Mary O'Connor was born October 21, 1990 in Massachusetts. After graduating from high school, she moved to the beautiful seaside town Santa Barbara in California. It was there that she answered an ad for an open movie audition and snagged her first acting job in the feature film “The Bet” which will be released in April 2016.
Mary decided that acting was her calling and subsequently moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career in films. In 2014, however, she suffered a rare spinal cord stroke while surfing which resulted in her becoming paralyzed. She has not let this derail her from her dream of being a working actress and continues to make incredible progress in her recovery.
She is very happy to talk about her story because she hopes others will find some inspiration in it. Mary also wants to bring awareness to the disappointing lack of representation of disabled individuals in the film and television industries.
“I'd really love to use my story to further this important cause,” she says. “I'm so blessed to be walking with a cane now, as I was originally totally paralyzed from the waist down. I was in a wheelchair for about six months, then used a walker for another six months until I graduated to the cane which I've used for a year now.”
Mary is now living in the Hollywood Hills and is currently studying acting with James Franco at his Studio 4 School in Los Angeles, and is getting involved with local charitable organizations where she can encourage other young people to follow their dreams.
"The Bet" will make its debut on DVD and Video On Demand in April across the country. Actress FINOLA HUGHES (General Hospital) makes her directorial debut with this film which was shot on location in beautiful Santa Barbara, California.
An accomplished and versatile actress, Finola Hughes stars as the mysterious Anna Devane on the ABC daytime drama “General Hospital.” She also portrayed the role on ABC’s “All My Children.” Her performance garnered her an Emmy® Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1991, as well as three additional nominations in the same category.
Hughes most recently made her directorial debut in the indie feature The Bet, a romantic comedy starring Scott Hagood, Mary O’Connor, Portia Thomas and Tim Whitcomb and was the recipient of The Best Feature and The La Femme Film Festival.
Hughes also just completed starring in the indie feature Dance Off which she stars opposite Kathryn McCormick, Shane Harper, Carolyn Hennesy, David Burtka, Marlowe Peyton and was directed by Alex DiMarco.
Hughes’ multi-faceted career has continued over two decades. Always interested in new projects, she is now adding the title of designer to her impressive repertoire. As the creative visionary behind Finola’s Jewel Box, a bohemian-chic jewelry collection that debuted on QVC in October 2005, she combines her extensive experience in the fashion industry with her personal passion for eclectic, unique designs.
In addition, Hughes was host of The Style Network’s No. 1-rated series, “How Do I Look?,” and a frequent style commentator for several national television shows. In addition she is an acclaimed author, having released her first book, Soapsuds, in June 2005.
Born and educated in London, England, Hughes studied ballet from the age of 10. In 1980 she originated the role of The White Cat in the premiere company of the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, “Cats.” She made her American film debut when Sylvester Stallone cast her opposite John Travolta in “Staying Alive.” Other film work includes “Like Crazy” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Anton Yelchin, “The Nutcracker,” “Soap Dish,” “Aspen Extreme,” “Above Suspicion” and “Tycus.” Her extensive list of television credits includes “Jack’s Place,” “Blossom,” “Pacific Palisades,” “Charmed,” “Dream On” and “Tracy Takes On.”
Hughes maintains homes in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara with her husband, artist Russell Young, and their sons, Dylan and Cash as well as daughter Sadie.
ABOUT THE BET
FEATURE FILM “THE BET” TO PREMIERE
ON VIDEO ON DEMAND APRIL 2016
Actress Finola Hughes Turns Her Talents to Directing in Multi-Generational RomCom
LOS ANGELES - THE BET, a romantic comedy directed by actress Finola Hughes (“Stayin’ Alive,” “General Hospital”), will make its Video on Demand debut March 3, 2016 following a series of successful festival showings across the country.
The film tells the story of three generations of a family living together who all are “looking for love” and come up with a unique bet to spur them on to a new romance. High school senior Addison is still a virgin and his friends are urging him to do the deed before he leaves for college in the fall. His grandfather Collier wants to find a little excitement in his golden years and suggests that the two of them find suitable ladies for each other so they make a bet on who will score first.
Caught between the two guys is single mom Libby, a copywriter who is persuaded by her office mate to start dating again. Suffice to say, none of the romantic maneuvers goes according to plan, but everyone ends up exactly where they should be by film’s end.
THE BET stars Scott Hagood (Addison), Tim T. Whitcomb (Collier), Portia Thomas (Libby) and introduces Mary O’Connor as Jennifer, Addison’s dream girl.
Recent festival appearances include Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, Central Florida Film Festival, Dances With Films and the LA Femme International Film Festival where it won Best Feature Award.
With a story by Annie J. Dahlgren, screenplay by Dahlgren and Christina Eliason, and directed by Hughes, the film was lovingly shot in the Santa Barbara area and makes excellent use of the gorgeous scenery and local talent. A production of Community Film Studio Santa Barbara, THE BET was produced by Christine Fry, James Kahn and Jack Presnal; executive producers include Linda Newlin, along with Hughes and Presnal. Craig Kohloff serves as Director of Photography, Ron Carter is production designer, the film is edited by Cristian Cazor and featured music by composer Brian Mann.