Jennifer Jason Leigh was born on February 5, 1962, in Los Angeles, California, and started acting as a child. She shined in such 1980s television and film projects as The Best Little Girl in the World and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Over the years, she has established herself as a skilled dramatic actress in films like Single White Female (1992), Short Cuts (1993) and Dolores Clairborne (1995). Leigh's recent projects include roles in the features Kill Your Darlings (2013) and The Hateful Eight (2015), with the actress receiving an Oscar nomination for the latter.
Early Life and Career
Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh was born Jennifer Leigh Morrow on February 5, 1962, in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of actor Vic Morrow and screenwriter Barbara Turner. At an early age, Leigh became interested in acting. She studied with famed acting coach Lee Strasberg before beginning her professional career. Early on, Leigh landed a number of television guest spots on such shows as Family and Baretta in the 1970s.
Moving on to more substantial roles in the 1980s, Leigh starred as an anorexic teenager in the 1981 television movie The Best Little Girl in the World. She also appeared in the seminal teen flick Fast Times at Ridgemont High with Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates and Forest Whitaker the following year. Around this time, Leigh received terrible news. In July 1982, her father was killed in a helicopter accident while filming Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).
Acclaimed Dramatic Actress
As she made the transition from child to adult actor, Leigh tackled a series of challenging roles. She earned great reviews for her work in the urban drama Last Exit to Brooklyn (1990), based on the book by Hubert Selby Jr. The following year, Leigh appeared in the firefighter drama Backdraft (1991) with Kurt Russell. She also co-starred with Jason Patric in the crime drama Rush that same year.
One of Leigh's most well-known roles was the deeply disturbed roommate in Single White Female (1992), with Bridget Fonda. She was also part of the stellar ensemble cast for Robert Altman's Short Cuts (1993), which also included Julianne Moore and Tim Robbins. Tackling a literary legend, Leigh earned positive reviews for her portrayal of writer Dorothy Parker in Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994).
Leigh also received many positive reviews for her work in the Stephen King mystery Dolores Claiborne (1995) starring Kathy Bates. That same year, she starred opposite Mare Winningham in the sister drama Georgia (1995).
In 1998, Leigh made her Broadway debut in a revival of Cabaret with Alan Cumming. She took over the part of Sally Bowles from Natasha Richardson. With Cumming, Leigh also co-wrote and directed the 2001 dramatic comedy The Anniversary Party. That same year, Leigh returned to Broadway to join the cast of Proof, replacing Mary-Louise Parker in the lead role.
Oscar Nod for Tarantino Flick
In 2005, Leigh married film writer-director Noah Baumbach. The couple worked together on the 2007 movie Margot at the Wedding. They also co-wrote Greenberg (2010), starring Ben Stiller. Leigh and Baumbach filed for divorce that same year. The news about their divorce broke only months after the birth of their son, Rohmer.
Leigh has enjoyed some success on the small screen as of late. She had a recurring role on the dramatic comedy Weeds. In 2012, Leigh joined the cast of the popular primetime drama Revenge starring Emily VanCamp.
The actress continues to work on a variety of films, including 2013's Kill Your Darlings. This film looks at the lives of such legendary poets and writers as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. In 2015, she garnered a Golden Globe nomination for her turn as Daisy "The Prisoner" Domergue in Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, followed by an Oscar nod, her first.
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