Piper Laurie

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Piper Laurie
Piper Laurie 1990.jpg
Piper Laurie at the 42nd Primetime Emmy Awards in 1990
BornRosetta Jacobs
(1932-01-22) January 22, 1932 (age 83)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Years active1950–present
Spouse(s)Joe Morgenstern (1962–82; 1 child; divorced)
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Piper Laurie
Piper Laurie 1990.jpg
Piper Laurie at the 42nd Primetime Emmy Awards in 1990
BornRosetta Jacobs
(1932-01-22) January 22, 1932 (age 83)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Years active1950–present
Spouse(s)Joe Morgenstern (1962–82; 1 child; divorced)

Piper Laurie (born January 22, 1932) is an American actress of stage and screen known for her roles in the films The Hustler, Carrie, and Children of a Lesser God, all of which brought her Academy Award nominations. She is also known for her performance as Catherine Martell in the cult television series Twin Peaks for which she won a Golden Globe Award in 1991.

Early life[edit]

Piper Laurie was born as Rosetta Jacobs on January 22, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan, the younger daughter of Charlotte Sadie (née Alperin) and Alfred Jacobs, a furniture dealer.[1] Her grandparents were Jewish immigrants, from Poland on her father's side and Russia on her mother's .[2][3][4] She was delivered, according to her 2011 autobiography, Learning to Live Out Loud: a Memoir (ISBN 978-0-8230-2668-5), by a "male midwife ... in a one-bedroom walk-up on Tyler Street in Detroit". Alfred Jacobs moved the family to Los Angeles, California in 1938, where she attended Hebrew school, and to combat her shyness her parents provided her with weekly elocution lessons; this activity eventually led her to minor roles at nearby Universal Studios.[2] For a large chunk of her early childhood, her parents placed her and her older sister in a children's home, which they both despised.[5]


In 1949, Rosetta Jacobs signed a contract with Universal Studios, changing her screen name to Piper Laurie, by which she has been known professionally since. Her breakout role was in Louisa, with Ronald Reagan (whom she dated a few times before his marriage to Nancy Davis; she claimed in her autobiography that she lost her virginity to him).[6] Several other roles followed: Francis Goes to the Races (1951, co-starring Donald O'Connor); Son of Ali Baba (1952, co-starring Tony Curtis); and Ain't Misbehavin' (1955, co-starring Rory Calhoun).[citation needed]

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,[7] she moved to New York 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.[citation needed]

She was again lured to Hollywood by the offer to co-star with Paul Newman in The Hustler, which was 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 she and her husband moved to New York State.

Laurie did not appear in another feature film again 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 in that role, and it, along with the commercial success of the film, relaunched her career.

After her 1981 divorce, Laurie relocated to California. In 1986, she received a third Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Mrs. Norman in Children of a Lesser God. That same year she was awarded an Emmy for her performance in Promise, a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie, co-starring James Garner and James Woods. In 1965, she starred in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, opposite Maureen Stapleton, Pat Hingle and George Grizzard. 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 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 1990-91, she starred as the devious Catherine Martell in David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks. She 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. 1997 film "A Christmas Memory" (with Patty Duke Astin) 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, Will & Grace, Cold Case, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She returned to the big screen for independent films such as Eulogy and The Dead Girl.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

When The Hustler was released in 1961, Laurie was interviewed by New York Herald Tribune entertainment writer Joe Morgenstern. They soon began dating, and nine months after the interview they were married (January 21, 1962). When no substantial roles came her way after The Hustler, she and Morgenstern relocated to Woodstock, New York. A daughter, Anne, was born to the couple in 1971. In 1982, the couple divorced, after which she relocated to the Hollywood area and continued working in films and television. As of 2010, she still resides in Southern California; her daughter is in New York.[citation needed]

The actress appeared at the September 2014 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland.[8]


Laurie won an Emmy Award, for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special for her role in the 1986 TV movie Promise opposite James Garner and James Woods. In addition, she received several Emmy nominations, including one for playing Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph Goebbels, in The Bunker in 1981, opposite Anthony Hopkins as Hitler; for her role in the miniseries The Thorn Birds; two for her work in Twin Peaks as the evil Catherine Martell, and a nomination for her guest appearance on Frasier. She has been nominated for an Academy Award in three films.



