Karen Black

Actor, Screenwriter, Singer
A key female performer of the American film renaissance of the 1970s, Karen Black was known for her warm smile, sturdy-yet-fraught quality and imperfectly set eyes. In 1965, Black won a Drama Critics Award nomination in ... Read more »
Born: 07/01/1939 in Park Ridge, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (140)

New York Crossing 2015 (Movie)

Mrs Tender (Actor)

Firecracker 2014 (Movie)

Eleanor (Actor)

Nothing Special 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Roller Blade Seven 2014 (Movie)

Tarot (Actor)

Dark Blood 2012 (Movie)

Motel Woman (Actor)

Funny or Die Presents... 2009 - 2011 (TV Show)

Actor

Letters from the Big Man 2011 (Movie)

Sean's Colleague (Actor)

Repo Chick 2011 (Movie)

(Actor)

Maria My Love 2010 (Movie)

(Actor)

Some Guy Who Kills People 2010 (Movie)

(Actor)

Watercolors 2010 (Movie)

Mrs. Martin (Actor)

Irene in Time 2009 (Movie)

Sheila Shivvers (Actor)

Stuck! 2009 (Movie)

Next Door Neighbor Lady (Actor)

The Blue Tooth Virgin 2009 (Movie)

Zena (Actor)

Hollywood Dreams 2007 (Movie)

Luna (Actor)

Ghost Writer 2006 (Movie)

(Actor)

America Brown 2005 (Movie)

Marianne Brown (Actor)

Gypsy 83 2004 (Movie)

Bambi LeBleau (Actor)

My Suicidal Sweetheart 2004 (Movie)

Grace's Mom (Actor)

Teknolust 2004 (Movie)

Dirty Dick (Actor)

House of 1,000 Corpses 2003 (Movie)

Mother Firefly (Actor)

Paris 2003 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hard Luck 2002 (Movie)

Aunt Judy (Actor)

Miner's Massacre 2002 (Movie)

Aunt Nelly (Actor)

Rude Awakening 1998 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

The Independent 2001 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Malaika 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Red Dirt 2000 (Movie)

Aunt Summer (Actor)

The Hunger 1997 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Alfred Hitchcock: The E! True Hollywood Story 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Canned Ham: Bowfinger 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Conceiving Ada 1999 (Movie)

Mother Coer (Actor)

Fallen Arches 1999 (Movie)

Duke's Mother (Actor)

I Woke Up Early the Day I Died 1999 (Movie)

Honey Child (Actor)

In the Heat of the Night 1985 - 1986, 1992 - 1993, 1997 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Mascara 1999 (Movie)

Aunt Eloise (Actor)

Party of Five 1985 - 1986, 1998 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Profiler 1985 - 1986, 1997 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Underground Comedy Movie 1999 (Movie)

Mother (Actor)

Dogtown 1998 (Movie)

Rose Van Horn (Actor)

Invisible Dad 1998 (Movie)

(Actor)

Men 1998 (Movie)

Alex (Actor)

Bury the Evidence 1997 (Movie)

(Actor)

Cries of Silence 1997 (Movie)

Rose Walsh (Actor)

Downtown Darlings 1997 (Movie)

(Actor)

Stir 1997 (Movie)

Psychiatrist (Actor)

The Hunger: An MTV Sneak Preview 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Dinosaur Valley Girls 1996 (Movie)

Ro-Kell (Actor)

Modern Rhapsody 1996 (Movie)

(Actor)

Plan 10 From Outer Space 1996 (Movie)

Nehor (Actor)

Crimetime 1995 (Movie)

Millicent (Actor)

Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Who Is Henry Jaglom? 1994 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Bound and Gagged: A Love Story 1993 (Movie)

Carla (Actor)

Auntie Lee's Meat Pies 1992 (Movie)

Auntie Lee (Actor)

Rubin & Ed 1992 (Movie)

Rula (Actor)

The Double O Kid 1992 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Player 1992 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

The Trust 1992 (Movie)

Maria Vandermeer (Actor)

Caged Fear 1991 (Movie)

Blanche (Actor)

Children of the Night 1991 (Movie)

Karen Thompson (Actor)

Evil Spirits 1991 (Movie)

(Actor)

Haunting Fear 1991 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hitz 1991 (Movie)

(Actor)

