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Blair Brown

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Also Known As: Bonnie Blair Brown Died:
Born: April 23, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Washington D.C., USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An intelligent, theatrically trained actress, Blair Brown already had an impressive list of credits by the time she achieved fame as the devoted wife of William Hurt in the bizarre "Altered States" (1980). She earned a Golden Globe nomination opposite John Belushi in "Continental Divide" (1981) and a Golden Globe nomination as well as a BAFTA nomination for playing the iconic Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in the miniseries "Kennedy" (NBC, 1983). At the peak of her powers, she earned five Emmy nominations as the titular star of "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (NBC, 1987-88; Lifetime, 1989-1991), a groundbreaking dramedy about an independent-minded divorceé. She won a 2000 Tony for her role in the physics-themed Broadway drama "Copenhagen" and essayed memorable supporting roles in the Johnny Depp thriller "The Astronaut's Wife" (1999), the Clint Eastwood action adventure "Space Cowboys" (2000) and Lars von Trier's "Dogville" (2003). She earned excellent reviews for her return to series television as Nina Sharp, the mysterious executive director of Massive Dynamic on the parallel universe series "Fringe" (FOX, 2008-13). An immensely respected veteran of stage, television and film, Blair Brown embodied...

An intelligent, theatrically trained actress, Blair Brown already had an impressive list of credits by the time she achieved fame as the devoted wife of William Hurt in the bizarre "Altered States" (1980). She earned a Golden Globe nomination opposite John Belushi in "Continental Divide" (1981) and a Golden Globe nomination as well as a BAFTA nomination for playing the iconic Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in the miniseries "Kennedy" (NBC, 1983). At the peak of her powers, she earned five Emmy nominations as the titular star of "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (NBC, 1987-88; Lifetime, 1989-1991), a groundbreaking dramedy about an independent-minded divorceé. She won a 2000 Tony for her role in the physics-themed Broadway drama "Copenhagen" and essayed memorable supporting roles in the Johnny Depp thriller "The Astronaut's Wife" (1999), the Clint Eastwood action adventure "Space Cowboys" (2000) and Lars von Trier's "Dogville" (2003). She earned excellent reviews for her return to series television as Nina Sharp, the mysterious executive director of Massive Dynamic on the parallel universe series "Fringe" (FOX, 2008-13). An immensely respected veteran of stage, television and film, Blair Brown embodied intelligent, quirky women and proved a fascinating addition to any genre or medium.

Born April 23, 1947 in Washington, DC, Bonnie Blair Brown pursued theater across the United States border, where she trained for three years at the National Theatre School of Canada. A role in the revue "Love and Maple Syrup" in Ottawa led to several years of employment with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Company and other regional theaters, honing her craft in such stage productions as "The Merchant of Venice," "A Doll's House" and "The Crucible." She landed a small role in the Oscar-winning drama "The Paper Chase" (1973) and recreated her stage role of Lady Teazle in "The School for Scandal" for "Theater in America" (PBS, 1975) before finding work with the New York Shakespeare Festival in "The Comedy of Errors" in Central Park and in "The Threepenny Opera" on Broadway.

She was cast in several acclaimed TV productions, ranging from the NBC miniseries "Captains and the Kings" (1976), where she met her longtime boyfriend, actor Richard Jordan, to the award-winning "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years" (ABC, 1977). That same year, she landed her first film lead in "The Choirboys" (1977) but truly came into her own as a leading lady as the ferociously devoted wife to William Hurt in the trippy "Altered States" (1980). One of her best screen roles was as a take-charge naturalist romanced by a newspaper reporter (John Belushi) in the romantic comedy "Continental Divide" (1981), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Made-for-TV movies offered the actress an excellent showcase, winning her plaudits for her work as the vulnerable, overwhelmed mother of a murderous child in the remake of "The Bad Seed" (ABC, 1985) and nominations for a Golden Globe and BAFTA for her turn as Jackie Kennedy in the 1983 NBC miniseries "Kennedy."

Brown's biggest claim to fame came as the star of the groundbreaking dramedy "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (NBC, 1987-88; Lifetime, 1989-1991), which followed the titular New Yorker, a warm-hearted, independent but aimless divorceé. For her charming portrayal of the quirky Dodd, Brown earned five Emmy nominations as well as the opportunity to direct two episodes of the series. She was romantically linked to David Hare, who wrote the leading role of Lillian Hempel in "Strapless" (1989) for her. He also penned the stage play "The Secret Rapture" for her as well. The actress played the first female general who runs for the U.S. presidency in "Majority Rule"" (Lifetime, 1992) and returned to Broadway to star in Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia" and to play the supporting role of Frau Schneider in the revival of "Cabaret."