1950LouisaCathy Norton
1950Milkman, TheThe MilkmanChris Abbott
1951Francis Goes to the RacesFrances Travers
1951Prince Who Was a Thief, TheThe Prince Who Was a ThiefTina
1952Has Anybody Seen My Gal?Millicent Blaisdell
1952Son of Ali BabaPrincess Azura of Fez/Kiki
1952No Room for the GroomLee Kingshead
1953Golden Blade, TheThe Golden BladeKhairuzan
1953Mississippi Gambler, TheThe Mississippi GamblerAngelique 'Leia' Dureau
1954Johnny DarkLiz Fielding
1954Dangerous MissionLouise Graham
1954Dawn at SocorroDance Hall Girl
1955Ain't Misbehavin'Sarah Bernhardt Hatfield
1957Until They SailDelia Leslie Friskett
1955Smoke SignalLaura Evans
1961Hustler, TheThe HustlerSarah PackardNominated—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)
1976CarrieMargaret WhiteNominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1977RubyRuby Claire
1978RainbowEthel Gumm
1979TimMary Horton
1981The BunkerMagda Goebbels
1983St. ElsewhereFran Singleton
1984Terror in the Aislesarchival flashback
1985Return to OzAunt Em
1985ToughloveDarlene MarshTelevision film
1986Children of a Lesser GodMrs. NormanNominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1986PromiseAnnie GilbertTelevision 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
1988Appointment with DeathEmily Boynton
1988Tiger WarsawFrances Warsaw
1989Dream a Little DreamGena Ettinger
1991Other People's MoneyBea Sullivan
1992StoryvilleConstance Fowler
1992Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with MeCatherine MartellDeleted scenes
1993Wrestling Ernest HemingwayGeorgia
1993TraumaAdriana Petrescu
1995The Crossing GuardHelen Booth
1995Grass Harp, TheThe Grass HarpDolly TalboSoutheastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
1995Fighting For My DaughterJudge Edna BurtonTelevision movie
1997A Christmas MemoryJennie
1997Dean Koontz's IntensityMiriam BraynardTelevision movie
1998Faculty, TheThe FacultyMrs. Olson
2004EulogyCharlotte Collins
2006Dead Girl, TheThe Dead GirlArden's Mother
2006Cold CaseRose CollinsEpisode: "Best Friends"
2008Saving GraceMarta
2009Another Harvest MoonJune
2010HesherMadeleine Forney


1960-1963The United States Steel HourEdna Cartey2 episodes
1963Naked CityMary HighmarkEpisode: "Howard Running Bear Is a Turtle"
1980SkagJo Skagska6 episodes
1983Thorn Birds, TheThe Thorn BirdsAnne Mueller3 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
1983St. ElsewhereFran Singleton3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1985Murder, She WrotePeggy ShannonEpisode: "Murder at the Oasis"
1985HotelJessicaEpisode: "Illusions"
1985Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight ZoneAunt NevaEpisode: "The Burning Man"
1986MatlockClaire LeighEpisode: "The Judge"
1989Beauty and the BeastMrs. DavisEpisode: "A Gentle Rain"
1990PossessedAunt HannaTV film
1990-1991Twin PeaksCatherine Martell / Mr. Tojamura27 episodes
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)
1994TrapsCora Trapchek5 episodes
1994FrasierMarianneEpisode: "Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast"
1995-1996ERSarah Ross2 episodes
1996Diagnosis MurderA.D.A. Susan TurnerEpisode: "The ABC's of Murder"
1997Touched by an AngelAnnie DoyleEpisode: "Venice"
1999FrasierMrs. MulhernEpisode: "Dr. Nora"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
2000Will & GraceSharonEpisode: "There But for the Grace of Grace"
2001Law & Order: Special Victims UnitDorothy RuddEpisode: "Care"
2004Dead Like MeNina RommeyEpisode: "Forget Me Not"
2005Cold CaseRose 2005Episode: "Best Friends"


  1. ^ "Piper Laurie Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  2. ^ a b Richard G. Hubler (20 June 1953). "Article From Colliers Magazine". Colliers. Archived from the original on 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  3. ^ Piper Laurie profile at Yahoo!
  4. ^ Deseretnews.com
  5. ^ http://www.thejc.com/arts/arts-features/66227/why-i-had-reject-hollywood
  6. ^ Daniel Bates, "Virgin starlet claims Ronald Reagan was a 'show-off' in bed after seducing her on set of 1950s film in which he played her father", The Daily Mail, 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2013-07-18.
  7. ^ 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 didn't care if they fired her, jailed her or sued her.
  8. ^ MidAtlanticNostalgiaConvention.com

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