To say that Grace Zabriskie has specialized in maternal roles is hardly adequate. Many of the mothers portrayed by Zabriskie in films and on TV are the sort of parents that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy: clinging, castrating, and constantly jabbering away about nothing in particular (to be fair, she has essayed a few benign, likeable moms). She has been prominently featured in such films as Norma Rae (1979), Drugstore Cowboy (1988), and The Big Easy (1989). Her TV work includes the roles of Laura Palmer's hysterical mother in Twin Peaks (1990) and the recurring part of Thada Duvall in the NBC daytimer Santa Barbara. Undoubtedly, Zabriskie's most bizarre screen assignment was her S&M sex scene in Chain of Desire (1991). As brash and outspoken as ever, Grace Zabriskie played Granny in first-time director Anjelica Huston's controversial Bastard Out of Carolina (1996).
photo credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
by Hal Erickson biography