Vale: Piper Laurie

Vale: Piper Laurie

Veteran actor Piper Laurie, best known for Carrie, The Hustler and Twin Peaks, has died, aged 91.

She died of old age early on Saturday, her manager Marion Rosenberg confirmed.

Born Rosetta Jacobs in Detroit  in 1932, she was plucked out of Los Angeles High School at 17 and signed to a Universal contract for $250 a week, which would run up to $1,750 a week after seven years.

Laurie made her screen debut at 17 in Louisa as Ronald Reagan’s daughter, then appeared opposite Francis the talking mule in Francis Goes to the Races.

She had a string of roles with Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis, whom she once dated, including The Prince Who Was a Thief, No Room for the Groom, Son of Ali Baba and Johnny Dark.

But she negotiated herself out of her contract with Universal in the mid-’50s after a series of mediocre films and headed to New York where she appeared in television productions in Days of Wine and Roses, The Deaf Heart and The Road That Led After. Emmy nominations and paved the way for her return to films, including an acclaimed role as Paul Newman’s troubled girlfriend in The Hustler. She went on to receive Academy Award nominations for The Hustler, Carrie, as the mother of the shy telekinetic girl and Children of a Lesser God.

She also featured in the 1979 Australian drama Tim, as an older American woman who developed a realtionship with her young labourer, played by Mel Gibson.

She featured in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks as the villainous Catherine Martell.

On television, she also appeared in such series as St. Elsewhere, Matlock, Murder She Wrote, Frasier, ER, Will & Grace, Touched by an Angel, Diagnosis Murder, Law and Order: SVU, State of Grace, Dead Like Me.

Source: ABC, Variety