Born in Bedford, NY, Mara was raised with siblings Daniel, Conor and Rooney - who later starred in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" - by her father, Chris Mara, vice president of player evaluation for the New York Giants, and her mother, Kathleen, a part-time real estate agent. In fact, Mara was part of two legendary NFL dynasties. Her grandfather, Wellington Mara, owned the Giants, which her great-grandfather Tim originally founded, while on her mother's side, her great-grandfather, Art Rooney, founded the Pittsburgh Steelers. At the age of nine, Mara informed her mother she wanted to act after becoming enthralled with a performance of "Les Miserables." Her interest in musicals - which her mother aided through trips to Broadway - only grew and eventually led to landing an agent at 14 years old after persistently prodding her mother.
That same year, Mara made her professional debut with a guest starring role on "Law & Order" and later appeared as the daughter of a congresswoman in "Random Hearts." After starring in the Sundance favorite, "Joe the King," she landed guest spots and eventually graduated high school a year early. Fully expecting to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, in part due to pressure from her family to go to college, Mara wound up deferring school in favor of acting full-time. After co-starring alongside Sigourney Weaver in the indie favorite, "Tadpole," Mara had recurring arcs on "Everwood" and "Nip/Tuck." In 2003, she fulfilled her dream of performing on stage, making her debut at the Williamstown Theater Festival in John Guare's "Landscape of the Body."
By 2005, Mara had indeed increased her visibility with memborable roles on The CW's "Jack & Bobby," "24," "We are Marshall" and as the grown-up daughter of Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) in the Academy Award-winning "Brokeback Mountain."
After a small role as a U.S. Marshal in "Iron Man 2" and a lost hiker in "127 Hours," Mara was the emotionally unstable former lover and student of Dr. Ben Harmon on the acclaimed series "American Horror Story." From there, she stepped up to a starring role on "House of Cards," playing an ambitious young reporter who uses a Machiavellian congressman (Kevin Spacey) to receive off-the-record scoops on the behind-the-scenes machinations of Washington politics.
Mara also played a role in the film, "Transcendence," alongside Johnny Depp. Most recently, Mara starred in "Fantastic Four" as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman.
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