Karen Black (I) (1939–2013)

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Karen entered Northwestern University at 19 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 ... See full bio »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »


Known For

Five Easy Pieces Rayette Dipesto
House of 1000 Corpses Mother Firefly
Nashville Connie White
The Great Gatsby Myrtle Wilson


Hide Hide Show Show Actress (206 credits)
 2021 Deadly Tales IV (Video)
Cheryl Holly (voice)
 2015 Bottomless Pit (Short)
 2015 Wild in Blue
 2013 OowieWanna (Short)
The Donna
 2013 She Loves Me Not
 2013 Ooga Booga
Mrs. Allardyce
 2012 Window Dressing (TV Series)
- Til Beth Do Us Part (2012) ... Beth
 2012 Dark Blood
Motel Woman
 2012/II Vacationland
Louise Bergen
 2012 Warnings from the Bathtub (Short)
 2012 Mommy's Little Monster
Mrs. Melnick
 2011 Maria My Love
 2011 Letters from the Big Man
Sean's Colleague
 2011 Some Guy Who Kills People
Ruth Boyd
 2010 Nothing Special
 2010 Funny or Die Presents... (TV Series)
Debbie Rubbie
- Episode #1.8 (2010) ... Debbie Rubbie
 2010 Better People (TV Movie)
 2010 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (TV Series)
- Choices (2010) ... Jennifer
 2009 First Time Long Time (Short)
Dr. Shneidel
 2009 Double Duty
 2009 Stuck!
Next Door Neighbor Lady
 2009 Repo Chick
Aunt de la Chasse
 2009 Irene in Time
Sheila Shivvers
 2009 Meet the Eye (Short)
 2008 A Single Woman
 2008 The Blue Tooth Virgin
 2008 Watercolors
Mrs. Martin
 2008 Contamination
 2007 One Long Night
 2006 Whitepaddy
Mrs. Leider
 2006 Read You Like a Book
 2006 Hollywood Dreams
 2005 The Straun House
 2005 Firecracker
Sandra / Eleanor
 2005 Crazy for Love
Grace's Mom
 2005 Carma
Kate Burns (voice)
 2005 Love Wine (TV Movie)
Aunt Anita
 2004 Birth of Industry (Short)
 2004 America Brown
Marianne Brown
 2003 Buttleman
Mrs. Buttleman
 2003 The Work of Director Chris Cunningham (Video)
Dancer (segment "Windowlicker")
 2003 Summer Solstice
Dr. Sally McDermott
 2003 Paris
 2003 House of 1000 Corpses
Mother Firefly
 2003 Russians in the City of Angels (TV Series)
Patricia Sommers
- Priklyuchenie (2003) ... Patricia Sommers
 2003 Law & Order: Criminal Intent (TV Series)
Vera Morgan
- Con-Text (2003) ... Vera Morgan
 2002 Curse of the Forty-Niner
Aunt Nelly
 2002 A Light in the Darkness
Mrs. Melnick
 2002 Teknolust
Dirty Dick
 2001 Soulkeeper
Magnificent Martha
 2001 Hard Luck
Aunt Judy
 2001 Gypsy 83
Bambi LeBleau
 2001 The Donor
Mrs. Springle / Françoise's mother
 2000 Oliver Twisted
Mrs. Mary Happ
 2000 Red Dirt
Summer / Griffith's Aunt
 2000 The Independent
Karen Black
 2000 Fallen Arches
Lucy Romano
 1999 Paradise Cove
 1999 Rude Awakening (TV Series)
Crystal Garcia
- One Birthday at a Time (1999) ... Crystal Garcia
- The Grateful Living (1999) ... Crystal Garcia
 1999 Mascara
Aunt Eloise
 1998 Light Speed
High Priestess
 1998 Stripping for Jesus (Short)
 1998 Waiting for Dr. MacGuffin (Short)
Dental Assistant
 1998 Charades
 1998 Party of Five (TV Series)
Doreen Jablonsky
- One Christmas, to Go (1998) ... Doreen Jablonsky
 1998 Malaika
Jessica Martin
 1998 Bury the Evidence
The Mother
 1998 My Neighbor's Daughter (TV Movie)
Social Worker
 1998 Profiler (TV Series)
Evie Long
- Cycle of Violence (1998) ... Evie Long
