Mary Kate Schellhardt grew up in an artistic family. Always in acting class, Mary Kate studied in Chicago at the Piven Theatre Workshop where she developed through the Viola Spolin techniques in theatre games.
At the age of 13, she was discovered by casting director Gail Levin, during a nationwide search for the role of “Ellen Grape” in Lasse Hallström’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993). Landing the role, her film career began. During her final two years of high school, she shot Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995), Apollo 13 (1995) and The Great Mom Swap (1995), traveling to film sets in Austin, Los Angeles, and the San Juan Islands.
Determined to lead a normal life outside of her film work, Mary Kate was in plays in high school when she wasn’t working professionally. Helplessly in love with the craft, both on screen and on stage, and wanting further knowledge of it, Mary Kate attended Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, an acting conservatory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
After graduation, Mary Kate moved to Los Angeles and began working in television and film once more. She lived in the artistic mecca of Brooklyn for three years and relocated to Los Angeles from New York in 2014. Currently (2014), she splits her time between the coasts, looking to secure footing in the different arenas of stage, film and television.
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