Jennifer Jason Leigh

Jennifer Jason Leigh (born February 5, 1962) is a Golden Globe-nominated and two-time NYFCC Award-winning American actress.

Her work has drawn high critical praise. Salon praised her as "one of America's best actors", Paul Verhoeven, who directed her in Flesh & Blood, similarly claimed, "There is no greater actress working in America", and in 1994, Vogue claimed, "Leigh sets a standard that all future film actresses must attempt to match… (She has) an extraordinary range and power. The proof is in her diverse, courageous and mesmerizing body of work." She has already received three separate career tributes – at the Telluride Film Festival in 1993, a special award for her contribution to independent cinema from the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 2002, and a week-long retrospective showing of her film work held by the American Cinematheque at Los Angeles’ Egyptian Theatre in June 2001. In addition to these achievements, Leigh was selected as one of "America's 10 Most Beautiful Women" by Harper's Bazaar in 1As an adult, Leigh gravitated towards portraying fragile, damaged or neurotic characters. She was initially cast as victims – a virginal princess kidnapped and raped by mercenaries in Flesh & Blood (1985), an innocent waitress dismembered with a semi truck in The Hitcher (1986), and a young woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the seedy nightclub inherited from her uncle in Heart of Midnight (1989).

It wasn't until 1990 that Leigh made a significant career breakthrough when she was voted the year's Best Supporting Actress, by both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics for her portrayals of two very different prostitutes: first as the tough, emotionally numb sex worker Tralala in Last Exit to Brooklyn, and then as the sweet waif whose dreams of suburban bliss are shattered by sociopathic ex-con Alec Baldwin in Miami Blues. She then portrayed an undercover narcotics policewoman who becomes a junkie in the line of duty in Rush (1991), and one of her signature roles: Hedy, the psychotic “roommate from hell” in the thriller Single White Female (1992), in which she performs some sexual acts, including fellatio and masturbation. She then played a fast-talking, hard-as-nails reporter who has her heart melted by Tim Robbins in the Coen Brothers’ surreal comic fantasy The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), and won many awards for her eccentrically-mannered portrayal of the writer and poetess Dorothy Parker in Alan Rudolph's Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994). Some criticized Leigh's decision to deliver dialogue in a slurring, lock-jawed mumble, but her speech was an accurate impersonation of Dorothy Parker; she received a Golden Globe nomination and Best Actress awards from the National Society of Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics Association and Fort Lauderdale Film Critics.

Jennifer Jason Leigh

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