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Kathleen Turner

Kathleen Turner

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Also Known As: Mary Kathleen Turner Died:
Born: June 19, 1954 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Springfield, Missouri, USA Profession: actor, waitress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A leading lady of 1980s cinema, Kathleen Turner earned comparisons to 1940s femme fatales like Barbara Stanwyck for sensuous, aggressive roles in "Body Heat" (1981), "Prizzi's Honor" (1985) and "The War of the Roses" (1989). When the smoky-voiced actress was not manipulating male characters with her on-screen sultry ways, she proved to be quite a comedienne, as well, volleying quips with Michael Douglas in the jungle adventure film "Romancing the Stone" (1984) and inhabiting an 18-year-old body in "Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986). She received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in the early 1990s, and that - along with the pained actress' heavy drinking and over-40 status - meant her screen appearances were reduced to character roles as moms and comic villains - something she still pulled off with panache. After acclaimed theatrical runs in "The Graduate" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" on the New York and London stages, the fiery actress regained her esteemed reputation and settled into a comfortable real-life role as a supporting film player, theater director and acting teacher.

A leading lady of 1980s cinema, Kathleen Turner earned comparisons to 1940s femme fatales like Barbara Stanwyck for sensuous, aggressive roles in "Body Heat" (1981), "Prizzi's Honor" (1985) and "The War of the Roses" (1989). When the smoky-voiced actress was not manipulating male characters with her on-screen sultry ways, she proved to be quite a comedienne, as well, volleying quips with Michael Douglas in the jungle adventure film "Romancing the Stone" (1984) and inhabiting an 18-year-old body in "Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986). She received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in the early 1990s, and that - along with the pained actress' heavy drinking and over-40 status - meant her screen appearances were reduced to character roles as moms and comic villains - something she still pulled off with panache. After acclaimed theatrical runs in "The Graduate" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" on the New York and London stages, the fiery actress regained her esteemed reputation and settled into a comfortable real-life role as a supporting film player, theater director and acting teacher.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Leslie's Folly (1994) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
3.
 Marley & Me (2008)
4.
 Monster House (2006)
6.
 Beautiful (2000) Verna Chickle
7.
 Love & Action in Chicago (1999) Middleman
8.
 Baby Geniuses (1999) Elena
9.
 Prince Of Central Park (1999) Rebecca Cairn
10.
 Virgin Suicides, The (1999) Mrs Lisbon
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Lived with her foreign-diplomat father and family in Canada, Cuba, Venezuela, England and Washington, DC before age of 17
:
After father's death, settled in Missouri with mother and siblings
1977:
Moved to NYC; within a month landed an agent; within four months had a part in an Off-Broadway play, "Mr T"
1977:
TV debut on the NBC soap opera "The Doctors" as Nola Dancy Aldrich, a poor girl who married well
1978:
Broadway debut in "Gemini"
1981:
Had breakthrough screen role as Matty Walker opposite William Hurt in her debut feature, Lawrence Kasdan's "Body Heat"
1982:
Acted opposite Steve Martin in the comedy "The Man with Two Brains"
1983:
Portrayed a business woman turned prostitute in Ken Russell's "Crimes of Passion"
1984:
First role opposite Michael Douglas, "Romancing the Stone" as fiction writer Joan Wilder; also first film with Danny DeVito
1985:
Played hit-woman to Jack Nicholson's hit-man in John Huston's "Prizzi's Honor"
1985:
Re-teamed with Douglas and DeVito to reprise Joan Wilder in the sequel "The Jewel of the Nile"
1986:
Earned Best Actress Oscar nomination playing a middle-aged woman who finds herself reliving her teenage years in "Peggy Sue Got Married"; helmed by Francis Ford Coppola
1987:
Returned to the theater in title role of "Camille" at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut
1987:
Narrated the documentary compilation, "Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam"
1988:
Provided the voice of Jessica Rabbit for the animated feature comedy, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"; later voiced Jessica in the animated shorts "Tummy Trouble" (1989), "Rollercoaster Rabbit" (1990) and "Trail Mix-Up" (1993)
1988:
Re-teamed with Hurt and Kasdan for "The Accidental Tourist"
1989:
Third film with Douglas and DeVito, the black comedy "The War of the Roses"; helmed by DeVito
1990:
Returned to the Broadway stage as Maggie in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"; received a Best Actress Tony nomination; also hosted the annual telecast of the Tony Awards
1991:
Portrayed the title role of private investigator "V.I. Warshawski"
1994:
Played the title role in John Waters' "Serial Mom"
1994:
Directorial debut with the 30-minute Showtime film "Leslie's Folly" (for the series "Directed By")
1995:
Made TV-movie debut in "Friends at Last" (CBS)
1995:
Co-starred in the Broadway production of "Indiscretions"; was only cast member of five not nominated for a Tony Award
1996:
Had supporting role in "Moonlight Over Valentino"
1997:
Made London stage debut in "Our Betters"
1998:
Appeared as TV anchorwoman Brenda Whitlass in TNT's satirical "Legalese"
1999:
Played the comic villain in "Baby Geniuses"
2000:
Portrayed the stern and dowdy mother of five daughters in "The Virgin Suicides"; directed by Sofia Coppola
2000:
Returned to London, making her West End debut as Mrs. Robinson in a stage version of "The Graduate"; reprised role in Broadway production in 2002
2005:
Returned to Broadway to star as Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"; earned a Tony nomination for her role
2006:
Voiced a creepy-looking house in the animated feature "Monster House"
2007:
Stage-directing debut, "Crimes Of The Heart" at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts; moved to off-Broadway in 2008
2009:
Joined the cast of Showtime's "Californication" as Charlie Runkle's (Evan Handler) sexually hyperactive boss
2010:
Cast in the role of Sister Jamison Connelly in Matthew Lombardo¿s drama "High" at Hartford TheaterWorks; production transferred to Broadway in 2011
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Central School of Speech and Drama: London , England -
Southwest Missouri State University: Springfield , Missouri - 1972
University of Maryland: College Park , Maryland - 1977

