Mary Mara's Family Remembers Gifted 'ER' Actress Who 'Just Missed Stardom but Always Played for Winning Teams'

The late actress is being mourned by costars including Billy Crystal and Jon Lindstrom, who called her "brave, brilliant, funny and just plain Uber-talented"

Mary Mara is being remembered for the legacy she leaves behind after her sudden death at 61.

The late actress's loved ones deemed her "a gifted character actor" who worked across film, television and on the stage off-Broadway. In the obituary shared with PEOPLE, Mara's family writes that she specialized in "complex portrayals of often-troubled characters," including her recurring role as Loretta Sweet on ER.

"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 notes.

Mara — who appeared in many series, including Criminal Minds, Ray Donovan and Dexter — was discovered on Sunday after she apparently drowned while swimming in St. Lawrence River in Cape Vincent, New York.

Per a statement from New York State Police, Mara's body was transported to the Jefferson County Medical Examiner's Office, pending a planned autopsy. While the investigation is ongoing, authorities said Mara's body "showed no signs of foul play" and their current findings indicate "the victim drowned while swimming."

Mary Mara
Matthew Simmons/WireImage

At the time news of her passing broke, her manager Craig Dorfman said in a statement to PEOPLE: "I still remember seeing her onstage in 1992 in Mad Forest off-Broadway."

"She was electric, funny, and a true individual," Dorfman added. "Everyone loved her. She will be missed."

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The tribute posts for Mara have also poured in across social media, including from her one-time costar Billy Crystal.

"Tonight the performance of @MrSatNightBway is dedicated to Mary Mara who played my daughter in the film of Mr. Saturday Night in 1992," tweeted Crystal, 74. "Mary passed away at the age of 61."

Virgin River actress Annette O'Toole also posted on Twitter: "Mary Mara was funny, kind, brilliantly talented. I am terribly sorry she has left us."

General Hospital actor Jon Lindstrom shared a photo of the pair together, saying he is "devastated to learn of Mary Mara's untimely passing."

"We performed in a play together back in 2008, Malcolm Danare's 'In Heat' at the Lost Playhouse in LA," he wrote on Instagram. "She had beaten cancer and was somehow fighting through the aftereffects of Chemo when we worked. She was brave, brilliant, funny and just plain Uber-talented."

Lindstrom continued, "I last saw her in a play at the Music Center in DTLA delivering a typically brilliant performance, just before she moved back to NY State. This world will be a much less-colorful place without her. R.I.P."

Mara is survived by her stepdaughter Katie Mersola, sisters Martha Mara and Susan Mara, brother-in-law Scott Dailey and nephew Christopher Dailey.

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