Born and raised in Wisconsin
Won scholarship to study at Jarvis Repertory Theatre in Washington, DC
Moved to NYC to attend AADA
Was mistress of ceremonies in "All About Love" at the Versailles Night Club Theatre in Manhattan
Worked off-Broadway at the Provincetown Playhouse and in stock
Made Broadway debut as understudy for the role of The Girl in "The Seven Year Itch"; later assumed part
Appeared in off-Broadway production of "Dangerous Corner"
Made debut as TV regular on the syndicated series "Top Secret USA"
Starred on Broadway in "Middle of the Night" with Edward G. Robinson
Film acting debut, "The High Cost of Loving"
Played regular role on "87th Precinct" (NBC)
First collaboration with Cassavetes as director, "A Child Is Waiting"
Featured as Adrienne Van Leyden on ABC nighttime soap opera "Peyton Place"
Won acclaim for her role in Cassavetes' "Faces"
Starred opposite Peter Falk in Cassavetes' "A Woman Under the Influence"; earned Best Actress Oscar nomination
Offered a nuanced turn as a troubled actress in "Opening Night"; film only released for Oscar consideration in L.A.; screened at the New York Film Festival in 1988; released theatrically in 1991
First TV-movie, played lesbian fighting for custody of her children in "A Question of Love" (ABC)
Teamed with Bette Davis, playing Davis' estranged daughter in the CBS drama "Strangers: The Story of a Mother and a Daughter"
Picked up second Best Actress Oscar nomination as a gun moll in "Gloria"
Acted opposite Cassavetes in Paul Mazursky's "Tempest," a loose re-working of Shakespeare's play
Last feature collaboration with Cassavetes, "Love Streams"
Cast as the mother of an AIDS-stricken lawyer in "An Early Frost"; received first Emmy nomination
Won an Emmy for her portrayal of the former First Lady in the ABC biopic "The Betty Ford Story"
Starred in Woody Allen's "Another Woman" as sheltered woman forced to confront her life choices
Picked up second Emmy Award as a Manhattan socialite who befriends a homeless woman in the CBS TV-movie "Face of a Stranger"
Played a cab passenger driven by Winona Ryder in Jim Jarmusch's "Night on Earth"
Cast as Julia Roberts' mother in "Something to Talk About"
Delivered a fine turn as the eccentric Southern aunt of a young boy in "The Neon Bible"
Directed by son Nick Cassavetes in "Unhook the Stars"; won critical praise as a widow who befriends her neighbor's son
Again directed by son in "She's So Lovely," a previously un-produced screenplay by John Cassavetes
Starred as Sandra Bullock's mother in "Hope Floats"
Had featured role in "The Mighty"
Co-starred with Diane Lane in the TV version of the stage play "Grace & Glorie" (CBS)
Appeared in the ensemble drama "Playing by Heart"
Earned fourth career Emmy nomination playing a Southern grandmother in "The Color of Love: Jacey's Story" (CBS)
Played Brooke Shields' overbearing mother in the independent film "The Weekend"
Acted in "Hysterical Blindness" (HBO); screened at Sundance; received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress
Cast in the thriller "Taking Lives"
Starred opposite James Garner in "The Notebook," directed by son Nick Cassavetes
Starred opposite Kate Hudson in the supernatural thriller the "Skeleton Key"
Portrayed a terminally ill woman in the Lifetime original movie "What if God Were the Sun?"; earned Emmy and SAG nominations for Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie
Co-starred in daughter Zoe Cassavetes' directorial debut "Broken English"
Earned an Emmy nomination for her guest starring role as a moderately compulsive surrogate mother to the main character on an episode of "Monk" (USA Network)