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Award-Winning Actress

Laura Dern: Biography at a Glance

  • Earned an Emmy for her role on the HBO series “Big Little Lies”
  • Three-time Golden Globe winner and two-time Oscar nominee
  • Produced and starred in the HBO series “Enlightened”
  • Film credits include “Jurassic Park,” “The Master,” “Blue Velvet” and “Little Fockers”
  • Discusses how her experiences have propelled her to become an advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality
Award-Winning Actress

Two-time Academy Award nominee Laura Dern has touched many audiences and critics alike with her moving and heartfelt performances. For her Oscar nominated performance in “Rambling Rose,” Critic Peter Travers explained that Dern "ranks among the best actresses of her generation."  In 2010, in celebration of their family legacy in film and television, Dern, her mother Diane Ladd and father Bruce Dern were awarded with the first ever “Family Star Ceremony” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition to her two Oscar nominations, Dern has received 4 Golden Globe Awards and has been nominated for 6 Primetime Emmy Awards.

In addition to her extensive film and television credits, Dern has been prolific in her producing career with three upcoming projects for HBO including “Tiny Beautiful Things,” “Untitled Alex Gibney Project” and “Untitled Brownie Wise Project.” In 2016, she was also selected to serve on The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors.

Upcoming, Dern will be seen starring in Justin Kelly’s “JT Leroy.” The film, which is based on a true story, examines the life of a young woman named Savannah Knoop spends six years pretending to be the celebrated author JT LeRoy, the made-up literary persona of her sister-in-law. The film also stars Kristen Stewart, Diane Kruger, Jim Sturgess and Courtney Love, among others.

Additionally, Dern will star alongside Emmy Rossum and Liam Neeson in “Hard Powder,” which tells the story of a snowplower who seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. The film is based on the 2014 Norwegian film “In Order of Disappearance.”

Also upcoming, Dern will star alongside Jack O’Connell in Edward Zwick’s “Trial by Fire” telling the story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for killing his three children after scientific evidence and expert testimony that bolstered his claims of innocence were suppressed.

Later in 2017, Dern will also be seen in the highly-anticipated “Star Wars: Episode VIII” alongside Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong’o and Benicio Del Toro. Dern will play newcomer Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo. The film will release in December 2017.

Dern was recently seen reuniting with director Jean-Marc Vallee (“Wild”), Dern starred in HBO’s Emmy-nominated series “Big Little Lies” based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty. The series, which follows three mothers whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder, also stars Alexander Skarsgard, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Nicole Kidman and Zoe Kravitz. The series premiered on February 19th. Dern was awarded a Primetime Emmy Award for her role as Renata.

Also in 2017, Dern was recently seen in the role of Diane in Showtime’s revival of the cult hit crime, mystery series “Twin Peaks.”  Reuniting with director David Lynch, Dern stars alongside Kyle MacLauchlan and Amanda Seyfried. The series premiered on May 27th, 2017.

Starring opposite Woody Harrelson, Laura was seen in Fox Searchlight Pictures’ “Wilson” directed by Craig Johnson.  This hilarious comedy tells the story of a middle-aged, divorced Wilson (Harrelson), who lives in Oakland, California and finds himself lonely, smug and obsessed with his past including a tumultuous relationship with his ex-wife Pipi played by Dern. The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and was released on March 24th, 2017.

Additionally, in 2017, Dern was seen in The Weinstein Company’s biographical drama “The Founder,” which recounts the story of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc played by Michael Keaton.  Dern plays Keaton’s wife Ethel Kroc. The film was released on January 20th, 2017.

In 2016, Dern was seen starring alongside Michelle Williams and Kirsten Stewart in Kelly Reichardt’s drama “Certain Woman,” which premiered this year at Sundance to rave reviews and was released by IFC on October 14th, 2016. The film walks through the lives of three women who intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail.

In 2015, Dern co-starred in Fox Searchlight’s “Wild” for which she earned her second Academy Award nomination for. The film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, is Nick Hornby’s-scripted adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling 2012 memoir and tells the inspiring story of Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) who makes the impulsive decision to try to walk the 1000-mile Pacific Crest Trail alone in a search for meaning in her life after being traumatized and shattered by the death of her mother (Dern).

Also in 2015, Dern was seen in Ramin Bahrani‘s “99 Homes,” a performance that Peter Travers of Rolling Stone described as “Superb.” Dern starred opposite Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon. The film follows Dennis Nash (Garfield), an unemployed contractor whose family is evicted during the economic crisis. In order to get his home back he goes to work for the realtor who evicted him (Shannon) who teaches Dennis the legal and illegal ins and outs of the foreclosure game. Dern plays Lynn Nash, Dennis’s widowed mother who raised him and his nine-year-old son Connor.  The film released on Friday, September 25th.

