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Piper Laurie (born January 22, 1932) is an American Academy Award-nominated, Golden Globe-winning actress.


Early life

Laurie was born Rosetta Jacobs in Detroit, Michigan, the daughter of Jewish parents Charlotte Sadie (née Alperin) and Alfred Jacobs, a furniture dealer.[1][2] She moved to Los Angeles when she was young. She signed a contract with Universal Studios when she was 17, co-starring with Ronald Reagan (whom she dated a couple of times before his marriage to Nancy Davis) in Louisa.


Dissatisfied with the work she was being offered in Hollywood, Laurie went to New York City in 1955 to work on the live television programs of the 1950s. She starred in such productions as Twelfth Night and Days of Wine and Roses. In 1961 she returned to Hollywood to star opposite Paul Newman in The Hustler, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Sarah Packard, the crippled love interest for Newman's "Fast Eddie" Felson.

In 1965, she starred in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie opposite Maureen Stapleton, Pat Hingle and George Grizzard. She wouldn't star in another Broadway production for 37 years, when she appeared in Lincoln Center's acclaimed revival of Paul Osborn's Morning's at Seven with Julie Hagerty, Buck Henry, Frances Sternhagen and Estelle Parsons.

In the 1960s, once again disenchanted with the work available, Laurie returned to semi-retirement to raise a family. She appeared in the Australian film Tim (1979) opposite a very young Mel Gibson (in which she can be credited in doing the first sex scene on screen in which Gibson appeared). But perhaps her most famous role in her later career was in Brian De Palma's Carrie, as the title character's fanatically religious mother Margaret White, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She first turned down the role because she didn't know how to play it, but later realized that it was a dark comedy; she ruined several shots because she couldn't stop laughing. Twenty years later, she reunited with co-star Sissy Spacek when they played sisters in a screen adaptation of Truman Capote's The Grass Harp.

She received another Academy Award Supporting Actress nomination, in 1987, for Children of a Lesser God, in which she played Marlee Matlin's mother. Laurie also starred as the devious Catherine Martell in David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks. Following the character's supposed death in a mill fire at the end of the first season, the actress (under heavy makeup) returned as "Fumio Yamaguchi," playing the mysterious Mr. Tojamura, who would eventually be revealed to be Catherine Martell in disguise. She also appeared in 1991's Other People's Money with Gregory Peck and in horror maestro Dario Argento's first American film Trauma, along with the director's daughter Asia Argento.

Laurie played George Clooney's character's mother on ER. In 1998, she starred in the sci-fi thriller The Faculty. Laurie then made a series of guest appearances on television shows including Matlock, Frasier, State of Grace, Will & Grace, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She returned to the big screen for independent films such as Eulogy and The Dead Girl.


Laurie won an Emmy Award, for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special, for her role in the 1986 TV movie Promise opposite James Garner and James Woods. In addition, she received several Emmy nominations, including one for playing Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph Goebbels, in The Bunker, opposite Anthony Hopkins as Hitler, for her role in the miniseries The Thorn Birds, and two for her work in Twin Peaks.


The Milkman (1950)
Francis Goes to the Races (1951)
The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951)
Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952)
The Golden Blade (1953)
The Mississippi Gambler (1953)
Until They Sail (1957)
The Hustler (1961)
Carrie (1976)
Ruby (1977)
Tim (1979)
The Thorn Birds (1983)
Return to Oz (1985)
The Twilight Zone (1985)
Children of a Lesser God (1986)
Appointment with Death (1988)
Dream a Little Dream (1989)
Twin Peaks (1990)
Other People's Money (1991)
Storyville (1992)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) her scenes were deleted from the final cut
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993)
Trauma (1993)
The Grass Harp (1995)
Fighting For My Daughter (1995)
The Faculty (1998)
Eulogy (2004)
The Dead Girl (2006)
Hounddog (2007)
Saving Grace (2008)

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