Actress, model. “Andie” MacDowell was born in Gaffney on April 21, 1958, the youngest of four daughters born to Marion and Paula MacDowell. Her parents divorced when she was six. As a child, MacDowell longed to be an actress but spent much of her teen years taking care of her mother, who suffered from alcoholism. MacDowell has reflected about her difficult childhood in Gaffney: “Becoming independent is what made it possible to leave a small town and go to the big city in the first place.”
MacDowell attended Winthrop College for two years before boldly walking into New York’s Elite Model Management with only minimal modeling experience. She became a successful model in Paris and New York. While continuing to represent L’Oreal cosmetics, MacDowell pursued her dream of becoming an actress. Unfortunately, in her first film role as Lady Jane in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984), the director dubbed her distinctive southern voice with the voice of actress Glenn Close. Overcoming the humiliating setback, MacDowell would go on to receive a Los Angeles Film Critics Award, a Golden Globe nomination, and other honors for portraying a repressed southern housewife in sex, lies and videotape (1989). She received a second Golden Globe nomination for playing a shy horticulturist in the romantic comedy Green Card (1990) and continued to gain recognition in popular films including St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), Groundhog Day (1993), and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), for which she received her third Golden Globe nomination.
Preferring a quiet life and her role as a mother to the glamour and pace of Hollywood, MacDowell lived on a Montana ranch and later moved to Asheville, North Carolina. She married the model and musician Paul Qualley in 1986 and had three children before divorcing in 1999. In 2001 MacDowell married the businessman Rhett D. Hartzog, a former schoolmate from Gaffney.