In 2014, Dern was seen in Fox 2000’s film adaptation of John Green’s best-selling novel “The Fault in our Stars.” Starring alongside Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Nat Wolff, Dern plays the mother of Hazel Grace (Woodley) who falls in love with Augusts Water (Elgort) during a very difficult time in both of their lives as they battle cancer. 

Dern recently received a 2013 Primetime Emmy Award nomination in the category of “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” on behalf of her performance in Season 2 of HBO’s critically acclaimed original series “Enlightened.” Dern earned the 2012 Golden Globe Award in the “Best Actress in a Television Series, Comedy” category on behalf of her performance in Season 1, and the series also garnered a 2012 Golden Globe nomination for “Best Television Comedy.” In addition to starring in the series, Dern also served as the Executive Producer and Co-Creator alongside prolific writer and director Mike White. In this 30-minute, dark comedy Dern played ‘Amy Jellicoe,’ who was introduced to viewers while she was in the midst of experiencing an emotional breakdown at work, which forced her to seek treatment. She came out of treatment “enlightened” and ready to make peace with her mother, ex-husband and former employees and confront her ‘demons’ with a newfound  perspective.  The show reunited her with HBO, where she starred in the 2008 Emmy award-winning ensemble film “Recount.” Season 1 of “Enlightened” premiered on October 10, 2011. The series recently concluded its second and final season on Sunday, March 3, 2013.

In September 2012, Dern was seen in “The Master.” The film, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, also starred Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams and centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man. .

In 2010, Dern was seen in a poignant role in the indie film “Everything Must Go” with Will Ferrell and Rebecca Hall. Dern portrayed ‘Delilah,’ an old high school classmate who assures Will Ferrell’s character, ‘Nick’ he really does have a heart when he visits her out of the blue. The film was directed by first-time director Dan Rush and based on a Raymond Carver short story. The film premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival.

Also in 2010, Dern appeared in Universal Pictures’ “Little Fockers,” the sequel to “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers.” The film also starred Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand. In the film, Dern played ‘Prudence,’ the headmistress of the elementary school that the Fockers' kids attend.

In 2008, HBO’s “Recount” revisited the controversial 2000 presidential election in Florida. Dern starred alongside Kevin Spacey, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley, Jr., John Hurt, Denis Leary, Bruce McGill and Tom Wilkinson. The ensemble cast all played key players in one of the most dramatic events in U.S. history.  For her performance as ‘Katherine Harris,’ Dern earned a 2008 Golden Globe award for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television” and was nominated for an Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award.  The film was written by Danny Strong and directed by Jay Roach.

In 2007, Dern starred in “Year of the Dog” alongside Molly Shannon, Peter Sarsgaard and Regina King.  The movie was written and directed by Mike White. 

In 2006, Dern was seen starring as three different characters in David Lynch’s feature film, “Inland Empire.” The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was screened at the New York Film Festival and AFI Film Festival. At the 2007 Independent Spirit Awards, Film Independent gave their Special Distinction Award to David Lynch and Laura Dern for their collaborative work on this movie, as well as “Blue Velvet” and Wild at Heart.”  The film was shot entirely on digital video.  StudioCanal co-financed the project with Lynch and longtime producing partner Mary Sweeney.

In 2005, Dern filmed the Todd Robinson directed drama “Lonely Hearts,” based on the 1940’s true story of two homicide detectives who track a murderous pair of killers known as the Lonely Heart Killers who lured their victims through personal ads.  Dern played the detective ‘Martha Beck’ alongside John Travolta. 

Also in 2005, Dern appeared in a supporting role in the Don Roos directed dark comedy, "Happy Endings," an ensemble film with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lisa Kudrow, Tom Arnold, Jason Ritter and Bobby Canivale. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and served as the closing night film of the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Dern also appeared with Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson in the 2005 Dreamworks film “The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio,” directed by Jane Anderson. The film told the story of how a single mother raised her ten children by entering a variety of contests in the hopes of winning the rewards. 

In 2004, Dern starred as the complex and conflicted “Terry Linden” opposite Mark Ruffalo in the feature film “We Don’t Live Here Anymore” for Warner Bros. Independent.  Warner Bros. Independent acquired the rights to the film after it received critical acclaim at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.  Directed by John Curran and based on two short stories by Andre Dubus II (“In the Bedroom”), this drama examined the consequences of infidelity which enveloped two marriages.  Dern’s performance earned her strong critical reviews and praise from the industry and her peers and proved once again her chameleon-like ability to become the character’s in which she portrays.

Dern appeared in a diverse selection of roles in three very different feature films in 2001.  She starred alongside Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer in New Line Cinema’s critically acclaimed “I Am Sam,” as Steve Martin’s suspicious dental hygienist girlfriend in Artisan Entertainment’s dark comedy, “Novocaine,” and opposite William H. Macy in “Focus” for first time director Neil Slavin.  “Focus” was screened in competition at the Toronto Film Festival.  Dern also had a cameo appearance that year in Universal Pictures’ “Jurassic Park III,” which re-teamed her with director Joe Johnston and actor Sam Neill.

