Laurie Bird (September 26, 1953 – June 15, 1979) was an American film actress and photographer. She appeared in three films during the 1970s. Two of them were directed by Monte Hellman. She was romantically involved with Hellman and Art Garfunkel, committing suicide in the latter's apartment by taking an overdose of Valium. Bird inspired one of Tim Kinsella's novels.

Laurie Bird
Laurie Bird.jpg
Born(1953-09-26)September 26, 1953
DiedJune 15, 1979(1979-06-15) (aged 25)
Burial placeFlushing Cemetery, Queens, New York City, New York
40°45′6″N 73°47′58″W / 40.75167°N 73.79944°W / 40.75167; -73.79944
Other namesLauri Bird
OccupationFilm actor, photographer

Early lifeEdit

Bird's mother died when she was three. Her father was an electrical engineer. She had two elder brothers. Her strict father restricted her social life and she fled home multiple times. In response, her father had an arrest warrant issued in her name and she was put in an institution for neglected girls.[2] She attended Jamaica High School until she was 15.[1]

CareerEdit

Described by Hollywood columnist Dick Kleiner as "look[ing] like an innocent Hayley Mills," Bird appeared in just three films: Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Cockfighter (1974), and a small role as girlfriend to Paul Simon's character in the romantic comedy Annie Hall (1977), from Woody Allen.[3] While researching for Two-Lane Blacktop, screenwriter Rudolph Wurlitzer met her and recommended her name to Hellman while he was looking for actresses for the same movie.[2] In Two-Lane Blacktop she played a hitchhiker to whom the film's characters are initially attracted, but after they lose a race she joins another driver.[2] Her second release, Cockfighter, had her paired opposite Warren Oates. He loses her in a bet. In 2012, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.[4] Film critic Michael Atkinson wrote in his book Exile Hollywood (2008) "In two films, she made more of an impression, left more of a synaesthetic presence, than many actors do in a career".[5]

Bird was the still photographer on Cockfighter[6] and shot the cover photo for Art Garfunkel's 1977 album Watermark.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

She was romantically involved with her Blacktop and Cockfighter director Monte Hellman.[8] From 1974 until her death in 1979, Bird was in a serious romantic relationship with Art Garfunkel.[9]

SuicideEdit

In 1979, Bird committed suicide by taking an overdose of Valium[10] in the apartment she shared with Garfunkel in New York, who was deeply affected by her death. Garfunkel said, "She was beautiful, in a lonesome, haunted way, and I adored her. But I wasn't ready for marriage and she was not very comfortable being Laurie. She wasn't happy with herself. Her mother committed suicide at 26, and so did she."[11] "Laurie was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen anywhere. After her suicide, I didn't have the momentum to stay in life."[12]

LegacyEdit

Bird's relationship with Garfunkel was referred to in the liner notes of the latter's 1988 album Lefty and his collection of prose poems Still Water.[13] Hellman dedicated his 2010 film Road to Nowhere to Laurie Bird.[14]

Tim Kinsella's novel Let Go and Go On and On (2014) is subtitled Based on the roles of Laurie Bird. In the foreword, he writes, "This book by no means intends to convey any truth beyond one possible solution to the puzzles of her life and work."[15]

CreditsEdit

Title Year Role Director(s) Notes Ref(s)
Two-Lane Blacktop 1971 The Girl Monte Hellman also uncredited performer: "Stealin'", "Satisfaction" [16]
Cockfighter 1974 Dody White Monte Hellman Also credited as still photographer [17]
Annie Hall 1977 Tony Lacey's Girlfriend Woody Allen Credited as Lauri Bird [18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Compo 2009, p. 209.
  2. ^ a b c Kleiner, Dick (August 14, 1971). "Laurie Bird Plays Herself in First Role". Beatrice Daily Sun. Beatrice, Nebraska. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 9. Retrieved May 22, 2017 – via Newspaperarchive.com.  
  3. ^ "Annie Hall—Detail view of Movies Page". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  4. ^ Wolgamott, L. Kent (September 18, 2013). "At The Movies: 'Rush' and the best racing movies ever". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Atkinson 2008, p. 183.
  6. ^ "Cockfighter—Detail view of Movies page". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  7. ^ Morella, Joe; Barey, Patricia (1991). Simon and Garfunkel: old friends. Carol Pub. Group. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-55972-089-2.
  8. ^ Compo 2009, p. 280.
  9. ^ Lester, Paul (June 24, 2015). "Art Garfunkel: 'Weird is a fair word for me'". Theguardian.com. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Atkinson 2008, p. 185.
  11. ^ Shelden, Michael (January 27, 2003). "Can Art get the harmony back?". The Telegraph. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  12. ^ Howe, Caroline (September 29, 2017). "Art Garfunkel opens up on Paul Simon's decision to go solo". Daily Mail. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  13. ^ Campbell, Mary (November 22, 1989). "Art Garfunkel composes book of his prose poems". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2017 – via HighBeam Research.
  14. ^ Thomas, Kevin (May 14, 2011). "Monte Hellman's long and winding road". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. p. 2. Archived from the original on October 22, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  15. ^ Kinsella, Tim (2014). Let Go and Go On and On. Chicago, Illinois: Curbside Splendor Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-940430-01-0.
  16. ^ Murthi, Vikram (November 4, 2015). "Criticwire Classic of the Week: Monte Hellman's 'Two-Lane Blacktop'". Indiewire. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  17. ^ Stevens, Brad (2003). Monte Hellman: His Life and Films. McFarland. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-7864-8188-0.
  18. ^ "Annie Hall (1977) – Cast, Crew, Director and Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2016.

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit