The President’s New Face

If you’ve been watching season 4 of Battlestar Galactica then you may have noticed things have changed since last season, and not for the better. No, I’m not talking about the 4 new Cylon models or Lee abandoning the cockpit of his trusty viper. I’m talking about what Laura Roslin, or more correctly, Mary McDonnell has done to her once lovely face.

After watching last night’s episode and then doing a quick image search of the actress for comparison, I think it’s safe to say Mary has caved to Hollywood pressure and “had work done”. You can see in the comparison image that her cheek bones, jaw line and most noticeably her lips have all been altered since last year. The tell-tale mark is the up-turned crease at the edge of her mouth which seems to give her a permanent smile. Unfortunately it reminds me of the butchering that actress Rose McGowan gave herself in early 2007.

It’s sad because I happen to think Ms. McDonnell was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. She certainly didn’t need to prove anything to us or the establishment by altering her face. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in March of 2007, she confesses she had thought about getting a face lift for a long time, but that her husband managed to talk her out of it. Evidently his powers of persuasion aren’t what they used to be because when she appears on BSG now, all I can think is “When the hell did they get a plastic surgeon in space?” Hopefully she’ll turn out to be the final cylon, download and revert to the beautiful Laura we all know and love.


  1. Yeah, I noticed her face was looking markedly altered during the second episode of the season as well. I didn’t notice it as much during the season premiere (which, incidentally, was frakking awesome, in my humble opinion — I mean, how brain-meltingly cool was that sequence where the Cylon Raider made “eye contact” with Samuel Anders?) because there weren’t as many tight shots of her.

  2. Seems like botox in the upper lip. Her nose is the same as always, you can see that in the scene where she cries. Also, in recent pics, the botox seems to be wearing off, and I hope she never repeats it. She’s just too lovely as she naturally is.

  3. The 2007 photo of McDonnell you’ve used for comparison is a Sci-Fi Channel promotional photo – one that is often used for autographing, amongst other things. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to use it for any kind of comparison, as I’d be quite surprised if it hasn’t been retouched.

    Also worth noting: Rose McGowan was seriously injured in a car accident in 2007. She apparently had her eyeglasses driven into her face, and afterwards underwent reconstructive surgery.

  4. Dave, Re: the promo image, yeah you are right. Thought about that after I posted it but the basic shape of her face is unchanged compared to this image.

    Didn’t know that about Rose McGowan! That would explain a great deal.

  5. Looks to me like Mary McDonnell had botox and it wore off. Not a face lift. It was temporary and last I saw her…during the SCIFI Q&A, after the Letterman appearance…she was back to her normal, beautiful self.

  6. Tina, if true, that’s very good news! Considering the episodes we’re seeing now were probably completed some six months ago, it’s a very real possibility. I’ll have to go look at the Letterman top 10 video again to take a closer look. Thanks!

  7. To be honest, who gives a flying frak what she looks like, she’s one of the best actress’s period.
    Nothing else to say apart from give her a break, stop looking in her face for imperfections and watch her acting instead. It’s disgusting people have nothing better to do that wonder who’s had surgery or not, there’s so much more to life than skin.

  8. May, sounds like you’re lecturing the wrong person. Try sending that diatribe to Mary instead of me. Like you, I don’t care one frakking bit if she’s got wrinkles or crow’s feet, which was the reason for my post.

    Evidently SHE does and hence the botox, etc.

    I think she’s beautiful just as she has always been and her acting is the real star of the show. I’ve loved her since Sneakers and Grand Canyon to name a few. So just chill a bit, thanks!

  9. It wasn’t a lecture, it was an opinion, just like the one you expressed.
    The only thing is, if you think she’s beautiful, why add the speculation of surgery/botox/whatever?
    She deserves a personal life without people poking holes in every move she makes.
    If she decided to change her appearence, thats her decision, I just don’t understand why people speculate like this? What are you trying to accomplish?

  10. @May:

    I don’t know if you listened to the podcast Ged posted, but he (along with me, Jen and Dave) analyze, speculate, and obsess over nearly every detail of the show. 😉

    “Kara’s hair is different! Apollo’s been buffing up more! Baltar looks like Jesus! Six has a new outift! Thank gods Adama shaved his mustache off!”

