She played Alice, the mother and manager of boxers Micky and Dicky Ward, in the Oscar-winning film The Fighter. Her performance earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award, A Golden Globe Award, and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
She debuted on the show All My Children.
She had a son with her boyfriend John Heard in 1987 and adopted a boy in 1984.
She beat out Julia Roberts for the role of Linda Warner on the soap opera All My Children.