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Kathleen Turner
Born Mary Kathleen Turner
June 19, 1954 (1954-06-19) (age 55)
Springfield, Missouri, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Jay Weiss (1984-2007)
Official website

Mary Kathleen Turner (born June 19, 1954) is an American actress. She came to fame during the 1980s, after roles in the Hollywood films Body Heat, Peggy Sue Got Married, Romancing the Stone, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Prizzi's Honor. She is currently guest starring in Californication on Showtime.

Contents

Early life

Turner was born in Springfield, Missouri, the daughter of Patsy (née Magee) and Allen Richard Turner, a U.S. Foreign Service officer and schoolteacher[1] who grew up in China (where Turner's great-grandfather was a Methodist missionary).[2] A diplomat, her father had been imprisoned by the Japanese for four years during the Second World War. As a child, Turner lived in Canada, Venezuela, the United Kingdom and was living in Cuba at the time Castro came to power. Turner has two brothers and a sister. While attending high school in London, she was a gymnast and also took classes at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

In her early years, Turner was interested in performing. Her father did not encourage her: "My father was of missionary stock," she later explained, "so theater and acting were just one step up from being a streetwalker, you know? So when I was performing in school, he would drive my mom and sit in the car. She'd come out at intermissions and tell him, 'She's doing very well.'"[3]

Turner graduated from the American School in London in 1972. Her father died of a coronary thrombosis the same year and the family moved back to the United States. She attended Missouri State University at Springfield for two years (where a fellow classmate was John Goodman), then earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 1977. During this time, Turner acted in several productions directed by Baltimore filmmaker/stage director Steve Yeager.

Career

Body Heat

In 1978, Turner made her television debut in the NBC daytime soap The Doctors as the second Nola Dancy Aldrich. She made her film debut in 1981 as the ruthless Matty Walker in the thriller Body Heat, a role which would bring her to international prominence. Empire Magazine cited the film in 1995 when it named her one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History.[4] The New York Times wrote in 2005 that, propelled by her "jaw-dropping movie debut [in] Body Heat... she built a career on adventurousness and frank sexuality borne of robust physicality."[3] Turner would ultimately become one of the top box office draws and most sought after actresses in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The brazen quality of Turner's screen roles was reflected in her public life. With her deep voice, Turner was often compared to a young Lauren Bacall. When the two met, Turner reportedly introduced herself by saying, "Hi, I'm the young you."[5] In the 1980s, she boasted that "on a night when I feel really good about myself, I can walk into a room, and if a man doesn't look at me, he's probably gay."[4]

Eighties stardom

After Body Heat, Turner steered away from femme fatale roles to 'prevent typecasting' and because the femme fatale roles had a 'shelf-life'. Consequently, her first project after this was 1983 comedy The Man With Two Brains. Turner starred in Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito. Demanding film critic Pauline Kael wrote of her performance as writer Joan Wilder, "Turner knows how to use her dimples amusingly and how to dance like a woman who didn’t know she could; her star performance is exhilarating."[6] Romancing the Stone was a surprise hit: she won a Golden Globe for her role in the film and it became one of the top-ten-grossing movies of 1984.[7] Turner teamed up again with Douglas and DeVito the following year for its sequel, The Jewel of the Nile.

Several months before Jewel, Turner starred in Prizzi's Honor with Jack Nicholson, winning a second Golden Globe award, and later co-starred in Peggy Sue Got Married with Nicolas Cage. For Peggy Sue, she received a 1986 Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

In 1988's toon-noir Who Framed Roger Rabbit, she was the speaking voice of cartoon femme fatale Jessica Rabbit, intoning the famous line, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." Her uncredited, sultry performance was acclaimed as "the kind of sexpot ball-breaker she was made for."[8] (Amy Irving provided Jessica Rabbit's singing voice in the scene in which the character first appears in the movie.)

