Piper Laurie (born Rosetta Jacobs; January 22, 1932) is an American stage and screen actress known for her roles in the films The Hustler (1961), Carrie (1976), and Children of a Lesser God (1986), all of which brought her Academy Award nominations. She is also known for her performances as Kirsten Arnesen in the original TV production of Days of Wine and Roses, and as Catherine Martell in the cult television series Twin Peaks, for which she won a Golden Globe Award in 1991. As of 2020, her acting career has spanned 70 years.
January 22, 1932
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
(m. 1962; div. 1982)
Piper Laurie was born Rosetta Jacobs on January 22, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan. She was the younger daughter of Charlotte Sadie (née Alperin) and Alfred Jacobs, a furniture dealer. Her grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland on her father's side and Russia on her mother's.
She was delivered, according to her 2011 autobiography Learning to Live Out Loud, in a one-bedroom walk-up on Tyler Street in Detroit, where the family lived. Alfred Jacobs moved the family to Los Angeles, California, in 1938, where she attended Hebrew school. To combat her shyness, her parents provided her with weekly elocution lessons; this eventually led to minor roles at nearby Universal Studios. For much of her early childhood, her parents placed Laurie and her older sister in a children's home, which they both despised.
In 1949, Rosetta Jacobs signed a contract with Universal Studios, and changed her screen name to Piper Laurie, which she has used since then. Among the actors she met at Universal were James Best, Julie Adams, Tony Curtis, and Rock Hudson. Her breakout role was in Louisa, with Ronald Reagan, whom she dated a few times before his marriage to Nancy Davis. In her autobiography, she claimed that she lost her virginity to him ("Learning to Live Out Loud," page 77). Several other roles followed: Francis Goes to the Races (1951, co-starring Donald O'Connor); Son of Ali Baba (1951, co-starring Tony Curtis); and Ain't Misbehavin' (1955, co-starring Rory Calhoun).
To enhance her image, Universal Studios told gossip columnists that Laurie bathed in milk and ate flower petals to protect her luminous skin. Discouraged by the lack of substantial film roles, she moved to New York City to study acting and to seek work on the stage and in television. She appeared in Twelfth Night, produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame; in Days of Wine and Roses with Cliff Robertson, presented by Playhouse 90 on October 2, 1958 (in the film version, their roles were taken over by Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick); and in Winterset, presented by Playhouse 90 in 1959.
She was lured to Hollywood by the offer to co-star with Paul Newman in The Hustler, released in 1961. She played Newman's girlfriend, Sarah Packard, and for her performance, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Substantial movie roles did not come her way after The Hustler, so her husband and she moved to New York. In 1964, she appeared in two medical dramas — as Alicia Carter in The Eleventh Hour episode "My Door Is Locked and Bolted", and as Alice Marin in the Breaking Point episode "The Summer House". In 1965, she starred in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, opposite Maureen Stapleton, Pat Hingle, and George Grizzard.
Laurie did not appear in another feature film until she accepted the role of Margaret White in the horror film Carrie (1976). She received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance, and it, along with the commercial success of the film, relaunched her career. Her co-star Sissy Spacek praised her acting skill: "She is a remarkable actress. She never does what you expect her to do—she always surprises you with her approach to a scene."
In 1979, she appeared as Mary Horton in the Australian movie Tim opposite Mel Gibson. After her 1981 divorce, Laurie moved to California. She received a third Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Mrs. Norman in Children of a Lesser God (1986). The same year, she was awarded an Emmy for her performance in Promise, a television movie, co-starring James Garner and James Woods. She had a featured role in the Off-Broadway production of The Destiny of Me in 1992, and returned to Broadway for Lincoln Center's acclaimed 2002 revival of Paul Osborn's Morning's at Seven, with Julie Hagerty, Buck Henry, Frances Sternhagen, and Estelle Parsons.
In 1990–1991, she starred as the devious Catherine Martell in David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks. She also appeared in Other People's Money with Gregory Peck (1991), and in horror maestro Dario Argento's first American film Trauma (1993). She played George Clooney's character's mother on ER. In 1997, she appeared in the film A Christmas Memory with Patty Duke, and in 1998, she appeared in the sci-fi thriller The Faculty. She made guest appearances on television shows such as Frasier, Matlock, State of Grace, and Will & Grace. Laurie also appeared in Cold Case and in a 2001 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit titled "Care", in which she played an adoptive mother and foster grandmother who killed one of the foster granddaughters in her daughter's charge and who abused her adoptive son and foster grandchildren.
