Karen Black

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 ...

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Airport 1975 (1974)

"Something hit us...the crew is dead...help us, please, please help us!" With these terrifying words, 22 of Hollywood's greatest stars find themselves aboard a pilotless jumbo jet headed on a collision course with destruction in the nerve chilling sequel to the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Jack Smight
CAST:  Charlton Heston  •  Karen Black  •  George Kennedy  •  Gloria Swanson

"Something hit us...the crew is dead...help us, please, please help us!" With these terrifying words, 22 of Hollywood's greatest stars find themselves aboard a pilotless jumbo jet headed on a collision course with destruction in the nerve chilling sequel to the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Jack Smight
CAST:  Charlton Heston  •  Karen Black  •  George Kennedy  •  Gloria Swanson

Burnt Offerings (1976)

A couple and their 12-year-old son move into a giant house for the summer. Things start acting strange almost immediately. It seems that every time someone gets hurt on the grounds, the beat-up house seems to repair itself.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Dan Curtis
CAST:  Karen Black  •  Oliver Reed  •  Burgess Meredith  •  Bette Davis

A couple and their 12-year-old son move into a giant house for the summer. Things start acting strange almost immediately. It seems that every time someone gets hurt on the grounds, the beat-up house seems to repair itself.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Dan Curtis
CAST:  Karen Black  •  Oliver Reed  •  Burgess Meredith  •  Bette Davis

Capricorn One (1977)

In order to protect the reputation of the American space program, a team of scientists stages a phony Mars landing. Willingly participating in the deception are a trio of well-meaning astronauts, who become liabilities when their space capsule is reported lost on ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Peter Hyams
CAST:  Elliott Gould  •  James Brolin  •  Brenda Vaccaro  •  Sam Waterston

In order to protect the reputation of the American space program, a team of scientists stages a phony Mars landing. Willingly participating in the deception are a trio of well-meaning astronauts, who become liabilities when their space capsule is reported lost on ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Peter Hyams
CAST:  Elliott Gould  •  James Brolin  •  Brenda Vaccaro  •  Sam Waterston

Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)

Grace Rhodes, who is studying to be a doctor, returns to her hometown as a strange illness is afflicting the local children. The symptoms include a high fever and spasms, but even weirder is what happens the next day: All those with the illness claim they are ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Greg Spence
CAST:  Naomi Watts  •  Jamie Renée Smith  •  Karen Black  •  Mark Salling

Grace Rhodes, who is studying to be a doctor, returns to her hometown as a strange illness is afflicting the local children. The symptoms include a high fever and spasms, but even weirder is what happens the next day: All those with the illness claim they are ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Greg Spence
CAST:  Naomi Watts  •  Jamie Renée Smith  •  Karen Black  •  Mark Salling

Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)

The Disciples of James Dean meet up on the anniversary of his death and mull over their lives in the present and in flashback, revealing the truth behind their complicated lives.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Altman
CAST:  Cher  •  Sandy Dennis  •  Karen Black  •  Sudie Bond

The Disciples of James Dean meet up on the anniversary of his death and mull over their lives in the present and in flashback, revealing the truth behind their complicated lives.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Altman
CAST:  Cher  •  Sandy Dennis  •  Karen Black  •  Sudie Bond

Conceiving Ada (1999)

Emmy Coer, a computer genius, devises a method of communicating with the past by tapping into undying information waves. She manages to reach the world of Ada Lovelace, founder of the idea of a computer language and proponent of the possibilities of the "difference ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Lynn Hershman-Leeson
CAST:  Tilda Swinton  •  Francesca Faridany  •  Timothy Leary  •  Karen Black

Emmy Coer, a computer genius, devises a method of communicating with the past by tapping into undying information waves. She manages to reach the world of Ada Lovelace, founder of the idea of a computer language and proponent of the possibilities of the "difference ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Lynn Hershman-Leeson
CAST:  Tilda Swinton  •  Francesca Faridany  •  Timothy Leary  •  Karen Black

Easy Rider (1969)

A cross-country trip to sell drugs puts two hippie bikers on a collision course with small-town prejudices.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Dennis Hopper
CAST:  Peter Fonda  •  Dennis Hopper  •  Antonio Mendoza  •  Phil Spector