    I don’t think Ged was trying to poke holes or invade her private life or accomplish anything in particular. He’s just a fan of the show, thinks Mary is beautiful without any enhancements, and wanted to throw it out there for discussion.

  11. Having watched my sister and friends decend into an eating disorder hell because of people speculating and talking about the way celebrities look, I find it disturbing how much people obsess over the superficial.

    I’m not having a go, or trying to be holier than thou or anything like that, I too am expressing an opinion that perhaps if people paid less attention to things that don’t matter like that, and more attention to the important things, perhaps I wouldn’t be watching my sister dissapear literally before my eyes because she thinks she needs to be as perfect as the people we see on the screen, in magazines etc.

    I understand he thinks Mary is beautiful etc, but I just don’t understand the point of the subject or discussion. I’m not having a go at Ged, any fan of Mary is cool in my eyes honestly, I just hate coming online, or watching tv, or opening a paper and seeing endless discussions and opnions about what people look like.

  12. May, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve said here.

    In this case, I’m disappointed that Mary caved into that pressure. I think this was the point behind Ged’s post as well. The podcast I mentioned was edited down for time, but I can say that during our recording he expressed a sincere disappointment because Mary is beautiful without any superficial enhancements.

  13. May, I totally respect your opinion about Mary and the idea that it’s not how she looks that matters. In fact, I’m with you 100% about that and I’m sorry if the post was upsetting.

    What bothers me is that the pressure in Hollywood to stay “young looking” or beautiful is so overwhelming, even for a woman of McDonnell’s obvious maturity and wisdom. In that EW interview I linked to she quotes an interesting bit from her husband that makes total sense. He asked her why she would want to have work done when she’s built a career on playing the “every woman” role so effectively. This made sense to her and she stayed off the surgery and face treatments.

    Even after all that however, something must have changed because she did have something done. Other commenters have linked to evidence here that whatever she did, it was temporary, which I think is great. Seems like she experimented but didn’t take the “big plunge”. Good for her, we loved her just the way she was.

    Hope you can see where I was coming from.

  14. I don’t even know if this theory would even work. But the first thing I thought is that she did it for the show…b/c she’s supposed to have cancer and a lil botox might make her a lil more cancer-strikener (yeah, I made that word up…whatever…). Some actors and actresses go to great lengths for their craft (and I don’t mean to be able to play someone younger…) and that’s just the first thing that popped into my head.
    Also, let me just say that I think she’s awesome and awesomely hott no matter what and is the most amazingly talented actress I’ve ever watched.
    (How you like dem adjectives?!…okay, I should also admit I’m a totally dork…)

  15. I am so late to this discussion, but had to say something. Mary McDonnell is 56 years old and on a show where every other female is atleast 25 years younger. Katee Sackhoff is still in her 20’s and I think Tricia Helfer and Grace Park are in their early 30’s. Lucy Lawless is in her 40’s, but Lucy built a career on being some hot, barely clad, kickass vixen (Xena). Mary McDonnell built her career on some solid characters that garnered her academy award nominations and a solid turn as a gradeA bonafide great actress. So, we see Katee, Tricia, Grace and sometimes Lucy posing for Maxim and EW looking like space vixens and the like, and NO Mary. I’ve yet to see Mary McDonnell do something fabulous like posing with a robot, clad in a designer dress (which she should do). Basically, hollywood is prejudice. She has to contend with the fact that she is a veteran actress from a show full of young hotties. The woman is absolutely stunning and obviously hot, but the industry does not think we know this. They think we want more Katee, more Tricia and more Grace. I think if Mary did anything to her face it’s because she realized she has to compete with that kind of bias. It’s a shame, because seriously, Laura Roslin is sexy without having to be a cookie cutter seductress like Six, or a Viper or Raptor pilot. And Mary McDonnell is beautiful and should be in GQ, on the cover of GLAMOUR, whatever. EW should say thanks to her and Edward James Olmos for their great contribution to one of the best shows on tv by giving them their own spread. Let them show the younger folks how it’s done. No matter what, it’s her face but I just hope she knows that 99.9% of her fans would pick her over the younger hotties any day.

