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Date of Birth: 25 December 1949
Place of Birth: Quitman, Texas, USA
Birth Name: Mary Elizabeth Spacek
Height: 5' 2" (1.57 m)
Sissy Spacek (born Mary Elizabeth Spacek; December 25, 1949) is an American actress and singer. She is known for her role as Carrie White in Brian de Palma's 1976 horror film Carrie, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress.
In 1980, she won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as country star Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter. She has been nominated a total of six times. Spacek is known mainly as a dramatic actress, but also has made comedies. The films that Spacek has starred in have earned more than $700 million worldwide.
Spacek was born on December 25, 1949, in Quitman, Texas, the daughter of Virginia Frances (née Spilman) and Edwin Arnold Spacek, Sr., a county agricultural agent. Her mother was a Mayflower descendant, and her paternal grandparents, Mary Červenka and Arnold A. Špaček (who served as Mayor of Granger, Texas in Williamson County), were of Moravian Czech ancestry. Spacek's mother was from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Spacek was given the nickname "Sissy" by her older brothers. She was greatly affected by the death of her 18-year old brother, Robbie, in 1967.
Spacek won the Homecoming Queen award at her high school, Quitman High School, in 1967. After high school, Spacek moved to New York City, hoping to become a singer. There, she lived with her cousin, actor Rip Torn, and his wife, actress Geraldine Page.
Spacek started out as a singer by recording one single ("John, You've Gone Too Far This Time") about John Lennon, an expression of her shock over the Two Virgins cover under the name 'Rainbo.' With the help of her cousin, actor Rip Torn, she was able to enroll in Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio and then the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City.
Her first credited role was in the 1970 cult classic Prime Cut, in which she played Poppy, a girl sold into sexual slavery. This role led to TV work, which included a small role in The Waltons, in which she uttered the well-known line, "When are you going to stop being John Boy and start being John Man?" But, her landmark role of this period and the role that brought her international attention came in 1973 in Terrence Malick's Badlands, as Holly, the 15-year old girlfriend of mass-murderer Kit (played by Martin Sheen). Spacek described Badlands as the "most incredible" experience of her career. It was on the set of Badlands that Spacek met art director Jack Fisk, whom she soon married.
Spacek's iconic and career-defining role came in 1976 with Brian De Palma's Carrie, in which she played Carietta "Carrie" White, a shy, troubled high school senior with telekinetic powers. Spacek had to work hard to persuade director de Palma to engage her for the role, set as he was on an alternative actress, whose identity, to this day, remains shrouded in mystery. Rubbing Vaseline into her hair, and donning an old sailor dress her mother made for her as a child, Spacek turned up at the audition with the odds against her, but won the part. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in the film. (Veteran actress Piper Laurie, who played Carrie's religious. maniacal mother Margaret White, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.)
After Carrie, Spacek played the small role of topless housekeeper Linda Murray in Alan Rudolph's ensemble piece Welcome to LA (1976), but cemented her reputation in independent cinema with her performance as Pinky Rose in Robert Altman's 1977 classic 3 Women. Altman himself was deeply impressed by her performance and stated: 'She's remarkable, one of the top actresses I've ever worked with. Her resources are like a deep well.' Meanwhile, de Palma now enthused: 'Sissy's a phantom. She has this mysterious way of slipping into a part, letting it take over her. She's got a wider range than any young actress I know.' Spacek also helped finance then-brother-in-law David Lynch's directorial debut, Eraserhead (1976) and is thanked in the credits of the film.
In the 1979 film Heart Beat, Spacek played Carolyn Cassady, who slipped (under the influence of John Heard's Jack Kerouac and Nick Nolte's Neal Cassady) into a frustrating combination of drudgery and debauchery.
Spacek began the decade with an Oscar in 1980 for Coal Miner's Daughter, in which she played country music star Loretta Lynn. Film critic Roger Ebert credited the movie's success to the performance by Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn. With the same sort of magical chemistry she's shown before, when she played the high school kid in Carrie, Spacek at 29 has the ability to appear to be almost any age on screen. Here, she ages from about 14 to somewhere in her 30s, always looks the age, and never seems to be wearing makeup."
Spacek also was nominated for a Grammy Award for her singing on the film's soundtrack album. She followed this with her own country album, Hangin' Up My Heart, in 1983; the album spawned one hit single, "Lonely But Only For You," a song written by K.T. Oslin, which reached #15 on the Billboard Country chart.
The 1980s were a solid decade for Spacek. She consolidated her position as one of Hollywood's leading actresses. She starred alongside Jack Lemmon in Costa-Gavras's political thriller Missing (1982), Mel Gibson in the rural drama The River (1984), and Diane Keaton and Jessica Lange in 1986's Crimes of the Heart. She was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for all of these roles. Other notable performances of the decade included poignant star turns in husband Jack Fisk's directorial debut Raggedy Man (1981) and opposite Anne Bancroft in the suicide drama 'Night Mother (1986). She also showed her lighter side by agreeing to play the voice of the brain in the Steve Martin comedy The Man with Two Brains (1983). By the end of 1986, Spacek had retired to her farm in Virginia to raise her children and did not appear in another film until 1990.
