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Lois Smith

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Also Known As: Lois Arlene Humbert Died:
Born: November 3, 1930 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Topeka, Kansas, USA Profession: actor, playwright

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An esteemed, highly-charged and highly-talented player of stage, TV and film, Lois Smith has not always been regular in the visual media, but she has made the chances count. She made her Broadway debut as a high school student in "Time Out for Ginger" in 1952, and her TV debut in the live production of "The Apple Tree" the next year. Smith made an auspicious film debut as the thwarted barmaid Ann in Elia Kazan's "East of Eden" (1955). Although she was eclipsed in the public eye by James Dean and Jo Van Fleet, nevertheless, she was rewarded by the critics. Yet it was not until 1970 that Smith again had a showy film role. Her performance as Partita, Jack Nicholson's sister, in Bob Rafelson's "Five Easy Pieces", won her the National Society of Film Critics' Award as Best Supporting Actress. In 1976, she was the suicidal Anita in Paul Mazursky's cinematic memoir, "Next Stop, Greenwich Village" Film roles followed at the rate of about one per year, but rarely did she get to showcase her abilities until 1995 when Smith was the adult Sophie, still thinking of her years as a swimming champion, in Jocelyn Moorhouse's "How to Make an American Quilt" and Susan Sarandon's mother in "Dead Man Walking". In Jan De...

An esteemed, highly-charged and highly-talented player of stage, TV and film, Lois Smith has not always been regular in the visual media, but she has made the chances count. She made her Broadway debut as a high school student in "Time Out for Ginger" in 1952, and her TV debut in the live production of "The Apple Tree" the next year. Smith made an auspicious film debut as the thwarted barmaid Ann in Elia Kazan's "East of Eden" (1955). Although she was eclipsed in the public eye by James Dean and Jo Van Fleet, nevertheless, she was rewarded by the critics. Yet it was not until 1970 that Smith again had a showy film role. Her performance as Partita, Jack Nicholson's sister, in Bob Rafelson's "Five Easy Pieces", won her the National Society of Film Critics' Award as Best Supporting Actress. In 1976, she was the suicidal Anita in Paul Mazursky's cinematic memoir, "Next Stop, Greenwich Village" Film roles followed at the rate of about one per year, but rarely did she get to showcase her abilities until 1995 when Smith was the adult Sophie, still thinking of her years as a swimming champion, in Jocelyn Moorhouse's "How to Make an American Quilt" and Susan Sarandon's mother in "Dead Man Walking". In Jan De Bont's "Twister" (1996), she offered stalwart support as scientist Helen Hunt's aunt while in "Larger Than Life" (also 1996), Smith was a retired circus performer.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Roadie (2011)
3.
 Please Give (2010)
4.
 Killshot (2009)
5.
 Dog Year, A (2009)
6.
7.
 Turn the River (2007)
8.
 Hollywoodland (2006) Cast
9.
10.
 Sweet Land (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in Kansas
:
Began performing as a child in in evangelical church dramas
1941:
Moved with family to Seattle, WA
1952:
Made Broadway debut as Jeannie in "Time Out for Ginger"
1953:
First TV appearance as Megan in the Kraft Television Theater presentation of "The Apple Tree" (ABC)
1955:
Made film debut opposite James Dean in Elia Kazan's "East of Eden"
1957:
Appeared in the original production of Tennessee Williams's "Orpheus Descending"
1970:
Won acclaim as Jack Nicholson's sister in "Five Easy Pieces"
1972:
Landed a regular role on NBC daytime drama "Somerset"
1975:
Cast as a regular on NBC daytime drama "The Doctors"
1885:
First play as playwright produced, "All There Is"
1990:
Played Ma Joad to Gary Sinise's Tom Joad in Broadway production of "The Grapes of Wrath"; won Tony nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Play
1995:
Co-starred with Sinise as Harry Truman's mother-in-law in the HBO film "Truman"
1995:
Played Sophie in "How to Make an American Quilt"
1996:
Directed by Sinise in stage production of "Buried Child"; earned second Tony nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Play
1996:
Cast in a featured role opposite Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in the natural disaster feature "Twister"
2001:
Landed small role in "The Pledge," directed by Sean Penn
2001:
Portrayed Brecht's "Mother Courage" at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, IL
2002:
Starred as Iris Hineman opposite Tom Cruise in "Minority Report"
2003:
Landed a recurring role on the ABC daytime drama "One Life to Live"
2004:
Appeared opposite Laura Linney in "P.S."
2005:
Played Carrie Watts in a revival of Horton Foote's "The Trip to Bountiful" at Signature Theatre Company
2006:
Played 'Superman' George Reeves' grieving mother in "Hollywoodland"
2006:
Co-starred in the independent film "Sweet Land"
2008:
Cast as Adele Stackhouse, Sookie's (Anna Paquin) grandmother on HBO's "True Blood"
2009:
Co-starred in "A Dog Year" opposite Jeff Bridges
2010:
Guest starred as Tom¿s (Doug Savant) mother Allison on "Desperate Housewives" (ABC)
2011:
Played the ailing mother of the titular character (Ron Eldard) in "Roadie"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

The Actors Studio: New York , New York -
University of Washington: Seattle , Washington - 1948 - 1950

Notes

"Ms. Smith has often played women who are damaged by life yet iron-willed about holding their families together. Many of these characters are informed by a religious awareness. They are pious but also susceptible to evil--an echo of the biblical Eve." --Gioia Diliberto in The New York Times, April 28, 1996.

"I'm more likely to get to do something that's really fu, and I really want to do, in a situation that I really want to be in, in the theater. So much of what's fun about being an actor is the opportunity to have an imaginary life, which becomes part of your present life." --Smith quoted in The New York Times, April 28, 1996.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Wesley Dale Smith. Teacher. Married November 5, 1948; divorced 1970.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Oren Humbert. Telephone company employee.
mother:
Carrie Davis Humbert.
daughter:
Moon Elizbeth Smith. Born 1958.

Bibliography close complete biography

"All There Is"

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