Born: January 22, 1932
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Piper Laurie (born Rosetta Jacobs; January 22, 1932) is an American stage and screen actress known for her roles in the films The Hustler (1961), Carrie (1976), and Children of a Lesser God (1986), all of which brought her Academy Award nominations. She is also known for her performances as Kirsten Arnesen in the original TV production of Days of Wine and Roses and as Catherine Martell in the cult television series Twin Peaks, for which she won a Golden Globe Award in 1991. She is set to star in the 2018 film White Boy Rick.
Piper Laurie was born Rosetta Jacobs on January 22, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan. She was the younger daughter of Charlotte Sadie (née Alperin) and Alfred Jacobs, a furniture dealer. Her grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland on her father's side and Russia on her mother's.
She was delivered, according to her 2011 autobiography Learning to Live Out Loud, where she lived 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. To combat her shyness, her parents provided her with weekly elocution lessons; this eventually led to minor roles at nearby Universal Studios. For much of her early childhood, her parents placed Laurie and her older sister in a children's home, which they both despised.
In 1949, Rosetta Jacobs signed a contract with Universal Studios, and changed her screen name to Piper Laurie, which she has used since then. At Universal, she met other soon-to-be familiar actors Julie Adams and Rock Hudson. Her breakout role was in Louisa, with Ronald Reagan, whom she dated a few times before his marriage to Nancy Davis. In her autobiography, she claimed that she lost her virginity to him. Several other roles followed: Francis Goes to the Races (1951, co-starring Donald O'Connor); Son of Ali Baba (1951, co-starring Tony Curtis); and Ain't Misbehavin' (1955, co-starring Rory Calhoun).
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, 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.
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 her husband and she moved to New York. 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 1965, she starred in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, opposite Maureen Stapleton, Pat Hingle, and George Grizzard.
Laurie did not appear in another feature film 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 the commercial success of the film relaunched her career. Her co-star, Sissy Spacek, praised her acting skill: "She is a remarkable actress. She never does what you expect her to do—she always surprises you with her approach to a scene."
In 1979, she appeared as Mary Horton in the Australian movie Tim opposite Mel Gibson. After her 1981 divorce, Laurie relocated to California. She received a third Oscar nomination for her portrayal of "Mrs. Norman" in Children of a Lesser God (1986). 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. 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 1990-91, she starred as the devious Catherine Martell in David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks. She also 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. In 1997, she appeared in the film A Christmas Memory with Patty Duke (then known as Patty Duke Astin), and 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, and Will & Grace. Laurie also appeared in Cold Case and in a 2001 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit entitled "Care", in which she played an adoptive mother, and foster grandmother, who killed one of the foster granddaughters in her daughter's charge, and who abused her adoptive son and foster grandchildren.
She returned to the big screen for independent films, such as Eulogy (2004) and The Dead Girl (2006), opposite actress Toni Collette.
Laurie has been married only one time to New York Herald Tribune entertainment writer Joe Morgenstern. They met shortly after the release of The Hustler in 1961 when Morgenstern interviewed her during the film's promotion. They soon began dating, and nine months after the interview, they were married on January 21, 1962. When no substantial roles came her way after The Hustler, Morgenstern and she relocated to Woodstock, New York. In 1971, they had a daughter, Anne Grace Morgenstern. In 1982, the couple divorced, after which she relocated to the Hollywood area and continued working in films and television. She was Harvard’s "Woman of the Year", and in 1996, Tucson University conferred on her an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts. In 2000, she received "The Spirit of Hope Award" in Korea for her service during the Korean War. Laurie is a sculptor working in marble and clay and exhibits her work. As of 2010, she still resides in Southern California; her daughter is in New York.
The actress appeared at the September 2014 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland.
