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Amy Irving

Amy Irving

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Also Known As: Amy Davis Irving Died:
Born: September 10, 1953 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Palo Alto, California, USA Profession: actor, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A classically trained actress from an early age, Amy Irving was a soulful ingénue and leading lady in the 1970s and 1980s, moving effortlessly from dramas like "Carrie" (1976) and "Yentl" (1983) to comedies like "Micki + Maude" (1984) and "Crossing Delancey" (1988). Though an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee, her marriage to Steven Spielberg and its 1989 dissolution, which resulted in a massive settlement, overshadowed much of her film work. She moved into indies in the 1990s before returning to play more mature and complex roles in "Traffic" (2001) and "Hide and Seek" (2005). Though her talents rarely received the showcase they deserved, Irving remained a well-respected presence in films and on stage and television for over four decades.Born Sept. 10, 1953 in Palo Alto, CA, Amy Davis Irving was the daughter of television and stage director Jules Irving and actress Priscilla Pointer. Her childhood was steeped in the theater; at nine months, she made her acting debut in a production starring her mother and directed by her father, and would continue to appear in his plays throughout her adolescence. After graduating from the Professional Children's School in New York, she studied at the High School of...

A classically trained actress from an early age, Amy Irving was a soulful ingénue and leading lady in the 1970s and 1980s, moving effortlessly from dramas like "Carrie" (1976) and "Yentl" (1983) to comedies like "Micki + Maude" (1984) and "Crossing Delancey" (1988). Though an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee, her marriage to Steven Spielberg and its 1989 dissolution, which resulted in a massive settlement, overshadowed much of her film work. She moved into indies in the 1990s before returning to play more mature and complex roles in "Traffic" (2001) and "Hide and Seek" (2005). Though her talents rarely received the showcase they deserved, Irving remained a well-respected presence in films and on stage and television for over four decades.

Born Sept. 10, 1953 in Palo Alto, CA, Amy Davis Irving was the daughter of television and stage director Jules Irving and actress Priscilla Pointer. Her childhood was steeped in the theater; at nine months, she made her acting debut in a production starring her mother and directed by her father, and would continue to appear in his plays throughout her adolescence. After graduating from the Professional Children's School in New York, she studied at the High School of Music and Art in New York while making her Broadway debut in 1965 with a walk-on in "The Country Wife." The play was directed by Robert Symonds, who would later become her stepfather after Irving's death in 1979.

After furthering her studies at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and London's Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Irving made her off-Broadway debut in the play "And Chocolate on Her Chin." Upon her return to Los Angeles, she began landing guest roles on television series and in TV movies, most notably as one of the romantic leads in the Emmy-winning miniseries "Once an Eagle" (NBC, 1976). That same year, she made her feature debut in "Carrie" (1976), Brian De Palma's terrifying adaptation of Stephen King's novel about a high school student (Sissy Spacek) who uses telekinesis to wreak revenge on her tormentors. Irving played the sole survivor of Carrie's rampage, while Pointer played her onscreen mother. The film's runaway success led to other features, including a reunion with De Palma in the similarly themed "The Fury" (1978) and the country music drama "Honeysuckle Rose" (1980), where she served as temptation for an already wayward singer (Willie Nelson). That same year, she starred in "The Competition" as a classical pianist who finds herself both in love with and competing against fellow musical talent Richard Dreyfuss in an international contest.

During this period, Irving became involved with director Steven Spielberg, who was beginning to emerge as a major talent on the strength of "Jaws" (1976) and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1978). However, the relationship crumbled when Irving reportedly had an affair with Willie Nelson during the shooting of "Honeysuckle Rose." The break-up cost her many things, not the least of which was the female lead in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), which Spielberg had offered to her before the part eventually went to Karen Allen. It was Irving's second major loss in terms of starring roles in blockbusters, as she had also auditioned for and failed to land the role of Princess Leia in "Star Wars" (1977). Despite these setbacks, Irving settled into a steady string of film and stage appearances, the most successful of which was Barbra Streisand's "Yentl" (1983), in which she played the fiancée of Mandy Patinkin, who falls in love with his best friend, Yentl (Streisand), unaware that he is dressed in male drag in order to study the Talmud. Irving received an Oscar nomination for her performance, as well as a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress, which rather ignominiously made her the first woman to earn nods from both ends of the acting spectrum for the same role.

