Born Rosetta Jacobs in Detroit on January 22, 1932, beautiful Piper Laurie and her family relocated to Los Angeles while she was a young girl. As part of an attempt to overcome her shyness, Laurie enrolled in acting classes while a student. She was discovered for films and signed with Universal-International in 1949, at age 17. Her first film was the Ronald Reagan comedy Louisa (1950). Afterward, Universal put her in a series of light comedies and back-lot costume epics. Eventually, she tired of playing the ingenue; Laurie walked out on her Universal contract in 1955 and left for New York to work in television and on the stage. As a stipulation to end her contract, Universal required Piper Laurie to act in three more features before releasing her, including the comedy Kelly and Me (1957; with Van Johnson and Martha Hyer). By this time, the studio was shedding contract players, and Laurie was able to walk away from the remainder of her contract without penalty.

Piper LauriePiper Laurie

Piper Laurie in two 1950s Universal promotional photos

Laurie was successful in reinventing herself as a serious dramatic actress, with impressive performances on such late 1950s television shows as Playhouse 90 and Studio One and on Broadway. In 1961, she landed one of her most important roles opposite Paul Newman in The Hustler. But just as her career was kicking into high gear, Laurie married film critic Joseph Morgenstern in 1962 and retired from the screen to be a wife and mother (daughter Anne was born in 1971). After a fifteen-year hiatus, she made a spectacular return to films in the Brian DePalma horror flick Carrie (1976; with Sissy Spacek).

the films of piper laurie

The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951)

Piper Laurie and Tony Curtis

From the colorful Universal-International adventure The Prince Who Was a Thief with Tony Curtis

Son of Ali Baba (1952)

Piper Laurie and Tony CurtisPiper Laurie, Tony Curtis, and Susan Cabot

Stills from Universal-International's Son of Ali Baba. LEFT: With Tony Curtis. RIGHT: With Tony Curtis and Susan Cabot

Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952)

Piper Laurie and Rock Hudson

With Rock Hudson in Universal-International's comedy Has Anybody Seen My Gal?

Johnny Dark (1954)

Piper Laurie and Tony Curtis

From Universal-International's Johnny Dark with Tony Curtis

Ain't Misbehavin' (1955)

Piper LauriePiper Laurie

From Universal-International's musical comedy Ain't Misbehavin'

Smoke Signal (1955)

Piper Laurie and Rex Reason

With Rex Reason in the Universal-International western Smoke Signal

The Hustler (1961)

Piper LauriePaul Newman and Piper Laurie

From the 20th Century Fox release The Hustler. LEFT: As Sarah Packard. RIGHT: With Paul Newman

Carrie (1976)

Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie

Laurie delivered one of her strongest performances as Margaret White, the religious zealot mother of Sissy Spacek in Carrie

Ruby (1977)

Piper Laurie and Roger DavisStuart Whitman and Piper Laurie

Stills from the low-budget indie Ruby. LEFT: With Roger Davis. RIGHT: With Stuart Whitman

piper laurie today

Since the release of Brian De Palma's Carrie, Piper Laurie has continued with her busy acting career, starring in numerous films and television shows, including Twin Peaks. She has won an Emmy for her role in the 1986 TV film Promise, and in addition Laurie has been nominated three times for an Academy Award for her work in The Hustler (1961), Carrie (1976), and Children of a Lesser God (1986). Laurie completed two films for release in 2018 and acted in an episode of the CBS series MacGyver.

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Bad Blood... the Hunger (2012) with Conrad Janis and Rachelle Wood
Hesher (2010) with Rainn Wilson and Natalie Portman
Another Harvest Moon (2010) with Ernest Borgnine, Anne Meara, Doris Roberts, and Cybill Shepherd
Saving Grace B. Jones (2009) with Michael Biehn, Tatum O'Neal, and Penelope Ann Miller
Hounddog (2007) with Dakota Fanning and Robin Wright Penn
The Dead Girl (2006) with Toni Collette, Giovanni Ribisi, Mary Steenburgen, and Bruce Davison
Bad Blood (2006) with Conrad Janis
Eulogy (2004) with Debra Winger, Ray Romano, Hank Azaria, and Rip Torn
The Last Brickmaker in America (2001) with Sidney Poitier and Bernie Casey
Midwives (2001) with Sissy Spacek and Peter Coyote
Possessed (2000) with Timothy Dalton and Christopher Plummer
The Mao Game (1999) with Kirstie Alley
Palmer's Pick Up (1999) with Robert Carradine
The Faculty (1998) with Bebe Neuwirth, Jon Stewart, and Josh Hartnett
St. Patrick's Day (1997) with Colleen Fitzpatrick (aka Vitamin C)
Horton Foote's Alone (1997) with Hume Cronyn
The Crossing Guard (1995) with Jack Nicholson
The Grass Harp (1995) with Sissy Spacek, Walter Matthau, and Jack Lemmon
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993) with Robert Duvall, Shirley MacLaine, and Richard Harris
Trauma (1993)
Rich in Love (1992) with Albert Finney
Storyville (1992) with James Spader and Woody Strode
Other People's Money (1991) with Gregory Peck and Danny DeVito
Mother, Mother (1989) with Bess Armstrong and Polly Bergen
Dream a Little Dream (1989) with Corey Feldman
Tiger Warsaw (1988) with Patrick Swayze
Appointment with Death (1988) with Peter Ustinov
Distortions (1987) with Olivia Hussey
Children of a Lesser God (1986) with William Hurt and Marlee Matlin
Toughlove (1985) with Lee Remick, Bruce Dern, Jason Patric, Dedee Pfeiffer, and Dana Elcar
Return to Oz (1985) with Fairuza Balk
Macbeth (1981) with Simon MacCorkindale
Tim (1979) with Mel Gibson
Ruby (1977) with Stuart Whitman
Carrie (1976) with Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, William Katt, Betty Buckley, Nancy Allen, John Travolta, and P.J. Soles
The Long Hunt of April Savage (1966) with Robert Lansing, Bruce Dern, and Rip Torn
The Hustler (1961) with Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, and George C. Scott
Until They Sail (1957) with Jean Simmons, Joan Fontaine, Paul Newman, and Charles Drake
Kelly and Me (1957) with Van Johnson and Martha Hyer
Ain't Misbehavin' (1955) with Rory Calhoun, Mamie Van Doren, Jack Carson, and Barbara Britton
Smoke Signal (1955) with Dana Andrews, Rex Reason, and William Talman
Dangerous Mission (1954) with Victor Mature, Vincent Price, William Bendix, and Betta St. John
Johnny Dark (1954) with Tony Curtis, Russell Johnson, and Paul Kelly
Dawn at Socorro (1954) with Rory Calhoun, Mara Corday, David Brian, Richard Garland, Alex Nicol, and Lee Van Cleef
The Golden Blade (1953) with Rock Hudson, George Macready, and Kathleen Hughes
The Mississippi Gambler (1953) with Tyrone Power, Julie Adams, Guy Williams, and William Reynolds
Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952) with Rock Hudson, William Reynolds, and Gigi Perreau
No Room for the Groom (1952) with Tony Curtis and Don DeFore
Son of Ali Baba (1952) with Tony Curtis, Susan Cabot, Hugh O'Brian, Gerald Mohr, and William Reynolds
The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951) with Tony Curtis and Peggie Castle
Francis Goes to the Races (1951) with Donald O'Connor, Cecil Kellaway, and Jesse White
The Milkman (1950) with Donald O'Connor, Jimmy Durante, Joyce Holden, and William Conrad
Louisa (1950) with Ronald Reagan, Ruth Hussey, Spring Byington, and Martin Milner

