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Beverly D'Angelo

Beverly D'Angelo

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: November 15, 1951 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Columbus, Ohio, USA Profession: Cast ... actor producer singer animator sold vacuum cleaners by phone
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BIOGRAPHY

A striking and sultry blue-eyed blonde performer, Beverly D'Angelo could be a household name, if only she cared to be. Multi-talented, she first gravitated to art, working in the animation department of Hanna-Barbera before moving to Canada to pursue her singing career, most notably with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins. It was there that Gower Champion spotted her and cast her as Ophelia in his Canadian production of "Rockabye, Hamlet" (1975), which moved the next year to Broadway for a short run. After smaller roles in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" and Michael Winner's "The Sentinel" (both 1977), D'Angelo gained wide attention as the rebellious debutante Sheila in Milos Forman's highly acclaimed film version of "Hair" (1979). She secured her reputation with a compelling portrayal of Patsy Cline in Michael Apted's "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980), singing with style and accuracy the Patsy Cline songs for a soundtrack album which went gold.

D'Angelo first played Ellen Griswold, the role audiences most identify with her, in "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983) and then reprised the part opposite screen husband Chevy Chase in three equally light-weight sequels (1985, 1989 and 1997) which did well at the box office and made her a bunch of money. Though she has done her best by such forgettable misfires as "High Spirits" (1988) and "Man Trouble" (1992), D'Angelo made a memorably beautiful movie with then-boyfriend Irish director Neil Jordan, "The Miracle" (1991), just before breaking up with him. On TV, she won raves for her luminous Stella Kowalski in the 1984 TV remake of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (ABC) opposite Treat Williams and Ann-Margret. D'Angelo also starred as crime victim Mary Heard in the CBS miniseries "Hands of a Stranger" (1987), portrayed Kitty Menendez in the 1994 miniseries "Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills" (NET) and appeared with Bruce Davison and MacKenzie Astin in the HBO murder mystery movie "Widow's Kiss" (1996).

D'Angelo returned to the New York stage in 1994 to star opposite Ed Harris in Sam Shepard's play "Simpatico," earning a Theatre World Award for her efforts. She sang eight songs for the soundtrack and acted in "Daddy's Dyin' . . . Who's Got the Will" (1991) and also performed "Lovin' You" for "Vegas Vacation" (1997). Her jazz band Blue Martini (which includes bassist brother Jeff) has afforded her the chance to display her singing talent, however, good friend John Schlesinger (who directed her in three movies) lamented, "She should be singing more. She should have a much wider audience." Perhaps her wicked bedroom voice could make her a household name, but she would have to pursue the old Protestant work ethic more tenaciously than she has to date. The romantic in D'Angelo has often concentrated on her relationships at the expense of her career, but if the four movies she wrapped in 1997 (including Tony Kaye's "American History X" 1998) are any indication, that may be a thing of the past.

After "American History X," D'Angelo indeed upped her screen output, appearing in several small features throughout the rest of the 1990s. She vamped her way through "Sugar Town" (1999) as a wealthy widow who bankrolls the comeback of a group of aging rock stars, then played the second wife of the notorious mobster Meyer Lansky in HBO's made-for-TV biopic, "Lansky" (1999). D'Angelo appeared alongside other Hollywood celebs to sing the praises of behind-the-scenes comedy writer Bruce Vilanch in the documentary "Get Bruce" (1999), then costarred as a bickering theater owner unconvinced of the preparedness of a struggling repertory company to perform in the low-budget comedy, "Illuminata" (1999). As the 21st century came into being, D'Angelo returned to old habits and began appearing less frequently onscreen. She starred as an independent film producer on the verge of a mental breakdown in "Women in Film" (2001), followed by a cameo in the light-weight Freddie Prinze, Jr. romantic comedy "Summer Catch" (2001), but for the most part chose to be absent from the limelight.

D'Angelo turned her focus from acting to raising twins Anton and Olivia, both sired from the seed of Al Pacino. In early 2003, the tabloid press had a typical field day reporting on the couple's custody w s-D'Angelo was quoted as saying Pacino was controlling and unable to stick with court-mandated visitation schedule. When all issues were later resolved, however, D'Angelo gave the requisite hindsight response, saying the press had overblown the ordeal and that she and Pacino remained close. D'Angelo did continue to act occasionally, starring as a socially conservative radio host in the failed sitcom "Talk to Me" (ABC, 1999-2000) and appearing in a three-show arc in the 2003-2004 season of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ). She also landed a recurring role on the increasingly popular HBO comedy, "Entourage" (2004- ), playing tough-as-nails agent Barbara Miller, who uses her vast financial resources to start a partnership with über-agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven).

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