The 1980s proved to be a fruitful period for Irving, both personally and professional. She worked steadily in features and on television and stage in a wide variety of roles that displayed her exceptional versatility. She was the Indian princess who broke from tradition to fall in love with a British soldier (Ben Cross) in the HBO miniseries "The Far Pavilions" (1984), then played a concert cellist who becomes entangled in a bigamous relationship with Dudley Moore and Ann Reinking in Blake Edwards' comedy "Micki + Maude" (1984). The charming romantic comedy "Crossing Delancey" (1988) brought Irving a Golden Globe nomination as a single Jewish woman contending with a meddling grandmother (Reizl Bozyk) and matchmaker (Sylvia Miles) while navigating the dating scene, while "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna" (NBC, 1986) earned her a second Golden Globe nod as Anna Anderson, who claimed to be the lost daughter of Russia's Czar Nicholas II. Irving also wowed audiences by providing the singing voice for Jessica Rabbit in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (1988). During this time, she was also a fixture on Broadway, most notably in "Amadeus" as Mozart's wife and "Heartbreak House" opposite her "Anastasia" co-star, Rex Harrison.

Irving had also reconciled with Spielberg during the 1980s, and the couple was married in 1985, with a son, Max, arriving that same year. However, the personal and societal pressures of being married to one of the world's most popular filmmakers soon undermined the relationship; in interviews, Irving said that she felt like a "politician's wife" and unable to speak her mind during their marriage. Their union finally collapsed in 1989 when Irving began a relationship with Bruno Barreto, the Brazilian filmmaker who cast her as the lead in his political thriller, "A Show of Force" (1990). Irving earned headlines when a judge awarded her a $100 million settlement based on a controversial prenuptial agreement written on a napkin.

New love Baretto would provide Irving with her most substantive film roles in the 1990s, as well as a second son, Gabriel, born in 1990. She played the wife of a schoolteacher (Dennis Hopper) who becomes embroiled in an affair with a student in Barreto's "Carried Away" (1996), and later shifted gears to play an FBI agent in "One Tough Cop" (1998) and woman who rediscovered her sensuality in "Bossa Nova" (2000). Her screen work in the 1990s moved along these independent-minded lines, though there were occasional forays back to Hollywood. She had a minor role in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry" (1997) and reprised her role as Sue Snell in "The Rage: Carrie 2" (1999), which failed to match the intensity of the original.

