A granddaughter of Dutch/German and Finnish migrants, Jessica
Lange studied art briefly at the University of Minnesota before
going to Paris where she studied mime. She returned to New York
City in 1973 and took acting lessons while working as a waitress
and a model for the Wilhelmina modeling agency.
In 1976, Dino De Laurentiis cast her in his motion picture remake King Kong, which started and almost ended her career. The unfavorable reviews were devastating but critics took notice when she made an impressive turn in Bob Rafelson's remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981).
Jessica Lange's performance in her next film, Frances (1982), in which she portrayed actress Frances Farmer, was highly lauded and earned her a Best Actress Academy Award nomination. She received two nominations that year, the other as Supporting Actress in the comedy Tootsie (1982), for which she won. She continued giving impressive performances through the 80s and 90s in films such as Sweet Dreams (1984) (playing country/western singer Patsy Cline), Music Box (1989), and Blue Sky (1994) for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award.
In 1992, Lange made her Broadway debut opposite Alec Baldwin in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. In 2000, she appeared on the London stage as Mary Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. In 2005, she returned to Broadway in another Tennessee Williams' play, The Glass Menagerie with actor Christian Slater. The revival was met with mostly negative reviews.
Jessica Lange was married to photographer Paco Grande from 1970-1981. Since 1982, she has lived with playwright/actor Sam Shepard. She has three children, Hanna and Walker (with Shepard) and Alexandra (with dancer/actor Mikhail Baryshnikov). Lange currently lives in New York City.
Jessica Lange is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. She has also been a public critic of President George W. Bush, once remarking "I despise him and his entire administration."
Academy Awards and nominations
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