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Diane Ladd

Diane Ladd

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Also Known As: Rose Diane Ladner Died:
Born: November 29, 1932 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Meridian, Mississippi, USA Profession: actor, nightclub dancer, singer, model, secretary

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Oscar-nominated character actress Diane Ladd achieved notoriety as the wisecracking waitress Flo in the feature classic "Alice Doesnâ¿¿t Live Here Anymore" (1974), only to later reestablish herself with an unhinged portrayal as an obsessed mother opposite her real-life daughter Laura Dern in "Wild at Heart" (1990). After receiving her training on the stages of New York, Ladd became a fixture on episodic television prior to landing roles in low-budget films such as "The Wild Angels" (1966), alongside her actor husband, Bruce Dern. The same year as "Alice," Ladd also appeared in the masterful "Chinatown" (1974), directed by Roman Polanski. In 1980, she revisited the gang at Melâ¿¿s diner when she joined the cast of the spin-off sitcom "Alice" (CBS, 1976-1985), as the replacement for Flo, the character she had created in the original Martin Scorsese film. Ladd followed her Academy Award-nominated turn in David Lynchâ¿¿s "Wild at Heart" with another Oscar nod for her performance in "Rambling Rose" (1991), also alongside daughter Laura. Ladd teamed with her daughter several more times, most notably in Alexander Payneâ¿¿s "Citizen Ruth" (1996) and again with Lynch for "Inland Empire" (2006). Boasting an...

Oscar-nominated character actress Diane Ladd achieved notoriety as the wisecracking waitress Flo in the feature classic "Alice Doesnâ¿¿t Live Here Anymore" (1974), only to later reestablish herself with an unhinged portrayal as an obsessed mother opposite her real-life daughter Laura Dern in "Wild at Heart" (1990). After receiving her training on the stages of New York, Ladd became a fixture on episodic television prior to landing roles in low-budget films such as "The Wild Angels" (1966), alongside her actor husband, Bruce Dern. The same year as "Alice," Ladd also appeared in the masterful "Chinatown" (1974), directed by Roman Polanski. In 1980, she revisited the gang at Melâ¿¿s diner when she joined the cast of the spin-off sitcom "Alice" (CBS, 1976-1985), as the replacement for Flo, the character she had created in the original Martin Scorsese film. Ladd followed her Academy Award-nominated turn in David Lynchâ¿¿s "Wild at Heart" with another Oscar nod for her performance in "Rambling Rose" (1991), also alongside daughter Laura. Ladd teamed with her daughter several more times, most notably in Alexander Payneâ¿¿s "Citizen Ruth" (1996) and again with Lynch for "Inland Empire" (2006). Boasting an incredibly diverse array of onscreen characterizations over a career that spanned more than 50 years, Ladd remained a vibrant presence in film and television well into the 21st Century.

Born Rose Diane Ladner on Nov. 29, 1935 in Meridian, MS, she was the only child of Mary Bernadette and Preston Paul Ladner, and was related to both playwright Tennesse Williams and poet Sidney Lanier. After attending finishing school, she was noticed by actor John Carradine while she was performing in a stage performance; he promptly cast her in a production of "Tobacco Road" for the touring showâ¿¿s San Francisco leg. Later, the Mississippi native moved to New York City where she enrolled at the famed The Actors Studio and supported herself as a model and dancer at the famed Copacabana for a short time. Ladd landed her first major stage role in an off-Broadway production of her cousin Tennessee Williams' "Orpheus Descending" in 1959. Also in the cast was actor Bruce Dern, who she would marry the following year. Following a run of guest spots on several television series and her feature debut in "Something Wild" (1961), Ladd had her first significant role alongside her husband in Roger Corman's landmark biker exploitation movie "The Wild Angels" (1966), co-starring Peter Fonda. Shortly after the birth of her daughter Laura in 1967, she made her Broadway debut in "Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights" (1968). Although there was the occasional prestige cinematic effort, such as the Steve McQueen vehicle "The Reivers" (1969), she spent most of her early movie career in low-to-medium budget genre fodder like "Rebel Rousers" (1970), another biker picture with by then ex-husband Dern and rising star Jack Nicholson.

A few years later, Ladd would appear alongside Nicholson once again in one of cinema⿿s all-time classic noir mysteries, Roman Polanski⿿s "Chinatown" (1974). It was a watershed year for the actress, when she also co-starred in director Martin Scorsese⿿s critically-acclaimed comedy drama "Alice Doesn⿿t Live Here Anymore" (1974), starring Ellen Burstyn as a widow starting her life anew while waitressing at an Arizona diner. For her supporting role as tough-talking, world-wise waitress Flo, Ladd was nominated for an Oscar. Capitalizing on her newfound recognition, she returned to Broadway in one-third of the three-part "A Texas Trilogy: Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander" in 1976. That same year, Ladd co-starred with Rock Hudson and Barbara Carrera in the substandard mad scientist movie, "Embryo" (1976). As quality film roles became harder to come by, she turned to the small screen and landed a substantial role in the riveting made-for-television docudrama "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones" (CBS, 1980), as the mother of the infamous cult leader (Powers Boothe). That same year, in a bit of déjà vu, Ladd joined the cast of the sitcom "Alice" (CBS, 1976-1985) ⿿ a hit TV adaptation of "Alice Doesn⿿t Live Here Anymore" ⿿ for two seasons as Belle Dupree, a toned-downed version of Flo, after actress Polly Holliday moved on to her own spin-off.