The 1990s saw Spacek slowly come back to Hollywood after her self-imposed hiatus. She had a supporting role as Kevin Costner's wife in Oliver Stone's JFK (1991), and she made a number of comedies, TV movies and the occasional film. Most notable were her turn as the villainous Verena Talbo in the 1995 ensemble piece The Grass Harp, (which reunited her with both Piper Laurie and Jack Lemmon), supporting performance (opposite Nick Nolte again) as the waitress Margie Fogg in Paul Schrader's father-son psychodrama Affliction (1997), and as Rose Straight in David Lynch's The Straight Story (1999).
Spacek has excelled in a number of film roles in the current decade. In 2001, she was nominated again for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Todd Field's In the Bedroom. New York Times film critic Stephen Holden said of her work in the film:
Her portrayal of a grieving mother consumed by revenge, Ruth Fowler, won extraordinary praise and garnered the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics awards for Best Actress.
Other notable performances of this decade include unfaithful wife Ruth in Rodrigo Garcia's Nine Lives (2005) and a recent turn as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's in the television movie Pictures of Hollis Woods (2007). In 2008, Spacek had a supporting part in the Christmas movie Four Christmases (2008) and a lead role in the independent drama, Lake City (2008).
Spacek joined the HBO drama Big Love for a multi-episode arc as a powerful Washington, D.C., lobbyist.
In 2006 she narrated the audiobook 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee, it sold over 30 million copies. It was re-released in 2010 as a 50th anniversary edition.
Spacek married production designer Jack Fisk in 1974. Fisk directed her in the films Raggedy Man and Violets Are Blue and was Oscar nominated for his production design in 2007's There Will Be Blood. They have two daughters, Schuyler Fisk and Madison Fisk. Schuyler has appeared in several film roles and is pursuing a career as a singer. Spacek and her family live on a horse ranch near Charlottesville, Virginia. She also is an ardent crusader for women's rights.
|1970||Trash||Girl extra at bar||uncredited|
|1973||The Girls of Huntington House||Sara||TV film|
|Badlands||Holly||Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer|
|1974||Ginger in the Morning||Ginger||TV film|
|The Migrants||Wanda Trimpin|
|1975||Katherine||Katherine Alman||TV film (also known as The Radical)|
|1976||Carrie||Carrie White||Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival Award for Best ActressNational Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
|Welcome to L.A.||Linda Murray|
|1977||3 Women||Pinky Rose||New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|1978||Verna: U.S.O. Girl||Verna Vane||TV film|
|1980||Coal Miner's Daughter||Loretta Lynn||Academy Award for Best ActressGolden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or ComedyKansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best ActressLos Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best ActressNational Board of Review Award for Best ActressNational Society of Film Critics Award for Best ActressNew York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
|Heart Beat||Carolyn Cassady|
|1981||Raggedy Man||Nita Longley||Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama|
|1982||Missing||Beth Horman||Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
|1983||The Man with Two Brains||Anne Uumellmahaye||voice (uncredited)|
|1984||The River||Mae Garvey||Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
|Terror in the Aisles||archival footage|
|1986||Violets Are Blue||Augusta 'Gussie' Sawyer|
|'night, Mother||Jessie Cates|
|Crimes of the Heart||Rebeca 'Babe'/'Becky' Magrath Botrelle||Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or ComedyKansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best ActressNew York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
|1990||The Long Walk Home||Miriam Thompson|
|1991||Hard Promises||Christine Ann Coalter|
|1992||A Private Matter||Sherri Finkbine||TV film|
|1994||A Place for Annie||Susan Lansing||Hallmark Hall of Fame TV film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
|Trading Mom||Mrs. Mommy Martin; Mama, Snappy French;
Mom, the Nature-Hiker; Natasha, the Circus Performer
|aka e Mommy Market|
|1995||The Good Old Boys||Spring Renfro||Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie|
|The Grass Harp||Verena Talbo|
|Streets of Laredo||Lorena Parker||TV mini-seriesBronze Wrangler for Television Feature Film Television Feature Film|
|1996||Beyond the Call||Pam O'Brien||TV film|
|If These Walls Could Talk||Barbara Barrows (segment "1974")||TV film|
|1999||Blast from the Past||Helen Thomas Webber||Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|The Straight Story||Rose 'Rosie' Straight||Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
|2000||Songs in Ordinary Time||Marie Fermoyle||TV film|
|2001||In the Bedroom||Ruth Fowler||AFI Actress of the YearBoston Society of Film Critics Award for Best ActressDallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best ActressFlorida Film Critics Circle Award for Best ActressGolden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture DramaIndependent Spirit Award for Best Lead FemaleLos Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best ActressNew York Film Critics Circle Award for Best ActressSatellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture DramaSoutheastern Film Critics Association Award for Best ActressSpecial Jury Prize for Dramatic Acting (Shared with Tom Wilkinson)Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|Midwives||Sibyl Danforth||Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
|2002||Last Call||Zelda Fitzgerald||Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
|Tuck Everlasting||Mae Tuck||Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|2004||A Home at the End of the World||Alice Glover|
|2005||Nine Lives||Ruth||Locarno International Film Festival Award for Best Actress Ensemble
Nominated — Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
|The Ring Two||Evelyn|
|North Country||Alice Aimes|
|2006||An American Haunting||Lucy Bell|
|Summer Running: The Race to Cure Breast Cancer||Mrs. Flora Good|
|Hot Rod||Marie Powell|
|Pictures of Hollis Woods||Josie Cahill||Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film|
|Four Christmases||Paula (Brad's Mom)|
|2009||Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People||Narrator||TV mini-series|
|Get Low||For People|
|2010-present||Big Love||Marilyn Densham||5 episodes
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
|1983||Hangin' Up My Heart||17||Atlantic|
|US Country||US||CAN Country|
|1980||"Coal Miner's Daughter"||24||—||7||Coal Miner's Daughter (Soundtrack)|
|"Back in Baby's Arms"||—||—||71|
|1983||"Lonely But Only for You"||15||110||13||Hangin' Up My Heart|
|1984||"If I Can Just Get Through the Night"||57||—||41|
|"If You Could Only See Me Now"||79||—||—|
- "Sissy" is a nickname given by her brothers when she was growing up.
