Marsha Mason: Why the Four-Time Oscar Nominee Walked Away From Hollywood

Marsha Mason didn’t plan on a career in Hollywood. She said she only thought about theater, and a movie career was just destiny. The St. Louis native scored her breakout role in the 1973 film Cinderella Liberty, but it was her role as Paula McFadden in the 1977 film The Goodbye Girl that she became considered an A-lister. Mason was married to writer and producer Neil Simon during that time, and he didn’t want her to work — at least away from him. That’s when they began doing movies together, including Chapter Two, Promises in the Dark, and Only When I Laugh. After 10 years of marriage, the couple split in 1983. Mason was left not knowing what she really wanted to do. She built a house in the Palisades and continued her acting career, but she knew she was aging out of the industry. She finally decided to focus on car racing — a hobby introduced to her by pal Paul Newman — and moved to a farm in New Mexico, where she eventually launched a natural product line. In 2014, she felt the pull of New York, so she sold the farm and moved back to the East Coast. Since then, Mason has appeared on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, the ABC sitcom The Middle, and the CBS legal drama The Good Wife. As for being an older actress, Mason said she’s no longer letting that stop her.