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Oscar-nominated actress Diane Lane grew up in the spotlight of New York's downtown theater scene, and following several teen film appearances as a favorite of director Francis Ford Coppola - including lead roles in his films "Rumble Fish" (1983) and "The Outsiders" (1983) - she was heralded as Hollywood's most promising young starlet. But Tinseltown generally failed to match Lane's classical training with deserving roles, and the young actress found herself facing a career centered on her sex appeal. Instead, Lane opted for the stronger female characters often found in television movies and independent films, eventually enjoying the bulk of her critical success in more mature roles after the age of 35, when the adulterous drama, "Unfaithful" (2002) landed the actress firmly on the A-list map after more than 20 years of quality work. Enjoying her "second act," the newly appreciated actress landed starring roles in "Under the Tuscan Sun" (2003), "Must Love Dogs" (2005) and "Hollywoodland" (2006), while cementing her acting bona fides with "Secretariat" (2010) and "Cinema Verite" (HBO, 2011), making Lane one of the more highly sought actresses working in Hollywood.Diane Lane was born on Jan. 22, 1965,...
Oscar-nominated actress Diane Lane grew up in the spotlight of New York's downtown theater scene, and following several teen film appearances as a favorite of director Francis Ford Coppola - including lead roles in his films "Rumble Fish" (1983) and "The Outsiders" (1983) - she was heralded as Hollywood's most promising young starlet. But Tinseltown generally failed to match Lane's classical training with deserving roles, and the young actress found herself facing a career centered on her sex appeal. Instead, Lane opted for the stronger female characters often found in television movies and independent films, eventually enjoying the bulk of her critical success in more mature roles after the age of 35, when the adulterous drama, "Unfaithful" (2002) landed the actress firmly on the A-list map after more than 20 years of quality work. Enjoying her "second act," the newly appreciated actress landed starring roles in "Under the Tuscan Sun" (2003), "Must Love Dogs" (2005) and "Hollywoodland" (2006), while cementing her acting bona fides with "Secretariat" (2010) and "Cinema Verite" (HBO, 2011), making Lane one of the more highly sought actresses working in Hollywood.
Diane Lane was born on Jan. 22, 1965, in New York City, NY. The only daughter of stage actor and drama coach Burt Lane and model-singer Colleen Farrington, Lane was raised by her father in New York following her parents divorce when she was still an infant. Growing up around the theater scene, it was not long before Lane joined in on the action. At the age of six, she held down a role in "Medea," staged by the famed La Mama Theater Company. Her remarkable preteen years also included appearances in "The Cherry Orchard" alongside Meryl Streep, international touring with La Mama, a lead in the Tony-nominated musical "Runaways," and various productions with the New York Shakespeare Festival. At the age of 13, she made her film debut with "A Little Romance" (1979), as a precocious American girl who experiences first love with an equally gifted French boy, abetted by an eccentric Englishman. That she shared screen time with none other than Sir Laurence Olivier and proved a strong and engaging presence in holding her own against the acting great helped propel her career and made her the "It" girl of the moment. Only a year later, the 14-year-old found herself celebrated on the cover of Time magazine and declared "the next great young actress."
Predictions of Lane's breakout success were a bit premature, as the actress opted for less mainstream projects including PBS' "Great Performances" series and the feature film "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains" (1981), a rarely seen but much beloved cult classic in which she and Laura Dern helm a punk band. Cameos by future punk legends like Steve Jones and Black Randy only added to the film's future allure as an alternative culture time capsule. She offered strong supporting roles in the western "Cattle Annie and Little Britches" (1981) and TV movies "Child Bride of Short Creek" (NBC, 1981) and "Miss All-American" (CBS, 1982). Then she caught the eye of renowned director Francis Ford Coppola and her life changed overnight.
The "Godfather" helmer tapped Lane's all-American looks and self-reliant spirit for a pair of S.E. Hinton adaptations, both released in 1983: "The Outsiders" and "Rumble Fish." In both, she starred opposite Matt Dillon in portraits of 1950s teen life that were a startling contrast to the idyllic suburban image of the times represented in popular retro TV shows like "Happy Days" (ABC, 1974-1984). Coppola's subsequent casting of Lane in "The Cotton Club" (1984), however, proved a misstep. At only 18, she was clearly too young to play a world-weary gangster's moll who tempts a musician into an affair, and there was a palpable lack of chemistry between her and co-star Richard Gere.
"The Cotton Club" failed to create a career-making role for the clearly talented Lane, as did Walter Hill's muddled musical "Streets of Fire" (1984), where she starred as a rock singing diva. Having already experienced so many career ups-and-downs by the age of 20, the financially stable actress took a big screen hiatus to regroup and rethink her career. She was obviously gorgeous enough to parlay her looks into an endless stream of throwaway roles as wives and girlfriends in blockbusters, but this child of the serious dramatic stage knew that it would not be enough to satisfy her creativity. Of her handful of appearances throughout the remainder of the 1980s, the undisputed standout was the award-winning TV film adaptation of Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove" (CBS, 1989). Lane was nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of the dissatisfied and ambitious prostitute who accompanies a group of men on a cattle drive.
Continuing to plow ahead with introspective performances, Lane co-starred as the daughter of a man who may have been a Nazi sympathizer in the 1990 HBO drama "Descending Angel" and made the most of her limited screen time playing silent film star Paulette Goddard in Richard Attenborough's reverent biopic "Chaplin" (1992). A co-starring role alongside then-husband Christopher Lambert in "Knight Moves" (1992) was generally overlooked, but the wistful "group of friends" drama "Indian Summer" (1993) showcased a wonderful side of Lane's talent and appeal, though the small film did not attract a large audience.
