|Height:||171 cm (5' 8'')|
|Birth Day:||April 29, 1958|
|Birth Place:||Santa Ana, United States|
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|171 cm (5' 8'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Michelle Marie Pfeiffer was born in Santa Ana, California, on April 29, 1958, the second of four children of Richard Pfeiffer, an air-conditioning contractor, and Donna (née Taverna), a housewife. She has one elder brother, Rick (born 1955), and two younger sisters, Dedee Pfeiffer (born 1964), a television and film actress, and Lori Pfeiffer (born 1965). Her parents were both originally from North Dakota. Her paternal grandfather was of German ancestry and her paternal grandmother was of English, Welsh, French, Irish, and Dutch descent, while her maternal grandfather was of Swiss-German descent and her maternal grandmother of Swedish ancestry. The family moved to Midway City, another Orange County community around seven miles (11km) away, where Pfeiffer spent her first years.
Pfeiffer attended Fountain Valley High School, graduating in 1976. She worked as a check-out girl at Vons supermarket, and attended Golden West College where she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. After a short stint training to be a court stenographer, she decided upon an acting career. She won the Miss Orange County beauty pageant in 1978, and participated in the Miss California contest the same year, finishing in sixth place. Following her participation in these pageants, she acquired an acting agent and began to audition for television and films.
Pfeiffer made her acting debut in 1978, in a one-episode appearance of Fantasy Island. Other roles on television series followed, including Delta House, CHiPs, Enos and B.A.D. Cats. Pfeiffer transitioned to film with the comedy The Hollywood Knights (1980), with Tony Danza, appearing as high school sweethearts. She subsequently played supporting roles in Falling in Love Again (1980) with Susannah York and Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981), none of which met with much critical or box office success. She appeared in a television commercial for Lux soap, and took acting lessons at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, before appearing in three 1981 television movies – Callie and Son, with Lindsay Wagner, The Children Nobody Wanted and Splendor in the Grass.
At an acting class taught by Milton Katselas in Los Angeles, she met fellow budding actor, Peter Horton, and they began dating. Pfeiffer and Horton married in Santa Monica in 1981, and it was on their honeymoon that she discovered she had won the lead role in Grease 2. Horton directed Pfeiffer in a 1985 ABC TV special, One Too Many, in which she played the high school girlfriend of an alcoholic student (Val Kilmer); and in 1987, the real-life couple played an on-screen couple in the 'Hospital' segment of John Landis's comedy skit compilation, Amazon Women on the Moon.
Following Scarface, she played Diana in John Landis' comedy Into the Night (1985), with Jeff Goldblum, Isabeau d'Anjou in Richard Donner's fantasy film Ladyhawke (1985), with Rutger Hauer and Matthew Broderick, Faith Healy in Alan Alda's Sweet Liberty (1986), with Michael Caine, and Brenda Landers in a segment of the 1950s sci-fi parody Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), all of which, despite achieving only modest commercial success, helped to establish her as an actress. She finally scored a major box-office hit as Sukie Ridgemont in the 1987 adaptation of John Updike's novel The Witches of Eastwick, with Jack Nicholson, Cher, and Susan Sarandon. The film grossed over $63.7 million domestically, the equivalent to $143.5 million in 2019 dollars.
In 1988, Pfeiffer had an affair with John Malkovich, her co-star in Dangerous Liaisons, who at the time was married to Glenne Headly.
Pfeiffer and Horton decided to separate in 1988, and were divorced two years later; Horton later blamed the split on their devotion to their work rather than on their marriage. After her marriage to Horton, Pfeiffer had a three-year relationship with actor/producer Fisher Stevens. They met when Pfeiffer was starring in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Twelfth Night, in which Stevens played the role of Sir Andrew Aguecheek.
Pfeiffer took the part of the Soviet book editor Katya Orlova in the 1990 film adaptation of John le Carré's The Russia House, with Sean Connery, a role that required her to adopt a Russian accent. For her efforts, she was rewarded with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. Pfeiffer then landed the role of damaged waitress Frankie in Garry Marshall's Frankie and Johnny (1991), a film adaptation of Terrence McNally's Broadway play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, which reunited her with her Scarface co-star, Al Pacino. The casting was seen as controversial by many, as Pfeiffer was considered far too beautiful to play an "ordinary" waitress; Kathy Bates, the original Frankie on Broadway, also expressed disappointment over the producers' choice. Pfeiffer herself stated that she took the role because it "wasn't what people would expect of [her]". Pfeiffer was once again nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama for her performance.