 1998 Invisible Dad (Video)
Courtney Whitmer
 1997 Dogtown
Rose Van Horn
 1997 Men
 1997 Conceiving Ada
Lady Byron / Mother Coer
 1997 Stir
Dr. Gabrielle Kessler
 1997 The Hunger (TV Series)
Miss Gati / Landlady
- Menage a Trois (1997) ... Miss Gati / Landlady
 1997 Greater Than a Tiger (Short)
 1996 Dinosaur Valley Girls
 1996 Every Minute Is Goodbye
 1996 New York Crossing (TV Movie)
Mrs. Tender
 1996 Children of the Corn: The Gathering (Video)
June Rhodes
 1996 Crimetime
 1996 Sister Island
Rose Walsh
 1995 Starstruck
 1994 The Ramones: Substitute (Music Video)
Mother (uncredited)
 1993 Moon Over Miami (TV Series)
Lorraine Pitzer
- Watching the Detectives (1993) ... Lorraine Pitzer
 1993 The Trust
Maria Vandermeer
 1993 In the Heat of the Night (TV Series)
Carla Ray
- A Dish Best Served Cold (1993) ... Carla Ray
 1993 Movies Money Murder
 1992 Dead Girls Don't Tango
Insp. Wilson
 1992 The Double 0 Kid (Video)
Mrs. Elliot
 1992 Auntie Lee's Meat Pies
Auntie Lee
 1992 Hitz
Tiffany Powers
 1992 Final Judgement (Video)
Mrs. Sorrel
 1992 Tuesday Never Comes
 1992 The Player
Karen Black
 1991 Quiet Fire (Video)
Kim Martino
 1991 Evil Spirits
Ella Purdy
 1991 Children of the Night
Karen Thompson
 1991 The Roller Blade Seven
 1991 Rubin and Ed
 1991 Caged Fear
 1991 The Killers Edge (Video)
 1991 ABC Weekend Specials (TV Series short)
Miss Kuchenbacker
- Ralph S. Mouse (1991) ... Miss Kuchenbacker
 1990 Fatal Encounter
Joan Caldwell
 1990 The Children
Sybil Lullmer
 1990 Haunting Fear (Video)
Dr. Julia Harcourt
 1990 Club Fed
Sally Rich
 1990/I Mirror Mirror
Susan Gordon
 1990 Night Angel
 1990 Zapped Again! (Video)
Substitute Teacher
 1990 Twisted Justice
Mrs. Granger
 1990 Overexposed
Mrs. Trowbridge
 1989 The Legendary Life of Ernest Hemingway (TV Movie)
Martha Gelhorn
 1989 Homer and Eddie
 1989 Miami Vice (TV Series)
Helen Jackson
- Victims of Circumstance (1989) ... Helen Jackson
 1988 Platinum Blonde (Short)
 1988 Out of the Dark
 1988 Dixie Lanes
Zelma Putnam
 1988 The Invisible Kid
Mom / Deborah
 1987 The Hitchhiker (TV Series)
Kay Mason
- Hired Help (1987) ... Kay Mason
 1987 Stevie Wonder: Skeletons (Music Video)
Karen Black
 1985-1987 Faerie Tale Theatre (TV Series)
Sea Witch / Guest Interviewee
- The Little Mermaid (1987) ... Sea Witch
- Grimm Party (1985) ... Guest Interviewee
 1987 Worlds Beyond (TV Series)
Lee Jeffreys
- Suffer Little Children (1987) ... Lee Jeffreys
 1986/II Hostage
Laura Lawrence
 1986 Invaders from Mars
Linda Magnusson
 1986 Murder, She Wrote (TV Series)
Dr. Sylvia Dunn
- One Good Bid Deserves a Murder (1986) ... Dr. Sylvia Dunn
 1985 Savage Dawn
 1985 Eternal Evil
 1985 Martin's Day
 1984-1985 E/R (TV Series)
Sheila Sheinfeld
- Merry Wives of Sheinfeld: Part 2 (1985) ... Sheila Sheinfeld
- Merry Wives of Sheinfeld: Part 1 (1985) ... Sheila Sheinfeld
- Enter Romance (1984) ... Sheila Sheinfeld
 1985 Miss Right
 1984 Full Circle Again
 1984 Cut and Run
 1984 Bad Manners
Gladys Fitzpatrick
 1982 The Last Horror Film
Karen Black (uncredited)
 1981 Chanel Solitaire
Emilienne d'Alençon
 1981 Separate Ways
Valentine Colby
 1981 The Grass Is Singing
Mary Turner
 1980 Police Story: Confessions of a Lady Cop (TV Movie)
Investigator Evelyn Carter
