After limited stage experience, 19-year-old Kathleen Quinlan made her film debut in American Graffiti. The first stage of her movie career peaked with the starring role as a schizophrenic in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977). She then spent most of the 1980s in secondary roles. Kathleen Quinlan reentered the consciousness of the American filmgoing public with her Oscar-nominated performance as Mrs. James Lovell in Apollo 13 (1995), directed by her American Graffiti co-star Ron Howard. Over the coming decades, Quinlan would prove she'd cemented herself as a bankable force on screen, appearing in such films as A Civil Action, Breach, Poundcake, and Made of Honor. She would also star on the series Family Law and Prison Break.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Suffered from allergy-induced asthma when she was a child; outgrew the condition in her teen years and became an accomplished gymnast, scuba diver and surfer.
- Appeared uncredited in the 1972 drama One Is a Lonely Number, serving as a body double for star Trish Van Devere in a diving scene.
- First credited film role was a one-line part in the 1973 classic American Graffiti; she was chosen by director George Lucas during an audition at Tamalpais High School, where the movie's sock-hop scene was shot.
- Made her New York stage debut in 1979 in Thomas Babe's Taken in Marriage, for which she won a Theatre World Award.
- For her role on the CBS drama Family Law, her contract stipulated that her workday would end no later than 6pm so she could spend more time at home with her family.