Traps, 1994 TV series. Laurie portrayed Cora Trapchek
Twin Peaks, 1990-1991 TV series. Laurie portrayed Catherine Martell
Tender Is the Night, 1985 TV miniseries. Laurie portrayed Mrs. Speers
The Thorn Birds, 1983 TV miniseries. Laurie portrayed Anne Mueller
Skag, 1980 TV series. Laurie portrayed Jo Skagska

Cold Case, episode Best Friends, originally aired May 8, 2005
Dead Like Me, episode Forget Me Not, originally aired October 10, 2004
State of Grace, episode Where the Boys Are, originally aired May 31, 2002
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, episode Care, originally aired November 23, 2001
Will & Grace, episode There But for the Grace of Grace, originally aired May 9, 2000
Frasier, episode Dr. Nora, originally aired April 29, 1999
Brother's Keeper, episode Everybody Says I Love You, originally aired February 26, 1999
Touched by an Angel, episode Venice, originally aired December 7, 1997
Diagnosis Murder, episode The ABC's of Murder, originally aired November 21, 1996
ER, episode Take These Broken Wings, originally aired May 9, 1996
ER, episode Home, originally aired December 7, 1995
Beauty and the Beast, episode A Gentle Rain, originally aired February 17, 1989
Matlock, episode The Judge, originally aired September 23, 1986
The Twilight Zone, episode Act Break/The Burning Man/Dealer's Choice, originally aired November 15, 1985>
Hotel, episode Illusions, originally aired May 29, 1985
Murder, She Wrote, episode Murder at the Oasis, originally aired April 7, 1985
St. Elsewhere, episode Newheart, originally aired November 9, 1983
St. Elsewhere, episode Lust Et Veritas, originally aired November 2, 1983
St. Elsewhere, episode Ties That Bind, originally aired October 26, 1983
Breaking Point, episode The Summer House, originally aired March 9, 1964
The Eleventh Hour, episode My Door Is Locked and Bolted, originally aired January 1, 1964
Ben Casey, episode Light Up the Dark Corners, originally aired November 6, 1963
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, episode Something About Lee Wiley, originally aired October 11, 1963
Naked City, episode Howard Running Bear Is a Turtle, originally aired April 3, 1963
The United States Steel Hour, episode Mission of Fear, originally aired April 3, 1963
G.E. True Theater, episode A Musket for Jessica, originally aired October 8, 1961
Play of the Week, episode Legend of Lovers, originally aired October 10, 1960
The United States Steel Hour, episode You Can't Have Everything, originally aired January 27, 1960
G.E. True Theater, episode Caesar and Cleopatra, originally aired April 12, 1959
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, episode The Innocent Assassin, originally aired March 16, 1959
Playhouse 90, episode Days of Wine and Roses, originally aired October 2, 1958
The Seven Lively Arts, episode The Changing Ways of Love, originally aired November 3, 1957
Studio One in Hollywood, episode The Deaf Heart, originally aired October 21, 1957
Playhouse 90, episode The Ninth Day, originally aired January 10, 1957
G.E. True Theater, episode The Road That Led Afar, originally aired November 25, 1956
Front Row Center, episode Winter Dreams, originally aired February 19, 1956
Robert Montgomery Presents, episode Quality Town, originally aired December 19, 1955
The Best of Broadway, episode Broadway, originally aired May 4, 1955

piper laurie film now showing

Watch the trailer for Piper Laurie's 1977 horror film Ruby
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