‘Law & Order’ Star Mary Mara Cause of Death Released: Report

by Leanne Stahulak

Authorities officially determined the cause of death for “Law & Order” star Mary Mara, who died on Sunday, June 26, in Cape Vincent, New York.

According to PEOPLE, Mary Mara officially died of asphyxiation, or suffocation, due to drowning. Previous reports from TMZ suggested she might have slipped and fallen while exiting St. Lawrence River, where she went for a swim. The outlet believed she might have hit her head and fallen back into the river where she drowned. But now, the medical examiner’s office and New York State Police have confirmed that this is incorrect.

“The Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office performed a post-mortem examination on the decedent and determined that the decedent’s manner of death was an accident, due to asphyxiation, due to warm water drowning,” NYSP Troop D Public Information Officer Jack Keller said.

Police also disputed the idea that she fell and hit her head. They stated, “There were no signs of any trauma to Mary’s body when she was found.” 

Family of Mary Mara Remembers the ‘Law & Order,’ ‘ER’ Actress

Following her death, 61-year-old Mary Mara’s family called her “a gifted character actor” in an obituary obtained by PEOPLE. The family calls attention to Mara’s legacy on stage, television, and film. She starred in more than 20 films and 40 TV series over the course of her career, making an impact in each role, big and small.

“Her 32-year career in film and television resembled that of a veteran utility infielder who just missed stardom but always played for winning teams,” the obituary says. The family also claims that Mary Mara specialized in “complex portrayals of often-troubled characters.” Like Loretta Sweet on “ER.”

Mara’s manager, Craig Dorfman, also spoke out about her legacy at the time of her death. “I still remember seeing her onstage in 1992 in Mad Forest off-Broadway,” Dorfman told PEOPLE. “She was electric, funny, and a true individual. Everyone loved her. She will be missed.”

Friends and Fans of the Actress Take to Social Media To Mourn Her Passing

After the news broke about Mary Mara’s sudden death, several people took to Twitter to remember the late actress.

“Crushed to learn of Mary Mara’s untimely passing,” Jon Lindstrom wrote in a Twitter post. “We performed together back in 2008 in Malcolm Danare’s ‘In Heat’ at the Lost Playhouse in L.A. She was plowing through the aftereffects of Chemo. Brave, brilliant, Uber-talented. Earth will be much less-colorful without her. R.I.P.”

Acor Billy Crystal also honored Mara in a recent post.

“Tonight the performance of @MrSatNightBway is dedicated to Mary Mara who played my daughter in the film of Mr. Saturday Night in 1992. Mary passed away at the age of 61,” Crystal wrote.

Stay tuned for more updates on the late star.