Diane Ladd

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Diane Ladd, 2007

Diane Ladd (born November 29, 1935 as Rose Diane Lanier in Meridian , Mississippi ) is an American actress , film director and writer . In her acting career, which spanned more than five decades, she had roles in over 120 film and television productions. She was nominated three times for an Oscar .


The daughter of Preston Paul Lanier and Mary Lanier is a distant cousin of the famous playwright Tennessee Williams . Her father was a vet by trade and sold self-made products in the American South. After graduating from high school, Ladd attended a girls' boarding school in New Orleans , sang in church choirs and bands, and devoted himself to the theater. She was discovered by actor John Carradine , who first came across her at the Galley Circle Theater in New Orleans. He then got her a role in the play Tobacco Road . As a teenager, Ladd moved to New York , where she made a living as a secretary, model and dancer in the Copacabana nightclub. She also took acting lessons at the Actors Studio .

In the following years she devoted herself to theater work. She appeared in the National Company production of Michael V. Gazzo's A Hatful of Rain alongside Ben Gazzara and was seen off-Broadway in a performance of Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Rises Down . Parallel to his theater career, the first extras in film followed in Unterwelt (1960) and the drama Wilde Buds (1961). By the late 1960s, she had guest roles in numerous television series, including Auf der Flucht (1964) or Smoking Colts (1964-1967). In 1968 she made her Broadway debut in the less than successful comedy Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights alongside Louis Gossett Jr. and Cicely Tyson .

In the early 1970s she increasingly followed film offers. Her breakthrough as an actress was paved by the supporting role of a cheeky waitress in Martin Scorsese's drama Alice Doesn't Live Here (1974). The part of Flo alongside title hero Ellen Burstyn earned her the BAFTA Award as well as an Oscar and a Golden Globe nomination. In the same year she was part of the acting ensemble of Roman Polański's Oscar-winning film Chinatown .

For the time being, Ladd could not build on her success in further film roles. She then took on the title role in the 1976 Broadway play A Texas Trilogy: Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander , which should bring her a year later a nomination for the Drama Desk Award . She increasingly focused on television work and appeared in the Martin Scorsese-inspired series Alice (1980-1981). She won an Emmy for the supporting role of the southern singer and waitress Belle Dupree . Success in film did not return until the beginning of the 1990s, in each case through projects whose stories were set in the southern states and in which she appeared alongside her daughter Laura Dern . In David Lynch's story Wild at Heart (1990), she played Dern's vengeful, hysterical mother who pits a killer on her future son-in-law (played by Nicolas Cage ). In Martha Coolidge's The Pleasure of the Beautiful Rose (1991), she was seen as the female head of a well-off family who took in a young girl with a dark past (Dern). Both films earned her again nominations for the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. Incidentally, Ladd and Dern are to this day the only mother-daughter team that has been nominated for an Oscar as best actress (s) for the same film (Die Lust der Schöne Rose) .

Other films that Ladd and Dern have starred in include Alexander Payne's comedy Baby Business (1996), Billy Bob Thornton's Daddy and Them (2001) and David Lynch's Inland Empire (2006). In 1994 she also appeared in Dern's directorial debut The Gift . A year later, Ladd wrote the script and directed Mad Mrs. Munck's Diabolical Plan . In the tragic comedy, she also took on the title role alongside her ex-husband Bruce Dern . Her daughter made the documentary Mom And Dad about the filming . From 2011 to 2013 they were again seen as a mother-daughter team in the award-winning US television series Enlightened - Enlightenment with Obstacles .

Diane Ladd lives in Southern California. She was married from 1960 to 1969 to her fellow actor Bruce Dern, whom she met in the theater production of Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Rises Down (1959) and with whom she starred in the feature film The Wild Angels (1966). The marriage resulted in two daughters, Diane Elizabeth Dern (1960–1962) and the actress Laura Dern (* 1967). Her second marriage was to William A. Shea Jr. (1969–1977) married. In 1999 she married the businessman and film producer Robert Hunter. In 2006 Ladd published the self-discovery book Spiraling Through the School of Life .

