Mulgrew has performed in over 30 television shows, 23 plays, nine movies, six audio books, and one television documentary. She has earned multiple awrds for her acting, including an Obie Award, a Golden Satellite Award, and a Saturn Award. She has also been nominated for a Golden Globe.
At the age of 17, Mulgrew was accepted into the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in conjunction with New York University in New York City. Mulgrew left NYU after her junior year, receiving her Associate of Arts degree in 1976.
Mulgrew left Ryan's Hope to take on the role of Kate Columbo in the short-lived 1970s series Mrs. Columbo (also known as Kate Loves a Mystery among other titles). Initially, Kate Columbo was the wife of Lt. Columbo, presumed to be the famed L.A.P.D. detective from Columbo, starring Peter Falk; however, revisions of the series during filming led to the storyline that there was another Lt. Columbo, and eventually Kate Columbo and he divorced, leading the character to assume the surname Callahan.
Among Mulgrew's television guest roles were Garnet McGee, a country singer, on Dallas; Hillary Wheaton, a Canadian anchorwoman wrestling with alcoholism, on Murphy Brown; and legal counselor Janet Eldridge, a romantic interest of Sam Malone, in the three-part fourth season finale of Cheers entitled "Strange Bedfellows." She also guest stared in several Murder She Wrote episodes: "The Corpse Flew First Class" (1987), "Ever After" (1992), and "The Dying Game" (1994).
In 1993, Mulgrew received an Honorary Doctorate from Seton Hall University for artistic contributions.
Mulgrew is perhaps best known for her role as Captain Kathryn Janeway on the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager which ran from 1995 to 2001. She was a last minute replacement for Canadian actress Geneviève Bujold who was cast as Captain Nicole Janeway but then dropped out after filming just a few scenes of the series' first episode, stating that a TV series work schedule was too demanding. The character's name was changed to Kathryn and history was made in the Star Trek franchise when she became the first female captain, as a series regular, in a leading role.
Something of a Katharine Hepburn look-alike, Mulgrew starred in a one-woman play called Tea at Five, a monologue reminiscence based on Hepburn's memoir Me: Stories of My Life. Tea at Five is also available as an audio recording.
In 2006, Mulgrew performed in The Exonerated at the Riverside Studios located in London, England. In the spring of 2007, she appeared in the NBC television series The Black Donnellys as Helen Donnelly. She also performed the lead role in an off Broadway production called Our Leading Lady written by Charles Busch. In the Fall of 2007, Mulgrew went on to grace the New York theatre stage, yet again, as Clytemnestra for Charles L. Mee's Iphigenia 2.0 (Signature Theatre Company).
Mulgrew won the Saturn Award for "Best TV Actress" in 1998 and the Golden Satellite Award for "Best Actress in a TV series drama" in 1998. She was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for "Best Dramatic Actress" in 1979.
Mulgrew has also contributed her voice to various video games including reprising her role as Janeway in the video game Star Trek Legacy. Furthermore, she has voiced several audio books: Mosaics (Star Trek: Voyager) by Jeri Taylor, Miami, It's Murder by Edna Buchanan, and Everything to Gain by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Also, Mulgrew added her voice for projects with the Trappist monks of New Melleray Abbey as well as the MetroHealth System of Cleveland, Ohio.
Additionally, she contributed to a new book, Voices of Alzheimer's.
In June 2008, it was announced that Mulgrew will appear in Equus on Broadway, playing Hesther Saloman, a sympathetic public official who is empathetic toward the play's central character. The play is expected to open on September 5th, 2008 for a strictly-limited-22 week engagement through February 8, 2009.
Mulgrew is also an opponent of abortion as well as capital punishment. She received an award from Feminists for Life, a pro-life feminist group. She is quoted as saying "Execution as punishment is barbaric and unnecessary" and "Life is sacred to me on all levels. Abortion does not compute with my philosophy."
Broadway.com 2003: won - Audience Award for Favorite Solo Performance - Tea at Five
Carbonell Award 2004: won - Best Actress (Touring, Independent Production - Cuillo Centre) - Tea at Five
Drama League Award 2007: nominated - Distinguished Performance - Our Leading Lady
Golden Globe 1980: nominated - Best TV Actress in a Drama - Mrs. Columbo
Golden Satellite Award 1998: won - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Star Trek: Voyager
Lucille Lortel Award 2003: nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress - Tea at Five
Outer Critics Circle 2003: nominated - Outstanding Solo Performance - Tea at Five
Saturn Award 1998: won - Best Genre TV Actress - Star Trek: Voyager 1999: nominated - Best Genre TV Actress - Star Trek: Voyager 2000: nominated - Best Genre TV Actress - Star Trek: Voyager 2001: nominated - Best Actress on TV - Star Trek: Voyager
Tracey Humanitarian Award 1992: Received in recognition of Murphy Brown episode On The Rocks