Piper Laurie

Piper Laurie (born Rosetta Jacobs; January 22, 1932)[1] is an American actress. She is known for her roles in the films The Hustler (1961), Carrie (1976), and Children of a Lesser God (1986), she received various accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award, in addition to nomination for three Academy Awards and a BAFTA Award. She is also known for her performances as Kirsten Arnesen in the original TV production of Days of Wine and Roses, and as Catherine Martell in the television series Twin Peaks.

Piper Laurie
Piper Laurie 1951-still.jpg
Laurie publicity photo in 1951
Rosetta Jacobs

(1932-01-22) January 22, 1932 (age 91)
Years active1950–present
(m. 1962; div. 1982)

Early lifeEdit

Piper Laurie was born Rosetta Jacobs in Detroit, Michigan, the younger of two children (both girls) of Alfred Jacobs, a furniture dealer, and his wife, Charlotte Sadie (née Alperin) Jacobs. Her paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and her maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia.[2][3][4]

Laurie was delivered, according to her 2011 autobiography Learning to Live Out Loud, in a one-bedroom walk-up on Tyler Street in Detroit, where the family lived.[5] Alfred Jacobs moved the family to Los Angeles, California, in 1938, where she attended Hebrew school.[citation needed] To combat her shyness, her parents provided her with weekly elocution lessons; this eventually led to minor roles at nearby Universal Studios.[2]

Laurie's mother and grandmother placed Laurie's older sister in a sanitarium for her asthma. Laurie was sent along to keep her company.[6][7]


In 1949, Rosetta Jacobs signed a contract with Universal Studios, and changed her screen name to Piper Laurie, which she has used since then. Among the actors she met at Universal were James Best, Julie Adams, Tony Curtis, and Rock Hudson.[8] Her breakout role was in Louisa, with Ronald Reagan, whom she dated a few times before his marriage to Nancy Davis. In her autobiography, she claimed that she lost her virginity to him.[9] Several other roles followed: Francis Goes to the Races (1951, co-starring Donald O'Connor);[10] Son of Ali Baba (1951, co-starring Tony Curtis);[11] and Ain't Misbehavin' (1955, co-starring Rory Calhoun).[12]

To enhance her image, Universal Studios told gossip columnists that Laurie bathed in milk and ate flower petals to protect her luminous skin.[13] Discouraged by the lack of substantial film roles,[14] she moved to New York City to study acting and to seek work on the stage and in television.[13] She appeared in Twelfth Night, produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame;[15] in Days of Wine and Roses with Cliff Robertson, presented by Playhouse 90 on October 2, 1958[16] (in the film version, their roles were taken over by Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick);[17] and in Winterset, presented by Playhouse 90 in 1959.[18]

Laurie in 1951

She was lured back to Hollywood by the offer to co-star with Paul Newman in The Hustler, released in 1961. She played Newman's girlfriend, Sarah Packard, and for her performance, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.[13] Substantial movie roles did not come her way after The Hustler, so she and her husband moved to New York. In 1964, she appeared in two medical dramas — as Alicia Carter in The Eleventh Hour episode "My Door Is Locked and Bolted",[19] and as Alice Marin in the Breaking Point episode "The Summer House". In 1965, she starred in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, opposite Maureen Stapleton, Pat Hingle, and George Grizzard.[20]

Laurie did not appear in another feature film until she accepted the role of Margaret White in the horror film Carrie (1976). She received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance, and it, along with the commercial success of the film, relaunched her career.[21] Her co-star Sissy Spacek praised her acting skill: "She is a remarkable actress. She never does what you expect her to do—she always surprises you with her approach to a scene."[22]

In 1979, she appeared as Mary Horton in the Australian movie Tim opposite Mel Gibson.[23] After her 1981 divorce, Laurie moved to California.[6] She received a third Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Mrs. Norman in Children of a Lesser God (1986).[24] The same year, she was awarded an Emmy for her performance in Promise, a television movie, co-starring James Garner and James Woods.[25] She had a featured role in the Off-Broadway production of The Destiny of Me in 1992,[26] and returned to Broadway for Lincoln Center's acclaimed 2002 revival of Paul Osborn's Morning's at Seven, with Julie Hagerty, Buck Henry, Frances Sternhagen, and Estelle Parsons.[27]