  16. I totally agree with you here, Larissa. It is so sad to see people who have something so great — character, good looks, wisdom, experience — start to feel pangs of inferiority because of the people around them. Shame if that’s the case with McDonnell, but then I suppose we can never know the pressure of being one of the oldest actors in a cast of young “hotties” and what sort of self-destructive thoughts that can lead to. I do think Mary McDonnell’s plastic surgery was self destructive – I just finished watching the last episode of season 4 and she looked a completely different person, and not in a good way. Frustratingly, it makes it harder to believe in her character and even the story itself. It’s taken away the nuances of facial expression, which are so key to good acting, and serves as reminder to the looming presence of Hollywood. Ugh. Again, I don’t want to place blame – the pressure on middle-aged actresses must be unbelievable. But I do hope she learns from this. Keep it real, girlfriend!

  17. Could it just be that she’s aging (beautifully, if I might say so)? Anyone thought of that?

    I thought Mary had been vocal about not using plastic surgery… I agree that her face has lost a bit of its softness since the miniseries, but kids, she’s nearing 60. I’m not sure this really has anything to do with botox or surgery or whatnot.

  18. She had the choice of being part of the machine or not. So she decided to cut her face, to stay in the machine. Now she got duck lips.
    Look like shit. Too bad.

  19. Just my two cents. Don’t care who I offend. Lay off Mary McDonnell. Carl, the day will come when you have to roll over and face a wife/girlfriend/prostitute over 50+, and you’re going to be an asshole like most men and judge her for her age and the fact that she doesn’t look like the 20 year old students you’re banging.
    That’s how the world is. Mary McDonnell can do whatever she wants to her face and at the end of the day, it’s none of your business. She has to get work in an industry that prizes youth and good looks. All of your fave actresses over 35 have done some shit to their faces. All of them. It’s the industry. It’s the standard. That’s the only way Mary can continue to get a job so you can all drool over her when she’s on your television/movie screens. It’s a sad, harsh truth.
    Some of the most beautiful women in the world have royally screwed themselves over for hollywood. Look at Sophia Loren. She’s a tranny mess. And she used to be the standard.

    If it bothers you all, then stop buying into hollywoods twisted ideals.

  20. in season 4.5 she has to play a younger version of herself and might have done some lip injections and botox to achieve that… she also has to look like she is healthier when she stops the toxic cancer treatments. The problem is that scenes are not filmed chronologically so her temporary facial meddling might have shown up in earlier scenes. She should have used the old fashioned tape-trick and silicon cream to fill in small lines on the lips and face before they put the make-up on.

  21. Okay, so I just saw scream 4 and i really wanted to see it for mary mcdonnell. i am literally on the web right now looking for links to any mentions of mary mcdonnell completely ruining her face! i could not watch her in scream. a beautiful woman who finally bought into the extreme pressures of hollywood. why? i am actually upset about this because i adore and admire the woman. i really do. but she has ruined her gorgeous face. forever. there is like, no way back from that. i wish i had the power to travel back in time so i could show her a picture of what would happen to her if she fell to the pressure. whoever convinced her to finally do it (because originally she was opposed to it) sucks. forever

  22. OMG! I don’t know what Mary’s done to her face – but she looked terrible in the first episode of The Closure last night. The camera did not stay on her long at all – thankfully. Her face is puffy; her eyes look small as a result; the glasses didn’t help; the hairstyle was not becoming; she just looked terrible. She did NOT need to do anything to her face. She has a fabulous figure on her – and her face was beautiful. Now…….not so much. Bad decision Mary. Bad decision.

  23. She just looks creepy…like all the rest of the people out there trying to look like everybody else. Reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode!

  24. The comparison image is digitally airbrushed. If you want to see some blatent airbrushing, look at the front covers of the BSG DVDs where Adama’s craters have been removed and Mary M made to look 15 years younger.

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