Jessica Harper


Actor
Jessica Harper

About

Birth Place
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Born
October 10, 1949

Biography

Attractive, bright-eyed, and talented leading lady with a winning smile and a soothingly placid quality. Harper's early roles had her playing nice girls surrounded and eventually impinged on by corruption in several diverse genre films of the 1970s. She sparkled in Brian De Palma's initially underrated rock musical "Phantom of the Paradise" (1974) as Phoenix, an aspiring recording artist...

Family & Companions

Thomas E Rothman
Husband
Executive. Formerly top executive at Columbia; served as worldwide production chief at Goldwyn; subsequently worked at 20th Century Fox.

Biography

Attractive, bright-eyed, and talented leading lady with a winning smile and a soothingly placid quality. Harper's early roles had her playing nice girls surrounded and eventually impinged on by corruption in several diverse genre films of the 1970s. She sparkled in Brian De Palma's initially underrated rock musical "Phantom of the Paradise" (1974) as Phoenix, an aspiring recording artist who willingly sells out to become a star. After a small part in Woody Allen's "Love and Death" (1975), Harper won positive notices for her performance in the largely reviled erotic period film "Inserts" (1975), as the girlfriend of a porno backer during 1930s Hollywood. She proved a hardy and resourceful heroine in Italian horror meister Dario Argento's "Suspiria" (1976) as a new student at a very odd school for girls.

Harper began appearing in TV-movies and miniseries in the late-70s, notably in period pieces ("Little Women" NBC, 1979 and "Studs Lonigan" NBC, 1979). She continued to appear regularly in features through the early 80s in films including Allen's "Stardust Memories" (1980), as one of his neurotic objects of desire, and "Pennies From Heaven" (1981), a surreal musical set during the Depression, as the unhappy wife of a brutish Steve Martin. "My Favorite Year" (1982) would be her last major film credit for over a decade. Harper received her widest exposure as first the girlfriend and subsequently the wife of comic Garry Shandling on "It's Garry Shandling's Show" (1990). She continued to appear on TV periodically and returned to features with a small role in the underperforming Matt Dillon vehicle "Mr. Wonderful" (1993) and as Lukas Haas' mother in "Boyz" (1996).

Life Events

1971

Feature debut, a bit part in Milos Forman's American debut, "Taking Off"

1974

First film lead, "Phantom of the Paradise"

1977

TV miniseries debut, "Aspen"

1979

First TV series, featured as Josephine "Jo" March, "Little Women"

1985

TV-movie debut, "When Dreams Come True"

1990

Appeared as a regular for the final season of the comedy series, "It's Garry Shandling's Show"

Photo Collections

Shock Treatment - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Shock Treatment (1981). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Suspiria (1977) - Open, Hey Taxi! Following narration over graphic credits establishing Jessica Harper as American dancer Suzy Bannion, arriving in Germany (Munich airport) from New York, there’s no doubt of writer-director Dario Argento’s direction, opening the gothic horror extravaganza Suspiria, 1977.
Suspiria (1977) - Very Pretty Indeed The blind Daniel (Flavio Bucci) arriving before her, American Suzy (Jessica Harper), unaware of the murder executed by director Dario Argento in her absence, is greeted by German dance academy bosses Miss Tanner and Madame Blanc (Alida Valli and Joan Bennett, in her last movie role), in Suspiria, 1977.
Suspiria (1977) - Toward The End Of The 19th Century On her first day of classes at the bizarre German dance academy, American Suzy (Jessica Harper) is forgivably a little woozy, as director Dario Argento keeps it weird and instructor Miss Tanner (Alida Valli) keeps it harsh, Stefania Casini as friend Sara, in Suspiria, 1977.
Pennies From Heaven (1981) - Chicago, 1934 Opening from director Herbert Ross and writer Dennis Potter (from his BBC TV series), Steve Martin as sheet-music salesman Arthur, Jessica Harper his wife Joan, with the first mimicked song, “I’ll Never Have To Dream Again,” recorded by Elsie Carlisle, in the retro-musical hybrid Pennies From Heaven, 1981.
My Favorite Year - Open, 1954 Opening titles with Nat Cole singing "Stardust," and narration by Mark Linn-Baker as "Benji Stone," setting up the director Richard Benjamin's "Peter O'Toole as Errol Flynn" comedy My Favorite Year, 1982, executive producer Mel Brooks.

Trailer

Family

Elizabeth Emery Rothman
Daughter
Born in August 1989.
Eleanor Emma Rothman
Daughter
Born in February 1991.

Companions

Thomas E Rothman
Husband
Executive. Formerly top executive at Columbia; served as worldwide production chief at Goldwyn; subsequently worked at 20th Century Fox.

Bibliography