top of page

Cady McClain is a history making three-time Emmy© Award winning actress, two-time Emmy© nominated director, and an accomplished producer and writer who has worked for over 40 years in film, television, and theater.  She is proud to be the new Artistic Director for Axial Theatre,  a twenty-four year theatrical institution dedicated to the development of new plays.


During the pandemic she became a Creative Partner at the US Coalition on Sustainability, helping to create its first website, promotional video, and outreach campaign - a result of which was a partnership with We Don't Have Time.   She also edited several videos for the National Breast Cancer Coalition which helped them to raise 1 million dollars at their first public event.

A Los Angeles Native, McClain spent 25 years living in New York City to pursue acting training and work in theatre.  She studied for eight years with Master Teacher Michael Howard and was proud to be the youngest student he ever accepted into his master class.  Ms. McClain went on to enjoy performing in such historic theatrical productions Off-Broadway as David Ives’ The Red Address at Second Stage, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at Lincoln Center TheaterA Comedy of Errors at the Hudson Guild, Barefoot in the Park at the Westbury and Valley Forge Music Fair, Quiet on the Set at the Westbeth, and Self Offense at the Cucaracha Theater Company.  In addition to performing in a one-woman show of Wallace Stevens poetry called Inventions of Farewell (directed by Estep Nagy) at the Here Theater in NYC, she is particularly proud of Mona7 - a short one-woman show she wrote, produced, co-directed, and performed, in which dealt with the after affects of abuse on a young woman through collaged video by video artist Tal Yarden, surrealist word play, and viewpoints movement.


Her work in film and television includes starring roles in independent films Soldier’s HeartHome Movie (with Adrian Pasdar, released through IFC), Alma Mater (with Alexander Chaplin and Will Lyman), Simple Justice (with Doris Roberts and Cesar Romero), and Retreat.  Studio films include My Favorite Year (with Peter O’Toole) and Pennies From Heaven (with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters). Television credits include Law and Order SVU (with Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Maloni), Cheers (with Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson), and St. Elsewhere (with Christina Pickles).  She is the first woman to have won three Emmys© for three different characters on three different television shows and networksAll My Children (Best Juvenile, 1991), As the World Turns (Best Supporting, 2004), and Days of Our Lives (Best Guest Performer, 2021).  Additionally, she has earned eight Emmy© nominations for her work in daytime.


McClain is also an award-winning audiobook performer, winning an Earphones Audiophile Award and recognition from Entertainment WeeklyAudiophile Magazine, and Publishers Weekly for her first book: Emma Cline’s incredible debut novel The Girls.  Other books include Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay, The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck, Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, The Sleepwalker and The Premonition by Chris Bohjalian, Generation Chef by Karen Stabiner, Red, White, Blue by Lea Carpenter, and Home Sweet Home by April Smith - for which she won her second Earphones Audiophile Award.


McClain moved into directing in 2013 and since has directed six short films, two web series, a full length play, and a documentary feature film. Her shorts include: "Burnt Feathers, Broken Wings" for Kids in the Spotlight (Winner: Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Ensemble - Paramount Sponsored “Movies by Kids” awards; Winner: Best Impact Film - Santa Fe FF 2020; Winner: Best Short Documentary - Mystic Film Festival 2020) which can now be seen on INDIEFLIX.  Butterflies (Winner: Best Short Film/Best Actress in a Short Film Philadelphia Independent Film Festival 2018; Official Selection at the Oscar Qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival; Ridgefield FF, SOHO International FF, Buffalo FF, Williamsburg, Chesapeake FF, and NFMLA).  The World of Albert Fuh (Premiere - SOHO International Film Fest 2015; Winner: Best Comedy Drama Short at the Indie Gathering Festival 2015; Honorable Mention: Best Director - Los Angeles Film Review 2015; Honorable Mention: SaMoIndie FF; Award of Merit: Best Shorts Film Festival 2015; Official Selection: LA Indie Film Fest 2015).  Flip Fantasia (Official Selection Macon Film Festival 2014).   Other Kids in the Spotlight films include The Last Day (Nominated for Best Ensemble - “Movies by Kids Awards” and The Missing Piece (Winner: Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actress at the Movies By Kids Awards hosted by Ty Burrell), also now available on INDIEFLIX.


