Laura Dern

     
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Real Name: Laura Dern
Birthday: February 10

Biography And Filmography:

Laura Dern was born on February 10, 1967 into a show business family - her father is Bruce Dern and her mother is Diane Ladd. She was exposed to movie sets and the movie industry from an early age, and won several small parts as a child actress. Her parents divorced when she was only three and lost contact with her father for many years afterwards.

The history of her parents, and her own early experience in the show business world soon won over the young talent and Laura decided to seek an acting career herself. The child of 1960's counterculture parents, Dern was exposed to Eastern mysticism and political radicalism, and was seen as an eccentric by her friends. Her tall skinny physical appearance didn't help - even before her teens, she had grown most of her  5' 11" height, was skinny, had big feet and and poor posture, and was often laughed at by friends. She started her adventure by studying acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute.


The first success came in 1980, with a role in "Foxes" (1980), a young teen movie starring Jodie Foster about a group of friends who come of age in San Fernando Valley set to a hot soundtrack and endless partying, drugs and sex. Dern followed with several small parts such as "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains" (1981), and "Teachers" (1984) with Morgan Freeman, as a student who has an affair with an older teacher. Her mother opposed her working on movie sets which required her to sue for emancipation so she could play her role in "The Fabulous Stains". 

Her next roles, as the blind girl who makes friends with the deformed boy in "Mask" (1985) starring Cher and Eric Stoltz, and as a teen age girl whose sexual awakening introduces her to a mysterious older man in "Smooth Talk" (1985), gave her career a jumpstart.

Laura Dern next took a leading role in David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" (1986), where after finding a severed human ear in a field, a young man soon discovers a sinister underworld lying just beneath his tranquil suburban home town. But it was four years before her next role in "Wild at Heart" (1990) starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Lynch.

The following year, Dern starred in "Rambling Rose" (1991), which would become her most famous performance, as a sexually talented, free spirited young maid in the South in the 1930's. Laura won an Oscar nomination for her work.

Dern continued to accept roles, often in smaller dramas such as "October Sky" (1999) starring Jake Gyllenhaal, about the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes. Next was "I Am Sam" (2001) with Sean Penn and Michelle Pfieffer, about a mentally retarded man who fights for custody of his 8-year-old daughter and in the process teaches his lawyer the value of love and family. She was then cast in the romantic drama "We Don't Live Here Anymore" (2004).

Laura Dern is most widely known for her role as Ellie Sattler in the summer adventure movies "Jurassic Park" (1993) and "Jurassic Park III" (2001), or for her guest performance on "Ellen" (1994), as the woman to whom Ellen finally comes out as a lesbian. She also starred in the thriller "A Perfect World" (1993) starring Kevin Costner, and "Citizen Ruth" (1996), about a poor indigent drug-user whose existence is complicated by becoming pregnant.

Laura then had a supporting role in the romantic comedy "Dr T and the Women" (2000) working along an all-star cast that included Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Kate Hudson and Liv Tyler, about a wealthy Dallas gynecologist to some of the wealthiest women in Texas who finds his idealist life beginning to fall apart starting when his wife, Kate, suffers a nervous breakdown and is committed to the state mental hospital. 

Dern then worked opposite Billy Bob Thornton in the comedy "Daddy And Them" (2004), written by Thornton with a star studded cast including Jamie Lee Curtis and Ben Affleck, a dark comedy where a married couple come to the aid of a jailed uncle (Jim Varney). More comedy followed with a role next to Steve Martin in the comedy "Novocaine", where a dentist finds himself a murder suspect after a sexy patient seduces him into prescribing her drugs. She then appeared in a story that weaved multiple stories to create a funny look at love, family and the sheer unpredictability of life itself in "Happy Endings" (2005).

Laura Dern was now a Hollywood movie star.

The following year, she had a supporting role in the blockbuster romantic crime thriller "Lonely Hearts" (2005) starring John Travolta, Jared Leto and Salma Hayek, based on the true story, where two homicide detectives track Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez, a murderous pair known as the "Lonely Hearts Killers" who lured their victims through the personals.

Dern then switched gears and appeared in an independent comedy "Year Of The Dog" (2007) starring Molly Shannon, where a secretary's life changes in unexpected ways after her dog dies. She wrapped her year next to Russell Crowe in the dramatic "Tenderness" (2008), about a policeman (Crowe) who works to figure out whether a violent teen murdered his family.


Next was a role as Katherine Harris, in a chronicle of the weeks after the 2000 U.S. presidential election and the subsequent recounts in Florida in "Recount" (2008) starring Kevin Spacey. Laura appeared in another sequel to the smash hit "Jurassic Park" franchise in "Jurassic Park IV" (2009).

Dern has made numerous special guest appearances on television sitcoms and shows including "Fallen Angels", "Frasier", "Ellen", "The West Wing" and "King of the Hill".

Having previously dated such Hollywood talent as Treat Williams, Renny Harlin, Kyle MacLachlan, Jeff Goldblum and Billy Bob Thornton, Dern eventually married musician Ben Harper in 2005.

 

 

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