A cross-country trip to sell drugs puts two hippie bikers on a collision course with small-town prejudices.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Dennis Hopper
CAST:  Peter Fonda  •  Dennis Hopper  •  Antonio Mendoza  •  Phil Spector

Family Plot (1976)

Spiritualist Blanche Tyler is asked to locate a missing heir, whom she pursues with her cab driver boyfriend George Lumley, an unemployed actor.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Alfred Hitchcock
CAST:  Barbara Harris  •  Bruce Dern  •  Karen Black  •  William Devane

Spiritualist Blanche Tyler is asked to locate a missing heir, whom she pursues with her cab driver boyfriend George Lumley, an unemployed actor.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Alfred Hitchcock
CAST:  Barbara Harris  •  Bruce Dern  •  Karen Black  •  William Devane

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

A drop-out from upper-class America picks up work along the way on oil-rigs when his life isn't spent in a squalid succession of bars, motels, and other points of interest.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Bob Rafelson
CAST:  Jack Nicholson  •  Karen Black  •  Billy Green Bush  •  Fannie Flagg

A drop-out from upper-class America picks up work along the way on oil-rigs when his life isn't spent in a squalid succession of bars, motels, and other points of interest.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Bob Rafelson
CAST:  Jack Nicholson  •  Karen Black  •  Billy Green Bush  •  Fannie Flagg

Gypsy 83 (2001)

Two young misfits head for New York City to celebrate their idol and muse, Stevie Nicks, at The Night of 1,000 Stevies. Along the road, in order for them to escape their painful pasts, they must discover their strengths and learn self-acceptance.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Todd Stephens
CAST:  Sara Rue  •  Kett Turton  •  Karen Black  •  John Doe

Two young misfits head for New York City to celebrate their idol and muse, Stevie Nicks, at The Night of 1,000 Stevies. Along the road, in order for them to escape their painful pasts, they must discover their strengths and learn self-acceptance.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Todd Stephens
CAST:  Sara Rue  •  Kett Turton  •  Karen Black  •  John Doe

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of serial killers end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Rob Zombie
CAST:  Tom Towles  •  Sid Haig  •  Bill Moseley  •  Sheri Moon Zombie

Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of serial killers end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Rob Zombie
CAST:  Tom Towles  •  Sid Haig  •  Bill Moseley  •  Sheri Moon Zombie

Nashville (1975)

The intersecting stories of twenty-four characters—from country star to wannabe to reporter to waitress— connect to the music business in Nashville, Tennessee.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Altman
CAST:  David Arkin  •  Barbara Baxley  •  Ned Beatty  •  Karen Black

The intersecting stories of twenty-four characters—from country star to wannabe to reporter to waitress— connect to the music business in Nashville, Tennessee.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Altman
CAST:  David Arkin  •  Barbara Baxley  •  Ned Beatty  •  Karen Black

Rubin & Ed (1991)

Reclusive Rubin Farr teams up with vocal but unsuccessful multi-level salesman Ed Tuttle on a quest to bury Rubin's dead cat in the "perfect spot." Their trip takes them across Utah's desert where they have run-ins with Ed's ex-wife Rula and an elusive Andy Warhol ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Trent Harris
CAST:  Crispin Glover  •  Howard Hesseman  •  Karen Black  •  Michael Greene

Reclusive Rubin Farr teams up with vocal but unsuccessful multi-level salesman Ed Tuttle on a quest to bury Rubin's dead cat in the "perfect spot." Their trip takes them across Utah's desert where they have run-ins with Ed's ex-wife Rula and an elusive Andy Warhol ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Trent Harris
CAST:  Crispin Glover  •  Howard Hesseman  •  Karen Black  •  Michael Greene

Teknolust (2002)

Anxious to use artificial life to improve the world, Rosetta Stone, a bio-geneticist creates a Recipe for Cyborgs and uses her own DNA in order to breed three Self Replicating Automatons, part human, part computer named Ruby, Olive and Marine.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Lynn Hershman-Leeson
CAST:  Tilda Swinton  •  Jeremy Davies  •  James Urbaniak  •  Karen Black

