Date of Birth: March 28, 1948
This Kansas City, Missouri native was born to an army pilot and a nurse. Due to her father's occupation, Wiest moved around a lot in her youth and gained an interest in ballet. However, her interest switched to theatre at
sweet sixteen, and she worked towards a place at the University of Maryland. She succeeded, but while working towards her theater major, she dropped out
to instead tour with the American Shakespeare Company, where she would go on to win numerous awards for her performances including an Obie, Clarence
Derwent and Theatre World Award.
After a couple of appearances in television movies, she made her feature film debut in It's My Turn in 1980. Several films and telefilms later, she gained industry notice with her powerful performance as the
battered wife in Independence Day (1993).
Woody Allen was especially impressed, and cast her in his next four films including her first Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winning performance in
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). A year later she was introduced to young theatergoers playing the protective mother in The Lost Boys
(1997), followed closely by a strong performance as a struggling single
mother in Parenthood (1989)which garnered her second Oscar nomination.
In 1995, she was recognized by virtually every critics' association as well as the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as
Helen Sinclair in yet another Woody Allen film, Bullets Over Broadway.
Since then she has continued to have strong showings in big budget films such as The Scout (1994), The Horse
Whisperer (1998) and I Am Sam (2002).
Never straying far from her stage roots, she continued to perform onstage, starring in The Summer House, and made her stage directorial debut
in 1985 with Not About Heroes. Wiest also returned to television,
landing a regular role on the popular television series, Law & Order,
playing District Attorney Nora Lewin. She earned an Emmy award for her guest appearance on Road to Avonlea, and played the evil Queen in the telefilm, The 10th Kingdom.
In 2008, she starred opposite Katie Holmes in the revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons on Broadway. She continues to work steadily in film, with roles in features such as Passengers (2008) with Anne Hathaway, Rabbit Hole (2010) with Nicole Kidman, Darling Companion (2012) with Diane Keaton and The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012) with Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton.
Wiest is not married, but has two adopted children, Emily and Lily.