Laura Elizabeth Dern was born February 10, 1967 and is an American actress, director, and producer.
Born to actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, Dern began a full-time acting career in the 1980s with roles in the dramas Foxes (1980) and Mask (1985). She went on to collaborate with David Lynch in several films, including Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990) and Inland Empire (2006), as well as the television revival of Twin Peaks (2017). She received international recognition with her role in the adventure film Jurassic Park (1993). In 1997, Dern guest-starred in the “Puppy Episode” of the sitcom Ellen, in which Ellen DeGeneres publicly came out.
Following roles in such films as Citizen Ruth (1997), October Sky (1999), and I Am Sam (2001), Dern continued to take on supporting roles in several successful films, including The Master (2012), The Fault in Our Stars (2014), and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). Dern won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and a Golden Globe for her role as Renata Klein in the HBO series Big Little Lies (2017–2019).
Dern is an activist for raising awareness about toxic substances that can affect children’s health. She is also a supporter of various charities and an activist for Down syndrome awareness.
She was born in Los Angeles, California, the great-granddaughter of former Utah governor and Secretary of War, George Dern; she was conceived while her parents were filming The Wild Angels. The poet, writer, and Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish was her great-great-uncle.
After her parents’ divorce when she was two years old, Dern was largely brought up by her mother and grandmother. She was raised as a Roman Catholic.
Laura Dern’s film debut was an appearance in her mother’s film White Lightning (1973). She also made a brief appearance in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), one of Ladd’s signature roles. Her mother objected to her 13-year-old daughter’s presence on the set of Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, but Dern sued for and received emancipation. However, Laura Dern claims the emancipation was done solely for professional reasons and that both of her parents supported her in this. By being emancipated, she was able to play more adult roles and work longer hours. In 1982, she became the youngest-ever winner of Miss Golden Globe.
Dern also auditioned for the iconic character Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), but lost the role due to studio’s skepticism about her bankability. In 1992, she and her mother became the first mother and daughter to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting in the same film in Rambling Rose although, unlike in Wild at Heart, they did not play mother and daughter in the film.
In 2018, Dern had the lead role in The Tale, an autobiographical feature film written and directed by Jennifer Fox. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018 and later on HBO on May 26, 2018. In August 2018, Dern was cast as Marmee March in Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation of Little Women which will star Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper. Dern will be reprising her role as Eli Settler in Jurassic World 3 in 2021.
In 2018, she brought activist Mónica Ramírez to the 75th Golden Globe Awards as a guest.
On October 18, 2017, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal, Dern appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and revealed that she had been sexually assaulted at age 14.