- Birth nameLaura Elizabeth Dern
- Height5′ 10½″ (1.79 m)
- Laura Dern was born on February 10, 1967 in Los Angeles, the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. Dern was exposed to movie sets and the movie industry from infancy, and obtained several bit parts as a child. Her parents divorced when Dern was two and Dern lost contact with her father for several years as a result.
Her parents' background and her own early taste of the movie-making world soon convinced the young Dern to pursue acting herself. Like so many young actors, her decision may have been influenced by social awkwardness -- the child of 1960s counterculture parents, she was steeped in Eastern mysticism and political radicalism, and was seen as an oddball by her more conservative classmates. Even before her teens, she had achieved most of her impressive 5' 10" height and was rail-skinny with a slouching posture.. Perhaps the nine-year-old Dern found refuge by studying acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute.
The first success for the young Dern came in 1980, with a role in Adrian Lyne's Foxes (1980), a teen movie starring Jodie Foster. She followed this with several small parts, or parts in small movies, such as Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982) and Teachers (1984), as a student who has an affair with a teacher. (Her mother objected to her active presence on movie sets at age thirteen, which required Dern to sue for emancipation so she could play her role in "The Fabulous Stains"). Her next roles, as the blind girl who befriends the deformed boy in Mask (1985), and as a teen-aged girl whose sexual awakening collides with a mysterious older man in Smooth Talk (1985), gave her career an important boost. Dern appeared to have made it with a leading role in David Lynch's acclaimed Blue Velvet (1986), but it was four years before her next notable film, and this was the bizarre Wild at Heart (1990), also directed by Lynch.
The following year, Dern starred in Rambling Rose (1991), which would become her signature performance, as a sexually-precocious, free-spirited young housemaid in the South in the 1930s. Dern earned an Oscar nomination for her performance, and so did her mother and co-star, Diane Ladd. Dern continues to win prominent roles on the big screen, often in smaller, highly-regarded human dramas such as October Sky (1999), I Am Sam (2001) and We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004), although she is perhaps most widely known for her repeat 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.
Dern's pre-teen gawkiness matured into lithe beauty, but this doesn't prevent Dern from fearlessly throwing herself into a wide variety of roles which are sometimes unflattering, an excellent example being her unflinchingly comic portrayal of an intensely annoying loser whose pregnancy becomes a social and political football in Citizen Ruth (1996). This results in Dern being one of the most interesting actors working in Hollywood today.
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. Early in her career, Dern was roommate to Marianne Williamson, the spirituality guru. Dern attended two days of college at UCLA and one semester at USC.- IMDb Mini Biography By: Larry-115
- Light blonde hair
- Sparkling blue eyes
- Her long legs
- She beat out Helen Hunt and Gwyneth Paltrow, among others, for the role of Dr. Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park (1993). This was revealed to Dern herself when she visited Today (1952) to promote the 3D re-release of the film in 2013. The audition tapes of the other actresses were shown to Dern, to which she responded "Well, I'm a lucky girl".
- Was blacklisted by Hollywood for several years, following her guest spot on the "coming out" episodes of Ellen (1994), due to the embracing gay themes, that were controversial at the time. Oprah Winfrey also appeared in the episodes and revealed she got more hate mail about that minor appearance than she had ever gotten during her entire previous career as a talk-show host and actress.
- Martin Scorsese was one of the first to encourage her to pursue acting. Scorsese directed Laura in an uncredited performance in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), in which she ate an ice cream cone. The scene required to be taken 19 times and therefore she had to eat 19 cones in a row. When she managed through them all, without feeling sick and without any scene of resistance, director Scorsese said to her mother, Diane Ladd, "She has to be an actress".
- She knew she wanted to be an actress at age 11, but her parents hated the idea. However, she decided to contact an agent for possible acting jobs, without the blessing of her unaware parents.
- It's really fun to act like a bimbo. But it's fun to act like a bimbo only when people know that you really aren't one.
- I get so protective of David [Lynch], like an older sister or something, which is so absurd. He's not waiting for us to get the movie because he doesn't think the cinema is about 'getting it'. I think he believes - which I've found very rare in filmmakers - in the intelligence of the audience, that they're intelligent enough to discover the film and what it means within themselves.
- (2011, on Enlightened (2011)) I worked with HBO on Recount, and we had a wonderful experience together. I'm such a fan of HBO and how much flexibility they give in character as well as schedule. Mike [White] and I had done his first directorial feature together, which was Year of the Dog, and really wanted to do more together. HBO had asked me if there were characters or things I really wanted to do, and I talked along the lines of things that inspired me. I talked about how aware all of us had become of our cultural apathy in this country, and I thought it would be really interesting to play a character who was a rager that somehow turned that into becoming a whistleblower, with Network-my favorite film-being an influence on that. People may think he's crazy, but he's the one person opening windows and saying, "I can't take it anymore!" From that place, with HBO's support and hope, and them wanting Mike to do something as well, they threw us in the ring together to see if he could create a vision around that idea. And from that came this story. It was a really cool, wonderful collaboration. Not only did Mike write the show, but he was able to go away as a screenwriter first to really write all the episodes. That's unheard of in television. We had the episodes first, and then we filmed them as a block, as we would a feature. That was an amazing way to do it, the way you'd pray you could do it, and it was great for us because we were working on films as well. Doing this, by the way, was like doing one movie for four months.
- (2011) Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) was watching Martin Scorsese work. And that was a big influence on me, and that was the summer I really became in love with the idea of acting. He asked me to be in this scene where I ate an ice cream cone, they asked what flavor I liked, I said, "Banana, one scoop on a cone." And the scene is very long, because it's this climactic scene between Kris Kristofferson and Ellen Burstyn, and I'm sitting right behind them, which means even in their close-ups I had to be in the shot, which means 19 fully eaten ice cream cones. So the story that is told, and that Marty and I have talked about since, is that he said, "If you can eat 19 ice cream cones and not throw up, you should be an actress." And so years later when my mother was, like "Don't be an actress," I was, like "Martin Scorsese told me I should be an actress." She was, like "Because you didn't throw up. Sort it out." But that was a very memorable moment.
- (2011, on Mask (1985)) Talk about feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. Every 15- and 16-year-old actress should be blessed enough to have Peter Bogdanovich there to guide them toward subtlety and kindness and... I mean, I use the word "compassion", but he really taught me a lot about expressing and connecting to compassion through a character and to a film. He loved Rocky, the character that Eric Stoltz played, so deeply. And Rusty [Dennis], his real mom, who Cher played, was on the set with us. To be able to play a character who gave him love and saw his beauty was just incredible. He's one of our great directors. Truly. I'm very lucky to have made a movie with him.
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