Nonetheless, Ladd continued to make appearances in feature films throughout the 1980s. She co-starred with Gene Hackman and Barbara Streisand in the oddball comedy "All Night Long" (1981), played the mother of Jim Nightshade in "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (1983), took a role in the psychological thriller "Black Widow" (1987), and played Clark Griswoldâ¿¿s (Chevy Chase) mother in "National Lampoonâ¿¿s Christmas Vacation" (1989). Maternal roles of various stripes soon became a staple for Ladd, in such projects as the TV biopic "Rock Hudson" (ABC, 1990), in which she played the mother of the closeted film icon. Ladd earned her second Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination playing mother to her real-life daughter Laura Dern in David Lynch's "Wild at Heart" (1990). As the murderous, witchlike Marietta, she was completely over-the-top in the midst of a nightmarish Lynchian dreamscape. She and her daughter reteamed the following year for the modest "Rambling Rose" (1991), with Ladd as a Southern matron and Dern as a boarder who disrupts the genteel lives of her hosts. Both received Academy Award nominations, making them the first mother-daughter acting team to be nominated in the same film.

After starring opposite Mark Harmon in a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" remake of "Shadow of a Doubt" (CBS, 1991), Ladd began her run as recurring character Charlotte Cooper on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (CBS, 1992-98) before appearing in her daughter's directorial debut, "The Gift" (Showtime, 1994), which aired as a part of the cable networkâ¿¿s "Directed By" series. Again she played Dern's mother in the acclaimed miniseries "Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedy" (CBS, 1996) as well as with a raunchy, unbilled cameo in Alexander Payneâ¿¿s "Citizen Ruth" (1996), a scathing satire of both sides of the abortion issue. Working from her own script, Ladd made her directorial debut with "Mrs. Munck" (Showtime, 1996), acting opposite ex-husband Bruce Dern. She also had a small role as Mamma Stanton, mother to the Clinton-esque presidential candidate played by John Travolta, in Mike Nichols' "Primary Colors" (1998), and also appeared in Betty Thomas' rehab drama "28 Days" (2000), featuring Sandra Bullock. Shortly thereafter, in what was becoming a sort of cottage industry for the actress, Ladd played Dern's mother in Billy Bob Thornton's "Daddy and Them" (2001). Other notable roles included a turn as a psychic in the miniseries "Stephen Kingâ¿¿s Kingdom Hospital" (ABC, 2003-04), and a rare role opposite Dern in which she did not play her mother in Lynchâ¿¿s "Inland Empire" (2006), as well as member of the ensemble cast in the independent comedy "American Cowslip" (2009). After receiving her star on Hollywood Boulevard alongside ex-husband Bruce Dern, Ladd returned to series television opposite daughter Laura on "Enlightened" (HBO, 2011- ), where she played the semi-estranged mother of a self-destructive executive (Laura Dern) who returns home and to piece her life back together following a mental breakdown.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Mrs. Munck (1996) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Joy (2015)
3.
 I Dream Too Much (2014)
4.
 American Cowslip (2009)
5.
 Mayerthorpe (2008)
6.
7.
 Montana Sky (2007)
8.
9.
 Inland Empire (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Made stage debut in "The Verdict" in Meridian, MS
:
"Discovered" by John Carradine while performing at the Galley Circle Theatre in New Orleans, LA
:
Cast by Carradine in his San Francisco production of "Tobacco Road"
:
Worked as a model and as a Copacabana nightclub dancer
1956:
Early TV credit, a guest appearance on the syndicated "Big Story"
:
Appeared in touring production of "A Hatful of Rain"
1959:
Off-Broadway debut, "Orpheus Descending," a play written by her cousin Tennessee Williams ; met her future first husband, actor Bruce Dern
1960:
Toured in revue "Medium Rare"
1961:
Made film debut in "Something Wild"
1966:
Played first major film role in Roger Corman's biker pic "The Wild Angels" (with husband Dern)
1968:
Made Broadway debut in "Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights," co-starring with Louis Gossett Jr. and Cicely Tyson
1970:
Reteamed with Dern for another biker pic "Rebel Rousers"
1970:
Appeared with Robert De Niro in Shelley Winters' play "One Night Stands of a Noisy Passenger"
1971:
Joined the cast of CBS soap opera "The Secret Storm"
1973:
TV-movie debut, "The Devil's Daughter" (ABC)
1974:
Played Ida Sessions in Roman Polanski's "Chinatown"
1974:
Delivered breakthrough film role, the tough-talking waitress Flo in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"; earned first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress
1976:
Starred on Broadway as Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander in Preston Jones' "A Texas Trilogy"
1980:
Co-starred as Belle Dupree on the CBS sitcom "Alice", based on the film "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"
1983:
Portrayed Margaret Kelly, mother of the actress in the ABC biopic "Grace Kelly"
1988:
Gained 24 pounds to play character 15 years her senior in Martha Coolidge's pleasant teen flick "Plain Clothes"
1990:
Played the insane, obsessive mother of Lula (played by real-life daughter Laura Dern) in David Lynch's "Wild at Heart"; garnered second Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination
1991:
Co-starred with daughter Laura Dern in Coolidge's "Rambling Rose"; became first mother-daughter team to win Oscar nominations (Dern, Best Actress; Ladd, Best Supporting Actor) in the same year for the same film
1991:
Starred opposite Mark Harmon in "Hallmark Hall of Fame" remake of "Shadow of a Doubt" (CBS), originally directed by Alfred Hitchcock
1993:
Guest starred on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (CBS)
1994:
Acted in daughter Laura Dern's directorial debut "The Gift" that aired on Showtime's "Directed By" series
1996:
Appeared alongside daughter in CBS miniseries "Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedy," directed by Roger Young
1996:
Film directing debut, "Mrs. Munck" (Showtime); also scripted; featured ex-husband Bruce Dern; daughter Laura made a behind-the-scenes documentary titled "Mom and Dad's Movie," which aired on Showtime following the picture
1996:
Played mother to Laura Dern's character in "Citizen Ruth"
1998:
Portrayed Mamma Stanton (mother of Clintonesque presidential candidate played by John Travolta) in Mike Nichols' "Primary Colors"
2000:
Appeared in Betty Thomas' "28 Days"
2001:
Acted with daughter and Laura's then-boyfriend Billy Bob Thornton in Thornton's "Daddy and Them"; screened at Montreal
2002:
Landed featured role in "Rain"; film screened at Sundance
2006:
Co-starred with Ashley Judd in Joey Lauren Adams' screenwriting and directing debut "Come Early Morning"
2006:
Appeared in David Lynch's "Inland Empire," starring her daughter Laura Dern and Jeremy Irons
2007:
Released the book <i>Spiraling Through the School of Life: A Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Discovery</i>
2010:
Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame along with ex-husband Bruce and daughter Laura
2011:
Returned to series TV with supporting role opposite daughter Laura on HBO's "Enlightened"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Actors Studio: New York , New York -
St Aloysius Academy: -

