Signed by Universal in 1950, the perky, redheaded Piper Laurie (born Rosetta Jacobs) was a welcome presence in many a musical, situation comedy and costume drama. In later years, she tended to dismiss her ingenue years, noting that she spent most of her time posing for cheesecake layouts. Thanks in great part to her devastating performance as an alcoholic in the 1958 Playhouse 90 TV drama "The Days of Wine and Roses", Laurie completely altered her cuddly image, reinventing herself as a powerful dramatic actress. She earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Paul Newman's neurotic girlfriend in The Hustler (1961), then suddenly retired from acting upon her marriage to movie critic Joseph Morganstern. She made a brilliant return to films with another Oscar-nominated performance, this time as Sissy Spacek's religious fanatic mother in Carrie (1976). Ten years and several topnotch performances later, she was honored with a third Oscar nomination for Children of a Lesser God (1986). Laurie's television work has included a co-starring assignment opposite a very young Mel Gibson in the superb Australian TV movie Tim (1979) and an Emmy-nominated stint on David Lynch's 1990 "cult" series Twin Peaks. Working only when the spirit moves her in recent years, Piper Laurie has been seen in such prestige productions as Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993) and White Man's Burden (1995).