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Jessica Lange Basic Information
|Stage Name:||Jessica Lange|
|Real Name:||Jessica Phyllis Lange|
|Occupation:||Actress, Activist and Philanthropist|
|Date Of Birth/Age:||20 April 1949|
|Place of Birth:||Cloquet, Minnesota|
Jessica Lange Biography
Born on April 20, 1949, in Cloquet, Minnesota, Jessica Phyllis Lange experienced a nomadic childhood due to her father’s job, relocating numerous times within Minnesota before finally returning to her birthplace. After completing her education at Cloquet High School, she furthered her studies at the renowned Guthrie Theater Drama School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earning the Anton Chekhov Fine Arts Award for her exceptional talent. While she doesn’t adhere to a specific faith, she occasionally engages in Buddhist practices.
In 1967, the University of Minnesota granted Lange a scholarship for art and photography. It was here that she crossed paths with Paco Grande, a photographer from Spain. Their relationship blossomed, leading to their marriage in 1970. Opting for a non-conventional life, Lange left college, and the couple embarked on a journey across the U.S. and Mexico in a minivan. Their travels eventually took them to Paris, but over time, their bond weakened. In the French capital, Lange honed her skills in mime theatre under the guidance of Étienne Decroux and later joined the Opéra-Comique as a performer. Her passion for acting grew, leading her to train with Mira Rostova and at the HB Studio in New York City.
Albert John Lange pursued a career in teaching and sales, whereas Dorothy Florence Sahlman dedicated herself to homemaking. Lange’s roots trace back to German and Dutch origins, while Sahlman’s lineage is of Finnish descent.
She has two older sisters, Jane and Ann, and a younger brother, George.
Jessica Lange has entered into matrimony on two occasions. Initially, she tied the knot with photographer Paco Grande, who started experiencing vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa during the early 1970s. The pair decided to part ways in 1975, but their official divorce wasn’t finalized until 1982, following the birth of Lange’s daughter with Mikhail Baryshnikov. After their legal separation, Lange was mandated to provide Grande with spousal support, yet she emphasized that there was no animosity between them. Later, Lange wed the renowned playwright and actor Sam Shepard, and the couple shared two children.
Jessica Lange pursued art studies at the University of Minnesota and later traveled throughout Europe. During her European sojourn, she ventured into modeling and took roles in unconventional theater plays. After her European stint, she moved to New York City with aspirations of becoming an actress. She joined the Actors Studio and was mentored by the esteemed acting instructor Stella Adler. Lange’s first significant movie role was in the 1976 reimagining of King Kong. Even though the film had varied critiques, she was honored with the Golden Globe Award for the most promising newcomer.
Lange stands among a select group of twelve actors who have been recognized with nominations for both Supporting and Lead Acting at the Academy Awards in a single year for their roles in two distinct films. This elite list includes names like Fay Bainter, Teresa Wright, Barry Fitzgerald (uniquely nominated for both categories for the same role in one film), Sigourney Weaver, Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Emma Thompson, Julianne Moore, Jamie Foxx, Cate Blanchett, and Scarlett Johansson. Additionally, she’s among the rare nineteen actresses nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars for a role that depicted childbirth, with her nomination coming from Sweet Dreams (1985). Moreover, Lange is among the exclusive club of twenty-five actresses who clinched an Academy Award for a comedic role, with her win for Tootsie (1982).
In 2016, this distinguished artist achieved the notable Triple Crown of Acting, a feat that demands victories at the Oscars, Emmys, and Tony awards. Her illustrious career boasts awards like Best Supporting Actress for Tootsie (1982) and Best Actress for Blue Sky (1994) at the Academy Awards. She’s also secured three Emmys for her performances in Grey Gardens (2009) and American Horror Story (2011), and a Tony for her lead role in “Long Day’s Journey into Night”. In 2001, her stellar act in “Long Day’s Journey into Night” at the Lyric Theatre during the 2000 season earned her a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress.
While Jessica Lange is celebrated for her cinematic achievements, her heart has always been drawn to the theater. She graced the Broadway stage for the first time in 1990, taking on the role of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”, which garnered her a Tony Award and solidified her standing as a premier actor of her era. She continued to shine on Broadway with roles in plays like “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”, “The Glass Menagerie”, and “The Cherry Orchard”.
Outside of her illustrious acting journey, Lange is deeply committed to charitable endeavors, championing organizations like UNICEF and the Children’s Health Fund. She’s been a voice for various causes, from championing women’s rights and environmental protection to advocating for social equality. A vocal critic of fracking and other practices harmful to the environment, Lange also champions mental health awareness. In recognition of her significant impact on television, the National Association of Broadcasters awarded her the Distinguished Achievement in Television Award in 2016. Additionally, she fervently supports the rights of Nepal’s monks.
Lange received the inaugural George Eastman Honors Award in recognition of her career that aligns with the principles of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. Beyond her distinguished roles in cinema and theater, Lange is a skilled photographer with multiple published collections of her photographs. She also has a deep interest in gardening and often discusses its positive impact on mental well-being. Recognized for her unwavering dedication and autonomy, Lange has paved the way for women in showbiz. Her legacy can be seen in the careers of many who have been inspired by her. Moreover, she serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, focusing on HIV/AIDS issues in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Russia.
She is said to be worth $15 million.
Jessica Lange’s garage boasts an impressive collection of cars, including several high-end models.
Lived with Sam and their children in Minnesota, now separated and living in New York.
Movies & TV Shows
Upon relocating to New York City, she embarked on a modeling career. Her significant opportunity arose when Dino De Laurentiis chose her for the leading female role in King Kong (1976). Regrettably, the movie faced unfavorable reviews, leading her to take a hiatus from cinema for a trio of years.
She made a comeback with a memorable part in Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz (1979). Her subsequent standout role was in Bob Rafelson’s The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), embodying a disloyal server. Her portrayal of the renowned actress Frances Farmer in Frances (1982) garnered widespread praise. Her role as a captivating soap opera star in Sydney Pollack’s Tootsie (1982) earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She delivered a stellar performance as the iconic country vocalist Patsy Cline in Karel Reisz’s Sweet Dreams (1985) and took on the role of an attorney confronting her father’s history in Music Box (1989).
She’s also recognized for her roles in Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear (1,991), where she took on the character of a terrified spouse, and Tony Richardson’s Blue Sky (1,994), for which she received a Best Actress Academy Award for her depiction of a mentally distressed military officer’s wife. In 1992, she graced the Broadway stage for the first time as “Blanche” in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”. As her film presence waned, Lange shifted her focus to television, taking lead roles in O Pioneers! (1992), A Streetcar Named Desire (1995), and Normal (2003).
In 2010, Lange secured her inaugural Primetime Emmy Award for her role as Big Edie in HBO’s Grey Gardens (2009). Lately, she’s gained recognition for her performances in the popular TV show American Horror Story, which brought her two additional Emmy Awards. Lange’s knack for infusing her roles with nuance and her readiness to embrace demanding characters that test her acting limits have garnered her extensive acclaim.