Turner appeared in the 1980s song "The Kiss of Kathleen Turner" by Austrian techno-pop singer Falco. In 1989, Turner teamed up with Douglas and DeVito for a third time, in The War of the Roses. The New York Times praised the trio, saying that "Mr. Douglas and Ms. Turner have never been more comfortable a team ... each of them is at his or her comic best when being as awful as both are required to be here ... [Kathleen Turner is] evilly enchanting."[9] In that film, Turner played a former gymnast, and, as in other roles, she did many of her own stunts. (She broke her nose filming 1991's V.I. Warshawski).[10][11]

Slowed by disease

Turner remained an A-list film star leading lady until the early nineties when rheumatoid arthritis seriously restricted her activities and her movie career went into rapid decline. She was diagnosed in 1992, after suffering "unbearable" pain for about a year. By the time she was diagnosed, she "could hardly turn her head or walk, and was told she would end up in a wheelchair".[3]

As the disease worsened and the medication greatly altered Turner's looks along with excess alcohol consumption that Turner said she used to kill her physical pain, her once promising film career as a leading lady took a nose dive and Turner was seen less and less in blockbusters—though Turner has also blamed her age, stating "when I was forty the roles started slowing down, I started getting offers to play mothers and grandmothers..." She appeared in the low-budget House of Cards, experienced moderate success with John Waters' Serial Mom, and had supporting roles in A Simple Wish, The Real Blonde, and Sofia Coppola's acclaimed The Virgin Suicides.

Remission

Despite drug therapy to help her condition, the disease progressed for about eight years. Then, thanks to newly available treatments, her arthritis went into remission. She was seen increasingly on television, including two episodes of Friends, where she appeared as Chandler Bing's transsexual father. She also provided the voice of Malibu Stacy creator Stacy Lovell on the episode "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy" on The Simpsons. She played a defense attorney on Law & Order.

In 2006, Turner performed a cameo in FX's acclaimed Nip/Tuck, playing a phone sex operator in need of laryngeal surgery. She appeared in a small role in 2008's Marley & Me.

She is currently playing a role of Charlie Runkle's sexually hyperactive boss in the television series Californication.

Voice actress

In the same year, she voiced the role of "Constance" in the animated film Monster House. She has also recently been doing radio commercial voice-overs for Lay's potato chips. BBC Radio 4 produced three radio dramas based on the V.I. Warshawski novels by Sara Paretsky. The first two, Deadlock and Killing Orders feature Kathleen reprising her 1991 movie role but the third, Bitter Medicine, saw Sharon Gless take over the part. She also provided the voice of Jessica Rabbit in the 1988 live action/animated movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and again in the Disneyland attraction spinoff, Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin.

Stage career

In recent years, Turner has found renewed success on stage. After 1990s roles in Broadway productions of Indiscretions and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (for which she earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress), Turner moved to London in 2000 to star in a stage version of The Graduate. The BBC reported that initially mediocre ticket sales for The Graduate "went through the roof when it was announced that Turner, then aged 45, would appear naked on stage". While her performance as the infamous Mrs. Robinson was popular with audiences (with sustained high box office for the duration of Turner's run), she received mixed reviews from critics.[12] The play transferred to Broadway in 2002 to similar critical reaction.

In 2005, Kathleen Turner beat out a score of other contenders (including Jessica Lange, Frances McDormand, and Bette Midler)[3] for the role of Martha in a 2005 Broadway revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Albee later explained to the New York Times that when Turner read for the part with her eventual co-star Bill Irwin, he heard "an echo of the 'revelation' that he had felt years ago when the parts were read by [Uta] Hagen and Arthur Hill". He added that Turner had "a look of voluptuousness, a woman of appetites, yes ... but a look of having suffered as well".

