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Kathy Baker

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Also Known As: Katherine Whitton Baker, Kathy Whitton Baker Died:
Born: June 8, 1950 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Midland, Texas, USA Profession: actor, caterer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A versatile and appealing performer who excelled in both film and on television, actress Kathy Baker first made her presence known on the stage in several Sam Shepard productions before making her screen debut in "The Right Stuff" (1983). Baker earned widespread acclaim for her gritty performance in "Street Smart" (1987) before tackling a challenging part in the recovery drama "Clean and Sober" (1988). She turned to a more comedic role as a flirtatious housewife in "Edward Scissorhands" (1990) and eventually found her way onto television with a regular role as a small town doctor and wife to the sheriff on David E. Kelley's quirky drama "Picket Fences" (CBS, 1992-96). From there, Baker jumped back and forth between television and film, landing recurring roles on shows like "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004) and "Medium" (NBC/CBS, 2005-2011), while showing up in movies like "The Cider House Rules" (1999), "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her" (2001) and "Cold Mountain" (2003). She excelled in a number of small screen movies, earning award recognition for performances in "Door to Door" (2002), while delivering a quality turn in the critically acclaimed TV movie "Too Big to Fail" (HBO, 2011), all...

A versatile and appealing performer who excelled in both film and on television, actress Kathy Baker first made her presence known on the stage in several Sam Shepard productions before making her screen debut in "The Right Stuff" (1983). Baker earned widespread acclaim for her gritty performance in "Street Smart" (1987) before tackling a challenging part in the recovery drama "Clean and Sober" (1988). She turned to a more comedic role as a flirtatious housewife in "Edward Scissorhands" (1990) and eventually found her way onto television with a regular role as a small town doctor and wife to the sheriff on David E. Kelley's quirky drama "Picket Fences" (CBS, 1992-96). From there, Baker jumped back and forth between television and film, landing recurring roles on shows like "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004) and "Medium" (NBC/CBS, 2005-2011), while showing up in movies like "The Cider House Rules" (1999), "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her" (2001) and "Cold Mountain" (2003). She excelled in a number of small screen movies, earning award recognition for performances in "Door to Door" (2002), while delivering a quality turn in the critically acclaimed TV movie "Too Big to Fail" (HBO, 2011), all of which underscored the fact that Baker was one of the most talented character actresses working in the business.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Boulevard (2014)
4.
 Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
5.
 Adaline (2012)
6.
 Big Miracle (2012)
9.
 Too Big to Fail (2011)
10.
 Take Shelter (2011)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in New Mexico
1960:
Began acting in Albuquerque Children's Theatre at age ten (date approximate)
1970:
Successfully auditioned for the CalArts acting program; attended for one year and subsequently dropped out
1975:
Moved to Paris to study cooking at Le Cordon Bleu
1977:
Returned to California
:
While working as a pastry chef in San Francisco, auditioned at the Magic Theatre
:
Featured in the Magic Theatre production "The Man Who Killed the Buddha", where she was spotted by Sam Shepard
1982:
Starred opposite Ed Harris in the San Francisco premiere of Sheperd's "Fool for Love"; credited as Kathy Whitton Baker (date approximate)
1983:
Made Off-Broadway debut reprising role in "Fool For Love"
1983:
Film acting debut in "The Right Stuff", starring Shepard and Harris
1986:
First feature leading role, "My Sister's Keeper"
1986:
Had early television credit as co-star in the fact-based TV-movie "Nobody's Child" (CBS)
1987:
Co-starred as a doomed prostitute in the feature "Street Smart"
1987:
Guest starred on episodes of "Amazing Stories" (NBC) and "Mariah" (ABC)
1988:
Played the mother of a suicidal teen in the moving drama "Permanent Record"
1988:
Co-starred with Michael Keaton as a recovering drug addict in "Clean and Sober"
1989:
Starred with Robert De Niro as a spinster schoolteacher who puts her life on hold to watch over her troubled brother (Ed Harris) in the drama feature "Jacknife"
1990:
Had a memorable featured role as a flirty neighbor smitten with Johnny Depp in "Edward Scissorhands"
1990:
Featured in the HBO original film "The Image"
1991:
Starred in the NBC TV-movie "One Special Victory"
1992:
Was a supporting player in the comedy "Article 99" and the thriller "Jennifer 8"
1992:
First role as a TV series regular, "Picket Fences" (CBS); won three Emmy Awards playing the wife of the town sheriff in this quirky drama-comedy created by David E. Kelley
1993:
Reteamed with De Niro in "Mad Dog and Glory"
1994:
Featured in the independent drama "Lush Life" (Showtime)
1996:
Played the sister-in-law of a man mourning his wife's death in "To Gillian on her 37th Birthday"
1997:
Featured on the ABC anthology series "Gun"
1997:
Starred in the fact-based TV-movie "Not in This Town" (USA Network) as a community activist working to lessen the influence of white supremecists
1997:
Played a widowed mother of two sons in the period drama "Inventing the Abbotts"
1997:
Featured in the HBO original TV-movie "Weapons of Mass Distraction"
1998:
Starred as a survivor of the Oklahoma City bombing who struggles to deal with her life after the tragedy in Lifetime's "Oklahoma City: A Survivor's Story"
1998:
Had a recurring role on "The Practice" (ABC) as a woman accused of murdering a baby
1999:
Had featured role as one of the nurses at the orphanage in Lasse Hallstrom's adaptation "The Cider House Rules"
1999:
Reteamed with director Michael Pressman as a single-minded social worker in the holiday drama "A Season for Miracles" (CBS)
2000:
Had featured role in the Sundance-screened episodic film "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her"; aired on Showtime in 2001
2000:
Starred as a woman who employs a magic ring to make her ordinary life spectacular in the Showtime original children's movie "Ratz"
2000:
Earned an Emmy nomination for a guest appearance on "Touched By an Angel" (CBS)
2001:
Received sixth career Emmy nomination for guest role of a controling mother on Fox's "Boston Public," created by David E. Kelley; joined cast as series regular during the 2001-02 season
2001:
Co-starred in the thriller "The Glass House"
2002:
Acted opposite Robert Duvall in "Assassination Tango"
2002:
Played Gladys in the made for television movie "Door to Door"; received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV-movie
2003:
Featured in "Cold Mountain," which starred Nicole Kidman and Jude Law
2004:
Played Jennifer Garner's mother in the coming-of-age romantic comedy "13 Going on 30"
2005:
Cast in the ensemble "Nine Lives"; Rodrigo GarcĂ­a directs a series of vignettes, offering glimpses into the lives of nine women
2005:
Joined the cast of supernatural drama series "Medium" (NBC, CBS) in the recurring role of Marjorie Dubois
2007:
Cast in the feature adatation of "The Jane Austen Book Club," as Bernadette a 67-years-young yoga enthusiast
2008:
Co-starred with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in "Last Chance Harvey"
2011:
Cast in the action drama feature "Machine Gun Preacher," starring Gerard Butler
2011:
Cast in the drama "Take Shelter" opposite Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain
2012:
Acted alongside Drew Barrymore in "Big Miracle," a drama centered on a campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Boston University: Boston , Massachusetts -
University of California at Berkeley: Berkeley , California -
California Institute of the Arts: Valencia , California - 1970
Cordon Bleu: - 1975 - 1977