Devoted to helping more women become directors, her foray into documentary film, "Seeing is Believing: Women Direct," premiered at the 2017 SOHO International Film Festival winning the Audience Award for Best Feature Film.  A grant awardee from the Awesome Without Borders Foundation, Seeing is Believing: Women Direct has been featured in Indiewire as “Project of the Day,” NPR, Salon, Film Threat, PBS SoCal, Good Morning Texas, The Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and Women and Hollywood, to name a few.  It is now available through the educational distributor Collective Eye. It can be seen on KANOPY and PBS stations and is in the collections of The University of Miami, Exeter University, The University of San Diego, Philip Exeter University, The University of Delaware, The University of Michigan, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, Minnesota State University, Loyola Marymount University, the St Louis Public Library, the New York Public Library, and the Anchorage Public Library.  It was picked up for further distribution by an APT (American Public Television) awarded grant and sold to eight regional PBS stations in 2020 including Connecticut PBS;  KPBS, San Diego CA;  KQED, San Francisco CA;  KUEN, Salt Lake City UT; Maryland PBS; North Carolina PBS;  WHUT, Washington DC [Howard University station] and  WILL Illinois Public Media, Urbana IL.  It can also be seen on KVCR, Riverside and San Bernardino County, CA. 


The film (in multiple lengths: short, hour, and feature length) won multiple honors and awards including Best Documentary at the 2019 Artemis Women in Action Film Festival, The Audience Award at the SOHO Film Festival 2017, a Jury Prize at the Newport Beach Film Festival 2017, Best Documentary at the 2018 Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival, and Best Short Doc at the Glendale, Geneva, and Burbank Film Festivals.  “Official Selection” laurels include the prestigious St Louis Film Festival, Oxford Film Festival, Heartland Film Festival, St Louis Film Festival, and Sedona Film Festival.


McClain interviewed highly experienced directors and producers for the film including Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland, Mad Men), Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry), Sarah Gavron (Suffragette, Rocks), Bethany Rooney (Bull, Pretty Little Liars, co-author Directors Tell the Story), Joanna Kerns (Jane the Virgin), Jann Turner (Chicago Fire), Jon Wells (ER, West Wing), Oscar© winner Lee Grant, two-time Oscar© winner Sarah Kernochan; Michael Rauch (EP Royal Pains, Instinct); Mike Robin (EP Major Crimes, The Closer, NYPD Blue); and one of the highest grossing female directors in film, Betty Thomas (Dr. Doolittle, The Brady Bunch Movie), among others.


Seeing is Believing: Women Direct has screened at multiple organizations and academic institutions including Pepperdine University in California, University of San Diego, Rochester Institute of Technology School of Film and Animation, Johnson Community College in Kansas City, LA City College, Women in Film - Los Angeles, and Webster University in St. Louis. 


She was honored with two Daytime Drama Web Series Emmy© Nominations (2017 and 2018)  for her work on Venice the Series. On the web series Switch, she both acted and directed, starring alongside Olympia Dukakis.  Switch won Best Pilot, Santa Fe Film Festival, Best Suspense: NYWFT Shorts Festival, and ten other awards on the festival circuit. It was also an Official Selection of HollyShorts, an Oscar Qualifying Film Festival, and Dances With Films/Dances With Pilots


In the summer of 2017 she began moving into directing theater through a multi-year long process of working with playwright Howard Meyer to further refine his original play Paint Made Flesh. Thirty-four drafts and six workshops later she directed the play in NYC as a four day “invite only” event, starring seven-time Steppenwolf Alum Stephen Louis Grush and Meredith Garretson (Sci-Fi’s Resident Alien and Paramount +’s The Offer).  She then filmed the final performance LIVE via multi-camera with sponsorship with support from Sotheby’s made possible by producer Amanda Quinn Olivar.   The production included projected animated film and hi resolution images with permission from such esteemed artists as Jenny Saville, John Currin, and Cecily Brown.