Back on television, she appeared in "A Season in Purgatory" (CBS, 1996) and "The Ultimate Lie" (NBC, 1996) before returning to series TV as a no-nonsense U.S. attorney on the short-lived "Feds" (CBS, 1997). On the big screen, Brown played important supporting roles in the Johnny Depp/Charlize Theron thriller "The Astronaut's Wife" (1999) and in the Clint Eastwood/Tommy Lee Jones action adventure "Space Cowboys" (2000). She won a Tony for her role in the challenging, physics-themed Broadway drama "Copenhagen," but spent much of the subsequent decade collecting small credits in everything from Lars von Trier's "Dogville" (2003) and Kevin Bacon's "Loverboy" (2005) to "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ). Brown also embarked on a lucrative side career in narration, serving as the voice of many specials, including several "American Experience" (PBS, 1988- ) installments. Critics and longtime fans alike were thrilled to see her accept the juicy role of Nina Sharp, the executive director of Massive Dynamic on the genre-bending, sci-fi thriller "Fringe" (Fox, 2008-13). As a mysterious, cutthroat businesswoman who lost an arm attempting to prevent Walter (John Noble) from crossing over into a parallel universe, Brown delivered a layered, magnetic performance on the cult series.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 First Born (2007)
2.
 Dark Matter (2007)
3.
4.
 Sentinel, The (2006)
5.
 Treatment, The (2006)
6.
 Loverboy (2005)
7.
 Dogville (2003) Mrs Henson
8.
 Follow the Stars Home (2001) Hannah
9.
10.
 Space Cowboys (2000) Doctor Anne Caruthers
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

2008:
Appeared in the murder drama, "Dark Matter" loosely based on the 1991 University of Iowa shootings
1995:
Co-starred in the Broadway production of Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia"
1976:
Co-starred in the NBC miniseries "Captains and the Kings"
1989:
Directed by Hare in "Strapless"; role was written expressly for her by Hare
1995:
Hosted the National Public Radio series "The Poet's Voice"
1992:
Last feature for six years, "Passed Away"
2000:
Played Gertrude in Campbell Scott's TV version of "Hamlet" (Odyssey)
2004:
Played the lead role in "The Clean House," by playwright Sarah Ruhl
1983:
Portrayed Jacqueline Kennedy in the NBC miniseries "Kennedy"
:
Professional stage debut in the Canadian production of "Love and Maple Syrup"
1997:
Starred as the mother of a murder victim in the based-on-fact Lifetime movie "Convictions"
2000:
Won a Tony Award for her performance as the female lead in Michael Frayn's play "Copenhagen"
1980:
Appeared at the Arena Theater in David Hare's "Plenty"
2006:
Co-starred with Kyra Sedgwick in the Kevin Bacon directed "Loverboy"; premiered at Sundance (lensed 2003)
1994:
Debut as TV producer on the NBC movie "Moment of Truth: To Walk Again"; also co-starred
1976:
NY stage debut in "The Threepenny Opera" at Lincoln Center
1989:
Played the leading role in the Off-Broadway production of "The Secret Rapture"; written by David Hare
1997:
Returned to series TV as co-star of the short-lived CBS drama series "Feds"
:
Spent one season at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, MN
1999:
Starred opposite Christopher Walken in the NYC stage musical "James Joyce's The Dead"
1975:
TV acting debut, the Guthrie staging of "The School for Scandal" (aired on PBS)
2002:
Cast as Desiree in the Kennedy Center production of "A Little Night Music"
2008:
Cast as Nina Sharp in the FOX drama "Fringe"
:
Joined the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Company in Ontario, Canada
1981:
Played leading lady to John Belushi in the feature comedy "Continental Divide"
1977:
Screen debut, "The Choirboys"
1987:
Starred the series, "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (NBC, 1987-1988; Lifetime, 1989-1991)
1992:
Cast as the first woman to lead troops into combat in the Lifetime TV-movie "Majority Rule"
1980:
First starring film role, "Altered States"
1975:
Moved to NYC
1996:
Played the matriarch of a wealthy family in the CBS miniseries "A Season in Purgatory"
1985:
Played the unsuspecting mother of a murderous child in the small screen remake of "The Bad Seed" (ABC)
1999:
Returned to feature films in a supporting role in "The Astronaut's Wife"
1998:
Succeeded Mary Louise Wilson as Frau Schneider in the acclaimed revival of the stage musical "Cabaret"
1995:
With Toukie Smith, co-hosted the Lifetime talk show "Talk It Over"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Pine Manor Junior College: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts -
Madeira School: McLean, Virginia -
National Theatre School of Canada: Montreal, Quebec - 1967

Notes

"I had a hard time being the ingenue. I had the looks, but I was uncomfortable being so pleasant and pleasing." --Blair Brown quoted in The New York Times, April 27, 1995

"Blair has that leader quality. She can walk on a set. do nothing, and take control." --"Feds" co-excutive producer Arthur Forney to Entertainment Weekly, February 21-28, 1997

"I think that whatever aspect of my career hasn't happened has to do with the fact that when I was younger, I didn't think it was that important to play the game. I thought you didn't actually have to. I see now that's not the case. Still, I couldn't have done it differently. I couldn't actually deal, and I still can't, with that nonsense in California. I don't have the gift." --Brown quoted in The New York Times, April 27, 1995

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Richard Jordan. Actor. Met while filming "Captains and the Kings" (1976); separated; died of a brain tumor in August 1993 at age 56.
companion:
David Hare. Director, writer. Involved in late 1980s.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Milton Henry Brown. CIA operative. Died c. 1989.
mother:
Elizabeth Ann Brown. Retired teacher.
son:
Robert Jordan. Born in 1983; father, Richard Jordan.

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