Test Positive 1991 (Movie)

(Actor)

Club Fed 1990 (Movie)

Sally Rich (Actor)

Night Angel 1990 (Movie)

Rita (Actor)

Overexposed 1990 (Movie)

Mrs Towbridge (Actor)

Quiet Fire 1990 (Movie)

Kim (Actor)

The 14th Annual Circus of the Stars 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The Killers Edge 1990 (Movie)

Barrett (Actor)

Twisted Justice 1990 (Movie)

Mrs Granger (Actor)

Homer and Eddie 1989 (Movie)

Belle (Actor)

Mirror, Mirror 1989 (Movie)

Mrs Gordon (Actor)

Out of the Dark 1989 (Movie)

Ruth (Actor)

The Children 1989 (Movie)

Sybil Lullmer (Actor)

Zapped Again 1989 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Invisible Kid 1988 (Movie)

Mom (Actor)

Dixie Lanes 1987 (Movie)

Zelma Laidlaw (Actor)

Hostage 1987 (Movie)

Laura Lawrence (Actor)

The Little Mermaid 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Cut and Run 1986 (Movie)

Karin (Actor)

Invaders From Mars 1986 (Movie)

Linda (Actor)

It's Alive III: Island of the Alive 1986 (Movie)

Ellen Jarvis (Actor)

Murder, She Wrote 1985 - 1986 (Tv Show)

Actor

Flight of the Spruce Goose 1985 (Movie)

Mother (Actor)

Martin's Day 1985 (Movie)

Karen (Actor)

e/r 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Savage Dawn 1984 (Movie)

Rachel Wade (Actor)

The Blue Man 1984 (Movie)

Janus (Actor)

The Grass Is Singing 1984 (Movie)

Mary Turner (Actor)

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? 1983 (Movie)

Zee (Actor)

Growing Pains 1983 (Movie)

Gladys Fitzpatrick (Actor)

Chanel Solitaire 1981 (Movie)

Emilienne d'Alencon (Actor)

Separate Ways 1981 (Movie)

Valentine Colby (Actor)

Miss Right 1980 (Movie)

Amy (Actor)

Power 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

In Praise of Older Women 1979 (Movie)

Maya (Actor)

The Squeeze 1979 (Movie)

Clarisse (Actor)

Capricorn One 1978 (Movie)

Judy Drinkwater (Actor)

Killer Fish 1978 (Movie)

Kate Neville (Actor)

The Last Word 1978 (Movie)

Paula Herbert (Actor)

Circus of the Stars 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Burnt Offerings 1976 (Movie)

Marian (Actor)

Crime and Passion 1976 (Movie)

Susan (Actor)

Family Plot 1976 (Movie)

Fran (Actor)

Saturday Night Live 1976 (Tv Show)

Actor

Nashville 1975 (Movie)

Connie White (Actor)

Airport 1975 1974 (Movie)

Chief Stewardess Nancy Pryor (Actor)

Law and Disorder 1974 (Movie)

Gloria (Actor)

The Day of the Locust 1974 (Movie)

Faye Greener (Actor)

Ghost Story 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

The Great Gatsby 1973 (Movie)

Myrtle Wilson (Actor)

The Outfit 1973 (Movie)

Bett Jarrow (Actor)

Cisco Pike 1972 (Movie)

Cisco's Girl (Actor)

Little Laura and Big John 1972 (Movie)

Laura (Actor)

Portnoy's Complaint 1972 (Movie)

Mary Jane Reid (Actor)

The Pyx 1972 (Movie)

Elizabeth Lucy (Actor)

Born to Win 1971 (Movie)

Parmalee (Actor)

Drive, He Said 1971 (Movie)

Olive (Actor)

Rhinoceros 1971 (Movie)

Daisy (Actor)

A Gunfight 1970 (Movie)

Jenny (Actor)

Five Easy Pieces 1970 (Movie)

Rayette Dipesto (Actor)

The Shameful Secrets of Hastings Corners 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

Easy Rider 1969 (Movie)

Karen (Actor)

Hard Contract 1969 (Movie)

Ellen (Actor)

You're a Big Boy Now 1966 (Movie)

Amy (Actor)

Mr. Horn (TV Show)

Actor

My Neighbor's Daughter (TV Show)

Actor

Ralph S. Mouse (TV Show)

