Three-Time Oscar Nominee Piper Laurie Dies at Age 91

TWIN PEAKS, Piper Laurie, 1990-91.
Spelling Entertainment/ Courtesy Everett Collection

Piper Laurie has died at the age of 91.

According to her manager, Marion Rosenberg, the actress most famous for her Oscar-nominated role-playing the deranged mother of Carrie (Sissy Spacek) in Carrie died on October 14th of old age.

“She was an extraordinary talent and a superb human being,” Rosenberg said of Laurie.

Marlee Matlin shared on social of her Children of a Lesser God co-star…

Born Rosetta Jacobs in 1932, Piper first got her start in Hollywood after relocating from Detroit in the early 1950s. She was signed to Universal-International at the age of 17 where they changed her name to Piper Laurie. Her first role was in Louisa (1950) with Ronald Reagan (and the pair dated for a short time). She went on to star alongside many classic icons like Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson as well.

LOUISA, from left: Ronald Reagan, Piper Laurie, listening to playback from their line reading on a wire recorder, 1950

Everett Collection

The two were involved romantically and Laurie stated in a 2011 memoir that the future president had taken her virginity.


THE PRINCE WHO WAS A THIEF, Piper Laurie, Tony Curtis, 1951

Everett Collection

The Prince Who Was a Thief with Tony Curtis in 1951


Eventually, feeling slighted and unhappy with always playing the same types of roles, she broke her $2,000-a-week contract in 1955 and decided to head east and try her hand in TV and theater, while holding out for better film roles. She received Emmy nods from Studio One The Deaf Heart (1958) and Playhouse 90 Days of Wine and Roses (1959). Then in 1961 she got her big break and first Academy Award nomination for playing Sarah Packard in the pool hall movie The Hustler, alongside Paul Newman.

GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER, Piper Laurie, 'Caesar and Cleopatra,' aired April 12, 1959

Everett Collection

General Electric Theater’s Caesar and Cleopatra, aired April 12, 1959


THE HUSTLER, Piper Laurie, Paul Newman, 1961,

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Alongside Paul Newman in the 1961 film, The Hustler where she received her first Oscar nomination. She lost to Sophia Loren.


In 1962, she married theater and film critic Joe Morgenstern and the two settled in Woodstock, NY, where they also adopted a daughter. Stepping away from acting to pursue other interests, she spent her time cooking, creating art and getting involved with the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements.

In 1976, she returned to the silver screen in Brian De Palma‘s vision of Stephen King’s classic novel, Carrie, which she thought was a “joke film,” until it garnered her another Oscar nomination. She continued to act and ten years later, in 1986, she scored another Oscar nomination for Children of a Lesser God and won an Emmy the same year for her role in the TV movie Promise.

TWIN PEAKS, Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle MacLachlan, Piper Laurie, 1990-91.

Everett Collection

Laurie also made a splash on TV playing Catherine Martell on the cult favorite Twin Peaks, for which she won a Best Actress Golden Globe in 1991. She had an assortment of other television roles as well, including Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, ER and the 1983 mini-series The Thorn Birds, just to name a few. She also starred in numerous Broadway and off-Broadway plays, such as The Glass Menagerie (1965).

She is survived by her daughter Ann Grace and ex-husband  Joe Morgenstern; even though the pair divorced in 1981, they remained close until her death.


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