Ben Brantley praised Turner at length, writing:

As the man-eating Martha, Ms. Turner, a movie star whose previous theater work has been variable, finally secures her berth as a first-rate, depth-probing stage actress ... [A]t 50, this actress can look ravishing and ravaged, by turns. In the second act, she is as predatorily sexy as she was in the movie Body Heat. But in the third and last act she looks old, bereft, stripped of all erotic flourish. I didn't think I would ever be able to see Virginia Woolf again without thinking of Ms. Hagen [Uta Hagen]. But watching Ms. Turner in that last act, fully clothed but more naked than she ever was in The Graduate, I didn't see the specter of Ms. Hagen. All I saw was Ms. Turner. No, let's be fair. All I saw was Martha.[13]

As Martha, Turner received her second Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play (losing out to Cherry Jones). The production was transferred to London's Apollo Theatre in 2006. She starred in Sandra Ryan Heyward's one-woman show, Tallulah, which she toured across the U.S.

Personal life

Turner married New York City real estate entrepreneur Jay Weiss in 1984; their daughter, Rachel Ann Weiss was born on October 14, 1987. Turner was born into a Methodist family and has said that she has "taken on a certain amount of Jewish tradition and identity" since marrying her husband and raising their daughter in the Jewish religion.[2] In 2006, Turner announced that she and Weiss were planning a trial separation.[4] They were divorced in December 2007, but Turner has said, "He's still my best friend". [14]

By the late 1980s, Turner had acquired a reputation for being difficult: what The New York Times called "a certifiable diva". She admitted that she was "not a very kind person" and actress Eileen Atkins referred to her as "an amazing nightmare".[3] Turner slammed Hollywood over the disparate treatment accorded male actors over female actors in the quality of roles they receive as they age, calling it a "terrible double standard".

As a result of her altered looks and weight gain from her arthritis treatment, The New York Times wrote in 2005, "Rumors began circulating that she was drinking too much. She later said in interviews that she didn't bother correcting the rumors because people in show business hire drunks all the time, but not people who are sick". Turner has had well-publicized problems with alcohol, which she used as an escape from her rheumatoid arthritis. Turner has admitted that due to her illness she was in constant unbearable agony and that as a result the people she was closest to would suffer from it as she was constantly drinking to relieve the pain and it made her a very difficult person.[15] A few weeks after leaving The Graduate in November 2002, Turner checked herself into Marworth in Waverly, Pennsylvania for alcohol abuse treatment. "I have no problem with alcohol when I'm working", she later explained. "It's when I'm home alone that I can't control my drinking ... I was going toward excess. I mean, really! I think I was losing my control over it. So it pulled me back."[3]

Political involvement

Turner serves on the board of People for the American Way, is chairperson for Planned Parenthood of America, and supports Amnesty International and Citymeals-on-Wheels. She was one of John Kerry's first celebrity endorsers. She has been a frequent donor to the Democratic Party. She has also worked to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis.[16]

Memoirs/Interviews

Turner (in collaboration with Gloria Feldt) wrote her memoir, Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on my Life, Love, and Leading Roles, published in 2008.[17] Nicolas Cage filed suit against her for claiming he had been arrested for DUI twice and once stole a chihuahua he liked;[18][19] Turner has since publicly apologized.[20] During an interview on The View, Turner apologized for any distress she may have caused Cage regarding an incident that took place twenty years earlier.[21][22]

