Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer Biography

(1958–)
Updated:
Original:
Michelle Pfeiffer is an American actress known for her film roles in 'Scarface,' 'The Fabulous Baker Boys' and 'Batman Returns.'

Who Is Michelle Pfeiffer?

After winning the 1978 Miss Orange County beauty pageant, Michelle Pfeiffer found success as an actress with breakout roles in Grease 2 and Scarface. Pfeiffer went on to earn a Best Actress Oscar nomination for The Fabulous Baker Boys and took on the role of Catwoman in Batman Returns. Her later films include White Oleander and Hairspray, and she received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in Wizard of Lies. Pfeiffer, who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has been married to television writer-producer David E. Kelley since 1993.

Early Life and Career

Born on April 29, 1958, in Santa Ana, California, Michelle Pfeiffer is known for her stunning looks and versatility and has enjoyed great popularity as a film actress. As a teenager, Pfeiffer won several beauty contests. After briefly studying to be a court reporter, Pfeiffer decided to pursue an acting career. She started acting on television, appearing on such shows as Fantasy Island.

Movies and TV

'Grease 2,' 'Scarface'

Pfeiffer landed a small part in 1980's Falling in Love Again but had a breakthrough with Grease 2 (1982). While the sequel to the hit musical proved to be commercially and critically disappointing, it helped introduce movie-goers to the screen beauty. She soon moved on to the now-classic crime drama Scarface (1983), and showed critics that she could hold her own, starring opposite acting powerhouse Al Pacino.

'The Witches of Eastwick,' 'Dangerous Liaisons'

Over the next few years, Pfeiffer took on a variety of roles. She starred as the tragically cursed lover Isabeau opposite Rutger Hauer and Matthew Broderick in the fantasy adventure film Ladyhawke (1985). She then played one of the title characters in 1987's The Witches of Eastwick, with Cher and Susan Sarandon. Turning to historical drama, she starred in Dangerous Liaisons (1988), opposite John Malkovich and Glenn Close. In Liaisons, Pfeiffer plays an unwitting pawn in a bet between Malkovich's and Close's characters. For her performance, she received her first Academy Award nomination.

Pfeiffer showed off her comedic side by starring in the 1988 comedy Married to the Mob. Two years later, she garnered another Oscar nomination for playing a sultry singer in The Fabulous Baker Boys, starring opposite real-life brothers Beau and Jeff Bridges. For the 1991 romantic comedy Frankie and Johnny, Pfeiffer tried to tone down her remarkable good looks to play a lonely waitress who gets involved with another restaurant employee, played by Pacino. 

Playing Catwoman in 'Batman Returns'

The actress quickly turned up the heat with Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992), in which Michael Keaton plays the title character. For the film, Pfeiffer tackled a legendary villainess, Catwoman, and more was made of her skin-tight suit than her performance.

'One Fine Day,' 'Up Close and Personal'

In 1993 Pfeiffer played a woman full of intrigue and scandal who wins Daniel Day-Lewis' character's heart in Martin Scorsese's Age of Innocence. In 1996, she played a harried single parent who eventually falls for George Clooney in One Fine Day. In another romantic tale, Up Close and Personal (1996), set in a television newsroom, she appeared opposite screen legend, Robert Redford.

'I Am Sam,' 'White Oleander'

Selective about her work, Pfeiffer starred in the horror-supernatural flick What Lies Beneath (2000), with Harrison Ford. She also co-starred with Sean Penn in I Am Sam (2001), the heart-wrenching story of a mentally challenged man who fights to keep his young daughter. She continued to explore family issues with 2002's White Oleander, playing a mother whose life is ruined when she's sentenced to prison and her daughter is put into foster care.

'Hairspray'

In 2007, Pfeiffer returned to the big screen after being absent for several years. She gave an impressive, humorous performance in the hit musical Hairspray, co-starring with John Travolta, Christopher Walken and Nikki Blonsky. She then appeared in a number of films that met with little success, including the family-friendly adventure Stardust (2007), with Robert De Niro; and the drama Personal Effects (2009) with Ashton Kutcher.

'Dark Shadows,' 'The Wizard of Lies'

Pfeiffer rejoined Burton for 2012's Dark Shadows, co-starring with actor Johnny Depp, and that year she also appeared in the family drama People Like Us. In 2017, she reunited with De Niro for the movie The Wizard of Lies, about the infamous Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff. Portraying Madoff's wife, Ruth, Pfeiffer received a Golden Globe nomination for her role.

'The Ant-Man and the Wasp,' 'Maleficent'

In 2018, Pfeiffer delved into superheroine territory, playing Marvel Comics character Janet Van Dyne (aka The Wasp) in The Ant-Man and the Wasp. After briefly reprising the role in 2019's Avengers: Endgame, the actress was appeared in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil later that year.

Husband and Children

Pfeiffer adopted a daughter, Claudia, in 1993, and married TV writer-producer David E. Kelley later that year. The couple added to their family in 1994, with the birth of their son, John Henry. Pfeiffer had previously been married to actor Peter Horton.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!