Multi-award winning actress Jessica Lange, born on April 20, 1949, has been on screens and stages for many years now. Lange was introduced to a whole younger generation of fans thanks to American Horror Story, I being one of those fans. If it weren't for American Horror Story, I wouldn't know who Ms Lange was! Tragic, right. Recently, she celebrated her 67th birthday, so in celebration of Jessica Lange, here is a flashback of the amazing career she has lead thus far.
Lights! Camera! Kong!
Jessica Lange made her big debut in the 1976 remake of King Kong directed by John Guillermin. Stepping into the shoes of Fay Wray to perform the iconic damsel in distress role, Lange had just come from New York pursuing a modeling career when she caught the attention of producer Dino De Laurentiis. King Kong was a success and earned Jessica Lange her first Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in 1976. The only other film Lange starred in during the '70s was All That Jazz, directed by Bob Fosse.
And the Oscar Goes To...
Lange started the '80s by starring in the crime films How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981). In 1982 Jessica Lange appeared in two films, which earned her her first Golden Globe and Oscar wins. She starred alongside Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, yet the film only won for Best Supporting Actress — which was awarded to Lange. She also took away a Globe. That same year, Jessica Lange gained her second Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role, for her portrayal of actress Frances Farmer, in the biopic titled Frances.
Lange appeared in the TV movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams in 1984. This was the same year she starred in the film Country alongside longtime partner Sam Shepard. The following year, she was up for another Oscar after appearing in another biopic, as the highly acclaimed and successful country singer Patsy Cline, in the film titled Sweet Dreams, after one of Cline's most famous songs.
Lange starred in four more films before the '80s drew to a close. In 1986, she shared the screen with acting legends Diane Keaton and Sissy Spacek. The trio played estranged siblings that reunite after the youngest shoots her husband. In 1988, Lange starred in Sam Shepard's Far North and Taylor Hackford's Everybody's All-American with Dennis Quaid. Lange wrapped up the '80s with Music Box, directed by Costa-Gavras in 1989. Her role gained her multiple award nominations, including her 5th Oscar nom.
The 1990s weren't exactly a quiet year for Jessica Lange. However, many of her projects were overlooked. In other words — they weren't smashing box offices. Nevertheless, Lange had made a name for herself. In 1990, she starred in Men Don't Leave which also included longtime friend and co-star on AHS Kathy Bates. Following that year Lange was in the thriller Cape Fear, and later reunited with Cape Fear co-star Robert De Niro in 1992, when they both lead in Night and the City. Lange also earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work in the 1992 TV movie O Pioneers!
Two time Oscar winner Jessica Lange! You read that correctly. In 1994 Lange won her second Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Lange starred in Blue Sky where she was reunited with Tommy Lee Jones. The two were scene partners in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Lange kept building an amazing filmography after her Oscar success. In 1995 she appeared in three films: Losing Isaiah directed by Stephen Gyllen, Rob Roy directed by Michael Caton-Jones, and the made for TV version of A Streetcar Named Desire directed by Glenn Jordan. In 1997 Lange appeared in A Thousand Acres with Michelle Pfeiffer. Before the '90s ended, Jessica continued her career with 1998 films Hush, Cousin Bette, and finally the 1999 film Titus.
A New Millennium! More Jessica Lange!
Jessica Lange greeted the 2000s by starring in the film adaptation of Elizabeth Wurtzel's memoir Prozac Nation (2001). Within 2003, Lange went on to star in the HBO film Normal alongside Tom Wilkinson, Larry Charles' Masked and Anonymous, and Tim Burton's Big Fish. Two years later, Jessica Lange starred opposite Bill Murray and American Horror Story alumni Frances Conroy and Chloë Sevigny, in Broken Flowers (2005). That same year she appeared in films Don't Come Knocking and Neverwas.
The year 2005 also saw Lange return to the stage to perform in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. She played the mother to Sarah Paulson's character. Both Lange and Paulson would go on to be co-stars in American Horror Story. In 2006, she was reunited with Kathy Bates, as the two starred in Christopher N. Rowley's Bonneville. The next year Lange appeared in the TV movie remake of Sybil (2007). Jessica Lange's next biggest success before hitting the AHS scene, was when she was cast opposite Drew Barrymore in HBO'S Grey Gardens in 2009. The film had critics raving and also earned Lange her first Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.
You Don't Mess With The Supreme!
2011 — the year Jessica Lange joined the hit anthology series American Horror Story. Co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk originally wrote her first character, Constance Langdon, as a supporting role. When Lange signed on though, the character was extended to a lead. Jessica Lange being cast was greatly due to the fact that Ryan Murphy was a big fan of hers, saying he was "obsessed with her" after seeing Lange in A Streetcar Named Desire. Lange appeared in the first four seasons of the show, but didn't return for the 5th. Rumors spread that she was retiring, and Lange finally confirmed (crushing fans) at the 2015 PaleyFest panel. "Yes, I'm done."
During her years on American Horror Story, Jessica Lange also starred in the films The Vow (2012), In Secret (2013) and The Gambler (2014). She can now be seen in the new web series Horace and Pete created by Louis C.K. and has an upcoming film, Wild Oats, also starring Shirley MacLaine.
Cheers to the Supreme!
Sources: IMDb, Deadline, EW