Mary Megan Winningham (born May 16, 1959) is an Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated American actress and singer. Her father was the chairman of the Department of Physical Education at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and her mother was an English teacher and college counselor at a local high school. She credits her first interest in acting to seeing an interview with Kym Karath (who played "Gretl" in The Sound of Music) on Art Linkletter's television show House Party when she was five or six years old.Winningham attended local primary schools, where her favorite activities included drama and playing the guitar. She took the extended drama option in junior high school and continued to study over her summer vacations at CSUN's Teenage Drama Workshop. It was at this time that she adopted the nickname "Mare". Her mother arranged for her to go to Chatsworth High School, a high school with a renowned drama department. In Grade 12 Winningham starred in a production of The Sound of Music, playing the part of Maria, opposite classmate Kevin Spacey as Captain Von Trapp.