Lois Smith

Lois Smith Photo


Date of Birth: November 3, 1930

Lois Smith is an American actress whose career has spanned over five decades in theater, television, and film. Born in Topeka, Kansas, she moved to Seattle at the age of 11 with her family. Lois went to school there before attending over two years at the University of Washington’s School of Drama.

Lois' first professional role was on Broadway in Time Out for Ginger, playing Melvyn Douglas’ teenage daughter. This was followed by stage productions of The Young and Beautiful and Blues for Mr. Charlie. In 1988, Smith worked with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre on The Grapes of Wrath and later became a member of the Steppenwolf Ensemble in 1993. Smith has also appeared in many on and off Broadway plays, as well as in regional theatres. Some of these plays include The Front Page directed by Harris Yulin, Defying Gravity directed by Michael Wilson, and Uncle Vanya directed by Harold Clurman.

Lois also performed in television plays, which led to her appearances in many TV films and miniseries. Her earliest television appearance was on the series Kraft Television Theatre in 1953 and in the series Studio One in 1954.

Having appeared in only two television roles, Lois had the fortune to make her film debut in East of Eden (1955), starring James Dean. Smith’s success continued as she landed roles in films such as Fatal Attraction (1987) with Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, Twister (1996) with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, Minority Report (2002) with Tom Cruise, Hollywoodland (2006) with Adrien Brody and Ben Affleck, and Roadie (2011) with Ron Eldard. Smith then had a role as Aunt Mel in Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012). She was also seen in Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird (2017).

Lois had also had the opportunity to perform all kinds of television genres from soap operas to primetime dramas to sitcoms. Notable roles she has played on television include Gracie on ER; Allison Scavo on Desperate Housewives and Adele Stackhouse on True Blood. Lois has also appeared in guest roles on shows such as Frasier, Just Shoot Me!, Touched by an Angel, Cold Case, Law and Order and Grey’s Anatomy.

More recently, she has appeared in regular roles on the TV series The Son (2019) and Ray Donovan (2019-2020). She also played the role of Aunt Butch in the Amazon Studios film Uncle Frank (2020), starring Paul Bettany.

Lois has been nominated for two Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play in both 1990 and 1996. She is the winner of the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1970 and has also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play in 2006.

In 1970, after 22 years of marriage, Lois divorced her husband Wesley Dale Smith. They have one daughter together.


Uncle Frank (2020)
Lady Bird (2017)
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012)
Roadie (2011)
Please Give (2010)
A Dog Year (2009)
Killshot (2008)
Diminished Capacity (2008)
Turn the River (2007)
Griffin & Phoenix (2006)
Hollywoodland (2006)
Little Fugitive (2006)
Sweet Land (2005)
P.S. (2004)
The Best Thief in the World (2004)
Red Betsy (2003)
A Foreign Affair (2003)
Minority Report (2002)
The Pledge (2001)
Tumbleweeds (1999)
Trance (1998)
Hudson River Blues (1997)
Larger than Life (1996)
Twister (1996)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
How to Make an American Quilt (1995)
Holy Matrimony (1994)
Falling Down (1993)
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Hard Promises (1991)
Midnight Run (1988)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Black Widow (1987)
Twisted (1986)
Reckless (1984)
Reuben, Reuben (1983)
Four Friends (1981)
Resurrection (1980)
Foxes (1980)
Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976)
Up the Sandbox (1972)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
The Way We Live Now (1970)
Strange Lady in Town (1955)
East of Eden (1955)