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1981 Body Heat Matty Walker Nominated — BAFTA Award for Most Outstanding Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
1983 The Man with Two Brains Dolores Benedict
1984 Romancing the Stone Joan Wilder Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress also for Crimes of Passion
A Breed Apart Stella Clayton
Crimes of Passion Joanna Crane / China Blue Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress also for Romancing the Stone
Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actress
1985 Prizzi's Honor Irene Walker Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actress
The Jewel of the Nile Joan Wilder
1986 Peggy Sue Got Married Peggy Sue National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress
1987 Julia and Julia Julia
Switching Channels Christy Colleran
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Jessica Rabbit (voice)
The Accidental Tourist Sarah Leary
1989 Tummy Trouble Jessica Rabbit (voice
The War of the Roses Barbara Rose Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1990 Roller Coaster Rabbit Jessica Rabbit (voice)
1991 V.I. Warshawski Victoria 'V.I.' Warshawski
1993 Trail Mix-Up Jessica Rabbit (voice)
Naked in New York Dana Coles
Undercover Blues Jane Blue
House of Cards Ruth Matthews
1994 Serial Mom Beverly R. Sutphin Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress
The Simpsons Stacy Lavelle
1995 Moonlight and Valentino Alberta Trager
1997 Bad Baby Mom (voice)
A Simple Wish Claudia
The Real Blonde Dee Dee Taylor
1999 The Virgin Suicides Mrs. Lisbon
Baby Geniuses Elena Kinder
2000 Beautiful Verna Chickle
Prince of Central Park Rebecca Cairn
King of the Hill Miss Liz Strickland
2001 Friends Charles Bing
2006 Monster House Constance (voice)
Law & Order Rebecca Shane
2008 Marley & Me Ms. Kornblut
2009 Californication Sue Collini

References

  1. ^ Kathleen Turner Biography
  2. ^ a b Star Kathleen Turner focuses on peace during first Israel trip
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Kathleen Turner Meets Her Monster". by Jesse Green, The New York Times.. 2005-03-20. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/20/theater/newsandfeatures/20gree.html?ex=1169528400&en=d3b30738dab0d120&ei=5070. Retrieved 2007-01-21.  
  4. ^ a b c "Kathleen plays on through the pain barrier". by Clemmie Moodie, Daily Mail.. 2006-01-24. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=374942&in_page_id=1773. Retrieved 2007-01-22.  
  5. ^ "Young Kathleen Turner". Anecdotage.com: Famous People. Funny Stories.. http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=4594. Retrieved 2007-01-22.  
  6. ^ Kael, Pauline. 5001 Nights at the Movies. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1982, 1984, 1991. p. 638.
  7. ^ "1984 DOMESTIC GROSSES". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=1984&p=.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-22.  
  8. ^ “Kathleen Turner”, Thomson, David. The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975, 1980, 1994, 2002. page 884.
  9. ^ "REVIEW: 'War of the Roses". by Janet Maslin, The New York Times.. 1989-12-08. http://movies2.nytimes.com/mem/movies/review.html?res=950DEEDF1F39F93BA35751C1A96F948260. Retrieved 2007-01-22.  
  10. ^ http://www.curledup.com/sendrose.htm
  11. ^ http://www.moviemaker.com/blog/item/kathleen_turner/
  12. ^ "The Graduate's London term ends". BBC News. 2002-01-18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/1768900.stm. Retrieved 2007-01-22.  
  13. ^ "Marriage as Blood Sport: A No-Win Game". by Ben Brantley, The New York Times. 2005-03-21. http://theater2.nytimes.com/2005/03/21/theater/reviews/21wool.html?ex=1169614800&en=929dfd2d208476a5&ei=5070. Retrieved 2007-01-22.  
  14. ^ Interview, "Larry King Live", February 2008.
  15. ^ "The View (talk show, interview with Kathleen Turner)". ABC Television. 2008-02-14. http://abc.go.com/daytime/theview/index. Retrieved 2008-02-14.  
  16. ^ http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=19816
  17. ^ Hachette Book Group
  18. ^ New York Daily News, February 12, 2008
  19. ^ HuffingtonPost.com, February 12, 2008
  20. ^ ""Turner apologises for Cage libel"". BBC News. 2008-04-04. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7330111.stm. Retrieved 2008-04-04.  
  21. ^ http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2008/02/13/kathleen_turner_apologizes_to_nicolas_ca
  22. ^ http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,346429,00.html

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Kathleen Turner (born 1954-06-19) is an Academy Award-nominated American actress.

Unsourced

  • Being a sex symbol has to do with an attitude, not looks. Most men think it's looks, most women know otherwise.
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