BRUNSWICK — “If anybody knows how precious any single day of life is, it’s me.”
To anyone who doesn’t know 33-year-old Brunswick native Mary Elizabeth Boylan personally, those words may sound trite coming from a woman who is living in Los Angeles and starring in several independent films. But a look into her personal life reveals a different story.
About four years ago, the 1995 Brunswick High School graduate lost four family members — her godfather, mother, uncle and great uncle — and a close friend within a year.
“I think life sometimes throws everything at you at one time,” Boylan said.
She said she was close to her mother, who had raised her as a single parent after her parents separated when she was a kid.
Despite the tragedies, Boylan said she made a decision not to let her grief rule her life.
“I just put my head down and dove into my work,” she said. “I think that helped.”
As part of that healing process, Boylan said she recently completed her first major writing project, a film script based on the losses in her life.
“I wanted to write something to inspire people who had been through something like what I had been through,” she said. “I can take all my emotions and throw them into my work.”
Amanda Osborn, a Medina resident and Boylan’s friend since grade school, said she was impressed and proud when she learned Boylan had written the script documenting her hardships.
“When she told me she was writing this script, it just blew me away,” Osborn said.
“To draw from that and then put it on a page … you can’t write your own script on this until you’ve kind of gotten through it and view it as more of a learning experience.”
The script is going through the editing process, Boylan said, and will soon be in production.
Boylan has completed four films since 2007. She starred in a western film, “Parched,” which won the award for Best Western film at the 2010 Action on Film International Festival.
Boylan said she is looking forward to continuing her independent film career and would love to do more full length films or television shows.
“I would like to do some more comedy,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of really heavy drama.”
A performer since elementary school, Boylan said her love of theater grew from her days as a dancer in North Royalton.
“She was a natural on stage in small acting roles in our dance recitals,” Osborn said.
“Mary’s just a very theatrical person. That combined with her intelligence, her work ethic, it’s just natural.”
After graduating from Ohio State University, Boylan moved to Miami to do modeling and then to California.
But she’s never far from her Northeast Ohio roots, she said.
Boylan’s father, stepmother and half-siblings live in Painesville.
She attributes her success and her ability to overcome tragedy to her Brunswick upbringing.
“Growing up in a town like Brunswick gives you so much grounding and so much love,” she said. “It’s just a great place to raise kids. I think that grounding had a lot to do with why I was able to pull through things.”
Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.