She returned to the big screen for independent films, such as Eulogy (2004) and The Dead Girl (2006), opposite actress Toni Collette. In 2018, she had a supporting role in White Boy Rick as the grandmother of the title character.
Laurie was married to New York Herald Tribune entertainment writer Joe Morgenstern. They met shortly after the release of The Hustler in 1961 when Morgenstern interviewed her during the film's promotion. They soon began dating, and nine months after the interview, they were married on January 21, 1962. When no substantial roles came her way after The Hustler, Morgenstern and she moved to Woodstock, New York. In 1971, they adopted a daughter, Anne Grace Morgenstern. In 1982, the couple divorced, after which she moved to the Hollywood area and continued working in films and television. In 1962, she was Harvard's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, and in 2000, she received the Spirit of Hope Award in Korea for her service during the Korean War. Laurie is a sculptor working in marble and clay and exhibits her work.
She appeared at the September 2014 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland.
Laurie has been nominated for an Academy Award for her performances in three films. She won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her role in the 1986 TV movie Promise, opposite James Garner and James Woods. She also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film in 1991 for her role in Twin Peaks. 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; and for her role in the miniseries The Thorn Birds, two nominations for her work in Twin Peaks, as Catherine Martell, and a nomination for her guest appearance on Frasier.
|The Milkman||Chris Abbott|
|1951||Francis Goes to the Races||Frances Travers|
|The Prince Who Was a Thief||Tina|
|1952||Has Anybody Seen My Gal?||Millicent Blaisdell|
|Son of Ali Baba||Princess Azura of Fez / Kiki|
|No Room for the Groom||Lee Kingshead|
|1953||The Golden Blade||Khairuzan|
|The Mississippi Gambler||Angelique "Leia" Dureau|
|1954||Johnny Dark||Liz Fielding|
|Dangerous Mission||Louise Graham|
|Dawn at Socorro||Rannah Hayes|
|1955||Ain't Misbehavin'||Sarah Bernhardt Hatfield|
|Smoke Signal||Laura Evans|
|1957||Until They Sail||Delia Leslie Friskett|
|1961||The Hustler||Sarah Packard||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress|
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Laurel Award for Top Female Dramatic Performance (2nd Place)
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (3rd Place)
|1976||Carrie||Margaret White||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress|
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
|1981||The Bunker||Magda Goebbels|
|1985||Return to Oz||Aunt Em|
|1986||Children of a Lesser God||Mrs. Norman||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Promise||Annie Gilbert||Television movie|
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
|1988||Appointment with Death||Emily Boynton|
|Tiger Warsaw||Frances Warsaw|
|1989||Dream a Little Dream||Gena Ettinger|
|1991||Other People's Money||Bea Sullivan|
|1993||Wrestling Ernest Hemingway||Georgia|
|Lies and Lullabies||Margaret Kinsey||Television movie|
|1995||The Grass Harp||Dolly Talbo||Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Fighting For My Daughter||Judge Edna Burton||Television movie|
|1997||A Christmas Memory||Jennie|
|1998||The Faculty||Mrs. Olson|
|2006||The Dead Girl||Arden's mother|
|2009||Saving Grace B. Jones||Marta Shank|
|2010||Another Harvest Moon||June|
|2012||Bad Blood||Milly Lathtrop|
|White Boy Rick||Vera Wershe|
|1958||Days of Wine and Roses||Kirsten Arnesen||Playhouse 90|
|1960–1963||The United States Steel Hour||Edna Cartey||2 episodes|
|Naked City||Mary Highmark||Episode: "Howard Running Bear Is a Turtle"|
|1980||Skag||Jo Skagska||6 episodes|
|1983||The Thorn Birds||Anne Mueller||3 episodes|
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
|St. Elsewhere||Fran Singleton||3 episodes|
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
|1985||Murder, She Wrote||Peggy Shannon||Episode: "Murder at the Oasis"|
|The Twilight Zone||Aunt Neva||Segment: "The Burning Man"|
|Gramma||Segment: "Gramma" (voice only, uncredited)|
|1986||Matlock||Claire Leigh||Episode: "The Judge"|
|1989||Beauty and the Beast||Mrs. Davis||Episode: "A Gentle Rain"|
|1990–1991||Twin Peaks||Catherine Martell /
Mr. Tojamura (credited as Fumio Yamaguchi)
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1990)
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1991)
Nominated—Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Actress : Prime Time (1991, 1992)
|1994||Traps||Cora Trapchek||5 episodes|
|Frasier||Marianne||Episode: "Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast"|
|1995–1996||ER||Sarah Ross||2 episodes|
|Diagnosis Murder||A.D.A. Susan Turner||Episode: "The ABC's of Murder"|
|1997||Touched by an Angel||Annie Doyle||Episode: "Venice"|
|1999||Frasier||Mrs. Mulhern||Episode: "Dr. Nora"|
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
|2000||Will & Grace||Sharon||Episode: "There But for the Grace of Grace"|
|Possessed||Aunt Hanna||TV film|
|2001||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Dorothy Rudd||Episode: "Care"|
|2004||Dead Like Me||Nina Rommey||Episode: "Forget Me Not"|
|2005||Cold Case||Rose 2005||Episode: "Best Friends"|
|2018||MacGyver||Edith||Episode: "Skyscraper - Power"|
- "Piper Laurie Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- Hubler, Richard G. (June 20, 1953). "When lovely Piper Laurie makes a movie, she hits the road to sell it". Collier's. Archived from the original on August 3, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- Piper Laurie profile at Yahoo!
