Joanna Cassidy

Active - 1968 - 2015  |   Born - Aug 2, 1945 in Camden, NJ  |   Genres - Drama, Thriller, Comedy, Horror, Mystery

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American actress Joanna Cassidy may not be a household name, but she is well-respected in Hollywood and has appeared in numerous feature films and on television. Before becoming a thespian, Cassidy had spent a year in college as an art major, been married and divorced, and modeled in San Francisco. She first entered films as a bit player in Bullitt (1968) and Fools (1970) then continued modeling while also working in television commercials. Cassidy had her first real part in the police drama The Laughing Policeman (1974). Though it wasn't a large, role, it did lead to her being cast in two more films that year: The Outfit and Bank Shot, in which she received prominent billing. Other notable roles from the '70s include The Stepford Wives (1975) and Stay Hungry (1976). Between 1977 and 1978, Cassidy was part of the short-lived ensemble of the sketch comedy/variety series Shields and Yarnell.

Her film career continued too, but it was not until she played Zhora, the stripper/snakecharmer in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) that she made her biggest impression. She next appeared in Roger Spottiswoode's Under Fire (1983). Despite the early promise of her career, Cassidy, who specializes in playing strong-willed, independent and highly intelligent women, has never found a solid niche in Hollywood's galaxy of major movie stars. Through the '80s, Cassidy appeared most frequently on television in series such as Buffalo Bill (1983) -- where she played Dabney Coleman's girlfriend -- and in guest-starring roles and in various telemovies and miniseries, though she also continued getting supporting roles in various features, notably as Bob Hoskins' long-suffering barmaid girlfriend in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Her film career picked up again in the '90s, but she still primarily appears on television.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Appeared in a 1973 Smokey the Bear public-service announcement.
  • Cold-called casting director Joyce Selznick in 1973 and got a reading for a film that turned out to be The Laughing Policeman; she got the part.
  • Was set to star in 1975's The Stepford Wives, but was replaced by Paula Prentiss after two weeks of shooting.
  • Had the title role in the 1975 TV-adventure Wonder Woman until director Jack Arnold insisted on handing the part to Lynda Carter. 
  • Voiced Insp. Maggie Sawyer in the WB's Superman: The Animated Series and the 2002 video game Superman: Shadow of Apokolips.
  • For the 2007 25th anniversary re-release of Blade Runner: Final Cut, her head was digitally transposed onto that of a stunt performer who had shot the scenes in the original.
  • Thirty years after the release of Blade Runner, she teamed with producer-director Tamela D'Amico to shoot a scene of her replicant character Zhora doing an exotic dance with a snake. The scene had originally been choreographed and rehearsed for the 1982 sci-fi film, but was never shot.
  • An animal activist, she supports Last Chance for Animals.