Playing characters ranging from wide-eyed virgins to willful sirens to drug-addicted losers, Laura Dern is among the screen’s most interesting modern actresses. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed, and slender, Dern moves with a coltish combination of grace and gangliness that she uses to make herself alternately plain or beautiful, innocent or seductive, as her roles require. Her parents, Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, are both successful actors but initially discouraged her from becoming involved in the profession. Still, acting was Dern’s childhood goal, and after her parents divorced, she made her film debut at the age of six in White Lightning (1973).
The following year, Dern played a bit part in Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. She got her first major role in 1980, playing a teenager in Adrian Lyne’s Foxes. By 1983, she had appeared in more films, and in defiance of her parents’ wishes, decided to get some formal dramatic training at the Lee Strasberg… read more