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Laura Dern
Laura Dern

Full Name: Laura Elizabeth Dern

Birth Date: February 10, 1967

Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA

Height: 5' 10"

Quote: "It's really fun to act like a bimbo. But it's fun to act like a bimbo only when people know that you really aren't one."



 

Laura Dern Biography

Playing characters ranging from wide-eyed virgins to willful sirens to drug-addicted losers, Laura Dern is among the screen's most interesting modern actresses. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed, and slender, Dern moves with a coltish combination of grace and gangliness that she uses to make herself alternately plain or beautiful, innocent or seductive, as her roles require. Her parents, Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, are both successful actors but initially discouraged her from becoming involved in the profession. Still, acting was Dern's childhood goal, and after her parents divorced, she made her film debut at the age of six in White Lightning (1973).

The following year, Dern played a bit part in Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. She got her first major role in 1980, playing a teenager in Adrian Lyne's Foxes. By 1983, she had appeared in more films, and in defiance of her parents' wishes, decided to get some formal dramatic training at the Lee Strasberg Institute, where she studied Method acting. She went on to appear in films such as Teachers (1984) and Mask (1985) and gained a reputation for realistic portrayals of goodhearted innocents. Dern could have easily been typecast into such roles had Joyce Chopra not cast her as a rebellious teen anxious to experience a sexual awakening in Smooth Talk (1986). The young actress' portrayal earned her a New Generation Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics. That same year, Dern became an even more marketable actress when she played a fresh-faced young sleuth in David Lynch's disturbing, groundbreaking Blue Velvet. She again worked with Lynch in the flamboyantly bizarre Wild at Heart (1990), in which she played an oversexed 20-year-old on the run with her lover (Nicholas Cage). The film proved to be a family affair, as Ladd played her villainous mother. The two appeared together again the following year in the beautifully wrought Rambling Rose. Dern's naturalistic performance as a troubled 19-year-old who wants love, but has confused it with sex, won her considerable acclaim that culminated in an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Ladd was also nominated, making it the first time a mother-daughter team had been so honored in the same year.

In 1993, Dern became a bigger star portraying a courageous paleo-botanist in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster Jurassic Park. Three years later, she played one of her most offbeat roles as a paint-huffing, spiteful, pregnant, and dumb as a box-of-doorknobs homeless girl who finds herself caught in the middle of a battle royale between pro- and anti-abortion groups in the black comedy Citizen Ruth. In 1999, she took on two very diverse roles, first playing a supportive high school teacher in October Sky and then returning to the realm of eccentricity -- and to sharing the screen with her mother -- as part of an unconventional Alabama family in Billy Bob Thornton's Daddy and Them. Though audiences were no doubt eager to see what Slingblade director Thornton had up his sleeve for the eagerly anticipated feature, Daddy and Them did recieve stateside release into a full two-years after production wrapped - and when it finally did find it's way into theaters critical and popular response was lukewarm at best. The disappointment was more than counterbalanced that year however when Dern and boyfriend Ben Harper gave birth to their first baby boy Ellery, and in addition to also returning to the land of dinosaurs with Jurassic Park III in 2001. Dern essayed memorable supporting performances in a number of films including Novcaine, Focus and I Am Sam. Stepping back into the lead for her role as true life HMO whistle-blower Linda Peeno in the made-for-HBO film Damaged Goods, many found Dern's performance so moving that whispers of an Emmy nomination began to circulate. That wasn't in the cards however, and the following year Dern returned to feature work with the adulterous drama We Don't Live Here Anymore.

In addition to her film career, Dern has appeared on stage and television. In 1992, she won an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe award for performing in the HBO docudrama Afterburn. In 1997, she again proved her versatility by offering a convincing, Emmy-nominated portrayal of a lesbian who is comfortable with her sexuality in a landmark episode of the sitcom Ellen in which star Ellen DeGeneres "comes out of the closet."

Laura Dern Filmography

Tenderness (2007)
Year of the Dog (2007)
Inland Empire (2006)
Lonely Hearts (2006) .... Rene
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005) .... Dortha Schaefer
Happy Endings (2005) .... Pam Ferris
We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004) .... Terry Linden
"King of the Hill"
- Patch Boomhauer (2003) TV Episode (voice) .... Katherine
- Joust Like a Woman (2002) TV Episode (voice) .... Serving Wench
Damaged Care (2002) (TV) .... Linda Peeno
"The West Wing"
- The U.S. Poet Laureate (2002) TV Episode .... U.S. Poet Laureate Tabatha Fortis
I Am Sam (2001) .... Randy Carpenter
Focus (2001/I) .... Gertrude 'Gert' Hart
Novocaine (2001) .... Jean Noble
Within These Walls (2001) (TV) .... Sister Pauline Quinn
Jurassic Park III (2001) .... Dr. Ellie Sattler
... aka JP3 (USA: promotional abbreviation)
Daddy and Them (2001) .... Ruby Montgomery
Dr T and the Women (2000) .... Peggy
... aka Dr. T and the Women (Germany) (USA: alternative spelling)
A Season for Miracles (1999) (TV) .... Berry Thompson
... aka Hallmark Hall of Fame: A Season for Miracles (USA: series title)
October Sky (1999) .... Miss Frieda Riley
The Baby Dance (1998) (TV) .... Wanda LeFauve
"Ellen"
- The Puppy Episode: Part 1 (1997) TV Episode .... Susan
- The Puppy Episode: Part 2 (1997) TV Episode .... Susan
Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) (voice) .... Narrator
The Siege at Ruby Ridge (1996) (TV) .... Vicki Weaver
... aka Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedy
Citizen Ruth (1996) .... Ruth Stoops
... aka Meet Ruth Stoops
"Frasier"
- Sleeping with the Enemy (1995) TV Episode (voice) .... June
Down Came a Blackbird (1995) (TV) .... Helen McNulty
... aka Ramirez
A Perfect World (1993) .... Sally Gerber
"Fallen Angels"
- Murder, Obliquely (1993) TV Episode .... Annie Ainsley
Jurassic Park (1993) .... Dr. Ellie Sattler
... aka JP (USA: promotional abbreviation)
Afterburn (1992) (TV) .... Janet Harduvel
Rambling Rose (1991) .... Rose
Wild at Heart (1990) .... Lula
... aka David Lynch's Wild at Heart (USA)
Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted (1990) (TV) .... Heartbroken Woman
Fat Man and Little Boy (1989) .... Kathleen Robinson
... aka Shadow Makers (UK)
Nightmare Classics (1989) (TV)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1989) (TV) .... Rebecca
Haunted Summer (1988) .... Claire Clairmont
Blue Velvet (1986) .... Sandy Williams
Smooth Talk (1985) .... Connie
Mask (1985) .... Diana Adams
... aka Peter Bogdanovich's Mask (USA: complete title)
The Three Wishes of Billy Grier (1984) (TV) .... Crissy
Teachers (1984) .... Diane
Happy Endings (1983/I) (TV) .... Audrey Constantine
"Shannon"
- Gotham Swansong (1981) TV Episode
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1981) .... Jessica McNeil
... aka All Washed Up
Foxes (1980) .... Debbie
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) (uncredited) .... Girl Eating Ice Cream Cone
White Lightning (1973) (uncredited) .... Sharon Anne, Maggie's Daughter
... aka McKlusky

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