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Question: Born Cynthia Ann Smith, today she is an actress who plays roles that are tough, lower-middle-class women who fight back anger caused by events in life that, she says, are an actual "reflection" of her own "white trash" life. Do you know Cynthia Ann Smith's name today?

Answer: After adopting her in 1958 as one of their own nine adopted children, Noreen and the Rev. Vernon McDormand — originally from Eureka but later Gibson City — changed her name to Frances McDormand. She won Best Actress honors this week at the Academy Awards. Recently she told the New York Times she believes she was born to a member of her father's Gibson City parish and adopted, and that the anger felt at being unwanted had become an important part of her own psychology. “My parents were not white trash. My birth mother was white trash,”​ she explained, and thus has spent much of her career playing women who, in one way or another, resemble her own life description. 

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