Karen Black



Place of birth:

Park Ridge, Illinois, USA:


Karen Blanche Black (née Ziegler; July 1, 1939 – August 8, 2013) was an American actress, screenwriter, singer, and songwriter. She rose to prominence for her work in various studio and independent films in the 1970s, frequently portraying eccentric and offbeat characters, and established herself as a figure of New Hollywood. Her career spanned over 50 years and includes nearly 200 credits in both independent and mainstream films. Black received numerous accolades throughout her career, including two Golden Globe Awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. A native of suburban Chicago, Black studied theater at Northwestern University before dropping out and relocating to New York City. She performed on Broadway in 1965 before making her major film debut in Francis Ford Coppola's You're a Big Boy Now (1966). Black relocated to California and was cast as an acid-tripping prostitute in Dennis Hopper's road film Easy Rider (1969). That led to a lead in the drama Five Easy Pieces (1970), in which she played a hopeless beautician, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Black made her first major commercial picture with the disaster film Airport 1975 (1974), and her subsequent appearance as Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby (1974) won her a second Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Black starred as a glamorous country singer in Robert Altman's ensemble musical drama Nashville (1975), also writing and performing two songs for the soundtrack, which won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack. Her portrayal of an aspiring actress in John Schlesinger's drama The Day of the Locust (also 1975) earned her a third Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Actress. She subsequently took on four roles in Dan Curtis' anthology horror film Trilogy of Terror (1975), followed by Curtis's supernatural horror feature, Burnt Offerings (1976). The same year, she starred as a con artist in Alfred Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot. In 1982, Black starred as a trans woman in the Robert Altman-directed Broadway debut of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, a role she also reprised in Altman's subsequent film adaptation. She next starred in the comedy Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? (1983), followed by Tobe Hooper's remake of Invaders from Mars (1986). For much of the late 1980s and 1990s, Black starred in a variety of arthouse, independent, and horror films, as well as writing her own screenplays. She had a leading role as a villainous mother in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses (2003), which cemented her status as a cult horror icon. She continued to star in low-profile films throughout the early 2000s, as well as working as a playwright before her death from ampullary cancer in 2013. Description above from the Wikipedia article Karen Black, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia. ​

