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Why Headmistress Burton From Gossip Girl Looks So Familiar

A rebooted "Gossip Girl" is coming to screens July 8 by way of HBO Max, complete with updated shenanigans among New York's Upper East Side's elite high school students. Described as an "extension" of the original show on The CW by showrunner Joshua Safran (who also ran the older show in its later seasons, via Hollywood Reporter), it's a 10-episode series about a new generation of teens navigating a more modern world of social media. Along with the attractive young cast members fans will see in the series, there's a new headmistress. Well, someone has to be in charge of the school, right?

Playing Headmistress Burton — the spiritual follow-up to the original show's Mary-Ann Queller — is actress Donna Murphy. She's an industry veteran with a long list of credits, including guest spots in numerous TV shows you know, like "Murder One," "Ally McBeal," "Law and Order," CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "The Good Wife," "Quantico," and a whole host of others. She had recurring roles on shows like "Mercy Street," "Hack," and "What About Joan?" as well, and she's been in movies like "The Nanny Diaries," while also voicing Mother Gothel in the 2010 animated film "Tangled." Like many Hollywood stars, though, she's also done a lot of theater. In fact, she has two Tony Awards for "Passion" and "The King and I," via Broadway World

Murphy's Headmistress Burton is sure to keep those kids in line. Well, as much as she can, anyway. Here are some of this prolific actor's most notable roles.

She was Jean-Luc Picard's love interest in Star Trek: Insurrection

In 1998's "Star Trek: Insurrection," Murphy played a member of the Ba'ku race named Anij who happens to be more than 300 years old, living in a society that has basically found the fountain of youth. She was also Jean-Luc Picard's (Patrick Stewart) love interest. One of the odd-numbered installments of the franchise, "Insurrection" wasn't exactly considered a highlight of the movie series. It featured the Federation teaming up with the decrepit civilization of Son'a to deceive and remove the 600 Ba'ku from their world in order to harvest the metaphasic particles that make the Ba'ku immortal. Picard and his crew object on the basis of the Prime Objective. 

Critic Roger Ebert called the film "inert and unconvincing," while stars of the series admitted that they didn't necessarily agree with the premise of the film philosophically. Ebert quoted director and star Jonathan Frakes as saying that he would probably sacrifice the lifestyles of the 600 Ba'ku to save millions, while stars Stewart and Brent Spiner agreed that Picard could have found a different solution. Murphy chimed in, too, saying. "I had to be very narrow-minded to serve the character." 

She played Doc Ock's wife in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2

Donna Murphy even belongs to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — sort of. She was in 2004's "Spider-Man 2" movie with Tobey Maguire in the lead role. Her part in the well-received sequel was a minor, yet significant one; as Rosalie Octavius, the wife and assistant of Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), she dined with Peter, even giving him advice on wooing Mary Jane as the couple explains how they met during college. She died when Doc Ock was showing off his prototype fusion reactor to members of the press, colleagues, and funder Harry Osborne. Things go awry, causing the glass doors and windows of the room to shatter and get pulled in her direction, killing her. This becomes part of Dr. Octavius' downward spiral, causing him to become the villain called Doctor Octopus. 

Rosalie, or Rosie for short, was not a Marvel comic book character. She was created just for the movie. Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2" was actually full of stage stars like Murphy. These included Murphy's onscreen husband, Molina, who was in a revival of "Fiddler on the Roof" when the movie released (via Playbill). 

She played an antagonist and government official in The Bourne Legacy

In the fourth installment of the Jason Bourne series, which left Matt Damon behind in favor of Jeremy Renner as its protagonist, Murphy played Dita Mandy, a Department of Defense official who was assigned to contain the fallout from Operation Treadstone and Operation Blackbriar. That made her an antagonist in the film, assisting Eric Byer (Edward Norton) in his clandestine efforts. It was a supporting role she did in the midst of her theatrical obligations; she was actually playing the Witch in "Into the Woods" from Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park and starring the TV series "Made in Jersey" at around the same time. Based on what she said in a 2012 interview with TheatreMania, those projects aligned a bit better with her current life than her role as Dita.

"A lot of what this show is about now coincides with my life experience: being a mother, being a stepmother; I recently lost a parent," she said about "Into the Woods." And, regarding CBS' "Made in Jersey," she noted, "This series is exactly what I wanted: an ensemble show, based in New York City, so I don't have to spend too much time away from my daughter. It's hard enough being away from her doing 'Into the Woods.'" Her character in "The Bourne Legacy" didn't really have much in common with either of her characters in these shows. But it does show she's got range.