Jessica Phyllis Lange was born on April 20th, 1949 in Conneticut, USA to parents Albert and Dorothy Lange. Her early life is actually pretty fascinating. She traveled a great deal during her childhood due to her father’s profession as a traveling salesman. She graduated high school and began to further her education at the University of Minnesota where she soon met and fell in love with a Spanish professor, Paco Grande, whom she would eventually marry. The two traveled around the United States and Mexico in a pick-up truck before moving to France in the early 1970’s. When she was in Paris, Jessica began studying mime theatre and was employed as a dancer. She also dabbled in modeling on the side. She returned to the Big Apple in 1973, where she worked as a waitress until she was discovered and cast in a remake of the classic film King Kong.
To say that Jessica has had a successful career is a gross understatement. She is truly an artist at her craft. She definitely is among the ranks of the greats: Streep. Streisand. Roberts. She is mainly considered a film actress, but loves to return to Broadway every now and again. Her practice of method acting is one that has been emulated by several actors and actresses alike.
Some of her most notable film works are King Kong, Frances, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tootsie, A Thousand Acres, Sybil, Blue Sky, Big Fish, and most recently, the American Horror Story franchise. These are only a mere few of the many projects in which she has starred and completely rocked. Her list of notable accolades includes a whopping 47 awards and 120 nominations. She has won an Oscar for Best Actress in a leading role twice ( for Tootsie and for Blue Sky ) She has also received many Emmys and Golden Globes for her work, and most recently won an Emmy for her work in AHS.
Jessica is most comfortable when she is spending time with her dogs and children. She has experienced a very long and successful career and is now focusing on doing things away from her main line of work that she enjoys. For example, Jessica is an avid photographer and has works featured in several galleries throughout the country. Despite her monumental status as one of the Hollywood greats, she lives a very “low-key” life. She loves casual wear and would just as soon spend a Friday night vegged out on the couch as she would spend it out doing extravagant dinner parties and whatnot.
WHY I ADMIRE JESSICA LANGE:
Even though the majority of Jessica’s characters are super high-maintenance and intense, Jessica is one of the most humble human beings to grace the planet. The fact that she performs at such a magnitude is a result not of her desire for fame and accolades, but rather, a result of her genuine love for her craft. She views acting as a “love affair.” Her level of finesse is practically unreachable. She gives every bit of herself in her performances and always brings her A-game. I will never forget watching A Thousand Acres for the first time several years ago and being floored by the way I was able to feel what she was feeling because she expressed the emotions of her character so well. I really can’t praise her enough.
Beyond a work standpoint, I admire Jessica for her devotion to her family and her resignation. To her, acting is a hobby. It is not the thing around which her world revolves. I think that celebrities often make their craft their life (which is not at all a bad thing), but Jessica treats it the same way that I treat my hobbies. Just like I sometimes like to go bike riding, Jessica likes to occasionally act in projects. It’s no big deal to her. That being said, when the time comes for her to take a break, she takes a break. She is very much in control of her life and has handled the balance of fame versus private life incredibly well. I think we should all strive to go about prioritizing the things in our lives as she has done with hers. Do what you want without caring about what comes next. Live in the moment and do the best you can because that’s really all that anyone can ask of you. If you don’t like the direction you’re headed, change directions and do something else that interests you. Even if you love what you are doing wholeheartedly, a healthy break will inspire creativity later on in the game. Do what you want and accept that what you want right now probably will not be what you want two hours from now…and that’s okay!
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotations from Jessica:
“I’ve got nothing left to lose at this point. The work is out there.”
Put your work out there. No matter what you are doing, do it big.
Love and light!