LAURA DERN Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Laura Elizabeth Dern                                                                       
Born: 10 February 1967 Los Angeles, California, U.S.                                             
Laura Elizabeth Dern (born February 10, 1967) is an Academy Award nominated                       
American actress. Dern is best recalled for her roles in Blue Velvet (1986) and                   
Jurassic Park (1993). She also received critical acclaim for her performance in                   
the 1991 film Rambling Rose, for which she received an Academy Award nomination                   
for Best Actress in a Leading Role.                                                               
Dern was born Laura Elizabeth Dern in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of                   
actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd and the great-granddaughter of former Utah                       
governor George H. Dern. Laura Dern's film debut was in fact a cameo in her                       
mother's film White Lightning; also making a brief appearance in Alice Doesn't                   
Live Here Anymore, one of Ladd's signature roles. Her mother objected to the 13-year-old         
Dern's presence on the set of Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, but a                   
defiant Dern sued for emancipation.                                                               
In the mid-1980s she gained critical acclaim for roles in films by Peter                         
Bogdanovich (Mask) and David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart). Dern's starring                 
role in Blue Velvet appeared to be a breakthrough but her next notable film took                 
almost four years to be released, Wild at Heart, also directed by Lynch. Dern's                   
affiliation with Lynch has continued throughout her career, with her most recent                 
role in INLAND EMPIRE. In 1992, Dern and her mother became the first and only                     
mother and daughter ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting in the                   
same film in Rambling Rose. They, however, did not play a mother and daughter in                 
the film.                                                                                         
In 1993 Dern played Dr. Ellie Sattler in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster hit,                     
Jurassic Park. The same year Clint Eastwood enlisted Dern for his film A Perfect                 
World. Dern also starred as Ruth in the 1996 satire Citizen Ruth, the                             
directorial debut of Alexander Payne. In a reversal of roles, Dern's mother                       
makes a cameo appearance, with Dern's character screaming a torrent of abuse at                   
her. The film became an indie sensation with Dern's hilarious portrayal of drug                   
addict Ruth Stoops receiving praise. In 1997, Dern was featured in Widespread                     
Panic's music video for their song, "Aunt Avis", which was directed by Dern's                     
then boyfriend and at one time fiancĂ©, Billy Bob Thornton. In 1998 Dern, and                     
Stockard Channing co-starred in the Showtime film The Baby Dance. The film,                       
produced by Jodie Foster, followed two couples from different backgrounds                         
through a difficult adoption.                                                                     
In 1999, Dern was dating Billy Bob Thornton and he selected her as his love                       
interest in his film Daddy and Them. The film is about a dysfunctional Arkansas                   
family which includes (again) Diane Ladd, Andy Griffith and Jim Varney in his                     
final film performance. Dern also appeared in Joe Johnston's film October Sky                     
opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Cooper. Robert Altman called upon Dern's                       
talents to play a champagne loving Aunt in his Texas based comedy Dr. T & the                     
Women in 2000. The film also starred Richard Gere, Helen Hunt and Kate Hudson.                   
2001 was a busy year for Dern as she took on five films. The first was a TV                       
movie with Ellen Burstyn called Within These Walls. Dern played a nun who taught                 
female inmates to train dogs for special needs people. The film was based on a                   
true story. Dern also co-starred with William H. Macy in Focus based on Arthur                   
Miller's novel. Next Dern starred with Steve Martin and Helena Bonham Carter in                   
the dark comedy Novocaine. She also had a minor role in Jurassic Park III. The                   
film I Am Sam with Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer also featured Dern in a                       
supporting role.                                                                                 
The 2002 Showtime film Damaged Care starred Dern as real life woman Linda Peeno                   
who was famous for testifying before the United States Congress against health                   
maintenance organizations after working for them in the 1980s. An interesting                     
side-note is that the real Linda Peeno made an appearance in Michael Moore's                     
documentay SiCKO. The 2004 film We Don't Live Here Anymore gave Dern some of the                 
best reviews of her career, as she portrayed a woman in a troubled marriage                       
opposite Mark Ruffalo.                                                                           
Dern was part of the ensemble drama/comedy Happy Endings in 2005. The film                       
directed by Don Roos follows a loosely connected group of L.A. residents through                 
their life trials. The film also starred Lisa Kudrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and                     
Steve Coogan. That year Dern also appeared in the film The Prize Winner of                       
Defiance, Ohio with Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson. When David Lynch and                     
Dern reunited in 2006 for INLAND EMPIRE the critical praise for Dern's lead role                 
was overwhelming. Many journalists even believed that she deserved the best                       
actress award for that film. Also in 2006, Dern had a supporting role in the                     
film Lonely Hearts. The film was about the famed Lonely Hearts Killers and                       
starred Salma Hayek, John Travolta and Jared Leto.                                               
Mike White, known for writing such films as School of Rock and The Good Girl,                     
hired Dern for his directorial debut. The film, released in 2007, was a comedy                   
titled Year of the Dog starring Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly and Peter                           
Sarsgaard. Later this year Dern will star opposite Russell Crowe in the                           
independent drama Tenderness.                                                                     
Dern has stated that she would reprise her role as Ellie Sattler in Jurassic                     
Park IV.                                                                                         
Dern has also done much work on television, most notably Afterburn, for which                     
she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie.                     
She has also guest-starred on The West Wing, as a voice on King of the Hill, and                 
as a lesbian who coaxes Ellen DeGeneres out of the closet in the famous "Puppy                   
Episode" of the television series Ellen. On the 24 April 2007 airing of                           
DeGeneres' talk show Dern revealed she did not work for more than a year                         
following her appearance in that episode because of resulting backlash but                       
nevertheless called her work an 'extraordinary experience and opportunity'.                       
Dern is known as an outspoken activist and supporter of many charitable causes,                   
such as Healthy Child Healthy World, which aims to raise awareness about toxic                   
substances that can affect a child's health. She has been acknowledged with                       
several awards from the independent film industry including the Sundance                         
Institute and was the subject of an aggressive media campaign by David Lynch to                   
win her an Academy Award nomination for her work in Inland Empire.                               
Dern had high-profile romances with Kyle MacLachlan, Nicolas Cage, Renny Harlin,                 
Jeff Goldblum and Billy Bob Thornton, who ended their relationship abruptly by                   
marrying Angelina Jolie. She married musician Ben Harper on December 23, 2005,                   
after dating him for five years.