MARTHA PLIMPTON Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Martha Campbell Plimpton                                                             
Born: 16 November 1970 New York, New York, U.S.                                             
Martha Campbell Plimpton (born November 16, 1970) is an American model turned               
Martha Plimpton was born in New York City to actors Keith Carradine and Shelley             
Plimpton, who were not married at the time of her birth; her paternal                       
grandfather was actor John Carradine. She attended the Professional Children's             
School in Manhattan. Her first stage appearance was when her mother brought                 
her on stage in costume for the curtain call of the short-lived Broadway play               
The Leaf People.                                                                           
Plimpton began her career in modeling, securing an early 1980s campaign for                 
Calvin Klein. She made her screen debut in 1981, when at the age of 11 she had a           
small part in the film Rollover, she appeared in the Deep South independent                 
drama The River Rat opposite Tommy Lee Jones. Her breakthrough performance was             
as Stef Steinbrenner in the 1985 feature film The Goonies. She also appeared               
that year in a featured role on the television sitcom Family Ties.                         
This would begin a trend of Plimpton being repeatedly cast in the role of a                 
rebellious tomboy for several years, beginning with her critically lauded                   
performance as the Reverend Spellgood (Andre Gregory)'s daughter in the 1986               
film The Mosquito Coast starring Harrison Ford. It was on the set of this film             
that she met her future real-life love interest, River Phoenix. A critically               
praised but commercially unsuccessful venture with Barbara Hershey in the 1987             
film Shy People was followed by a disastrous and panned performance in the                 
quirky 1988 ensemble comedy Stars and Bars. This was released shortly before               
Plimpton's second collaboration with River Phoenix in the film Running on Empty,           
an Academy Award-nominated film for which she was nominated for a Young Artist             
Plimpton began what became a career trend, mixing small independent film                   
appearances with supporting roles in big-budget films. She appeared in the 1989             
Woody Allen film Another Woman; that year, she co-starred with Jami Gertz as a             
cancer patient in the German film Zwei Frauen (released in America as Silence               
Like Glass). The film was nominated for Outstanding Feature Film at the German             
Film Awards.                                                                               
Plimpton's most high-profile performance since The Goonies was in the 1989 Steve           
Martin film Parenthood, where Leaf Phoenix played her on-screen brother.                   
Plimpton had shaved her head bald to play a cancer patient in Zwei Frauen, and             
her reputation for playing rebellious teenagers secured her the role of the                 
indignant teenage daughter (who shaves her head) of Dianne Wiest. Coincidentally,           
Plimpton appeared alongside Joaquin Phoenix (then credited as Leaf Phoenix), the           
younger brother of her former boyfriend River, in this role.                               
Plimpton worked sparingly in 1991 with a supporting role in the Robert De Niro             
film Stanley & Iris. In 1992 Plimpton appeared as a lesbian terrorist in the               
independent film Inside Monkey Zetterland and was given a starring role in the             
film Samantha. The film received lukewarm reviews and did not succeed                       
Despite its shortcomings, the success of Samantha garnered Plimpton a variety of           
roles in 1993. She appeared with Cuba Gooding, Jr., in the television film                 
Daybreak and was a part of the mostly improvised television film Chantilly Lace.           
She had a featured role in the big-budget films Josh and S.A.M. and played the             
lead in the critically blasted film adaptation of the Carolyn Chute novel The               
Beans of Egypt, Maine. As a testament to her own "indie cred", Plimpton also               
appeared that year as herself in the independent film My Life's in Turnaround, a           
movie about filmmakers trying to make a movie.                                             
Plimpton continued to make appearances in featured roles in both independent               
films and mainstream movies from 1994 through 1997, most notably as the lesbian             
lover of radical feminist Valerie Solanas in the film I Shot Andy Warhol.                   
In 1997 the Showtime Network cast Plimpton as the female lead in a television               
film called The Defenders: Payback. The show was a retooling of the classic                 
television show by the same name, and the characters were descendants of                   
character Lawrence Preston, a role reprised by actor E.G. Marshall. The intent             
was to spin the program off into a series akin to Law & Order, but Marshall died           
in 1998. Two additional episodes (The Defenders: Choice of Evils and The                   
Defenders: Taking the First) were aired as specials that year. The decision was             
made to not continue production (despite high ratings and critical praise) due             
to Marshall's death.                                                                       
Plimpton's career in film began to stall. She became involved with The                     
Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago where she appeared in the Hedda Gabler (2001)       
among others. In 1998 she appeared in the John Waters film Pecker; the film                 
was lambasted but Plimpton's work was praised. This also occurred with her                 
appearance in the 1999 bomb 200 Cigarettes. In 1999 Plimpton had a recurring               
role in the television drama ER as Meg Corwyn. In 2001, she co-starred with                 
Jacqueline Bisset in The Sleepy Time Gal, which was nominated for the Grand Jury           
Prize at Cannes Film Festival.                                                             
In 2002 she appeared in the documentary film Searching for Debra Winger and was             
nominated for an Emmy Award for her guest appearance on the television drama Law           
& Order: Special Victims Unit. Plimpton was the voice of Miss Crumbles in the               
2004 animated film Hair High by Bill Plympton. In 2004, she also guest-starred             
on an episode of the program 7th Heaven; she received her first writing credit             
for a different episode of the show that year entitled "Red Socks". She                     
continues to act in television, film and on stage. She has begun narrating                 
audiobooks, notably the novel Diary by Chuck Palahniuk and Mrs. Kimble by                   
Jennifer Haigh. Plimpton had a recurring role on the NBC show Surface, which               
aired in the 2005-06 season.                                                               
From October 2006 until May 2007, she was in The Coast of Utopia, a trilogy of             
plays by Tom Stoppard that played at the Lincoln Center. For her work in this               
play she won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony award. (The Tony               
was awarded to fellow cast member Jennifer Ehle.)                                           
In October 2007 Plimpton completed a starring role in A Midsummer Night's Dream             
on Broadway in New York City. She then began rehearsals for the play Cymbeline.             
In the absence of film work she and friend Richard began a production company               
called Everything is Horrible1. They have produced a number of short films for             
the internet.