I loved television and the movies, and that was the main reason I moved to Los Angeles after graduate school.

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn '88

When Mary Elizabeth McGlynn '88 started her career, she had one goal in mind. "I wanted to be on Star Trek," she says with a laugh. "I loved television and the movies, and that was the main reason I moved to Los Angeles after graduate school."

McGlynn graduated from Bucknell with a theatre degree and from Southern Methodist University in 1991 with an M.F.A. in acting. After moving to L.A., she secured an agent and started landing roles with Universal Studios, including a spot in an Aaron Spelling pilot. It all seemed to be going well, but while she was filming an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, the horse she was riding reared up, causing her to fall. Her kneecap was dislocated when the horse came down on top of her. She was incapacitated for months — a death sentence for a young actress. When a friend suggested she try voiceover work, McGlynn discovered that — unlike the competitive world of on-camera work — the voice-acting community was warm and supportive.

McGlynn has one of the most sought-after voices for anime and video games. In 2007, she won the American Anime Award for Best Female Voice Actress for her portrayal of Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. "That award meant a lot to me because it was the only time it was given — and it was for a strong female character who was on a journey of existential self-discovery."

While she was at Bucknell, McGlynn did theater with organizations such as Cap and Dagger. "I spent so much time developing characters," she says. That practice would prove invaluable to her, as she sometimes voices half a dozen characters in the same episode, from an older woman to a young girl to a giant slug.

After several years doing anime voiceovers, McGlynn started directing. English dubs of the popular Japanese anime series Naruto that she directed were broadcast on Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and similar channels. In 2008, she won a Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation award for Best Director.

The best part of her work, McGlynn says, is having the opportunity to meet fans and their parents at anime conventions. "That's why I'm doing it. It fuels my passion to do the very best work that I can."

Posted January 2015

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