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Karen Black Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trivia (17) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 1 July 1939Park Ridge, Illinois, USA
Date of Death 8 August 2013Los Angeles, California, USA  (ampullary cancer)
Birth NameKaren Blanche Ziegler
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Karen Black entered Northwestern University at 15 and left two years later. She studied under Lee Strasberg in New York and worked in a number of off-Broadway roles. She made a critically acclaimed debut on Broadway in 1965 in "The Playroom". Her first big film role was in You're a Big Boy Now (1966), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Shortly after wards, she appeared as Marcia in the TV series The Second Hundred Years (1967).

The film that made her a star was Easy Rider (1969), where she worked with Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and a supporting actor named Jack Nicholson. She appeared with Nicholson again the next year when they starred in Five Easy Pieces (1970), which garnered an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe for Karen. Her roles mainly consisted of waitresses, hookers and women on the edge. Some of her later films were disappointments at the box office, but she did receive another Golden Globe for The Great Gatsby (1974). One role for which she is well remembered is that of the jewel thief in Alfred Hitchcock's last film, Family Plot (1976). Another is as the woman terrorized in her apartment by a murderous Zuni doll come to life in the well received TV movie Trilogy of Terror (1975). After a number of forgettable movies, she again won rave reviews for her role in Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982). Since then, her film career has been busy, but the quality of the films has been uneven.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Spouse (4)

Stephen Eckelberry (27 September 1987 - 8 August 2013) (her death) (1 child)
L.M. Kit Carson (4 July 1975 - 28 June 1983) (divorced) (1 child)
Robert Burton (18 April 1973 - 23 October 1974) (divorced)
Charles Black (1960 - ?) (divorced)

Trivia (17)

Mother of Hunter Carson with L.M. Kit Carson.
Godmother of Dylan Purcell. His mother, Lee Purcell, is the godmother of Karen's children, Hunter Carson and Celine Eckelberry.
Is the highest ranked actress on the "Oracle of Bacon" website (and 21st overall), which uses the IMDB database to determine which actors can be linked by the highest number of other actors in the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" trivia game.
Has a cult glam-punk band named after her. Called The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Kembra Pfahler is the American performance artist and singer/rock musician who fronts it. She is known for the often sexual nature of her pieces.
She and her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, are active in the Church of Scientology.
Guitarist Abby Normal featured a song, titled "Scream Karen Black", on his solo project album, "Midnight Creature Feature Picture Show".
She adopted a daughter, Celine Eckelberry (born 1987), with her husband Stephen Eckelberry.
Wrote the songs "Memphis" and "Rolling Stone" which she performed in character as country singer Connie White in the movie Nashville (1975). As a result she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Series.
Launched her career as a playwright in May 2007 with the opening of "Missouri Waltz" in Los Angeles; Black starred in the play as well. The piece is conceived as a play with music, rather than a musical.
Made her Broadway debut in 1965's "The Playroom", which ran less than a month. She received great reviews, however, and nominated for a Drama Circle Critics Award for Best Actress.
Attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, for two years before moving to New York, where she studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actor's Studio and appeared in a number of Off-Broadway productions.
The second daughter of William and Elsie Ziegler, her mother, who went by her maiden name of Elsie Reif, was a writer of several prize-winning children's novels; her paternal grandfather was Arthur Ziegler, a classical musician and the first violinist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Was married to actor Robert Burton at the time they filmed the cult TV-movie Trilogy of Terror (1975). Ms. Black initially turned the role down but eventually accepted when Robert was selected for a lead role in one of the three segments. Karen plays a college English teacher and he plays an obsessed student who stalks her. The couple was already divorced (after less than two years) by the time the TV-movie premiered in March of 1975.
Considers Kris Kristofferson to be the most attractive male star she has ever worked with. She especially liked his voice.
Diagnosed with ampullary cancer in November 2010 and had a third of her pancreas immediately removed. Though declared cancer-free in 2011, had relapsed and underwent two operations in 2012.
She is of German, Bohemian (Czech), and Norwegian descent.
Sister of Gail Brown.

Personal Quotes (5)

My God, there aren't any more movie stars, which is terrific with me, it's very healthy. A lot of love now occurs in the business, people helping each other to do good work, getting high on each other's success. Isn't that great?
[on the craft of acting] That's really what acting is: you imagine things, then you respond naturally to what you've imagined.
Every time you do a part you try to find out what it would really be like to be that person, no matter who she is.
Bob Rafelson, director of Five Easy Pieces (1970) and her character in it] Rafelson thought I might be too complex for Rayette, but I told him I'm essentially simple, that really everybody is essentially simple, that we are all just beings who, uh, be. Certainly Rayette can just be. dig her, she's not dumb, she's just not into thinking. I didn't have to know anybody like her to play her. I mean, I'm like her, in ways. Rayette enjoys things as she sees them, she doesn't have to add significances. She can just love the dog, love the cat. See? There are many things she does not know, but that's cool; she doesn't intrude on anybody else's trip. And she's going to survive. Do you understand me?
[on Alfred Hitchcock] We'd do limericks together. One day he pulled up his shirt to show me his belly-button - which he didn't have. He'd had an operation and when they sewed him up they took it away. His belly-button was gone!

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