McClain’s producing work includes producing all her short films, collaborative involvement in the play Paint Made Flesh, her feature documentary Seeing is Believing: Women Direct, and Angie: Lost Girls - which won the Grand Prize for Best Social Impact Film at the Socially Relevant Film Festival 2021 and Best Social Impact Film at the Raindance Film Festival in 2021.  The film will be seen on Lifetime TV in 2022 as The Lost Girls.


McClain self-published her memoir, Murdering My Youth, in 2014.  TV Guide called it “raw, wild, and shocking… yet also dazzlingly funny.”  The release of the book was supported with a feature interview with Cameron Mathison on Entertainment TonightMurdering My Youth has received wide acclaim and has received over 129 five-star reviews on Amazon. 


Always interested in contributing to the wider conversation about topics ranging from women’s issues to national tragedies, McClain has additionally written articles for The Good Men Project, HLNTV, Policymic, Ms Cheevious, AND Magazine and live blogged the People’s Choice Awards and the Golden Globes.


Education includes formal acceptance and study at NYU, SVA, and The New School for Public Engagement, where she studied international literature, fine art drawing and painting, art history, writing, and creative arts therapy.  Combining elements from all her studies, Cady created a workshop she calls Dreaming Into Art.  This workshop was developed in order to help both the novice and the thriving professional artist to overcome internal blocks to find the most compelling story within themselves.  She has taught this workshop at The Wisdom House in Litchfield, CT, the Elizabeth Seton Center for Women in NYC, the 2014 “Write the Dream” conference in Kansas City (where she was also the keynote speaker), and in 2017 at Johnson County Community College, where she also screened her documentary Seeing is Believing: Women Direct.


Nationally, Ms. McClain has been invited to speak on current social issues at the PCI (now PMC) Entertainment Summit in Washington D.C., and was interviewed by Charlie Rose at a recorded live event as part of her work for RARE helping local St. Lucian’s develop radio dramas to promote social change. She hosted the 2002 Palm Beach International Film Festival to such luminaries as Michael Jackson and Robert Evans. Recently, she lead a panel at 2017 WEHO Women and Leadership Conference, with guest filmmakers Marianna Palka, Finola Hughes, Li Lu, and Grace Lee. In 2017 she was the Keynote Speaker at Johnson County Community College and in 2018 was the keynote speaker at the DRI Women in the Law conference in Miami Beach, Florida.  In 2019 she concentrated her charitable energies on being the festival chairperson for the Alliance of Women Directors for six months. She was proud to be an official mentor for the organization Women in Film - Los Angeles in 2020-2021 and is thrilled to be a new Ambassador for Kids in the Spotlight


McClain was awarded by the Association of Women in Communications with the illustrious International Matrix Award for her work related to supporting the female voice in film and television.  Previous recipients include Ann Curry, Jane Pauley, Judy Woodruff and Christiane Amanpour. Ms. McClain is honored and humbled to have been included alongside such an illustrious group of groundbreaking women.

She is a proud recipient of the Zeiss Women in Media Membership Grant, and for her doc Seeing is Believing: Women Direct to have been awarded the Awesome Without Boarders Grant, created by Ruth Ann Harnish, as well as the matching grant from Arts Westchester for Axial Theatre where she has worked as Artistic Director since January of 2022.


Cady and her work has been featured in Salon, Indiewire, FilmThreat, PBS SoCal, TV Guide Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Daily News, KNAU and Mississippi Public Broadcasting (NPR affiliates), The Boston Herald, Time Out NY, Good Housekeeping, McCall’s, Times Picayune, The Palm Beach Post, Mix Monthly, Newsday, AM New York, The Alliance of Women FIlm Journalists, The Sacramento Bee, Brooklyn Papers, Agency Magazine, Tulsa World, WFAA (ABC affiliate), CBS KCal9, MidWest Beat, The Orange County Register, Newport Beach Magazine, Imagine, Priority Girl, GirlTalkHQ, Ms. in the Biz, Rocky Mountain News, The Jamaica Gleaner, Brooklyn Papers, Broadway World, MovieMaker Video Interviews, Germany’s FilmLowen, and Country Weekly, to name a few.

Cady is a member of NYWIFT.

bottom of page