Missouri native Katherine McNamara is an up-and-coming young starlet who can currently be seen starring as the lead ‘Clary Fray’ in the brand new Freeform series “Shadowhunters,” (January 2016); a book-to-screen adaptation of the bestselling “The Mortal Instruments” book series. News of her casting traveled fast and wide, including Deadline, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Wrap, to name a few. The series premiered to stellar ratings, being the #1 series debut in more than two years, and helped launch the rebrand of the channel alongside fan favorite “Pretty Little Liars.” In 2015, McNamara closed out a lightning year, portraying another fierce female role as ‘Sonya’ in the second installment of “The Maze Runner” trilogy, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” alongside Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario.
McNamara began her career on Broadway at the age of 13 as ‘Fredrika’ in “A Little Night Music,” starring opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. Her other roles include ‘Esther Jane’ in the pre-Broadway world premiere of “A Christmas Story, the Musical!” as well as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Crucible,” “Inherit the Wind” and “Galileo.” She has also been cast in a number of Equity workshops/readings, including “PAN” with Laura Osnes, which was created by the “In the Heights” creative team.
McNamara now divides her acting talents between television and film. Notable television credits include “CSI,” “Unforgettable,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Drop Dead Diva,” “30 Rock,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” MTV “Happyland,” “Workaholics,” “Unforgettable,” “Jessie,” “Good Morning America” and PBS’s “Sondheim! The Birthday Concert.” Most recently she was seen in the highly acclaimed Freeform series “The Fosters.”
McNamara made her big screen debut in Warner Bros.’ “New Years Eve,” where she portrays ‘Lily.’ She also starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie “Girl Vs. Monster” opposite Olivia Holt, which attracted more than 5 million viewers, as well as the independent film “Contest” as ‘Sarah O’Malley’ opposite Kenton Duty. The film dives into the dark world of high school bullying and found a home on Cartoon Network as part of their anti-bullying initiative. Other film projects for the young Hollywood darling include “Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn” opposite Joel Courtney and Jake T. Austin, Disney’s family-friendly “Little Savages,” Universal’s film by R.L. Stine, “MONSTERVILLE: Cabinet of Souls,” “A Sort of Homecoming” opposite Laura Marano, “Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?” with Cloris Leachman, “Natural Selection” with Anthony Michael Hall, “A Wife’s Nightmare” with Jennifer Beals and “Indiscretion” with Mira Sorvino and Cary Elwes.
The triple threat has added music to her resume. Katherine plays the guitar and piano and enjoys singing and songwriting. She is sharing her passion for music with the world this year and is working on recording her original pop songs. In addition, she has several songs featured in films, including her original song “Chatter” on the “Contest” soundtrack.
At the age of 14, McNamara graduated with honors from high school and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Business with an emphasis in Finance from Drexel University’s Le Bow School of Business at the age of 17. She is now pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Economics at the John Hopkins University as part of their Advanced Academics graduate degree program.
McNamara has a passion for all forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, waltz and hula. She is a member of the Actors Equity Young Performers Committee and a reader for the Blank Theater’s New Play Development Reading Committee. Katherine is committed to giving back to the community and is an Ambassador for the United Nations Foundation’s girl empowerment organization, Girl Up, a spokesperson for Stomp Out Bullying, an avid supporter of the MS Society and the Lollipop Theater Network, a lifetime Girl Scout and a volunteer for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She currently resides in Los Angeles.