Jessica Lange biography
Jessica Lange is an American actress born on April 20, 1949 in Cloquet, Minnesota. Working as a model, she was chosen to star in the mega hit film King Kong (1976). In 1982, Lange she received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for the film Frances and won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Tootsie. She has also won several awards and nominations for her roles in Blue Sky (1994), A Streetcar Named Desire (1995), A Thousand Acres (1997), Normal (2003), Grey Gardens (2009) and American Horror Story (2012).
Jessica Phyllis Lange was born on April 20, 1949, in Cloquet, Minnesota. The third of four children, Lange was the daughter of Dorothy Florence and Albert John Lange, who was an educator and salesman. As a child, Lange's family moved constantly due to her father's frequently changing jobs. Lange later noted that her family "lived like gypsies." But instead of rebelling against this transient lifestyle, Lange inherited the travel bug. By the time she enrolled as an art student at the University of Minnesota in 1967, she had big dreams of seeing the world.
In the spring of 1968, before she had finished her freshman year, Jessica met and fell in love with 24-year-old photography professor Paco Grande. Lange and Grande left school and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe. They lived mostly out of Grande's van, and Lange met many of Grande's friends within the film community. They returned to Minnesota briefly in July 1970, where they were married.
The newlyweds moved to New York, eventually settling in to the SoHo art community. Grande continued to work on film projects and Jessica, inspired by French cinema, made the decision to study mime. In 1971, Lange moved to Paris to study mime with teacher Etienne Decroux. Her two years of education with Decroux sparked an interest in acting for Lange, and she returned to New York in 1973 to pursue a film career.
During her time abroad, Lange's marriage to Paco Grande had deteriorated. Grande left Jessica in New York, where she started working as a waitress and model with the Wilhelmina Agency in order to make ends meet. In the fall of 1975, film producer Dino DeLaurentis contacted Lange's modeling agency looking for an actress to star in his new King Kong movie. An agent at Wilhelmina recommended Jessica for the part. After a Hollywood screen test, Lange landed the role.
King Kong hit theaters in 1976, and was a box-office hit. Reviews for Lange, however, were largely negative, and focused on the fact that Lange was a former model. Although she had signed a seven-year acting contract with DeLaurentis, Lange did not work for three years following King Kong's release. During this time, Lange met Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, and the two began dating.
In 1979, close friend director and choreographer Bob Fosse gave her another shot at acting when he wrote a part especially for her in his autobiographical film, All That Jazz.
The movie centered on womanizing dancer Joe Gideon, played by Roy Scheider, who is coming to grips with mortality. Lange played the angel of death in Gideon's fantasy world. The role was panned by critics, but brought the actress back to the attention of Hollywood. The next year, she landed a lead role in the comedy How To Beat The High Cost of Living. But it was her lead role starring across from Jack Nicolson as Cora in the remake of the 1940's classic The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) that got the attention of critics and viewers. Lange's performance earned rave reviews, and audiences loved her. She was finally on her way to stardom. That same year, Lange gave birth to her and Baryshnikov's first and only child together, a daughter named Alexandra.
The next year proved to be a momentous one for Lange. Her performance in the biopic Frances, in which she portrayed actress Frances Farmer, earned her a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actress. It was on the set of Frances that Lange met playwright and actor, Sam Shepard. As her relationship with Baryshnikov unraveled, Lange and Shepard began falling in love. They moved into together later that year. That same year she also won an Oscar for best Supporting Actress in the comedy Tootsie (1982), co-starring Dustin Hoffman and Terri Garr. No actress had been nominated twice in one year since Teresa Wright in 1942. Lange was finally coming into her own as an A-list actress.
Jessica Lange continued to shine in performances throughout the 80s and 90s in films such as Sweet Dreams (1984), Music Box (1989) and Men Don't Leave (1990). In 1994, she won yet another Academy Award—this time for the Best Actress in the film Blue Sky (1994).
Lange continued to dazzle viewers in 1995 in dramas such as Losing Isaiah with Halle Berry and Rob Roy starring Liam Neeson. That same year, her performance as Blanche DuBois in the television adaptation of the Tennesee Williams play, A Streetcar Named Desire (1995), co-starring with Alec Baldwin, won her a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award nomination. In 1997, critics acknowledged Lange's acting talents again in the film A Thousand Acres, for which she would earn a Golden Globe nod.
In 2003, Lange's performance as Irma Applewood in the film Normal earned her nominations for an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Lange then performed alongside actor Bill Murray in the 2005 independent film, Broken Flowers.
In recent years, Lange has given several impressive performances on television. She played Edie Ewing Beale in the 2009 biopic, Grey Gardens. Lange co-starred with Drew Barrymore in this television film about a real-life mother and daughter living an eccentric life in a rundown mansion. She won an Emmy Award for her work on the project. Three years later, Lange netted her latest Golden Globe for her supporting role on American Horror Story. Critics have hailed her scene-stealing turn as Constance, the oddball neighbor, to the family living in a house haunted by his dark and brutal past.
On the big screen, Lange had a supporting role in the 2012 romantic drama The Vow starring Rachel McAdams and Tatum Channing.
While her career seems to be revving up, Lange has been facing some personal challenges. She and longtime partner Shepard split in December 2011 after nearly two decades as a couple. They have two children together, Hannah and Walker Samuel. Lange also has a daughter Aleksandra from her relationship with Mikhail Baryshnikov.