In 1990, Pfeiffer formed her own boutique film production company, Via Rosa Productions, which ran for 10 years. The company allowed her to produce and/or star in films tailored for strong women. She asked her best friend Kate Guinzburg to be her producing partner at the company. The two met on the set of the film Sweet Liberty (1986) and quickly became friends. Kate was the Production Coordinator on the film and became close with Pfeiffer over the course of the shoot. Via Rosa Productions was under a picture deal with Touchstone Pictures, a film label of The Walt Disney Studios. The first film the duo produced was the independent drama Love Field, which was released in late 1992. Reviewers embraced the film and The New York Times felt that Pfeiffer was "again demonstrating that she is as subtle and surprising as she is beautiful". For her portrayal of the eccentric Dallas housewife, she earned nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe for Best Actress – Drama and won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.
Following the formation of her producing company in 1990, Pfeiffer saw a growing professional expansion as a producer. While she continued to act steadily throughout the decade, she and her producing partner Guinzburg experienced a winning streak of producing back to back films next under their Via Rosa Productions header. In the 1994 horror film Wolf, she starred with Jack Nicholson, portraying the sardonic and willful interest of a writer who becomes a wolf-man at night after being bitten by a creature. The film was released to a mixed critical reception; The New York Times wrote: "Ms. Pfeiffer's role is underwritten, but her performance is expert enough to make even diffidence compelling." Wolf was a commercial success, grossing US$65 million (equivalent to $112.1 million) at the domestic box office and US$131 million worldwide (equivalent to $226 million).
Encyclopædia Britannica writes that the actress is "noted for her beauty and air of vulnerability". Pfeiffer has also been regularly called one of the most beautiful women in the world. Ranking the actress among history's most beautiful, talented and famous actresses, Glamour dubbed Pfeiffer "Possibly the most perfect face on the silver screen". The same magazine ranked Pfeiffer among the greatest style icons of the 1980s, calling her "the go-to girl in the 80s for the major studios" and "one of our all-time favourite movie goddesses". Vogue contributor Alice Newbold considers her "ash-blonde hair, piercing blue eyes and porcelain skin" to be her trademark features, traits she has maintained throughout her career. For Interview magazine, Peter Stone described Pfeiffer as a "Blond, sultry, and ethereal" woman with an "unforgettable" face. Harper's Bazaar ranked Pfeiffer the fourth most glamorous "beauty icon" of the 1980s. Complex ranked Pfeiffer 49th on their list of "The 80 Hottest Women of the '80s". During the 1990s, Pfeiffer attracted significant comment in the media for her beauty; in 1990, she appeared on the cover of People magazine's first 50 Most Beautiful People in the World issue. She was again featured on the cover of the annual issue in 1999, having made the "Most Beautiful" list a record six times during the decade (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1999). Pfeiffer is the first celebrity to have appeared on the cover of the annual issue twice, and the only person to be featured on the cover twice during the 1990s. Men's Health ranked Pfeiffer the 45th on their list of "The Hottest Woman of All Time".
Pfeiffer maintains that she has never received formal acting training. Instead, she credits director Milton Katselas with teaching her how to recognize the difference between how an actor thinks a character would behave during a particular scene, and then how the actor him- or herself would behave during that same scene. Vulture.com's Angelica Jade Bastién described Pfeiffer as "an actress of such depth, breadth, and tenacity" that "she obliterates the argument that an untrained actor has less capability than her trained counterparts." In 1992, Rolling Stone's Gerri Hirshey identified Pfeiffer as a "character actress" who is comfortable wearing unflattering costumes, with The Fabulous Baker Boys' Susie Diamond being a notable exception at the time of the film's release. Pfeiffer claims that she rarely accepts traditionally glamorous roles because she finds few of them interesting, opting to play characters that "move" her instead: "I know that if I can hear the character as I'm reading, it's made some connection [with me]." A film critic once summarized the actress as "a character actress in a screen siren's body", a sentiment with which her Scarface co-star and friend Al Pacino agrees. Often commended for her ability to mask her true feelings and emotions, Pfeiffer frequently uses this technique to her advantage in period films, a genre that has become a trademark of hers. Pfeiffer herself has admitted to being skilled in this particular area but at the same time believes that disguising one's feelings is not uncommon, speculating, "that's how most people behave. We may not be as mannered or as proper as people were in the 19th century, but very rarely are we talking about what we're really thinking." Pfeiffer has referred to acting as a "sadomasochistic" profession due to how "brutal" she finds the process can be at times.