In 1990–1991, she starred as the devious Catherine Martell in David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks.[13] She also appeared in Other People's Money with Gregory Peck (1991),[28] and in horror maestro Dario Argento's first American film Trauma (1993).[29] She played George Clooney's character's mother on ER.[6] In 1997, she appeared in the film A Christmas Memory with Patty Duke,[30] and in 1998, she appeared in the sci-fi thriller The Faculty.[31] She made guest appearances on television shows such as Frasier,[6] Matlock,[32] State of Grace,[32] and Will & Grace.[32] Laurie also appeared in Cold Case and in a 2001 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit titled "Care", in which she played an adoptive mother and foster grandmother who killed one of the foster granddaughters in her daughter's charge and who abused her adoptive son and foster grandchildren.[32]

She returned to the big screen for independent films, such as Eulogy (2004) and The Dead Girl (2006), opposite actress Toni Collette.[32] In 2010 she played Rainn Wilson's mother in Hesher, and in 2018, she had a supporting role in White Boy Rick as the grandmother of the title character.

Personal lifeEdit

Laurie in 1990, around the time she was appearing in Twin Peaks

Laurie was married to New York Herald Tribune entertainment writer and Wall Street Journal movie critic Joe Morgenstern. They met shortly after the release of The Hustler in 1961 when Morgenstern interviewed her during the film's promotion. They soon began dating, and nine months after the interview, they were married on January 21, 1962. When no substantial roles came her way after The Hustler, she and Morgenstern moved to Woodstock, New York. In 1971, they adopted a daughter, Anne Grace Morgenstern. In 1982, the couple divorced, after which she moved to the Hollywood area and continued working in films and television.[13] She had previously dated actor and future US president Ronald Reagan.[33]

In 1962, she was Harvard's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, and in 2000, she received the Spirit of Hope Award in Korea for her service during the Korean War. She appeared at the September 2014 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland.[34]

Laurie is a sculptor working in marble and clay and exhibits her work.[31]


Laurie has been nominated for an Academy Award for her performances in three films: The Hustler (1961), Carrie (1976) and Children of a Lesser God (1986). She won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her role in the 1986 TV movie Promise, opposite James Garner and James Woods.[31] She also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film in 1991 for her role in Twin Peaks. In addition, she received several Emmy nominations, including one for playing Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph Goebbels, in The Bunker, opposite Anthony Hopkins as Hitler; and for her role in the miniseries The Thorn Birds,[35] two nominations for her work in Twin Peaks,[31] as Catherine Martell, and a nomination for her guest appearance on Frasier.[31]



Year Title Role Notes
1950 Louisa Cathy Norton
The Milkman Chris Abbott
1951 Francis Goes to the Races Frances Travers
The Prince Who Was a Thief Tina
1952 No Room for the Groom Lee Kingshead
Has Anybody Seen My Gal? Millicent Blaisdell
Son of Ali Baba Princess Azura of Fez / Kiki
1953 The Mississippi Gambler Angelique "Leia" Dureau
The Golden Blade Khairuzan
1954 Dangerous Mission Louise Graham
Johnny Dark Liz Fielding
Dawn at Socorro Rannah Hayes
1955 Smoke Signal Laura Evans
Ain't Misbehavin' Sarah Bernhardt Hatfield
1957 Kelly and Me Mina Van Runkel
Until They Sail Delia Leslie Friskett
1961 The Hustler Sarah Packard Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Laurel Award for Top Female Dramatic Performance (2nd Place)
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (3rd Place)
1976 Carrie Margaret White Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1977 Ruby Ruby Claire
1979 Tim Mary Horton
1985 Return to Oz Aunt Em
1986 Children of a Lesser God Mrs. Willa Norman Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1988 Appointment with Death Emily Boynton
Tiger Warsaw Frances Warsaw
1989 Dream a Little Dream Gena Ettinger
1991 Other People's Money Bea Sullivan
1992 Storyville Constance Fowler
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Catherine Martell Scene deleted from final cut
Rich in Love Vera Delmage
1993 Trauma Adriana Petrescu
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway Georgia
1995 The Grass Harp Dolly Talbo Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
The Crossing Guard Helen Booth
1998 The Faculty Mrs. Olson
2004 Eulogy Charlotte Collins
2006 The Dead Girl Arden's mother
2007 Hounddog Grammie
2009 Saving Grace B. Jones Marta Shank
2010 Hesher Madeleine Forney
Another Harvest Moon June
2012 Bad Blood Milly Lathtrop
2018 Snapshots Rose Muller
White Boy Rick Vera Wershe


