Jessica Lange
Actress


Born 1949

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Lange Won't Sign Autographs - Under Any Circumstances!

    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 rigorous 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.


Jessica Lange
    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.



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