Karen Black

Karen Black

  • Born on
    • July 1st, 1939
  • Died on
    • August 8th, 2013
Karen Blanche Black (née Ziegler; July 1, 1939 – August 8, 2013) was an American actress, screenwriter, singer, and songwriter. She rose to prominence for her work in various studio and independent films in the 1970s, frequently portraying eccentric and offbeat characters, and established herself as a figure of New Hollywood. Her career spanned over 50 years and includes nearly 200 credits in both independent and mainstream films. Black received numerous accolades throughout her career, including two Golden Globe Awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. A native of suburban Chicago, Black studied theater at Northwestern University before dropping out and relocating to New York City. She performed on Broadway in 1965 before making her major film debut in Francis Ford Coppola's You're a Big Boy Now (1966). Black relocated to California and was cast as an acid-tripping prostitute in Dennis Hopper's road film Easy Rider (1969). That led to a lead in the drama Five Easy Pieces (1970), in which she played a hopeless beautician, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Black made her first major commercial picture with the disaster film Airport 1975 (1974), and her subsequent appearance as Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby (1974) won her a second Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Black starred as a glamorous country singer in Robert Altman's ensemble musical drama Nashville (1975), also writing and performing two songs for the soundtrack, which won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack. Her portrayal of an aspiring actress in John Schlesinger's drama The Day of the Locust (also 1975) earned her a third Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Actress. She subsequently took on four roles in Dan Curtis' anthology horror film Trilogy of Terror (1975), followed by Curtis's supernatural horror feature, Burnt Offerings (1976). The same year, she starred as a con artist in Alfred Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot. In 1982, Black starred as a trans woman in the Robert Altman-directed Broadway debut of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, a role she also reprised in Altman's subsequent film adaptation. She next starred in the comedy Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? (1983), followed by Tobe Hooper's remake of Invaders from Mars (1986). For much of the late 1980s and 1990s, Black starred in a variety of arthouse, independent, and horror films, as well as writing her own screenplays. She had a leading role as a villainous mother in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses (2003), which cemented her status as a cult horror icon. She continued to star in low-profile films throughout the early 2000s, as well as working as a playwright before her death from ampullary cancer in 2013. Description above from the Wikipedia article Karen Black, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia. ​

Starring Karen Black on Plex


Acting (61 Credits)

2015Wild in Blue as Justine
2013Ooga Booga as Mrs. Allardyce
2012Dark Blood as Motel Woman
2011Some Guy Who Kills People as Ruth Boyd
2010Nothing Special as MayWatch Free
2009Irene in Time as Sheila ShivversWatch Free
2009Double Duty as AnnabelleWatch Free
2009Repo Chick as Aunt de la Chasse
2008Watercolors as Mrs. Martin
2007Suffering Man's Charity as Renee
2006Hollywood Dreams as LunaWatch Free
2005Firecracker as Sandra / Eleanor
2005Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula as Agrippina
2003House of 1000 Corpses as Mother FireflyWatch Free
2003Buttleman as Mrs. ButtlemanWatch Free
2002Curse of the Forty-Niner as Aunt Nelly
2002Teknolust as Dirty Dick
2001The Donor as Mrs. SpringleWatch Free
2001Gypsy 83 as Bambi LeBleau
2001Soulkeeper as Martha la Magnifica
2000Red Dirt as Aunt Summer
1998I Woke Up Early the Day I Died as Whip Lady
1996Children of the Corn: The Gathering as June Rhodes
1996Crimetime as Millicent
1992The Double 0 Kid as Mrs. Elliot
1992The Player as Karen Black
1991Children of the Night as Karen Thompson
1991Rubin and Ed as Rula
1990Mirror Mirror as Susan Gordon
1990Night Angel as Rita
1990Zapped Again! as Substitute Teacher
1989Homer and Eddie as Belle
1988Out of the Dark as Ruth Wilson
1988The Invisible Kid as Mom
1987It's Alive III: Island of the Alive as Ellen Jarvis
1986Invaders from Mars as Linda Magnusson
1985Eternal Evil as JanusWatch Free
1984Cut and Run as Karin
1983Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? as ZeeWatch Free
1982Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean as Joanne
1979Killer Fish as Kate Neville
1978In Praise of Older Women as Maya
1977Capricorn One as Judy Drinkwater
1976Family Plot as Fran
1976Burnt Offerings as Marian Rolf
1975Trilogy of Terror as Julie / Millicent Larimore / Therese Larimore / Amelia
1975The Day of the Locust as Faye Greener
1975Nashville as Connie White
1974Airport 1975 as Nancy Pryor
1974Rhinoceros as Daisy
1974The Great Gatsby as Myrtle Wilson
1973The Pyx as Elizabeth Lucy
1973The Outfit as Bett Harrow
1971Born to Win as Parm
1971Drive, He Said as Olive
1971Cisco Pike as Sue
1971A Gunfight as Jenny Simms
1970Five Easy Pieces as Rayette Dipesto
1969Hard Contract as Ellen
1969Easy Rider as Karen
1966You're a Big Boy Now as Amy Partlett


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