Blair Brown

Active - 1973 - 2016  |   Born - Apr 23, 1947 in Washington, District of Columbia, United States  |   Genres - Drama, History

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Trained at the National Theatre School of Canada, Blair Brown distinguished herself as one of the most versatile young actresses at the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival. Shortly after her off-Broadway debut in A Comedy of Errors, Brown made her first, fleeting film appearance as Miss Farranti in The Paper Chase (1973); her "official" starring bow in films came four years later with The Choirboys. Never one to accept roles merely for their box-office potential, Brown has agreed to co-star in chancy film projects with such offbeat screen personalities as Paul Simon (One Trick Pony), John Belushi (Continental Divide), Mark Harmon (Stealing Home), and Richard Jordan (A Flash of Green), who was also her first husband. A frequent visitor to television, Brown has starred in several TV-movies, most notably as Jackie in 1983's Kennedy. She also essayed the title character in the "succès d'estime" seriocomedy series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (1987-1991) which after its network cancellation was kept alive on cable by a small but fervent coterie of fans. While Molly Dodd was on hiatus in 1989, Blair Brown made her first Broadway appearance in Secret Rapture. Though she never became an A-list star, she worked steadily on both the big and small screen. Highlights include her Gertrude opposite Campbell Scott in a 2000 version of Hamlet, Lars Von Trier's 2003 drama Dogville, and a key role in the 2008 sci-fi series Fringe.

Movie Highlights

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  • Originally planned to pursue a career in medicine, but applied to the National Theatre School of Canada on a whim.
  • Made professional stage debut in the Canadian production of Love and Maple Syrup; honed her craft with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Company and regional theaters in productions that included The Merchant of Venice, A Doll's House and The Crucible.
  • First feature-film role was in 1973's hit The Paper Chase
  • Debuted on Broadway in 1976 in The Threepenny Opera
  • In the mid-'70s, was cast in the NBC miniseries Captains and the Kings and the award-winning ABC miniseries Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.
  • Garnered critical acclaim for her sympathetic portrayal of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the 1983 miniseries Kennedy.
  • Star-making series role came in 1987, as titular divorced woman living in New York in the dramedy The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd; she also directed several episodes.
  • Starred as the first female in the Oval Office in the 1992 TV-movie Majority Rule
  • Forayed into voice-over work, during the 1990s and 2000s as narrator of several audio books, films and documentaries, including PBS's American Experience series.