In Martin Scorsese's period drama The Age of Innocence (1993), a film adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1920 novel, Pfeiffer starred with Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder, portraying a Countess in upper-class New York City in the 1870s. For her role, she received the Elvira Notari Prize at the Venice Film Festival, and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture. Also in 1993, she was awarded the Women in Film Los Angeles' Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.
In 1993, Pfeiffer married television writer and producer David E. Kelley. She made a brief uncredited cameo appearance in one episode of Kelley's television series Picket Fences and played the title character in To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, for which Kelley wrote the screenplay. Pfeiffer had entered into private adoption proceedings before she met Kelley. In March 1993, she adopted a newborn daughter, Claudia Rose, who was christened on Pfeiffer and Kelley's wedding day. In 1994, Pfeiffer gave birth to a son, John Henry.
Pfeiffer chose to begin the process of dissolving her film production company, Via Rosa Productions, in 1999, and move into semi-retirement in order to spend more quality time with her children and family, meaning that she would continue to star in films sporadically into the 2000s and beyond. Pfeiffer handed her producing partner Guinzburg one final film to produce under the Via Rosa Productions header. The film was called Original Sin (2001). It was originally intended to star Pfeiffer, who later changed her mind as she was looking to work less for a while. The film was produced by her company, but instead starred Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas.
In the Hitchcockian thriller What Lies Beneath (2000), Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford starred as a well-to-do couple who experience a strange haunting that uncovers secrets about their past. While critical response towards the film was mixed, it opened atop at the box office in July 2000, and went on to gross US$291 million worldwide. She then accepted the role of Rita Harrison, a highly strung lawyer helping a father with a developmental disability, in the drama I Am Sam (2001), with Sean Penn. Despite grossing $97.8 million worldwide, the movie received unfavorable reviews; Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote: "Pfeiffer, apparently stymied by the bland clichés that prop up her screechy role, delivers her flattest, phoniest performance ever." Meanwhile, SF Gate observed: "In one scene, she breaks down in tears as she unburdens herself to him about her miserable life. It's hard not to cringe, watching this emotionally ready actress fling herself headlong into false material."
During the 1980s, Pfeiffer typically played smart, funny, sexually attractive and strong female characters. Adam Platt of New Woman observed that Pfeiffer's characters tends to "play the world at a distance, mostly, and are often wise beyond their years. They get romanced, but are not overtly romantic. They may be trashy ... but they all retain an air of invulnerability, a certain classical poise." In a film review for the Miami New Times, director and film critic Bilge Ebiri observed that Pfeiffer "often played women who were somewhat removed from the world", elaborating, "It wasn't so much unapproachability or aloofness that she conveyed, but a reserve that suggested ... melancholy, pain, dreams deferred", even in some of her more comedic performances. Comparing her resumé to actress Barbara Stanwyck, Elizabeth Kaye of The Daily Beast wrote that Pfeiffer's vulnerable characters share a common theme: "the only reasonable expectation is to not expect much." Pfeiffer was one of the most popular actresses of the 1980s and 1990s. In 2002, Amy Longsdorf of The Morning Call dubbed Pfeiffer "one of the most popular and critically acclaimed movie stars in the world." Apart from The Witches of Eastwick, few of the actress' films during this period had been box office successes, an observation Pfeiffer never mentioned to studio heads in fear that they would stop hiring her altogether. However, her performances continued to garner consistently positive reviews despite lackluster ticket sales and several films that critics dismissed as "forgettable". Pfeiffer has managed to establish herself as a "major star" despite having yet to receive top-billing in a blockbuster film. Despite this, by 1999 Variety named Pfeiffer "the female movie star most likely to improve a film's box-office appeal". Pfeiffer has remained one of Hollywood's most in-demand actresses for four decades.
