Missouri native Katherine McNamara is an accomplished actor, singer, dancer, songwriter and student 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 re brand of the channel alongside fan favorite Pretty Little Liars (2010) In 2015, McNamara closed out a lightning year, portraying another fierce female role as 'Sonya' in the second installment of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) trilogy, Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) alongside Dylan O'Brien and Kaya Scodelario.
McNamara began her career on Broadway, at the age of 13, as "Fredrika Armfeldt" in "A Little Night Music", starring opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. She was fortunate to continue as "Fredrika" with the second ALNM Broadway cast of Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch, as well. Her other theater 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", "Annie", "The Secret Garden" and "Galileo". She has also been cast in a number of Equity readings, including "PAN", which was created by the "In the Heights" creative team.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 - Jeffrey Seller, Alex Lacamoire, and Andy Blankenbuehler.
McNamara's love for acting stretches beyond the stage, with credits in television and film productions. Television credits include Glee (2009), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999), Drop Dead Diva (2009), 30 Rock (2006), Late Show with David Letterman (1993), Good Morning America (1975) and PBS's "Sondheim! The Birthday Concert". McNamara starred in Disney Channel's Girl Vs. Monster (2012) and has a recurring roles on Jessie (2011) as "Bryn Breitbart" and on Kickin' It (2011) as the mean girl from Swathmore Academy, "Claire". She filmed the new Disney pilot, Madison High (2012), where she portrays "Cherri O'Keefe", resident fashionista and creator of Madison High's popular gossip blog. Most recently she was seen in the highly acclaimed Freeform series "The Fosters."
McNamara made her big screen debut film in ' Warner Brothers Picture, New Year's Eve (2011), where she portrays "Lily Bowman". She plays Sonya in FOX's The Maze Runner series. Kat 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 bullying film, Contest (2013) with 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 include Katherine starring as "Becky Thatcher" in the re-make of "Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn", alongside Joel Courtney and Jake T. Austin, which was released in 2013, Disney's family-friendly "Little Savages," Universal's film by R.L. Stine, "MONSTERVILLE: Cabinet of Souls," opposite Dove Cameron , "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 , Christopher Backus 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, "Wait for You" in "A Sort of Homecoming" and others (see Soundtrack on IMDb).
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 Literature at 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 Nation'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 and her hometown is Kansas City, MO.View Full Bio