- "Actress Piper Laurie writes absorbing memoir". Deseret News. Associated Press. November 4, 2011.
- Laurie, Piper (2011). Learning to Live Out Loud: A Memoir. New York: Crown Archetype. p. 1. ISBN 978-0823026685. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- Gostin, Nicki (April 6, 2012). "Why I had to reject Hollywood". The Jewish Chronicle. London. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- "Julie Adams at 85". Great Entertainers Archives.com. April 9, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- "Francis Goes to the Races". Leonard Maltin Classic Movie Guide. Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Son of Ali Baba". Leonard Maltin Classic Movie Guide. Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Ain't Misbehavin". Leonard Maltin Classic Movie Guide. Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- Park, Jeannie; Nancy Matsumoto (April 30, 1990). "Playing One of the Kinkiest Villains Ever Seen on TV, Piper Laurie Reaches Another Acting Crest in Twin Peaks". People. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- IMDb reports that in 1955, when she received another script for a Western and "another silly part in a silly movie", she burned the script and called her agent, saying she did not care if they fired her, jailed her, or sued her.
- "Twelfth Night". Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- O'Connor, John J. (November 27, 1983). "Home Video: New Cassettes of Old Favorites". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Days of Wine and Roses". Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Winterset". Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Watch The Eleventh Hour". TV Guide. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Breaking Point 1963-64". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- Fienberg, Richard Tresch (2008). "The Glass Menagerie". Playbill. 115 (4): 10. Bibcode:2008S&T...115d..10F. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- Thomas, Nick (November 7, 2014). "Tinseltown Talks: Piper Laurie goes from Gipper to Carrie". The Oakland Press. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- Dick Kleiner, Brownwood Bulletin, May 16, 1976, p. 33
- Canby, Vincent. "'Tim,' A Romantic Drama from Australia". The New York Times. p. C25. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- Sherrod, Kerryn. "Children of a Lesser God". Turner Classic Movies Database. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- Roberts, Jerry (June 5, 2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Books. p. 862. ISBN 978-0810861381.
- Rich, Frank (October 21, 1992). "The Destiny of Me; Larry Kramer Tells His Own Anguished Story". The New York Times. p. C15. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- Brantley, Ben (April 22, 2002). "Wry Smiles At the Pitfalls Of Closeness". The New York Times. p. E1. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- Wuntch, Philip (October 22, 1991). "DeVito is low and delicious in 'Other People's Money'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- Bleiler, David (April 8, 2014). TLA Video & DVD Guide 2005: The Discerning Film Lover's Guide. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-1466867826. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- Hal Erickson (2015). "A Christmas Memory (1997)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on July 18, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- "Piper Laurie". Full Moon Films. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- "Piper Laurie List of Movies". TV Guide. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- "Piper Laurie at the 2014 MANC Convention". Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. Archived from the original on January 31, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- "Overview for Piper Laurie". Turner Entertainment Network. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- DeGuere, Philip; May, Bradford (2020). The Twilight Zone: The Complete '80s Series: Audio Commentary - "Gramma" (DVD). CBS DVD.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Piper Laurie|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Piper Laurie.|
- Piper Laurie at IMDb
- Piper Laurie at the Internet Broadway Database
- Piper Laurie at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Piper Laurie at Virtual History
- Interview with Piper Laurie, August 25, 2014, Classic Film & TV Cafe
- Piper Laurie at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
- – Interview with Piper Laurie. The Spectrum, January, 2016.