Notes

"I average about seven stitches a film now. I do almost all my own stunts, and I love it, the thrill and the physicality. But I got scared doing the chandalier stunt in 'The War of the Roses', I really did. I was surprised, and Michael [Douglas] said to me, 'Is this the first stunt since [the birth of daughter] Rachel?' And I said yeah. I was never scared before. I think before you have kids you really have this feeling that you'll never die, and then after you're so afraid that something might happen to the kid, I think in a way you realize you could die, too."---Kathleen Turner to Premiere, August 1991.

"The body of work that one has built, and I think mine is impressive, is not considered as important a factor as appearance. So I don't know if you lose the edge at 40, but you certainly don't gain weight for a character the way a man does."---Turner quoted in The New York Times, April 10, 1994.

"'Crimes of Passion', which is one of the best films I've done, will live strongly in my resume, even though it didn't do well. If my ego was out of whack and I believed that I could carry anything off, that would be a stupid risk. But so far there's been no reason not to try anything."---Turner in Interview, August 1995.

"I'm not a naturalistic actor. I believe acting is a planned process of communication. I don't see anything naturalistic about it."---Turner in USA Today, May 3, 1995.

In 1992, Turner was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

"I've been fighting rheumatod arthritis, and I'm winning. I was seriously crippled and taking all these medications and steroids for years. The FDA finally approved these new drugs that are targeted specifically for inflammation of the joints, and they're heaven because they don't have any side effects. Before, I had a lot of bloating, anger, depression. Steroids are really heavy-duty stuff, so it was pretty rough there for a few years. Now I'm almost pain-free."---Turner to People, February 14, 2000.

"I never wanted to be that accessible. I always felt, if they want me for a part they can either fly me over there of they can come here. At least that meant you actually stood a chance of getting the role rather than just being seen for the hell of it."---Turner on living in New York instead of California, quoted in Daily Telegraph, March 15, 2000.

"I made sure, in my early twenties, even before I was successful with 'Body Heat', that I would not date actors because I know how selfish we all are. During a shoot I always found a member of the crew was a better bet. I found lighting technicians were usually accessible. No, seriously, sometimes when I've finished acting for the day I'm so hyped up by it, I feel like I'm living through every part of my body, and then, when I was single, I would have a brief liason. That's how I dealt with it."

She did find a husband [realtor Jay Weiss] who could be 'Mr. Turner' and deal with it and the Hollywood stuff: "He [Weiss] puts on his Mr Turner hat and smiles, and stays by my side, and says to me, 'Keep moving, keep moving,' and that's what I need because when I'm out being Kathleen Turner Hollywood Star I get mobbed."---Turner to the Daily Telegraph, March 15, 2000.

On the relationship between frequent co-star and friend Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones: "They seem very happy, which is great because, frankly, I never saw him talk with his ex-wife, let alone laugh."---Turner to London's Evening Standard, March 8, 2000.

"She is formidable, she's scary. I wouldn't cross her. But she only explodes when needs be. She is an absolute craftsman. She works it to the bone. A week before we were to go on, she was still working through scenes again and again. I loved that about her. At that age, she still gives a f**k and really wants to nail it."---"The Graduate" co-star Matthew Rhys on Turner from The Sunday Independent, April 1, 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
David Guc. Agent. Met in 1977; together until c. 1982.
husband:
Jay Weiss. Realtor. Married in 1984; member of musical outfit "The Blue Suits"; leaseholder of a building in New York City where 87 people were killed in fire caused by arson; pleaded guilty on May 6, 1992 to building code violations, agreeing to pay $60,000 to be used by a Bronx community service center and to perform 50 hours of community service.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Richard Turner. Foreign-service diplomat. Grew up in China; was imprisoned by Japanese for four years during WWII; died of cancer c. 1971.
daughter:
Rachel Ann Weiss. Born in 1988.

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