Born: April 21, 1958 [58 yo] in Gaffney, South Carolina, USA
MacDowell was born in Gaffney, South Carolina, the daughter of Pauline "Paula" Johnston (née Oswald), a music teacher, and Marion St. Pierre MacDowell, a lumber executive. She is of mainly Scottish descent. Her family owned an ante-bellum summer house in Arden, North Carolina. It has since been made into a bed-and-breakfast named the Blake House Inn. Graffiti from her childhood visits is preserved in an upstairs bedroom closet. She attended Winthrop College for two years before moving briefly to Columbia, South Carolina. There she worked two jobs; one in a clothing boutique and the other in a restaurant/bar called "Stage Door" where as a waitress she once served Senator Strom Thurman. Rose lived with her sister Beverly and saved all her money so she could move to NY and start her career. She was initially spotted by a rep from Wilhelmina Models while on a trip to Los Angeles before she would later sign with Elite Model Management in New York City. In 2004, she was awarded a Medal of Honor in the Arts from Winthrop College.
In the early 1980s, MacDowell modeled for Vogue magazine and appeared in ad campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent, Vassarette, Armani perfume, Sabeth-Row, Mink International, Anne Klein and Bill Blass. She worked with such esteemed photographers as Bruce Weber, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn and Herb Ritts among others. A series of billboards in Time Square and national television commercials for Calvin Klein drew attention to her and led to her 1984 film debut in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, a role in which her lines were recorded by Glenn Close because her southern accent was too pronounced. In 1985, she had a small part in St. Elmo's Fire, but her film career seemed to have stalled.
MacDowell at Cannes Film Festival, 2001MacDowell used this time to study method acting with teachers from The Actors Studio in addition to working privately with the renowned coach Harold Guskin. Four years later, MacDowell hit her professional stride. Director Steven Soderbergh cast her in the 1989 independent film sex, lies, and videotape. Her performance earned her an Independent Spirit Award, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, several other award nominations and led to a series of starring roles in films such as Green Card, The Object of Beauty, and Short Cuts.
In the 1990s, MacDowell achieved stardom due to the box office success of the 1993 comedy by Harold Ramis, Groundhog Day, and the 1994 global blockbuster, Four Weddings and a Funeral (FWAAF), opposite Hugh Grant. Groundhog Day and FWAAF remain MacDowell's biggest box office hits to date.
MacDowell appears in print and television advertisements for the cosmetic and haircare company L'Oréal.
MacDowell was married from 1986 to 1999 to fellow former model and rancher Paul Qualley, whom she met while both were posing for Gap ads. The couple have a son, Justin and two daughters, Rainey and Sarah Margaret. She was married to Atlanta, Georgia, businessman Rhett Hartzog from 2001 to 2004.
MacDowell currently resides in the town of Asheville, North Carolina, in the private, gated Biltmore Forest community. She is an avid hiker and general outdoors-woman.
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