Laura Elizabeth Dern was born on the 10th of February 1967 to actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. She had early, uncredited, film roles in her childhood, appearing in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore as 'Girl eating ice cream cone' aged 7. She made her debut proper in 1980's Foxes and has worked steadily in film and television ever since.
Acclaim first really came through her mid and late1980's work with Peter Bogdanovich (as Eric Stoltz' blind girlfriend in Mask) and David Lynch (in an innocent role in Blue Velvet and then a much more sexually charged one for 1990 Palme D'Or winner Wild At Heart).
In 1991 Dern and her Mother became the first Mother/Daughter pair to be nominated for Oscars in the same year, and for the same film; Rambling Rose. After Jurassic Park Dern seems to have retreated from the mainstream a bit, working mainly in independent films, however she's as busy as ever despite juggling filmmaking with marriage to singer Ben Harper and raising their children; Ellery and Jaya.
Laura Dern is one of those actresses I'd actually seen in more movies than I was aware of. For me that's a clue to the fact that an actor is very good indeed; it suggests they are so absorbed into their character that it's the character you watch, not the actor.
What really, finally, made me sit up and take notice of Laura Dern was seeing Inland Empire. Her performance is not merely the best I've seen so far this year. I think it's the best I've seen since Julianne Moore's in Boogie Nights which, to give you some context, I consider the best performance I've seen by anyone; ever. Clearly I needed to see more.
This month, since IE I've seen four more of Dern's films, three of which I hadn't seen before, and in each she's been unimpeachably brilliant.
Whether she's bringing weight to Jurassic Park, tearing your heart out as the inspirational teacher of October Sky, charming the pants off you as Rambling Rose, or merely playing an utterly real housewife as she does in Daddy and Them it's near impossible to see the actress for the character.
She's not a big star and I imagine that's because she isn't interested in being one. I doubt the parts on offer are interesting enough for her or that she's interested in being famous at that sort of level. Why she has still got just one Oscar nomination is, frankly, beyond me but that's AMPAS for you.
So, a MASSIVE YAY for Laura Dern; as brilliant a talent as I've come across in years, God knows why I didn't notice that sooner.