Karen Black (born July 1, 1939) is an American actress, screenwriter, singer and songwriter. She is noted for films such as Five Easy Pieces, The Great Gatsby and Nashville in a career that has spanned five decades.
Black was born Karen Blanche Ziegler in Park Ridge, Illinois, the daughter of Elsie (née Reif), a writer of several prize-winning children's novels, and Norman A. Ziegler. Her paternal grandfather was Arthur Ziegler, a classical musician and the first violinist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Her sister is actress Gail Brown. She attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, for two years, having commenced university studies in 1954, at the age of fifteen. She then moved to New York, where she appeared in a number of Off-Broadway productions. Her first major theatrical and film successes occurred nearly a decade later.
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