Melissa Leo

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Melissa Leo at 2011 Capri, Hollywood Film Festival

Melissa Chessington Leo (September 14, 1960) is an American actress. She is the recipient of several accolades, including an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and two Critics' Choice Awards.


  • Television can be a very frustrating job for almost anybody working in television, because you’re shooting episodically, and you don’t know one scene from the next, and maybe they change around.
    • [1] Melissa speak about working on television in 2010.
  • I might have an empathy for the great art of mothering, that understands we can be imperfect and yet be doing our best as a mother. And I'm not afraid to show that, I guess.
    • [2] Melissa speak on mothering in 2012.
  • Well, I don't think of myself as a feminist at all. As soon as we start labeling and categorizing ourselves and others, that's going to shut down the world.
    • [3] Melissa talk about feminist in 2012.
  • I just want a straight-up truth,.I don’t need a lot of compliments on what’s working, I probably know that it’s working.
    • [4] Melissa speak on trust in 2013.
  • If you can’t separate yourself and learn from what either worked or didn’t work you probably shouldn’t be acting in the first place, It’s a tool to learn.
    • [5] Melissa speak on acting in 2013.
  • It’s a judgment about the character, and no, you can’t come into the character judging them as you’re playing them. That’s the film-maker’s job to choose the tone in which the character is seen.
    • [6] Melissa speak on character in 2017.
  • It’s a difficult thing for a woman to say, because I would really like more working women in all kinds of jobs, being a working woman myself.
    • [7] Melisa speak on working with a female director in 2017.
  • The nuns that I grew up around in New York City, they were those activist nuns. They were the nuns who were shot in El Salvador, you know? They were the women who had chosen their own path and put their lives on the line in the only way they were allowed.
    • [8] Melissa talk about activist nuns in 2017.
  • It doesn’t happen to me. I don’t even get asked out on dates. I’m a single woman and not by choice. It’s not the first interview I’ve mentioned it in. The dog might help.
    • [9] Melissa speak on sexual harassment in 2017.
  • I was an extremely fortunate young woman as an actor. I got a job at The Public Theater and I also landed a job on a soap opera.
    • [10] Melissa speak about being an actress in 2018.
  • Sex addiction can be an inability to really connect with people. It can show up in all kinds of places and it can be masked by drug and alcohol addictions. I feel very proud to be apart of Unlovable and open up this conversation.
    • [11] Melissa speak on latest project "Unlovable" in 2018.
  • I think I made a huge mistake, the mistake was that I began to expect," said Leo. "The mistake I made was to expect all those big, important fellas to call me up.
    • [12] Melissa speak about her mistake in 2018.
  • We are all born with a talent and the sweetest part of life comes to us when we allow ourselves to recognize what is that talent. Sometimes our mind, or friends, or parents tell us something, but it’s inside of us where this talent lies, only we can really know.
    • [13] Melissa speak on talent in 2019.
  • I think being a female actor makes it more difficult in exactly the ways that any female on the planet finds the difficulty of our gender. There’s a huge misunderstanding about who we are and how we operate, a lot because of the way women are depicted in film and television.
    • [14] Melissa speak on how female actors find difficulty in the industry in 2019.
  • I understand the value of humor and I do believe laughter is a good medicine.
    • [15] Melissa speak on humor in 2019.
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