Year Title Role Notes
1955 The Best of Broadway Billie Moore Episode: "Broadway"
Robert Montgomery Presents Stacey Spender Episode: "Quality Town"
1956 Front Row Center Judy Jones Episode: "Winter Dreams"
1956–1961 General Electric Theater Various 3 episodes
1957 Studio One Ruth Cornelius Episode: "The Deaf Heart"
Playhouse 90 Ruth McAdam Episode: "The Ninth Day"
1958 Kirsten Arnesen Clay Episode: "Days of Wine and Roses"
1959 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Eileen Gorman Episode: "The Innocent Assassin"
1960–1963 The United States Steel Hour Edna Cartey 2 episodes
1963 Naked City Mary Highmark Episode: "Howard Running Bear Is a Turtle"
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Lee Wiley Episode: "Something About Lee Wiley"
Ben Casey Kathleen Dooley Episode: "Light Up the Dark Corners"
1964 The Eleventh Hour Alicia Carter Episode: "My Door Is Locked and Bolted"
Breaking Point Alice Marin Episode: "The Summer House"
1977 In the Matter of Karen Ann Quinlan Julie Quinlan Television movie
1978 Rainbow Ethel Gumm Television movie
1980 Skag Jo Skagska 6 episodes
1981 The Bunker Magda Goebbels Television movie
1982 Mae West Matilda West Television movie
1983 The Thorn Birds Anne Mueller 3 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
St. Elsewhere Fran Singleton 3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1985 Hotel Jessica Episode: "Illusions"
Murder, She Wrote Peggy Shannon Episode: "Murder at the Oasis"
Tender Is the Night Elsie Speers Episode: "1925"
Love, Mary Christine Groda Television movie
Toughlove Darlene Marsh Television movie
1985–1986 The Twilight Zone Aunt Neva Segment: "The Burning Man"
Gramma (voice) Segment: "Gramma" (uncredited)[36]
1986 Matlock Claire Leigh Episode: "The Judge"
Promise Annie Gilbert Television movie
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1988 Go Toward the Light Margo Television movie
1989 Beauty and the Beast Mrs. Davis Episode: "A Gentle Rain"
1990–1991 Twin Peaks Catherine Martell /
Mr. Tojamura (credited as Fumio Yamaguchi)
27 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1990)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1991)
Nominated—Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Actress : Prime Time (1991, 1992)
1993 Lies and Lullabies Margaret Kinsey Television movie
1994 Traps Cora Trapchek 5 episodes
Frasier Marianne (voice) Episode: "Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast"
Shadows of Desire Ellis Snow Television movie
1995 Fighting For My Daughter Judge Edna Burton Television movie
1995–1996 ER Sarah Ross 2 episodes
1996 Diagnosis: Murder A.D.A. Susan Turner Episode: "The ABC's of Murder"
1997 Intensity Miriam Braynard Television movie
Touched by an Angel Annie Doyle Episode: "Venice"
A Christmas Memory Jennie Television movie
1999 Brother's Keeper Jane Waide Episode: "Everybody Says I Love You"
Frasier Mrs. Mulhern Episode: "Dr. Nora"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Inherit the Wind Sarah Brady Television movie
2000 Will & Grace Sharon Episode: "There But for the Grace of Grace"
Possessed Aunt Hanna Television movie
2001 Midwives Cheryl Visco Television movie
The Last Brickmaker in America Ruth Anne Television movie
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dorothy Rudd Episode: "Care"
2002 State of Grace Aunt Sophie Episode: "Where the Boys Are"
2004 Dead Like Me Nina Rommey Episode: "Forget Me Not"
2005 Cold Case Rose 2005 Episode: "Best Friends"
2018 MacGyver Edith Episode: "Skyscraper - Power"
2022–2023 Around the Sun Grandma / Alien Maude Audio drama


  1. ^ "Piper Laurie: Facts & Related Content". Brittanica. Retrieved March 12, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Hubler, Richard G. (June 20, 1953). "When lovely Piper Laurie makes a movie, she hits the road to sell it". Collier's. Archived from the original on August 3, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  3. ^ Piper Laurie profile at Yahoo!
  4. ^ "Actress Piper Laurie writes absorbing memoir". Deseret News. Associated Press. November 4, 2011. Archived from the original on October 5, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  5. ^ Laurie, Piper (2011). Learning to Live Out Loud: A Memoir. New York: Crown Archetype. p. 1. ISBN 978-0823026685. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d Gostin, Nicki (April 6, 2012). "Why I had to reject Hollywood". The Jewish Chronicle. London. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  7. ^ "Piper Laurie's life began with abandonment but turned out 'Rich' and 'Beautiful'", wsj.com. Accessed July 25, 2022.
  8. ^ "Julie Adams at 85". Great Entertainers Archives.com. April 9, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  9. ^ Laurie, Piper (2011). Learning to Live Out Loud: A Memoir. Crown Archetype. p. 77. ISBN 978-0823026685.
  10. ^ "Francis Goes to the Races". Leonard Maltin Classic Movie Guide. Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  11. ^ "Son of Ali Baba". Leonard Maltin Classic Movie Guide. Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  12. ^ "Ain't Misbehavin". Leonard Maltin Classic Movie Guide. Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d e Park, Jeannie; Nancy Matsumoto (April 30, 1990). "Playing One of the Kinkiest Villains Ever Seen on TV, Piper Laurie Reaches Another Acting Crest in Twin Peaks". People. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  14. ^ IMDb reports that in 1955, when she received another script for a Western and "another silly part in a silly movie", she burned the script and called her agent, saying she did not care if they fired her, jailed her, or sued her.
  15. ^ "Twelfth Night". Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  16. ^ O'Connor, John J. (November 27, 1983). "Home Video: New Cassettes of Old Favorites". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  17. ^ "Days of Wine and Roses". Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  18. ^ "Winterset". Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  19. ^ "Watch The Eleventh Hour". TV Guide. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  20. ^ Fienberg, Richard Tresch (2008). "The Glass Menagerie". Playbill. 115 (4): 10. Bibcode:2008S&T...115d..10F. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  21. ^ Thomas, Nick (November 7, 2014). "Tinseltown Talks: Piper Laurie goes from Gipper to Carrie". The Oakland Press. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  22. ^ Dick Kleiner, Brownwood Bulletin, May 16, 1976, p. 33
  23. ^ Canby, Vincent (September 17, 1981). "'Tim,' A Romantic Drama from Australia". The New York Times. p. C25. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  24. ^ Sherrod, Kerryn. "Children of a Lesser God". Turner Classic Movies Database. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  25. ^ Roberts, Jerry (June 5, 2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Books. p. 862. ISBN 978-0810861381.
  26. ^ Rich, Frank (October 21, 1992). "The Destiny of Me; Larry Kramer Tells His Own Anguished Story". The New York Times. p. C15. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  27. ^ Brantley, Ben (April 22, 2002). "Wry Smiles At the Pitfalls Of Closeness". The New York Times. p. E1. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  28. ^ Wuntch, Philip (October 22, 1991). "DeVito is low and delicious in 'Other People's Money'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  29. ^ Bleiler, David (April 8, 2014). TLA Video & DVD Guide 2005: The Discerning Film Lover's Guide. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-1466867826. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  30. ^ Hal Erickson (2015). "A Christmas Memory (1997)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 18, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  31. ^ a b c d e "Piper Laurie". Full Moon Films. Archived from the original on May 6, 2021. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  32. ^ a b c d e "Piper Laurie List of Movies". TV Guide. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  33. ^ "Piper Laurie: I lost my virginity to Ronald Reagan... And he was no gentleman". November 20, 2011.
  34. ^ "Piper Laurie at the 2014 MANC Convention". Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. Archived from the original on January 31, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  35. ^ "Overview for Piper Laurie". Turner Entertainment Network. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  36. ^ DeGuere, Philip; May, Bradford (2020). The Twilight Zone: The Complete '80s Series: Audio Commentary - "Gramma" (DVD). CBS DVD.

External linksEdit