Piper Laurie, an acclaimed Oscar-nominated actress whose career spanned eight decades, has died at the age of 91. News of her death on Saturday was confirmed by her manager, Marion Rosenberg per Entertainment Weekly. A cause of death has not been disclosed. Perhaps most well-known for her iconic performance as Carrie’s deranged mother in the 1976 Stephen King adaptation, Laurie was nominated for three Oscars.
In 1949, Laurie entered Hollywood under her birth name Rosetta Jacobs. She quickly signed a contract with Universal-International. The studio is responsible for assigning the actress with her familiar screen name, Piper Laurie. Her career flourished as she landed lead roles alongside iconic actors like Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis.
At the age of 17, Laurie made her first appearance in Louisa, portraying Ronald Reagan’s daughter. She then starred alongside Francis, the talking mule, in the 1951’s Francis Goes to the Races. Piper was often paired with Tony Curtis, whom she once dated. These films include The Prince Who Was a Thief, No Room for the Groom, and Johnny Dark.
Piper Laurie became disillusioned by the parts she was being offered in Hollywood during the 50s. She terminated her contract with Universal-International and moved to New York. In the Big Apple, Laurie found more satisfying work on stage and live TV. However, a juicy big-screen role lured her back. Laurie received an offer to portray Sarah Packard, the girlfriend of pool shark Eddie Felson (played by Paul Newman), in the critically acclaimed 1961 drama The Hustler. This role garnered Laurie her first Oscar nomination.
Piper Laurie Returns to the Bog Screen For Her Most Iconic Performance
Despite this success, Piper Laurie didn’t take another film role until 1976’s Carrie. Laurie’s portrayal of Margaret White, the formidable and fanatical religious mother of young Carrie (played by Sissy Spacek), was nothing short of transformative. Her chilling performance in Brian De Palma’s iconic cemented her status in the annals of horror history. Of course, it also earned her a second Oscar nomination.
In the next decade, Laurie appeared in movies and on TV, earning her third Oscar nomination for the 1986 drama Children of a Lesser God. She also won an Emmy that year for her performance in the TV film Promise. Laurie had a thriving career on television during the 80s and 90s. She appeared in popular series like Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, and Frasier. Laurie also portrayed George Clooney’s mother on ER. She also won a Golden Globe in 1991 for her role as Catherine Martell in the TV cult classic Twin Peaks. In 1998, Laurie was introduced to a new generation of horror fans in the High School alien invasion horror flick, The Faculty.
Piper Laurie’s last big screen appearance was alongside Matthew McConaughey in 2018’s White Boy Rick. She continued to do voice acting for podcasts such as Around the Sun as recently as this year.
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