Film Credits

Deadly Dolls: Deepest Cuts (2018)
Bottomless Pit (2015)
as Karen Black
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)
as Herself (archive footage)
Wild in Blue (2014)
as Justine
She Loves Me Not (2013)
as Karla
Ooga Booga (2013)
as Mrs. Allardyce
Dark Blood (2012)
as Motel Woman
Maria My Love (2012)
as Maria
OowieWanna (2012)
as The Donna
Mommy's Little Monster (2012)
as Mrs. Melnick
Letters from the Big Man (2011)
as Sean's Colleague
Some Guy Who Kills People (2011)
as Ruth Boyd
BBStory: An American Film Renaissance (2010)
as Herself
Henry Jaglom Finds a Safe Place (2010)
as Herself
Nothing Special (2010)
as May
Double Duty (2009)
as Annabelle
Stuck! (2009)
Repo Chick (2009)
as Aunt de la Chasse
Irene in Time (2009)
as Sheila Shivvers
No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos (2009)
as Self
A Single Woman (2008)
as Storyteller
Watercolors (2008)
as Mrs. Martin
Contamination (2008)
as Maxis
Hollywood Dreams (2007)
as Luna
One Long Night (2007)
as Barbara
Suffering Man's Charity (2007)
as Renee
Dead Girls Don't Tango (2007)
as Insp. Wilson
Read You Like a Book (2006)
as Kate
Wanderlust (2006)
as Herself
Whitepaddy (2006)
as Mrs. Leider
America Brown (2005)
as Marianne Brown
Firecracker (2005)
as Sandra / Eleanor
Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula (2005)
as Agrippina
Dr. Rage (2005)
as Molly
WAMEGO: Making Movies Anywhere (2004)
as Self
Paris (2003)
as Chantelle
Harold Buttleman: Daredevil Stuntman (2003)
as Mrs. Buttleman
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
as Mother Firefly
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (2003)
as Herself
Best of Tromadance Film Festival: Volume 1 (2002)
as ("Los Vampirios Moronious" short)
A Light in the Darkness (2002)
as Mrs. Melnick
Teknolust (2002)
as Dirty Dick
Curse of the Forty-Niner (2002)
as Aunt Nelly
The Donor (2001)
as Mrs. Springle
Plotting 'Family Plot' (2001)
as Herself
Gypsy 83 (2001)
as Bambi LeBleau
Soulkeeper (2001)
as Martha la Magnifica
The Independent (2000)
as Herself
Red Dirt (2000)
as Aunt Summer
Oliver Twisted (2000)
as Mrs. Mary Happ
Easy Rider: Shaking the Cage (1999)
as Herself
Mascara (1999)
as Aunt Eloise
Conceiving Ada (1999)
as Lady Byron / Mother Coer
Paradise Cove (1999)
as Ma
Charades (1998)
as Jude
Angel Blue (1998)
as Social Worker
I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998)
as Whip Lady
Invisible Dad (1998)
as Courtney Whitmer
Malaika (1998)
as Jessica Martin
Light Speed (1998)
as High Priestess
Fallen Arches (1998)
as Lucy Romano
Men (1997)
as Alex
Who Is Henry Jaglom? (1997)
as Self
Stir (1997)
as Dr. Gabrielle Kessler
Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)
as June Rhodes
Dogtown (1996)
as Rose Van Horn
Crimetime (1996)
as Millicent
Cries of Silence (1996)
as Rose Walsh
The Wacky Adventures of Dr. Boris and Nurse Shirley (1995)
as Evelyn
Starstruck (1995)
as Bertha
Born to Be Wild: The Story of Easy Rider (1995)
as Interviewee
Plan 10 from Outer Space (1995)
as Nehor
Dinosaur Valley Girls (1995)
as Ro-Kell
Too Bad About Jack (1994)
Fertile La Toyah Video Magazine #2: The Kinky Issue! (1994)
Bound and Gagged: A Love Story (1993)
as Carla
Legend of The Roller Blade Seven (1993)
as Tarot
The Trust (1993)
as Maria Vandermeer
Return of the Roller Blade Seven (1993)
as Tarot
Auntie Lee's Meat Pies (1992)
as Auntie Lee
The Double 0 Kid (1992)
as Mrs. Elliot
Judgement (1992)
Tuesday Never Comes (1992)
as Michelle
The Player (1992)
as Karen Black
Final Judgement (1992)
as Mrs. Sorrel
Quiet Fire (1991)
as Kim Martino
Children of the Night (1991)
as Karen Thompson
The Roller Blade Seven (1991)
as Tarot
Caged Fear (1991)
as Blanche
The Killers Edge (1991)
as Barrett
Ralph S. Mouse (1991)
as Miss Kuchenbacker
Rubin & Ed (1991)
as Rula
Mirror Mirror (1990)
as Susan Gordon
Twisted Justice (1990)
as Mrs. Granger
Club Fed (1990)
as Sally Rich
Haunting Fear (1990)
as Dr. Julia Harcourt
Night Angel (1990)
as Rita
The Children (1990)
as Sybil Lullmer
Zapped Again! (1990)
as Substitute Teacher
Fatal Encounter (1990)
as Joan Caldwell
Evil Spirits (1990)
as Ella Purdy
Overexposed (1990)
as Mrs. Trowbridge
Homer and Eddie (1989)
as Belle
Out of the Dark (1988)
as Ruth Wilson
Dixie Lanes (1988)
as Zelma Putnam
The Invisible Kid (1988)
as Mom
The Legendary Life of Ernest Hemingway (1988)
as Martha Gelhorn
Hostage (1987)
as Laura Lawrence
The Little Mermaid (1987)
as Sea Witch
It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987)
as Ellen Jarvis
Flight of the Spruce Goose (1986)
as Gloria
Invaders from Mars (1986)
as Linda Magnusson
Inferno in diretta (1985)
as Karin
Martin's Day (1985)
Eternal Evil (1985)
as Janus
Savage Dawn (1985)
as Rachel
Bad Manners (1984)
as Gladys Fitzpatrick
Can She Bake A Cherry Pie? (1983)
as Zee
Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
as Joanne
The Last Horror Film (1982)
as Herself (uncredited)
Miss Right (1982)
as Amy
Gräset sjunger (1981)
as Mary Turner
Separate Ways (1981)
as Valentine Colby
Chanel Solitaire (1981)
as Emilienne d'Alençon
Police Story: Confessions of a Lady Cop (1980)
as Investigator Evelyn Carter
Power (1980)
as Rose Vanda-Buchanan
Killer Fish (1979)
as Kate Neville
Mr. Horn (1979)
as Ernestina Crawford
The Last Word (1979)
as Paula Herbert
The Squeeze (1978)
as Clarisse Saunders
In Praise Of Older Women (1978)
as Maya
Because He's My Friend (1978)
as Anne
Capricorn One (1977)
as Judy Drinkwater
The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver (1977)
as Miriam Oliver / Sandy
Burnt Offerings (1976)
as Marian Rolf
Family Plot (1976)
as Fran
Ace Up My Sleeve (1976)
as Susan Winters
Nashville (1975)
as Connie White
The Day of the Locust (1975)
as Faye Greener
Trilogy of Terror (1975)
as Julie / Millicent Larimore / Therese Larimore / Amelia
Airport 1975 (1974)
as Nancy Pryor
Law and Disorder (1974)
as Gloria
The Great Gatsby (1974)
as Myrtle Wilson
Rhinoceros (1974)
as Daisy
The Outfit (1973)
as Bett Harrow
The Pyx (1973)
as Elizabeth Lucy
Little Laura and Big John (1973)
as Laura
Portnoy's Complaint (1972)
as Mary Jane Reid
Cisco Pike (1972)
as Sue
Born to Win (1971)
as Parm
A Gunfight (1971)
as Jenny Simms
Drive, He Said (1971)
as Olive
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
as Rayette Dipesto
Easy Rider (1969)
as Karen
Hard Contract (1969)
as Ellen
You're a Big Boy Now (1966)
as Amy Partlett
The Prime Time (1960)
as Betty

Production Credits

The Invention of Dr. Morel (2000)
Charades (1998)
Men (1997)
Nashville (1975)