- Not only did she win an Oscar for her performance in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980), but she was nominated for a Grammy for her rendition of the title song in the category Best Country Vocal Performance, Female.
- Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1976" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 28.
- Appeared in the music video and sang in the choir for the song "Voices That Care.".
- Was the first choice to play the daughter in Terms of Endearment (1983).
- Released a country LP titled Hangin' Up My Heart on Atlantic Records in 1983.
- Decided to skip college after her older brother, Robbie, died at 18 years of age in 1967 from leukemia during her senior year in high school. She decided life was way too short to waste it in four years of college.
- Lives on 300 acre farmland named "Beau Val" near Charlottesville, Virginia.
- Brother Ed is a music industry consultant in Austin, Texas.
- Measurements: 34B-24-35 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
- Was Homecoming Queen of her Senior Class in High School.
- Godmother of Rebecca Taylor.
- Her performance as Carrie White in Carrie (1976) is ranked #63 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
- Frequently works with Tommy Lee Jones, having appeared with him in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980), JFK (1991), and The Good Old Boys (1995) (TV). Separately, they have also each appeared in films in the Lonesome Dove series. Jones appeared in the original "Lonesome Dove" (1989), while Spacek appeared in "Streets of Laredo" (1995).
- Is third cousin to actor Cillian De Ros.
- She won an Oscar for playing Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980), making her one of thirteen actors to win the Award for playing a real person who was still alive at the evening of the Award ceremony (as of 2007). The other twelve actors and their respective performances are: Spencer Tracy for playing Father Edward Flanagan in Boys Town (1938), Gary Cooper for playing Alvin C. York in Sergeant York (1941), Patty Duke for playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962), Jason Robards for playing Benjamin Bradlee in All the President's Men (1976), Robert De Niro for playing Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980), Jeremy Irons for playing Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune (1990), Susan Sarandon for playing Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking (1995), Geoffrey Rush for playing David Helfgott in Shine (1996), Julia Roberts for playing Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich (2000), Jim Broadbent for playing John Bayley in Iris (2001/I), Jennifer Connelly for playing Alicia Nash (née Alicia López-Harrison de Lardé) in A Beautiful Mind (2001) and most recently Helen Mirren for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006).
- Sissy's Best Actress Oscar nomination for Carrie (1976) is notable in that performances in horror films are rarely recognized by the academy.
- In 1969, under the pseudonym "Rainbo," she recorded a novelty song about John Lennon titled, "John, You've Gone Too Far This Time".
- She was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in March 2001 in Austin, Texas.
- During her audition for Carrie (1976), she wore a dress that her mother forced her to wear to a party when she was in the seventh grade.
- Sissy and Meryl Streep have each won four New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the most of any other actress. Sissy's wins are for 3 Women (Best Supporting Actress, 1977), Coal Miner's Daughter (Best Actress, 1980), Crimes of the Heart (Best Actress, 1986), and In the Bedroom (Best Actress, 2001).
- Born at 12:03 AM (CST).
- According to her commentary on Coal Miners Daughter,Sissy was going to be a singer and auditioned for Decca Records.The label liked but told her she was too similar to another artist they had on their label. That artist was Loretta Lynn.
- Her career has frequently crossed paths with Robert Duvall. She and Duvall appeared together in Four Christmases (2008) and Get Low (2009). Her nephew Stephen Spacek appeared with him in Gods and Generals (2003). Spacek also appeared in 'Streets of Laredo (1995)(TV)', the sequel to 'Lonesome Dove (1989)(TV)', in which Duvall appeared. Spacek also narrates the audio book version of To Kill a Mockingbird, which was also Duvall's first film.