By the end of the decade, Irving's film career was making something of a rebound, thanks to major roles in Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning "Traffic" (2000) as drug czar Michael Douglas' wife, which earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble. She later reunited with Sissy Spacek for "Tuck Everlasting" (2002) as Alexis Bledel's strict mother, and played Robert De Niro's wife, whose death by suicide hid a complicated psychological tangle in the hit thriller "Hide and Seek" (2005). For four years she played Emily Sloane, the wife of international terrorist Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin), on the hit spy series "Alias" (ABC, 2001-05). Irving also remained a staple of the New York theater scene, with appearances in acclaimed productions of "The Coast of Utopia" at Lincoln Center in 2007, and a debut with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis in "A Little Night Music," directed by designer Isaac Mizrahi.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Adam (2009)
2.
 Hide & Seek (2005) Cast
3.
 Tuck Everlasting (2002) Mother Foster
5.
 Traffic (2001) Barbara Wakefield
6.
 Bossa Nova (2000) Mary Ann
7.
 Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) Sue Snell
8.
 One Tough Cop (1998) Fbi Agent Jean Devlin
9.
 Deconstructing Harry (1997) Jane
10.
 I'm Not Rappaport (1996) Clara
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1954:
Made stage debut in "Rumpelstiltskin" at the Actor's Workshop in San Francisco
1975:
Made Off-Broadway debut at age seventeen, in a production of "And Chocolate on Her Chin"
1976:
Appeared in first TV-movie, "Panache," an ABC pilot based on "The Three Musketeers"
1976:
Made an unforgettable film debut as Sue Snell in Brian DePalma's "Carrie"
1976:
Played a lead role in the miniseries epic "Once an Eagle" (NBC), opposite Sam Elliott and Glenn Ford
1978:
Re-teamed with De Palma for "The Fury"
1980:
Made Broadway debut, succeding Jane Seymour as Constanze, in "Amadeus"
1983:
Returned to Broadway, opposite Rex Harrison, in an acclaimed revival of George Bernard Shaw's "Heartbreak House"
1983:
Received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance as the bride-to-be Hadass in Barbra Streisand's directorial debut "Yentl"
1984:
Starred as an Indian princess romanced by a British calvary officer in the HBO miniseries "The Far Pavillions"
1984:
Played one of Dudley Moore's pregnant wives in the Blake Edwards comedy "Micki & Maude"
1986:
Reprised her stage role for the Showtime production of "Heartbreak House"
1986:
Portrayed Anna Anderson, a woman who claimed to be the daughter of Russian Czar Nicholas II, in NBC's miniseries "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna"
1988:
Appeared Off-Broadway in Athol Fugard's "The Road to Mecca"
1988:
Starred as a upscale New Yorker who is matched with a pickle saleman in "Crossing Delancey"
1988:
Provided the singing voice of Jessica Rabbit in the combination live action-animated feature "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"
1990:
Starred in Bruno Barreto's "A Show of Force"; became romantically involved with Baretto during production
1990:
Headlined the LA production of Wendy Wasserstein's award-winning play "The Heidi Chronicles"
1994:
Starred in the Broadway production of Arthur Miller's "Broken Glass"
1996:
Re-teamed with Baretto for "Carried Away"
1997:
Returned to Broadway, alongside Lili Taylor and Jeanne Tripplehorn, in Chekhov's "Three Sisters"
1997:
Appeared in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry"
1998:
Co-starred as a tough-talking FBI agent in Barreto's "One Tough Cop"
1999:
Reprised role of Sue Snell in "The Rage: Carrie II"
2000:
Re-teamed with Barreto for "Bossa Nova"
2000:
Appeared as the wife of a drug czar in Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic"
2001:
Acted in "The Vagina Monologues" in London
2001:
Had featured role in "13 Conversations About One Thing"; screened at Toronto; shown at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival
2002:
Played the recurring role of Emily Sloane in the ABC spy series "Alias"
2002:
Cast in the family feature drama "Tuck Everlasting"
2005:
Starred opposite Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning in the thriller "Hide and Seek"
2006:
Appeared on Broadway in Tom Stoppard's "The Coast of Utopia" at New York's Lincoln Center
2009:
Played Rose Byrne's mother in "Adam"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

P S 44: New York , New York -
Professional Children's School: New York , New York -
American Conservatory Theatre: San Francisco , California - 1971 - 1972
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art: - 1972 - 1975

Notes

"It's exciting, it's terrifying, and I've never been so alive." --Irving on her stage performance in Arthur Miller's "Broken Glass", quoted by Patrick Pacheco in LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 17, 1994

"I get along great with directors, but I think some producers would tell you I'm a pain. They may say I'm tough to work with, but I have a great passion for what I do. I believe in fighting for it." --Amy Irving to LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 17, 1994

"I'm a textbook lover of directors. My father, of course. My second love was another director, Steven [Spielberg]. And now I'm in love with Bruno [Barreto]. What happens when an actress gives herself to a man when you're working can be one of the most exciting, exhilirating, intimate experiences. When Bruno and I started working together, he thought he'd died and gone to heaven! Here was this American actress whom he admired who was just like putty in his hands, because as an actress I love giving directors what they want. . . . " --Irving quoted in PARADE, March 24, 1996

"Yeah, things are really better for me. That's not to say perfect, because Bruno and I will always have rough edges. We're from different cultures and do things in very different ways. And we both have sharp tempers--me in particular." --Irving quoted in NEW YORK POST, February 13, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
William Katt. Actor. Dated before filming of "Carrie".
husband:
Steven Spielberg. Director, producer. Had on-again, off-again relationship from c. 1975; introduced by Brian De Palma; separated in 1979; reunited in 1984 when he escorted her to the Academy Awards; married on November 27, 1985 in Santa Fe, New Mexico; separated in 1988 over reports Spielberg was having an affair; divorced in 1989.
husband:
Bruno Barreto. Director. Brazilian; together since 1989; met when cast in Barreto's "A Show of Force"; has daughter from prior relationship.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Jules Irving. Theatrical producer, director. Died on July 28, 1979.
mother:
Priscilla Pointer. Actor. Appeared with Irving in several films including "Carrie".
brother:
David K Irving. Teacher, director, author. Born in September 1949.
sister:
Katie Irving. Teacher. Born in January 1951.
step-daughter:
Helena Barreto. Born c. 1977.
son:
Max Samuel Spielberg. Born in June 1985.
son:
Gabriel Barreto. Born on May 4, 1990.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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