Anxious to use artificial life to improve the world, Rosetta Stone, a bio-geneticist creates a Recipe for Cyborgs and uses her own DNA in order to breed three Self Replicating Automatons, part human, part computer named Ruby, Olive and Marine.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Lynn Hershman-Leeson
CAST:  Tilda Swinton  •  Jeremy Davies  •  James Urbaniak  •  Karen Black

The Double 0 Kid (1992)

Lance, a teenager, dreams to be a secret agent when he is suddenly in the middle of an hacker intrigue which aims at an international environmental congress. Lance gets in possession of a computer access card one of which the hackers are in urgent need of for their ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Dee McLachlan
CAST:  Corey Haim  •  Brigitte Nielsen  •  Wallace Shawn  •  Nicole Eggert

Lance, a teenager, dreams to be a secret agent when he is suddenly in the middle of an hacker intrigue which aims at an international environmental congress. Lance gets in possession of a computer access card one of which the hackers are in urgent need of for their ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Dee McLachlan
CAST:  Corey Haim  •  Brigitte Nielsen  •  Wallace Shawn  •  Nicole Eggert

The Player (1992)

A Hollywood studio executive is being sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected - but which one?  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Altman
CAST:  Tim Robbins  •  Greta Scacchi  •  Fred Ward  •  Whoopi Goldberg

A Hollywood studio executive is being sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected - but which one?  (more)

DIRECTION:  Robert Altman
CAST:  Tim Robbins  •  Greta Scacchi  •  Fred Ward  •  Whoopi Goldberg

Trilogy of Terror (1975)

A horror anthology containing three stories: a female college professor is aggressively pursued by one of her students; a prudish brunette determines that her free-spirited blonde sister is evil; and a woman's night turns upside down after she purchases an ancient ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Dan Curtis
CAST:  Karen Black  •  Robert Burton  •  John Karlen  •  George Gaynes

A horror anthology containing three stories: a female college professor is aggressively pursued by one of her students; a prudish brunette determines that her free-spirited blonde sister is evil; and a woman's night turns upside down after she purchases an ancient ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Dan Curtis
CAST:  Karen Black  •  Robert Burton  •  John Karlen  •  George Gaynes

Dark Blood (2012)

Filmed in 1993 but never completed due to River Phoenix's death, Dark Blood tells the story of Boy, a young widower living on a nuclear testing site in the desert. Boy is waiting for the end of the world and carves Katchina dolls that supposedly contain magical ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  George Sluizer
CAST:  River Phoenix  •  Jonathan Pryce  •  Judy Davis  •  T. Dan Hopkins

Filmed in 1993 but never completed due to River Phoenix's death, Dark Blood tells the story of Boy, a young widower living on a nuclear testing site in the desert. Boy is waiting for the end of the world and carves Katchina dolls that supposedly contain magical ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  George Sluizer
CAST:  River Phoenix  •  Jonathan Pryce  •  Judy Davis  •  T. Dan Hopkins

You're a Big Boy Now (1966)

Post-teen virgin moves to New York City, falls for a cold-hearted beauty, then finds true love with a loyal lass.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Francis Ford Coppola
CAST:  Elizabeth Hartman  •  Geraldine Page  •  Rip Torn  •  Michael Dunn

Post-teen virgin moves to New York City, falls for a cold-hearted beauty, then finds true love with a loyal lass.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Francis Ford Coppola
CAST:  Elizabeth Hartman  •  Geraldine Page  •  Rip Torn  •  Michael Dunn

Mirror Mirror (1990)

Shy teenager Megan moves to a new town with her widowed mother and quickly becomes the most unpopular girl in high school. But when she starts to communicate with a mysterious mirror, her tormentors begin to meet with a horrifying series of 'accidents'. Is the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Marina Sargenti
CAST:  Karen Black  •  Yvonne De Carlo  •  William Sanderson  •  Rainbow Harvest

Shy teenager Megan moves to a new town with her widowed mother and quickly becomes the most unpopular girl in high school. But when she starts to communicate with a mysterious mirror, her tormentors begin to meet with a horrifying series of 'accidents'. Is the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Marina Sargenti
CAST:  Karen Black  •  Yvonne De Carlo  •  William Sanderson  •  Rainbow Harvest
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