Mostly Credited As: Jessica Lange
Birth Name: Jessica Phyllis Lange
Date Of Birth: April 20, 1949 (Age 66)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Cloquet, Minnesota
Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)
Versatile leading lady whose beauty, intensity, and professionalism have made her one of the most important actresses in Hollywood. She overcame a disastrous film debut which made her something of a joke by dint of rigor- ous training and unceasing effort. Lange's early years had a nomadic quality; by her own count, her traveling salesman father moved the family some 18 times while she was growing up. Although she won a scholarship to the University of Minnesota to study art, she dropped out to travel extensively, studying mime and drama in Paris and eventually working in New York as a model and waitress. In her highly publicized first film, the ghastly 1976 remake of King Kong Lange gamely (and futilely) tackled the Fay Wray role. The ensuing debacle nearly ended her career before it started; both the picture and her performance were trashed by critics, and she languished in obscurity for three years before making another picture. In the interim she took acting lessons and made connections; in 1979 her friend Bob Fosse cast her as the angel of death in his autobiographical All That Jazz As a result of that movie's critical and popular acclaim (and her ideal casting), Lange's stock rose considerably.
Lange took on a supporting role in How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980) before being cast as Cora, the lusty waitress in Bob Rafelson's sexually charged remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981, opposite Jack Nicholson), in which she shocked moviegoers not only with her raw, animal sensuality, but also with an electric performance. She reached her career high-water mark in 1982, first with a tour de force as the tragic actress Frances Farmer in Frances (for which she was Oscar-nominated), then as an engaging leading lady in the smash hit Tootsie (for which she won an Oscar). By this time established as one of the screen's premier actresses, Lange copped subsequent Oscar nominations, for her work in Country (1984), Sweet Dreams (1985, as Patsy Cline), and Music Box (1989). She was also memorable in Crimes of the Heart (1986), Everybody's All-American (1988, outstanding in that underrated film), Far North (1988), Men Don't Leave (1990), and Martin Scorsese's powerhouse Cape Fear (1991). Lange and Fear costar Robert De Niro reteamed for a 1992 remake of Night and the City a Scorseselike urban melodrama that just missed. That same year she made her TV movie debut in the well-received O Pioneers! and her Broadway bow opposite Alec Baldwin in "A Streetcar Named Desire," which she recreated for a 1995 television production. Lange earned a Best Actress Oscar for her powerful, complex performance as an Army officer's troubled wife in Blue Sky (1994, filmed in 1990); she followed with the child custody drama Losing Isaiah and Rob Roy (both 1995). Adamantly clinging to her single status, Lange has a daughter by dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and two children by playwright Sam Shepard, with whom she's costarred several times, and who directed her in Far North
Copyright © 1994 Leonard Maltin
Trivia Jessica is one of the elite ten thespians to have been nominated for both a Supporting and Lead Acting Academy Award in the same year for their achievements in two different movies.
Jessica supplied all of the vocals for the songs from the film Sweet Dreams (1985) where she portrayed Patsy Cline.
Jessica beat Meryl Streep for the role of Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams (1985), according to Streep. Streep said it was one of the few if not the only role she ever went after. Then later said that she couldn't however, imagine the movie without Lange.
Jessica's daughter Shura (Alexandra) Baryshnikov, graduated from Marlboro College in Vermont in 2003. It's the same college that Chris Noth attended in the 70s.
Jessica is of Polish and Finnish descent.
Jessica attended the Guthrie Theater Drama School at the prestigious Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Jessica was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 (2000 season) for Best Actress for her performance in Long Day's Journey into Night at the Lyric Theatre.
In 1970s Manhattan, Jessica was represented by Wilhelmina Models, the same agency that later discovered Gia Carangi.
While she was between modeling jobs, Jessica waitressed at the Lion's Head in Greenwich Village.
Jessica and her family are now residing in New York, after spending the last few years in Minnesota.
Jessica Lange Quotes
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