Melissa Leo is an American actress best known for her role as tough-minded shift-Det. Kay Howard on the award-winning television series Homicide: Life on the Street, from 1993–1997.
She has also been a regular on All My Children, The Young Riders and Treme.
For her work in The Fighter, Melissa Leo won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, a Best Supporting Actress Award from the New York Film Critics Circle and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and Critics Choice Award.
She also received Oscar and SAG nominations for her starring role in Frozen River, for which she won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead and a Spotlight Award from the National Board of Review, among countless other accolades, as well as universal critical acclaim.
Leo shared a Best Ensemble Acting award from the Phoenix Film Critics Society for her work in 21 Grams, opposite Benicio del Toro and Sean Penn.
Her films include Conviction, opposite Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, and Welcome to the Rileys, opposite James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart.
Her other notable film work includes The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, starring opposite Dwight Yoakam and Tommy Lee Jones, and Hide and Seek, starring opposite Robert De Niro.
Leo can also be seen in the films Red State, written and directed by Kevin Smith, and Seven Days in Utopia.
She has a son with actor and former boyfriend John Heard.