Notes

"'Jacknife' could have just been this buddy movie about a Vietnam vet coming back to find another one, but when you throw a woman into a movie, well, well, well. I loved 'Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown'. Movies should always have women in them to shake things up. Not just to tag along with the guys. Not this lover/wife/mother baloney. I mean all kinds of women.

"When I first saw the script for 'Clean and Sober' it looked like 'Flashdance' to me. The woman's part calls for a 'beautiful blonde' working in a steel mill. Twenty-five-years old. I auditioned anyway." --Kathy Baker quoted in The New York Times, March 5, 1989.

Baker on abandoning acting school in the early 1970s: "I was brought up in a very polite household and I didn't feel happy doing that violent, '70s kind of 'Oh, Calcutta' theater.

We were all told that we would have to be completely naked on stage, have blood thrown all over us. Genet came to visit us with a play, and in it a guy was naked, hanging from chains and everybody threw blood all over him. That's admirable. That's kamikaze acting, but I wasn't going to do it with Joe Blow or Fred Normal in acting class on a Thursday afternoon." --quoted in The New York Times, March 5, 1989.

Sam Shepard on Kathy Baker: "To me the main characteristic about her is that she'll sort of go right off the cliff for you. In 'Fool For Love', there was a lot of emotional territory that was scary. It was very volatile and physical, and she was up against an actor [Ed Harris] who was equally as unpredictable. The two of them wound up with all kinds of bruises on their bodies." --quoted in Premiere, April 1989.

"I do start dressing like the character. I can't go to the set wearing something that isn't similar to the character. I could never wear a pair of jeans to the set of 'Jacknife'. I don't think I wore a dress for six months while I was doing 'Clean and Sober.'" --Baker to Premiere, April 1989.

"People just want to watch her. She doesn't have that kind of classic beauty. She has something inside of her that makes men find her so sexy. When Kathy was getting the job of 'Clean and Sober', I remember the director telling me, 'She's concerned that she's not physically attractive enough.' And I thought, 'She doesn't have anything to worry about there.'"--co-star Michael Keaton on Kathy Baker, quoted in The New York Times, March 31, 1997.

Baker on the network's dismissal of the critically acclaimed "Picket Fences": "It was like no matter how many good report cards we brought home, Mommy and Daddy were still never happy." --quoted in ^The New York Times, March 31, 1997.

"I'm at the point im my career where life's too short, I want to work with people I enjoy hanging out with." --quoted in the New York Post, April 14, 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Donald Camillieri. Divorced.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Lany Baker. French.
son:
Julian Joseph Camillieri. Born on November 27, 1984.

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