Beverly D'Angelo

Active - 1977 - 2018  |   Born - Nov 15, 1951 in Columbus, Ohio, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Onscreen, versatile, multi-talented Beverly D'Angelo is best remembered for playing Ellen Griswold in the National Lampoon "vacation" series of films but she has appeared in over 50 films and also performs on television and the stage. The daughter of successful musicians, D'Angelo was educated in Europe and studied fine arts but left school at age 17 to become an artist at Hanna-Barbera Studios. For a time she was a folk singer and performed in Canadian coffee houses. She later sang rock & roll with the group Elephant. She tried acting in regional theater and during the early '70s appeared frequently on Broadway, making her debut playing Ophelia in the rock musical Rockabye Hamlet.

D'Angelo made her film debut playing a bit in the Sentinel (1976). Her most highly regarded film role was that of singer Patsy Cline playing opposite Sissy Spacek's Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980). D'Angelo's excellent portrayal won considerable critical acclaim. She imprinted herself into popular culture playing Ellen Griswold in the National Lampoon films Vacation, European Vacation, Christmas Vacation, and Vegas Vacation, and would continue be a consistant presence on screen for years to come, most notably in films like American History X and on the series Entourage.

Movie Highlights

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  • Left home as a teenager to study art in Italy.
  • Worked as an illustrator at Hanna-Barbera Studios and as a singer before pursuing an interest in acting.
  • Made silver-screen debut in the 1979 film adaptation of the musical Hair.
  • Did all her own singing as Patsy Cline in 1980's Coal Miner's Daughter.
  • After her marriage to an Italian aristocrat ended, she took up with Irish writer-director Neil Jordan, who directed her in 1988's High Spirits and 1991's The Miracle.
  • Best known for her role as the matriarch of the quirky Griswold clan in the National Lampoon's Vacation films.