On television in 2001, Dern delivered a captivating performance in Showtime’s “Damaged Care” in which she portrayed the real-life ‘Dr. Linda Peeno,’ an advocate and whistleblower against HMO’s managed care practices. Dern also served as a producer on this project.  Earlier that year, Dern appeared in Lifetime Television’s “Within These Walls,” opposite Ellen Burstyn. Dern also starred in Showtime Television’s quirky romantic comedy, “Daddy and Them,” a film written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton.

In January of 1999 the Sundance Institute presented Dern with the Piper Heidseick Award for Independent Vision (recently re-named the Sundance Institute to Independent Vision Award), following in the footsteps of previous honorees such as Nicolas Cage, Tim Robbins, Kevin Spacey, Benecio Del Toro and Julianne Moore.  Each year, this award is bestowed by the Sundance Film Festival in recognition of the original voice and vision of an actor whose work reveals commitment to independent spirit and artistic merit.

In 1996, Dern starred in Miramax Films' critically acclaimed black comedy "Citizen Ruth," directed by a newcomer at that time, Alexander Payne (who has since earned an Academy Award for his film, “Election”.)  Dern portrayed a young, glue-sniffing homeless woman whose pregnancy becomes a lightning rod for both Pro-Life and Abortion Rights groups. She received rave reviews by critics such as David Denby of New York magazine who commented, “Laura Dern’s performance is startlingly vivid and detailed….sheer exuberant comedy. She has the gift of transparency” and The Hollywood Reporter which stated, “Dern distinguishes herself as the frazzled, self-destructive Ruth. Dern’s gangly exuberance and trashy thrashings are perfect.”  “Citizen Ruth” was screened at the Montreal Film Festival where Dern was awarded “Best Actress” for her role.

In 1993, she starred opposite Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum in Steven Spielberg's worldwide phenomenon and record-breaking box office success, "Jurassic Park," the first of the trilogy about cloned dinosaurs.   Later that year, she starred opposite Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner in the Warner Brother's film "A Perfect World," which Eastwood also directed.

In one of the most critically applauded performances of the year, Laura Dern received both an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination in 1992 for her performance as 'Rose' in the acclaimed film "Rambling Rose," directed by Martha Coolidge and co-starring her mother, Diane Ladd.  Janet Maslin of The New York Times boldly stated that Dern is weirdly lovable in a “sidesplitting performance proving herself as a terrific physical comedian.” This film upholds its place in history as the first time that a mother/daughter team has earned Academy Award nominations for the same project. 

In 1985, Dern won the Los Angeles Film Critics' New Generation Award for her performance in the coming-of-age story "Smooth Talk" and “Mask.”  She has starred in two films for director David Lynch: "Blue Velvet" in 1986 and "Wild at Heart," winner of the Palme d' Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival, which co-starred her Nicolas Cage.  Dern's other film credits include Robert Altman’s “Dr. T and the Women,” “October Sky,” "Mask," "Fat Man and Little Boy," "Haunted Summer," "Teachers," “Foxes” and "Ladies and Gentleman, The Fabulous Stains."

Dern made her directorial debut with a short film called "The Gift," which aired as part of Showtime's "Directed By" series in October 1994.  The cast included Mary Steenburgen, Bonnie Bedelia, Isabella Rossellini, Mary Kay Place, Peter Horton and her mother, Diane Ladd.

In 1997 Dern was nominated for an Emmy Award and won an American Comedy Award for her guest-starring role in the controversial Puppy Episode of the ABC comedy, "Ellen." She received a 1998 Golden Globe nomination for her role in Jane Anderson's "The Baby Dance," produced by Jodie Foster’s Egg Productions for Showtime. “The Baby Dance” was also awarded with two 1998 Peabody Awards.

Dern received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, as well as Emmy and Cable ACE nominations for her starring role in the 1992 telefilm "Afterburn."   Her other work on television includes Showtime’s critically acclaimed film noir series, “Fallen Angels,” for which she received an Emmy nomination, and Showtime’s original film, "Down Came a Blackbird," which she also produced, opposite Vanessa Redgrave and Raul Julia.

Out of appreciation and respect for the extraordinary gift the Dern family has brought to the big and small screen, The Hollywood Entertainment Museum honored Bruce, Diane and Laura with the Hollywood Legacy Award.

Dern resides in Los Angeles with her two children.

“Laura was amazing and really elevated the whole conference for us.”

LDM | PR

“The luncheon was a success. We all found Laura to be a very down to earth and friendly person. She was very easy to work with.”

YWCA

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