Born and raised in New Orleans, deep-voiced actress Patricia Clarkson studied drama at Yale. She stayed on the East coast working in theater productions before her feature film debut in The Untouchables (1987) as the wife of Elliot Ness. Continuing to work in film, she gained attention for her role as the drug-addicted Greta in the independent film High Art. Also working in TV, she had reoccuring roles on Wonderland and Fraser, and even won an Emmy award for her role as Sarah on the HBO drama Six Feet Under. She gave memorable performances in her smaller film roles, such as the bedridden wife in The Green Mile. Her career really picked up in 2002 with appearances in such films as the Russo brothers' Welcome to Collinwood, Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven, and Lars von Trier's Dogville. In 2003, Clarkson appeared in several films at the Sundance Film Festival, where she won the Outstanding Performance award for her work in All the Real Girls, The Station Agent, and Pieces of April. She continued to work steadily in projects such as the inspirational hockey drama Miracle, and George Clooney's Oscar-nominated Good Night, and Good Luck. She was part of the high-powered ensemble put together for the box-office disappointment All the King's Men, but remained one of the most in-demand character actresses of her time, In 2007 she appeared in Lars and the Real Girl, Married Life, and No Reservations. In 2008 she began a working relationship with Woody Allen when she was cast in Vicky Cristina Barcelona that continued with Whatever Works. She had a single scene in Martin Scorsese's paranoid thriller Shutter Island in 2010, the same year she appeared in the sleeper hit Easy A. The next year she acted in the romantic drama One Day as well as the comedy Friends With Benefits.
Biography by Andrea LeVasseur
- At 13, was told by a teacher in speech class that she was an actress and should join the drama club, which she did.
- Pursued acting at Yale School of Drama and subsequently launched a career on stage in New York.
- Film debut was as Kevin Costner's wife in The Untouchables.
- Won the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Performance at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival for her work in three films: The Station Agent, Pieces of April and All the Real Girls.
- Her mother, Jacquelyn Clarkson, was a prominent member of the New Orleans City Council.
- Has four older sisters.