In 2005, Pfeiffer served as the face of Giorgio Armani's spring campaign; the designer has often dressed her for public appearances. In the March 2019 issue of InStyle magazine, she announced her intention to launch a collection of fine fragrances called Henry Rose. The line launched in April, 2019.
Pfeiffer returned to the screen in 2007 with villainous roles in two major summer blockbusters — Hairspray and Stardust. In the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray, she starred with John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Zac Efron and Queen Latifah, in the role of Velma Von Tussle, the racist manager of a television station. Travolta requested that Pfeiffer play the part of the villainess, which was her first film role in five years. A widely positive reception greeted the film upon its release, while it made an impressive US$118.9 million and US$202.5 million worldwide. The cast of Hairspray was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast in a Motion Picture, but won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast, the Hollywood Film Festival Award for Ensemble of the Year and the Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Ensemble Cast. Her next film release, the fantasy adventure Stardust, with Claire Danes, Charlie Cox and Robert De Niro, saw her play the ancient witch Lamia. Filmed before Hairspray, the film premiered three weeks afterwards; it garnered largely positive reviews but, budgeted at US$70 million, it made a modest US$135.5 million globally.
Following a two-year sabbatical from acting, Pfeiffer made part of a large ensemble cast in Garry Marshall's romantic comedy New Year's Eve (2011), her second collaboration with Marshall after Frankie and Johnny. The film, also starring Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Sofía Vergara, among many others, saw her take on the supporting role of Ingrid Withers, an overwhelmed secretary befriending a deliveryman (Efron). While the film was panned by critics, it made US$142 million worldwide. In 2012, she appeared with Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks in the drama People Like Us, as the mother of a struggling New York City corporate trader (Pine). Rolling Stone found her to be "luminous" in the film, and The New York Times, positively pointing out Pfeiffer and Banks, noted that their performances "partly compensate for the holes in a story whose timing is hard to swallow". People Like Us debuted to US$4.26 million, described as "meager" by Box Office Mojo, and only made US$12 million in North America.
Famous for being "press-shy" and private, much like the characters she portrays, Pfeiffer is notorious for disliking interviews, referring to herself as "the worst interviewee that ever was"; her interviews often feature discussions about how nervous the process makes her. Pfeiffer revealed that attending interviews to promote her films would make her very agitated and uncomfortable at one time, but she has always "mastered the art" of maintaining a composed, polite demeanor when performing such responsibilities. However, she maintains that "I still don't believe – and I never will – that it's the actors' responsibility to sell a film." Culture commentators noted that in 2014, Pfeiffer, who was not promoting any movies at the time, had become a "pop-music muse" and was mentioned by name in the lyrics of two separate songs moving up the charts at that time: "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars and "Riptide" by Vance Joy.
Pfeiffer is widely considered among the most talented actresses in Hollywood, as well as one of the greatest actresses of her generation. Despite observing that she lacks the high-profile filmography of contemporaries Anjelica Huston and Meryl Streep, Bastién believes Pfeiffer's through line is the most fascinating among her generation of actresses. Maclean's film critic Brian D. Johnson argued that Pfeiffer has never had an opportunity to demonstrate her true acting range, believing she could potentially be as respected as Streep if allowed the same opportunities. Novelist Steve Erickson, contributing to Los Angeles Magazine, wrote that Pfeiffer "threatened to become one of the four or five great American film actresses of her generation" during her thirties, despite being "past the starlet age". Deemed one of the industry's most compelling actresses by The Daily Beast, Pfeiffer is known particularly for her versatility, boasting a diverse filmography that spans period, romance, fantasy, musical, comedy and drama. In 2016, Salon's Charles Taylor declared no actor of the past decade "has come close to Michelle Pfeiffer for sheer versatility". In another review for Vulture.com, Bastién wrote "Pfeiffer's greatness as an actress rests among several contradictions", concluding, "No modern actress better evokes the rich tension between understanding the currency that comes with being a great beauty and the distaste with being seen at all." Meanwhile, Johnson claims Pfeiffer's performances are sometimes hindered by her own beauty and seeming "lack of ambition", tending to accept "safe, undemanding roles". However, Johnson believes the actress' same lack of ambition "is also what makes her such a good actor", describing her approach as "modest to a fault". Similarly, the San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle remarked that Pfeiffer's own humility makes it "easy to forget" that she is "a great screen actress — not just good, or very good, or interesting, but genuinely great, as in one of the best we have".