 1980 Where the Ladies Go (TV Movie)
 1980 Power (TV Movie)
Rose Vanda-Buchanan
 1979 The Last Word
Paula Herbert
 1979 Killer Fish
 1979 Mr. Horn (TV Mini Series)
Ernestina Crawford
 1978 The Squeeze
Clarisse Saunders
 1978 Because He's My Friend (TV Movie)
 1977 Capricorn One
Judy Drinkwater
 1977 The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver (TV Movie)
Miriam Oliver / Sandy
 1976 Burnt Offerings
Marian Rolf
 1976 Family Plot
 1976 Crime and Passion
Susan Winters
 1975 Nashville
Connie White
 1975 The Day of the Locust
 1975 Trilogy of Terror (TV Movie)
Julie / Millicent / Therese / ...
 1974 Airport 1975
Nancy Pryor
 1974 Law and Disorder
 1974 The Great Gatsby
Myrtle Wilson
 1974 Rhinoceros
 1973 The Outfit
Bett Harrow
 1973 The Pyx
Elizabeth Lucy
 1972 Circle of Fear (TV Series)
Barbara Sanders
- Bad Connection (1972) ... Barbara Sanders
 1972 Portnoy's Complaint
Mary Jane Reid (The Monkey)
 1971 Born to Win
 1971 Cisco Pike
 1971 A Gunfight
Jenny Simms
 1971/I Drive, He Said
 1970/II Freedom (Short)
 1970 Five Easy Pieces
Rayette Dipesto
 1970 Hastings Corner (TV Movie)
Jenny Honker
 1969 The Name of the Game (TV Series)
Monica Garrison
- Give Till It Hurts (1969) ... Monica Garrison (as Caran Black)
 1969 Easy Rider
 1969 Hard Contract
 1968 Adam-12 (TV Series)
Susan Decker
- Log 132: Producer (1968) ... Susan Decker
 1968 Judd for the Defense (TV Series)
Alethea Staunton
- The Devil's Surrogate (1968) ... Alethea Staunton
 1968 Mannix (TV Series)
Elaine Tate
- License to Kill - Limit Three People (1968) ... Elaine Tate
 1967 Iron Horse (TV Series)
Patricia Dunne
- The Prisoners (1967) ... Patricia Dunne
 1967 The Invaders (TV Series)
Claudia Stone
- The Ransom (1967) ... Claudia Stone
 1967 The Second Hundred Years (TV Series)
- Luke Alikes (1967) ... Marcia
- On Bended Knee (1967) ... Marcia
 1967 The Big Valley (TV Series)
- Days of Grace (1967) ... Carla
 1967 Run for Your Life (TV Series)
Jennifer Palmer
- Tell It to the Dead (1967) ... Jennifer Palmer
 1967 The F.B.I. (TV Series)
Lorraine Chapman
- The Satellite (1967) ... Lorraine Chapman
 1966 You're a Big Boy Now
Amy Partlett
 1960 The Prime Time
Betty - Painted Woman
Show Show Writer (7 credits)
Show Show Composer (1 credit)
Show Show Soundtrack (14 credits)
Show Show Editorial department (1 credit)
Show Show Producer (1 credit)
Show Show Thanks (4 credits)
Show Show Self (62 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (13 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Stage: "Happily Never After" on Broadway, 3/10/66-3/12/66. See more »

Publicity Listings:

3 Interviews | 5 Articles | 10 Pictorials | 14 Magazine Cover Photos | See more »

Official Sites:

Facebook | MySpace | See more »

Alternate Names:

Caran Black | Karen Ziegler


5' 7" (1.7 m)


Stephen Eckelberry  (her death)  (1 child) | See more »


Hunter Carson | See more »


Elsie Ziegler


Gail Brown (sibling) | See more »

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

[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! See more »


Came five votes shy of getting a Best Actress Oscar nomination for The Day of the Locust (1975). See more »


The Hardest Working Woman in Hollywood

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