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