Generally, television tended to provided the best offers for an actress not willing to rely on her sex appeal, and Lane gave a pair of fine performances as the young version of the "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" (CBS, 1994) and as Stella to Alec Baldwin's Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" (CBS, 1995). The role of a fierce, post-apocalyptic peace keeper in the film adaptation of "Judge Dredd" (1995) may have seemed an appealing challenge for the actress, but the resulting Sylvester Stallone vehicle was a dismal mess. A reunion with director Walter Hill as a luminous woman from the past of "Wild Bill" (1995) showcased her gifts, but that film proved a box-office disappointment as well. Lane re-teamed with Coppola as the mother of a boy with a rare genetic disease in "Jack" and played a competent Secret Service agent in the thriller "Murder at 1600" (1997) before hitting a career high-mark with "A Walk on the Moon" (1999). Tony Goldwyn's directorial debut allowed Lane to fully realize her screen potential with her portrayal of an unsatisfied 1960s wife and mother who embarks on an affair with a free-spirited and younger man (Viggo Mortensen). The film earned Lane some of the best reviews of her career and helped make inroads toward rejuvenating her standing in Hollywood.
Lane returned to the small screen for a co-starring role opposite Bill Pullman in the TV remake of "The Virginian" (TNT, 2000) before a high-profile role as Mark Wahlberg's land-bound girlfriend in the well-received "The Perfect Storm" (2000). She followed up with a relatively minor role in the critically-lauded sleeper "My Dog Skip" (2000). But it was "Unfaithful" - a psychological and often erotic look at a woman who embarks on a torrid affair with a young lover and ultimately results in tragedy - that Lane was finally cast in a role that perfectly showcased her remarkable talents. Her sensual, natural and conflicted performance won her heaps of accolades, including an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress. Now firmly established as a bankable leading lady at an age when most actresses' careers were winding down, Lane's follow-up was the light-weight romance "Under the Tuscan Sun" (2003), based on the popular book by author Frances Mayes, in which Lane played a San Francisco writer who makes an impulsive home purchase in Tuscany and discovers romance as she renovates her dilapidated new house. The role earned her a second Golden Globe nomination. Offscreen, Lane's own love life was reignited with a new marriage to actor Josh Brolin. Onscreen, she undertook her first out-and-out romantic comedy, starring opposite John Cusack in the flop "Must Love Dogs" (2005), as a recently divorced kindergarten teacher looking for love.
Lane again found herself a critical darling for "Hollywoodland" (2006), an intriguing look into the tawdry life and mysterious death of "Superman" actor George Reeves (Ben Affleck). Lane stood out as C-list actress Toni Mannix, wife of MGM executive Eddie Mannix, whose affair with the actor was of interest to investigations surrounding Reeves' apparent suicide. The fact that Lane had to portray a woman much older than herself was not lost on critics. Her next outing as a film lead was the 2008 thriller "Untraceable" in which she essayed an FBI cybercrime specialist investigating a serial killer. The film was generally panned by critics for wasting its talented cast in a vehicle seemingly built for excessive violence. Lane appeared in three more films over her busy year, including the sci-fi drama "Jumper" (2008), the Elmore Leonard adaptation "Killshot" (2008) and "Nights in Rodanthe" (2008) in which Lane co-starred alongside Richard Gere for the third time in a romantic tale of a stormy weekend at a country inn. She next portrayed Penny Chener, the owner of the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown in "Secretariat" (2010). In the cable movie "Cinema Verite" (HBO, 2011), Lane played Pat Loud, mother of a family filmed by a documentary filmmaker (James Gandolfini) in the fictionalized account of the making of "An American Family" (PBS, 1973). For her efforts, she received an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie in 2011.
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On her famous magazine cover: "It brought Time down to my level--it didn't bring me up to Time's level. It had nothing to do with my popularity." --Diane Lane quoted in Empire, December 1999.
Elizabeth Weitzman: Do you worry about maintaining artistic integrity, since you need to remain visible to stay on top?
Diane Lane: The industry's memory is quite short, it's true. I'm fascinated by how Hollywood has changed since I started. Today it's about immediate delivery. There's less risk and less art. ...
--From Interview, May 1999.
Elizabeth Weitzman: It does seem like every article about you asks, "Will this be her time for superstardom?" What's that like?
Diane Lane: [sighs] I don't know. It's the holy grail of questions, What's the missing ingredient? Maybe that I want some part of me to be private and secret and precious just to myself.
" ... There are so many options of how to create a persona--it doesn't need to be mega or nothing. Why I'm still here, I don't know, but I'm not going anywhere. This is just the second act. The third act is when you can tear off all the burdensome armor. You can get out there and really do some great work when you're not worried about your tits or your ass or your eyeliner."
--From Interview, May 1999.
In an ironic twist, Lane's co-star in "A Walk on the Moon" Viggo Mortensen was one of two actors considered for the leading role in "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes". He lost the role to Christopher Lambert, to whom Lane was married from 1988 to 1994.
"This whole tough cookie thing stuck on me from the teenage years. I was always playing this tough sort of girl." --Lane's response to whether people misperceive her, from GQ, April 1999.
"I don't suffer fools gladly and I'm out of the people-changing business. Being a single mom, I find my plate is quite full. I look forward to marriage again, but I've lived the fantasy, I've realized it and relinquished it." --Lane quoted in Daily News, March 21, 1999.
"The illusion of having control is as scary as not having control at all. The problem with film is that you can rent it on video 15 years later." --Diane Lane quoted in Vanity Fair, February 1999.
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