Actor

Soulkeeper (TV Show)

Actor

Trilogy of Terror (TV Show)

Actor

Where the Ladies Go (TV Show)

Actor
Music (7)

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? 1983 (Movie)

(Music)

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? 1983 (Movie)

(Song)

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? 1983 (Movie)

("The Food Song") (Song Performer)

Nashville 1975 (Movie)

("Memphis") (Lyrics)

Nashville 1975 (Movie)

("Memphis") (Music)

The Pyx 1972 (Movie)

(Song)

The Pyx 1972 (Movie)

(Song Performer)
Writer (3)

Felons 1998 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Men 1998 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Trauma Center 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Writer
Producer (1)

Felons 1998 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

A key female performer of the American film renaissance of the 1970s, Karen Black was known for her warm smile, sturdy-yet-fraught quality and imperfectly set eyes. In 1965, Black won a Drama Critics Award nomination in for her Broadway debut in the short-running "The Playroom," but subsequent work in films limited her stage appearances. After earning praise as the small-town waitress who falls for upper-class drifter Jack Nicholson in "Five Easy Pieces" (1970), Black lent her versatility and unconventional beauty to a number of both offbeat and mainstream films, including Nicholson's "Drive, He Said" (1971), Robert Altman's "Nashville" (1975), in which she sang and earned a Grammy nomination for her efforts, and Alfred Hitchcock's swan song, "Family Plot" (1976). She did well as the sluttish Myrtle in "The Great Gatsby" (1974), but that same year found herself the object of parody for her silly role as a flight attendant forced to try to fly an airplane in "Airport 1975" (1974). She was the party girl who dreams of stardom in "The Day of the Locust" (1975), and memorably portrayed various characters in the cult-classic TV movie "Trilogy of Terror" (ABC, 1975). Although her Hollywood career had petered out by the end of that decade, she remained a cult favorite, and her 2013 death was widely mourned by fans.

Relationships

Charles Black

Husband
Married 1955 Divorced 1962

Gail Brown Actor

Sister

Robert Burton Actor

Husband
Married April 18, 1973 Divorced Oct. 23, 1974

L.M. Kit Carson Screenplay

Husband
Married July 4, 1975 Divorced June 28, 1983

Hunter Carson Actor

Son
Born Dec. 26, 1975; father, L.M. Kit Carson

Stephen Eckelberry Editor

Husband
Married Sept. 27, 1987

Celine Eckelberry

Daughter
Born 1987 Adopted with husband Stephen Eckelberry

Henry Jaglom Director

Companion

Elsie Reif

Mother
Wrote many prize-winning children's books

Norman Zeigler

Father

Arthur Ziegler

Grandfather

EDUCATION

Actors Studio

New York , New York
studied with Lee Strasberg

Northwestern University

Evanston , Illinois
left school to join Hecscher House theater in NYC

Milestones

2007

Cast in thriller "Suffering Man's Charity," directed by Alan Cumming

2003

Appeared in Rob Zombie directed horror feature "House of 1000 Corpses"

1998

Produced mystery drama "Charades"

1996

Made feature writing debut with "Movies Money Murder"

1988

Played an overbearing and possessive mother in "The Invisible Kid"

1988

Cast as Martha Gelhorn opposite Victor Garber in "The Legendary Life of Ernest Hemingway"

1980

Made TV miniseries debut in "Power" (NBC)

1975

TV movie debut, "Trilogy of Terror" (ABC)

1975

Showcased singing talents in "Nashville"

1974

Starred in drama thriller "Airport 1975"

1974

Cast as Myrtle Wilson in "The Great Gatsby"

1969

Landed breakthrough screen role as Jack Nicholson's girlfriend in "Five Easy Pieces"

1967

TV debut as series regular, ABC's "The Second Hundred Years"

1966

Acted in "You're a Big Boy Now," directed by Francis Ford Coppola

1965

Made Broadway debut in "Playroom"

1959

First film appearance, "The Prime Time"

Worked in summer stock from age 14

Studied ballet until age 17 then switched to drama at college

Bonus Trivia

.

Rock band The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black was named in honor of the actress.

.

Black was first diagnosed with ampullary cancer in November 2010. In 2013, she launched a crowd-funding campaign on the website GoFundMe.com, in hopes of undergoing a two-month treatment in Europe.

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