In November 2010, Diane Ladd was honored with a star in the film category (6270 Hollywood Boulevard ) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

Filmography (selection)

  • 1959: The Big Story (TV series, episode 9x16 The Smell of Death)
  • 1966: The wild angels
  • 1969: The Rogue (The Reivers)
  • 1970: Rebel Riders (The Rebel Rousers)
  • 1970: Macho Callahan
  • 1971: The Steagle
  • 1972: The Tiger Chases the Pack (White Lightning)
  • 1974: Chinatown
  • 1974: Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
  • 1976: November Plan (The November Plan, TV movie)
  • 1976: embryo
  • 1980–1981: Alice (TV series)
  • 1981: All Night Long
  • 1983: Grace Kelly (TV movie)
  • 1983: Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • 1984: Girl of the Month (I Married a Centerfold, TV movie)
  • 1985: Innocent behind bars (Crime of Innocence, TV movie)
  • 1987: The Black Widow
  • 1987: Cheers for the Family (Celebration Family, TV movie)
  • 1988: Storms of the Heart (Bluegrass, TV movie)
  • 1988: Plain Clothes - High School Murder (Plain Clothes)
  • 1989: National Lampoon (Christmas Vacation)
  • 1990: Rock Hudson (TV movie)
  • 1990: Wild at Heart - The Story of Sailor and Lula (Wild at Heart)
  • 1990: The Lookalike ( TV movie)
  • 1991: A Kiss Before Dying (A Kiss Before Dying)
  • 1991: The Lust of the Beautiful Rose (Rambling Rose)
  • 1992: Mystery Ghost (Forever)
  • 1992: Hold me, kiss me, love me (Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me)
  • 1992: Chaotic Spies (Spies Inc.)
  • 1993: Carnosaurus (Carnosaur)
  • 1993: Lullaby of Death (Hush Little Baby, TV movie)
  • 1993: The Seven Best Years (The Cemetery Club)
  • 1993: The Kidnapper (Father Hood)
  • 1995: Mad Mrs. Munck's (Mrs. Munck) diabolical plan
  • 1996: Murderous Heart (Mother)
  • 1996: Baby Business (Citizen Ruth)
  • 1996: The Siege at Ruby Ridge
  • 1997: Adventurous Legacy (The Westing Game)
  • 1997: James Dean - Fast Life, Fast Death (James Dean: Race with Destiny, Movie made for TV)
  • 1998: With all might (Primary Colors)
  • 2000: 28 days (28 days)
  • 2000: Hidden Truth (Sharing the Secret, TV movie)
  • 2000: And is that supposed to be heaven? (Can't Be Heaven)
  • 2001: Final (Aftermath, TV movie)
  • 2001: Daddy and Them - Crazy in Arkansas (Daddy and Them)
  • 2002: Redemption of the Ghost
  • 2002: Talking to Heaven (Living with the Dead, TV movie)
  • 2004: Kingdom Hospital
  • 2005: With Heart and Hand (The World's Fastest Indian)
  • 2006: Come Early Morning - The Way to Me (Come Early Morning)
  • 2007: Nora Roberts - The Wide Sky (Nora Roberts' Montana Sky)
  • 2008: Jake's Corner
  • 2009: American Cowslip
  • 2011-2013: Enlightened - Enlightenment with Obstacles (Enlightened, TV series, 18 episodes)
  • 2012: Deadtime Stories: Grave Secrets
  • 2015: Joy - Anything but Ordinary (Joy)



  • 1975 : nominated as best supporting actress for Alice no longer lives here
  • 1991 : Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Wild at Heart
  • 1992 : nominated as best supporting actress for Die Lust der Schöne Rose

British Academy Film Award

Golden Globe Award

  • 1975: nominated as best supporting actress for Alice no longer lives here
  • 1981: Best supporting actress in a series, multi-part series, or television feature film for Alice
  • 1991: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Wild at Heart
  • 1992: nominated as best supporting actress for Die Lust der Schöne Rose



  • 1993: nominated as best guest actress in a drama series for Dr. Quinn - a passionate doctor
  • 1994: Nominated for Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Grace
  • 1997: Nominated as best guest actress in a drama series for A Touch of Heaven

High Falls Film Festival

  • 2005: Susan B. Anthony 'Failure is Impossible' Award

Independent Spirit Awards

  • 1992: Best supporting actress for Die Lust der Schöne Rose

Temecula Valley International Film Festival

  • 2003: Lifetime Achievement Award

Web links

Commons : Diane Ladd  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Entry at filmreference.com