Jessica Lange An adventurer's heart

Anthony Uzarowski

Book - 2023

"Brilliant, beautiful, driven, uncompromising, elusive, iconic--Jessica Lange is one of the most gifted and fascinating actors of her generation. From her rise to fame in Dino De Laurentiis's remake of King Kong (1976) and her Oscar-winning performances in Tootsie (1982) and Blue Sky (1994); to her Emmy-winning work in Grey Gardens (2009) and the American Horror Story series; and her Tony Award-winning turn in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night (2016), Lange has had a long and illustrious career on-screen and onstage. She has worked with some of the most celebrated names in the business, including Jack Nicholson, Bob Fosse, Martin Scorsese, Kim Stanley, Halle Berry, and Kathy Bates. Jessica Lange: An Adv...enturer's Heart, the first full-length biography of Lange, presents a comprehensive study of the life and work of an exceptional actress. Beginning with her upbringing in Minnesota, author Anthony Uzarowski traces Lange's formative years as a restless soul who found solace in art and a life on the road before turning to acting. While critics initially questioned her talent, she refused to be dismissed as yet another pretty face. She continued to study her craft and immersed herself in her roles, honing the poignant and emotionally charged performances for which she is renowned. Lange was introduced to a whole new generation of fans with her acclaimed work in Ryan Murphy's anthology series, American Horror Story. Murphy later created another chance for Lange to shine with his television miniseries, Feud: Bette and Joan, costarring Susan Sarandon. This meticulously researched and wide-ranging biography also gives a glimpse into Lange's carefully guarded private life: her years as a free-spirited artist in the 1960s, her dedication to motherhood, and her legendary partnership with Sam Shepard, which was one of the most passionate, tumultuous, and secretive long-term relationships in Hollywood"--

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
Lexington, Kentucky : University Press of Kentucky [2023]
Language
English
Main Author
Anthony Uzarowski (author)
Physical Description
222 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780813197258
  • 1. Chapter One
  • 2. Chapter Two
  • 3. Chapter Three
  • 4. Chapter Four
  • 5. Chapter Five
  • 6. Chapter Six
  • 7. Chapter Seven
  • 8. Chapter Eight
  • 9. Chapter Nine
  • 10. Chapter Ten
  • 11. Chapter Eleven
  • 12. Chapter Twelve
  • 13. Chapternbsp;Thirteen
  • 14. Chapternbsp;Fourteen
  • 15. Chapter Fifteen
  • 16. Chapternbsp;Sixteen
  • 17. Chapternbsp;Seventeen
  • 18. Chapter Eighteen
  • 19. Chapter Nineteen
  • 20. Chapternbsp;Twenty
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Film historian Uzarowski (Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies) takes a revealing look at actor Jessica Lange in this laudatory biography. He begins with her years as "a shy, dreamy girl, often withdrawn and lost in her own world" in Cloquet, Minn., before she left college to study mime in Paris, dabbled in modeling, and began acting in New York. She first appeared on the big screen in the 1976 remake of King Kong in a part that was mostly dismissed, except by the New Yorker's Pauline Kael, who compared her to Carole Lombard. Substantial roles followed, including Oscar-winning turns in Tootsie and Blue Sky, but despite her acclaim, Lange struggled to find worthy roles until she garnered the attention of Ryan Murphy, whose TV series American Horror Story reintroduced her to the public in 2021. Uzarowski depicts Lange as a serious, hardworking actor who infused her performances with a unique carnality and yearning, and also touches on her personal relationships, including with dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and her famously secretive longtime partnership with Sam Shepard. In brisk prose, he paints a thorough, convincing portrait of Lange as a generational talent. Fans will enjoy this loving tribute to a remarkable artist. (June)

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Review by Library Journal Review

Film historian Uzarowski (coauthor, Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies) illuminates actress Jessica Lange's journey from her upbringing in Minnesota, to modeling in Paris, and to New York, where she began her acting career. Lange achieved fame in the 1980s; in 1983 she showed her range when she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for the stark drama Frances and won the Supporting Actress Oscar for the comedy Tootsie. Uzarowski's biography shines in his careful treatment of the lesser-known aspects of Lange's life, such as her study of photography and mime theater. Particularly enjoyable is the account of her studying with French actor Étienne Decroux in the 1970s. Although Lange has worked steadily in films, TV, and on stage, her career often receives less critical attention than some of her contemporaries, such as Meryl Streep. Uzarowski's comprehensive account and narrative writing style seamlessly blend facts and details gleaned from press and interviews throughout Lange's career to create a stunning portrait of a singular actress. VERDICT A well-researched and highly readable biography that is a must for film studies collections.--Claire Sewell

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