Born in Illinois in 1929, June Squibb always knew she wanted to be an actress. She first appeared on Broadway on the musical Gypsy in the early 1960s. In the '90s, Squibb started working in film. She made her debut in Woody Allen's Alice (1990). More roles soon followed, including Alexander Payne's About Schmidt (2002. More than a decade later, Squibb reunited with Payne for Nebraska (2013), her most critically acclaimed performance to date.
Early Life and Career
Born on November 6, 1929, in Vandalia, Illinois, June Squibb has been an actress for more than 60 years. She decided she wanted to be a performer at an early age. As she explained to the Los Angeles Times, "I don't know what did it. Certainly not my family, or [growing up in] that part of the country ... I always thought of myself as being on stage."
In the late 1950s, Squibb landed one of her first major theater roles off-Broadway. She soon made it to Broadway in the musical Gypsy starring Ethel Merman. In the this production, based on the life of Gypsy Rose Lee, Squibb played a stripper named Electra. She later appeared in the 1968 musical The Happy Time with Robert Goulet.
After long career in the theater, Squibb made the move to the big screen. She made her debut in a small role in Alice (1990), directed by Woody Allen. More bit parts soon followed, including appearances in Scent of a Woman (1992), starring Al Pacino, and Far From Heaven (2002). Also in 2002, she had a supporting role in About Schmidt, her first project with director Alexander Payne. Squibb plays the wife of Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) who dies suddenly early in the film.
Squibb also worked a lot in television, including landing recurring role on Ghost Whisperer with Jennifer Love Hewitt. But it was her next Alexander Payne film that really raised her profile in the entertainment industry. She plays Kate Grant in the critically acclaimed drama Nebraska. Her character is the exasperated wife of Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) who seems to be losing his facilities. Woody believes that he has won a million dollars from a mail sweepstakes, and he takes the couple's youngest son, played by Will Forte, on a journey to collect the prize money.
Squibb and Dern proved to be a compelling pair on screen with both of them receiving a warm reception from critics for their work in the film. For Squibb, Nebraska brought her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations—both for best actress in a supporting role—marking the first major award nominations of her career. The film's success also opened new doors for the actress professionally: Around this time, she landed a multi-episode part on the hit cable series Girls, playing the grandmother of Lena Dunham's character.
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