t have children together and separated after more than a decade of marriage. Jerry posted on Facebook on 26 September 2016 in celebration of Mary’s birthday.

He wrote that Catie – his daughter from a previous relationship – had taken him and Mary out for Mary’s 56th birthday, which almost coincided with their tenth wedding anniversary.

Catie Mersola Smith, Mary Mara’s stepdaughter, is based in Thousand Oaks, California.

Her parents’ names are Lucille and Roger

Numerous websites name Mary Mara’s parents as Kathleen McNulty and Christopher Mara.

However, their names are actually Lucille and Roger. They have both featured in Mary’s Instagram posts during the past few years. 

Source: Instagram [marymara7901]

Mary’s father Roger J Mara was a military man. She posted in November 2018 that he “had great war stories”.

Her mother, meanwhile, was called Lucille – Mary Mara posted in July 2019 that she used to watch her mother play “the hypnotic pinball machine”, while “trails of her cigarette smoke” smarted her eyes.

Her father would tell stories at the bar, “with howls of laughter engulfing him”.

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The confusion over her parents’ names are likely to have arisen from the fact Mary Mara’s family shares its surname with the family of Kathleen McNulty and Timothy Christopher Mara, who are the parents of actors Kate and Rooney Mara. The two families are not related. 

Mary Mara battled skin cancer in the late 2010s

Despite being diagnosed with skin cancer, signs of the disease were spotted early and Mary made a full recovery. Mary continued to work as an actor while recovering from the after-effects of her chemotherapy.

Her cancer journey also featured in her social media posts. She posted a video in April 2019 showing scarring on her shoulder, with the hashtag #cancersucks.

Mary was in and out of hospital in 2018 but was able to return to New York City to audition for theatre roles by late 2019.

An earlier post featuring Mary Mara and sisters Martha and Susan suggests they are both older than her, meaning they are likely to be in their 60s.

Our thoughts are with the family, friends and fans of Mary Mara at this difficult time.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.