Notes

"No one has any idea of the degradation of choosing to be a species that lives between chance and oblivion, wading with an artistic banner protruding out of one's heart into the muck and mire of the business world. It's like thinking you're standing in heaven and then turning around to see that you are in the midst of the depth and chaos of pure, unadulterated h-e-l-l." --Diane Ladd commenting on the acting profession in Daily News, September 19, 1991.

"There's more of Diane Ladd in Mother [her character in "Rambling Rose"] than in any other part I've played, and that's because of the spiritual overtone. I can say a pretty good curse word now and then, I do have a temper. But I consider myself a spiritual explorer." --Ladd to Daily News, September 19, 1991.

Ladd is working on a novel and is studying for a Ph.D. in esoteric psychology. --From New York Post, September 19, 1991.

About directing ex-husband Bruce Dern in "Mrs. Munck": "There was one intimate scene between [actress Kelly] Preston and Dern that had to be reshot, but I couldn't get Kelly back on the set. So I had to put on her wig and sit with Bruce in the car. It's hard enough to have his ex-wife directing him, but then to suddenly have me sitting next to him ... He was bungling lines, everything." --Ladd to Daily News, January 28, 1996.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Bruce Dern. Actor. Married in 1960; divorced in 1967; first husband; met while they were appearing in Off-Broadway production of "Orpheus Descending" (1959).
husband:
William Shea Jr. Stockbroker. Married in 1969; divorced c. 1974.
husband:
Robert Charles Hunter. Retired businessman. Married on February 14, 1999 at the Bel Air, California home of Connie Stevens; ceremony officiated by Della Reese; formerly worked at PepsiCo; previously married twice; has three children.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Preston P Ladner. Poultry-medicine salesman.
mother:
Mary Bernadette Ladner.
cousin:
Tennessee Williams. Playwright.
daughter:
Diane E Dern. Born on November 27, 1960; drowned at age 18 months in a swimming pool while in a teenage maid's care on May 18, 1962.
daughter:
Laura Elizabeth Dern. Actor. Born on February 10, 1965.
grandson:
Ellery Walker Harper. Born on August 21, 2001; mother, Laura Dern; father, Ben Harper.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"God, Give Me One More Minute"

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