A few months ago I was very excited to get to work with three time Oscar nominee, Diane Ladd. She is one of those rare actresses that can meld into a role so seamlessly that she becomes that character to the core. From Wild at Heart to the wondrous HBO series Enlightened with daughter Laura Dern, she has shown a range that leaves you in awe.
A consumate character actress who has stolen many a film with her twist on a supporting role. Born and raised in Meridian, Mississippi she can play an authentic southern bell but with a biting edge and authenticity no amount of voice coaching can master. A former chorus girl at the Copacabana in New York, she worked her way up through numerous TV shows and B movies before landing her career changing roll of Ida Sessions in Chinatown.
That same year she would earn her first Oscar nod for her scene stealing performance as Flo in one of my all time favorite movies, Alice Doesn't Live Anymore.
These are the must see Ladd films, three of which she was nominated for. Rambling Rose also earned her daughter (who made her debut in Alice) an Oscar nomination. Making them the first and only Mother & daughter to be nominated the same year.
In Enlightened, Diane plays Helen, a widow who's adult daughter (Laura Dern, of course) has a breakdown and returns home after attending a rehab. In this clip, Ladd gives a beautifully subtle but layered performance, mostly without words, opposite the always remarkable Barbara Barrie. I never heard of this show until Laura won a Golden Globe for it last year. I was able to watch it on HBO-Go and devoured the entire season in a weekend.
A distant cousin of Tennessee Williams, Diane also holds a Masters in Psychology and recently wrote an entertaining, semi biographical/ semi inspirational book called Spiraling Through the School of Life. While Enlightened returns in January on HBO with a new highly coveted Sunday night time slot.
Hair & Makeup by Eric Barnard for Aim Artists.
all portraits & content © Lara Rossignol