Diane Ladd

Diane Ladd Photo


Birth Name: Rose Diane Lanier

Birth Date: November 29, 1932

A native of Laurel, Mississippi, Ladd is a cousin of the famous playwright, Tennessee Williams. She graduated from high school at the age of 16, and attended a finishing school in the South. Turning down a scholarship to study law at L.S.U., she decided that the life of an actress was what she wanted.

"My first play out of high school was Tom's [Williams] play Orpheus Descending," Ladd recalls of her playwright cousin. "And Bruce Dern played Orpheus."

She married actor Bruce Dern at age 18 and had two daughters with him before getting a divorce in 1969. One drowned, while the other followed in her mother's footsteps and became an Oscar-nominated actress, Laura Dern.

Before making her stage debut in Orpheus Descending, Ladd worked as a model and a dancer at the Copacabana nightclub. In 1961, she made her feature film debut with Something Wild. The rest of the '60s saw her continue to work in film, while focussing on her stage work.

The year 1974 proved a fruitful one for Ladd who received a BAFTA award and Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Flo, a tough-talking woman who helps a recent widow in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. She went on to star as Belle in the TV series Alice and won a Golden Globe for her performance.

More awards and nominations would come her way with strong performances in films like Wild at Heart, Rambling Rose (both starred her daughter Laura) and guest appearances on shows like Touched by an Angel, Grace Under Fire and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. In all, she received three Oscar nominations, four Golden Globe nominations (with one win), an Independent Spirit Award and three Emmy nominations.

A diverse actress, she has worked in films ranging from comedies such as National Lampoon's Vacation, playing Nora Griswold and 28 Days, to dramas like Chinatown and Primary Colors.

In 1995, Ladd made her directorial debut with Mrs. Munck, which she also wrote and starred in with Bruce Dern, Kelly Preston and Shelley Winters. Premiering at the Seattle Film Festival, it was also selected to show at Edinburgh and the Toronto film festivals, which earned her three awards as Best Director.

Ladd has been a member of the Actor's Studio and Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild and was awarded the Eleanor Duse Award. Throughout her years of film and television work, she has continued to give herself to the stage, performing in productions like The Wall, A Hatful of Rain, and Women Speak.

She has been married twice since divorcing Bruce Dern.


AmeriGeddon (2016)
Joy (2015)
Inland Empire (2007)
The World's Fastest Indian (2006)
When I Find the Ocean (2005)
Charlie's War (2003)
Redemption of the Ghost (2002)
Rain (2001)
Daddy and Them (2001)
More Than Puppy Love (2000)
Redemption of the Ghost (2000)
The Law of Enclosures (2000)
28 Days (2000)
Can't Be Heaven (1999)
Route 66 (1998)
Primary Colors (1998)
James Dean: Race with Destiny (1997)
Mother (1996)
Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)
Citizen Ruth (1996)
Raging Angels (1995)
Mrs. Munck (1995)
Carnosaur (1993)
The Cemetery Club (1993)
Father Hood (1993)
Forever (1992)
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me (1992)
Rambling Rose (1991)
A Kiss Before Dying (1991)
Wild at Heart (1990)
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Plain Clothes (1988)
Spies Inc. (1988)
Black Widow (1986)
Sweetwater (1983)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
All Night Long (1981)
Embryo (1976)
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
Chinatown (1974)
White Lightning (1973)
The Steagle (1971)
Macho Callahan (1970)
The Rebel Rousers (1970)
WUSA (1970)
The Reivers (1969)
The Wild Angels (1966)