Laurie won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie, 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, opposite Anthony Hopkins as Hitler; and for her role in the miniseries, The Thorn Birds, two nominations for her work in Twin Peaks, as Catherine Martell, and a nomination for her guest appearance on Frasier. She has been nominated for an Academy Award for her performances in three films.
|Milkman, TheThe Milkman||Chris Abbott|
|1951||Francis Goes to the Races||Frances Travers|
|Prince Who Was a Thief, TheThe Prince Who Was a Thief||Tina|
|1952||Has Anybody Seen My Gal?||Millicent Blaisdell|
|Son of Ali Baba||Princess Azura of Fez/Kiki|
|No Room for the Groom||Lee Kingshead|
|1953||Golden Blade, TheThe Golden Blade||Khairuzan|
|Mississippi Gambler, TheThe Mississippi Gambler||Angelique 'Leia' Dureau|
|1954||Johnny Dark||Liz Fielding|
|Dangerous Mission||Louise Graham|
|Dawn at Socorro||Dance Hall Girl|
|1955||Ain't Misbehavin'||Sarah Bernhardt Hatfield|
|Smoke Signal||Laura Evans|
|1957||Until They Sail||Delia Leslie Friskett|
|1961||Hustler, TheThe Hustler||Sarah Packard||Nominated—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)
|1976||Carrie||Margaret White||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
|1981||The Bunker||Magda Goebbels|
|1985||Return to Oz||Aunt Em|
|1986||Children of a Lesser God||Mrs. Norman||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Promise||Annie Gilbert||Television 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
|1988||Appointment with Death||Emily Boynton|
|Tiger Warsaw||Frances Warsaw|
|1989||Dream a Little Dream||Gena Ettinger|
|1991||Other People's Money||Bea Sullivan|
|1993||Wrestling Ernest Hemingway||Georgia|
|Lies and Lullabies||Margaret Kinsey||Television movie|
|1995||Grass Harp, TheThe Grass Harp||Dolly Talbo||Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Fighting For My Daughter||Judge Edna Burton||Television movie|
|1997||A Christmas Memory||Jennie|
|1998||Faculty, TheThe Faculty||Mrs. Olson|
|2009||Another Harvest Moon||June|
|2018||White Boy Rick||Filming|
|1958||Days of Wine and Roses||Kirsten Arnesen||Playhouse 90|
|1960-1963||The United States Steel Hour||Edna Cartey||2 episodes|
|Naked City||Mary Highmark||Episode: "Howard Running Bear Is a Turtle"|
|1980||Skag||Jo Skagska||6 episodes|
|1983||Thorn Birds, TheThe Thorn Birds||Anne Mueller||3 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
|St. Elsewhere||Fran Singleton||3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
|1985||Murder, She Wrote||Peggy Shannon||Episode: "Murder at the Oasis"|
|Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight Zone||Aunt Neva||Episode: "The Burning Man"|
|1986||Matlock||Claire Leigh||Episode: "The Judge"|
|1989||Beauty and the Beast||Mrs. Davis||Episode: "A Gentle Rain"|
|1990-1991||Twin Peaks||Catherine Martell /
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Actress : Prime Time
|1994||Traps||Cora Trapchek||5 episodes|
|Frasier||Marianne||Episode: "Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast"|
|1995-1996||ER||Sarah Ross||2 episodes|
|Diagnosis Murder||A.D.A. Susan Turner||Episode: "The ABC's of Murder"|
|1997||Touched by an Angel||Annie Doyle||Episode: "Venice"|
|1999||Frasier||Mrs. Mulhern||Episode: "Dr. Nora"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
|2000||Will & Grace||Sharon||Episode: "There But for the Grace of Grace"|
|Possessed||Aunt Hanna||TV film|
|2001||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Dorothy Rudd||Episode: "Care"|
|2004||Dead Like Me||Nina Rommey||Episode: "Forget Me Not"|
|2005||Cold Case||Rose 2005||Episode: "Best Friends"|
|2017||Twin Peaks||Catherine Martell||Episode: "Part 17" (archive footage)|