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Illeana Douglas

Illeana Douglas

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: July 25, 1965 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Massachusetts, USA Profession: actor, producer, screenwriter, director, publicist, comic

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A character actress possessed of inarguable talent and non-traditional beauty, Illeana Douglas was one of the more versatile performers to emerge on film in the early 1990s. After small contributions to a few of director Martin Scorsese's films, including "GoodFellas" (1990), the actress grabbed the attention of audiences with her gutsy performance opposite Robert De Niro in "Cape Fear" (1991). She followed with a plethora of supporting roles, among them turns in the survival tale "Alive" (1993) and Gus Van Sant's dark satire "To Die For" (1995). As a lead, Douglas was impressive and impassioned in the music industry-set "Grace of My Heart" (1996), and later flexed her comedic muscles as the classic "hooker with a heart of gold" in the woefully underappreciated comedy series "Action" (Fox, 1999). Occasionally, she ventured behind the camera for such efforts as "Stories of Lost Souls" (2005), for which she directed the segment entitled "Supermarket." As an actress, she continually sought off-kilter indie films like the horror-comedy "Otis" (2008) and collaborated on personal projects such as the web series "Easy to Assemble" (2008- ), a fictionalized comedic version of her life, which she wrote,...

A character actress possessed of inarguable talent and non-traditional beauty, Illeana Douglas was one of the more versatile performers to emerge on film in the early 1990s. After small contributions to a few of director Martin Scorsese's films, including "GoodFellas" (1990), the actress grabbed the attention of audiences with her gutsy performance opposite Robert De Niro in "Cape Fear" (1991). She followed with a plethora of supporting roles, among them turns in the survival tale "Alive" (1993) and Gus Van Sant's dark satire "To Die For" (1995). As a lead, Douglas was impressive and impassioned in the music industry-set "Grace of My Heart" (1996), and later flexed her comedic muscles as the classic "hooker with a heart of gold" in the woefully underappreciated comedy series "Action" (Fox, 1999). Occasionally, she ventured behind the camera for such efforts as "Stories of Lost Souls" (2005), for which she directed the segment entitled "Supermarket." As an actress, she continually sought off-kilter indie films like the horror-comedy "Otis" (2008) and collaborated on personal projects such as the web series "Easy to Assemble" (2008- ), a fictionalized comedic version of her life, which she wrote, directed and starred in. Equally adept at eliciting either tears or laughter, at ease in a supporting role and more than capable of carrying the lead, time and again Douglas proved herself a welcome addition to any production.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Boy Crazy Girl Crazier (1996) Director
2.
  Perfect Woman, The (1993) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Return to Sender (2014)
3.
 Road Hard (2014)
4.
5.
 Stars (2012)
6.
 Kingdom Come (2012)
7.
 Chez Upshaw (2011)
8.
 Green, The (2011)
9.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in small Connecticut town
:
Created and staged elaborate multimedia anti-pollution shows in the Old Saybrook, Connecticut, school auditorium when in the third grade
:
Worked for NYC-based publicist Peggy Siegal
1987:
Acted in NYC stage production of "Dream House" at Cubiculo Theatre
1987:
Made uncredited film appearance as a mother in a park in "Hello Again", starring Shelley Long
1988:
Film debut as a screaming woman in "The Last Temptation of Christ" ; first credit with director Martin Scorsese
1989:
First acting role in the Scorsese-directed segment of "New York Stories"
1991:
Offered a memorable turn as a woman savagely beaten by Robert De Niro in Scorsese's remake of "Cape Fear"
1991:
First film not directed by Scorsese, Irwin Winkler's "Guilty By Suspicion", starring De Niro; Scorsese had acting role
1993:
Played only woman in the "Alive" plane crash
1993:
Wrote and directed the short film "The Perfect Woman" (debuted at the New York Film Festival and aired on Bravo cable channel)
1994:
TV debut, producing, directing, writing and hosting the documentary "Everybody Just Stay Calm--Stories in Independent Filmmaking"
1995:
Third short project as writer-director, "Boy Crazy, Girl Crazier"; won prize at the Aspen Film Festival
1995:
Garnered critical and popular attention as Matt Dillon's suspicious older sister in Gus Van Sant's "To Die For"
1995:
TV acting debut, guest appearance in an episode of the NBC police drama "Homicide: Life on the Street"
1996:
First starring feature role in Allison Anders' "Grace of My Heart"; last collaboration (to date) with Scorsese (who executive produced); picture reteamed her with Dillon, who played a character resembling Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys
1997:
Portrayed Teddy Roosevelt's wife Edith in TNT's "Rough Riders"
1998:
Supported Jennifer Aniston in "Picture Perfect", playing a corporate cutthroat
1999:
Won notice for her supporting role in "Message in a Bottle"
1999:
Played Meyer Lansky's first wife Anna in HBO movie "Lansky"
1999:
Had pivotal role in the thriller "Stir of Echoes"
1999:
Co-starred in the short-lived Fox series "Action"
2000:
Announced to make feature directorial debut with "Sorority Rule"
2001:
Co-starred in Terry Zwigoff's "Ghost World" as Roberta, a flaky art teacher
2002:
Had co-starring role in the Off-Broadway play "Surviving Grace"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

The Neigborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre: New York , New York -
American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York -

Notes

"I always wanted to find [a director], like Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel with Martin Scorsese ... John Turturro with Spike Lee. Everyone finds their director. In the '30s, you had Bette Davis and William Wyler, George Cukor and Katharine Hepburn, and von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich. Otherwise, you're just forced to be in the position of auditioning for male directors all the time." --Illeana Douglas quoted in New York Post, June 2, 1994.

Douglas describes herself as "a complete contradiction--very proper and very Italian." --From Entertainment Weekly, November 2, 1991.

On getting cut from films: "One ... was 'Jungle Fever'. Gina Gershon and I are in the trailer, but not the movie--we had the funniest scene. Annabella Sciorra walks by and Gina says, 'Look at her, she's such a tramp.' And I say, 'She ain't no song by Sinatra. She's a slut.' I've been cut from so many movies; I'd like to do a whole laserdic where I show the scene as it was in the movie, then I show the clip ... cut and talk about why it would have been better with me in it. I was cut from 'Quiz Show'. I'm in it for a second, but I had a much larger part. Robert Redford wanted me to be in the movie because he'd worked with my grandfather on 'The Candidate'. A month after I shot it, I get this really long letter from Robert Redford in the mail and I knew I'd been cut ... Kevin Smith brutally cut my scene from 'Chasing Amy', too. I played an angry lesbian lap dancer. I'm hoping to be restored in that one, maybe in the director's cut." --From Time Out New York, July 31-August 7, 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Martin Scorsese. Director. Born in 1942; together from c. 1988 to 1997.
husband:
Jonathan Axelrod. Producer. Born c. 1949; married on May 16, 1998; has son from previous marriage stepson of screenwriter-director George Axelrod; Douglas filed for divorce on March 13, 2001.

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
Melvyn Douglas. Actor. Born on April 5, 1901; died on August 4, 1981; won Best Supporting Actor Oscars for "Hud" (1963) and "Being There" (1979).
grandmother:
Rosalind Hightower. Actor. Divorced from Melvyn Douglas.
step-grandmother:
Helen Douglas. Actor, politician. Died in 1980; lost her California congressional seat to Richard Nixon in a smear-filled campaign in 1950.
father:
Gregory Douglas. Artist, teacher. Born in 1920; divorced from Douglas' mother.
mother:
Joan Douglas. Teacher. Divorced from Douglas' father.
brother:
Stefan Douglas. Born c. 1960; as of 1999 was enrolled as a veterinary student.
brother:
Erik Douglas. Journalist. Wrote for newspaper in Connecticut; born c. 1963.
step-son:
Sam Axelrod. Born c. 1990.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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