Pointer was married to film and stage director Jules Irving, former artistic director of the Lincoln Center, from 1947 until his death in 1979. In 1980, she married producer-actor-director Robert Symonds (1926–2007), who was Jules Irving's producing partner at Lincoln Center. She has appeared several times in stage productions alongside Symonds.
Pointer has appeared in many films, including Carrie (1976), in which she played the onscreen mother of her real-life daughter Amy Irving, The Onion Field (1979), Mommie Dearest (1981), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), David Lynch's Blue Velvet and Coyote Moon (1999). In addition to Carrie, she has played onscreen mother to real-life daughter Amy twice again: in Honeysuckle Rose (1980) and Carried Away (1996).
Pointer appeared in three films that her son, David, directed: a 1987 musical version of Rumpelstiltskin that also starred Amy Irving; Good-Bye Cruel World and the sequel to C.H.U.D., C.H.U.D. II. She made many guest appearances in television shows, including Adam-12, L.A. Law, The A-Team, Judging Amy, The Rockford Files, and Cold Case. During the 1980s, she had a recurring role as Pam Ewing's mother on Dallas.