Mary Claire Kennedy was born on September 25, 1949 in Rochester, New York. She graduated from Smith College.
Kennedy began her theater career at the age of twelve. Her involvement in the Rochester Community Players led to her role in the play, Agatha Christie's "Spider Web” in 1960. She later went on to play the character Jan in the original Broadway production of “Grease”, and in the musical’s national tour as well. She won a leading role on television series 3 Girls 3
in 1977, and she co-starred in several television movies. She starred in the drama Homefront
, but it was her role as Dharma’s mom, Abby, on the sitcom, Dharma & Greg
, that made her face nationally recognized.
She has been in several films, including Buddy
(1997) and Death Becomes Her
Kennedy is married to Larry Dilg, and she has two children.