April 20, 1949
Jessica Lange is the third of four siblings whose father was a traveling salesman, and mom a homemaker. The family moved frequently around Minnesota due to her father's constant change in work, and Jessica found comfort and a way to cope with her feelings of displacement by escaping into her imagination. Though Jessica had little interest in acting as a child, she was attracted by the glamour of Hollywood; "Gone With The Wind" was in particular one of her favorite films. Although she acted in high school, it was Lange's interest in painting and art that won her a scholarship to the University of Minnesota. It
was while in University that Jessica met Paco Grande, a Spanish photographer, and chose to drop out of school in order to accompany him on a cross-country artistic odyssey. Eventually they wed and spent the next couple of years living out of Grande's pickup. But circumstances later parted their ways and Lange found herself in Paris, where she studied acting and mime.
Finding herself Stateside, Jessica supported herself waitressing while she continued to study acting and painting. In order to supplement her income, she took up modelling, signing with the Wilhemina Agency. This lead to Dino De Laurentiis spotting her and casting her opposite Jeff Bridges in the hairy remake of King Kong, which almost ruined her career as a serious actress before it even began.
After ardently pursuing, but losing, the supporting role opposite Jack Nicholson in Goin' South, Jack was impressed with her enough to promise that one day they would work together. That time came when they teamed up for the steamy remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice, a role which quickly restored faith in critics nationwide. Lange proved their faith was not misplaced when she snagged a double Oscar nomination the very next year for her electrifying role in Frances,
and emotionally comedic masterpiece in Tootsie, the later winning her the Best Supporting Actress statuette.
During the '80s, Jessica continued to deliver complex, critically lauded performances in such films as Country and Sweet Dreams, both of which brought her Best Actress Oscar nominations. Her fourth Best Actress nomination came with her role in 1990's Music Box, but oddly enough it was a small film that was released two years after its completion that finely brought Jessica her Best Actress win: the movie was Blue Sky.
Jessica has three children, Alexandra, by Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Hannah Jane and Samuel Walker, by Sam Shepard, her longtime companion.
Photo © Touchstone Pictures - Bio by ThespianNet.com ©2003
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