Having been a smoker for 10 years, and having a niece who suffered from leukemia for 10 years, Pfeiffer decided to support the American Cancer Society. Her charity work includes as well her support for the Humane Society. In 2016 she also attended the Healthy Child Healthy World's L.A. Gala for people who lead the organizations for children's environmental health and protect those most vulnerable. In December that same year, Pfeiffer, who is a vegan, joined the board of directors for Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group based in Washington. D.C.
Pfeiffer has stated that her lack of acting throughout the 2000s was due to her children, and now with both her children away at college, she intends to "work a lot". She has commented that she feels that her best performance is "still in her", and that she thinks that's what keeps her going. The slew of films that would follow in 2017 would prompt the media to dub her career resurgence a "Pfeiffer-sance". In the independent drama Where Is Kyra?, she starred as a sensitive and fragile woman who loses her mother and "faces a crisis in which she must find a means for survival, all the while hiding her struggles from her new lover". The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2017, and received a limited release on April 6, 2018, to critical acclaim; Her role as Kyra was dubbed the "performance of her life" by Village Voice's Bilge Ebiri, and "the performance of her career", by Rolling Stone.
Pfeiffer landed the role of Ruth Madoff for the HBO Films drama The Wizard of Lies, based on the book of the same name. The film, directed by Barry Levinson, reunites her with actor Robert De Niro, who played her husband, disgraced financier Bernard Madoff. The Wizard of Lies premiered on HBO on May 20, 2017, garnering favorable reviews from critics and an audience of 1.5 million viewers, HBO's largest premiere viewership for a film in four years. Tolucan Times remarked that Pfeiffer "steals the show as Madoff's wife, Ruth, and is a remarkable lookalike", while Los Angeles Times asserted: "As Ruth, Pfeiffer convincingly portrays a pampered woman left with utterly nothing —she's lost her homes, status and, most important, her relationship with her sons." Pfeiffer earned her first Emmy nomination for her performance in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.
In 2017, Pfeiffer received her first Emmy Award nomination for her performance in The Wizard of Lies (2017) portraying Ruth Madoff. On December 11, 2017, it was announced that she had received a 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film nomination for the role.
Pfeiffer then accepted the role of Susie Diamond, a hard-edged former call girl turned lounge singer, in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), which co-starred Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges as the eponymous Baker Boys. She underwent intense voice training for the role for four months, and performed all of her character's vocals. The film was a modest success, grossing $18.4 million in the US (equivalent to $38 million in 2019 dollars ). Her portrayal of Susie, however, drew rave reviews from critics. Critic Roger Ebert compared her to Rita Hayworth in Gilda and to Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, adding that the film was "one of the movies they will use as a document, years from now, when they begin to trace the steps by which Pfeiffer became a great star". During the 1989–1990 awards season, Pfeiffer dominated the Best-actress category at every major awards ceremony, winning awards at the Golden Globes, the National Board of Review, the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress and the Chicago Film Critics Association. Pfeiffer's performance as Susie is considered to be the most critically acclaimed of her career.
Pfeiffer stars as Janet van Dyne in Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp, directed by Peyton Reed. The film was released in theaters July 6, 2018. Critics felt that Pfeiffer used her limited screentime well. Variety's Owen Gleiberman described her presence as "lovely" and "wistful", while Josh Spiegel of Film wrote that the film suffers from a lack of the actress, describing her as "less of a character and more of a MacGuffin" and her performance as "cruelly brief". She reprised her role as Janet van Dyne in Avengers: Endgame along with Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly. In October 2019, Pfeiffer starred in the dark fantasy sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil as the villainous Queen Ingrith.
In October 2019, she will begin work on the dark comedy French Exit, based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Patrick deWitt, directed by Azazel Jacobs. The film will co-star Lucas Hedges and Tracy Letts. On May 11, 2019, it was announced that Pfeiffer would be teaming with actress Annette Bening for the psychological thriller, Turn of Mind, set to be directed by Gideon Raff.
Pfeiffer is mentioned in Vance Joy's 2013 song, "Riptide" ("I swear she's destined for the screen, closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen"). Joy told reporters that the Pfeiffer film moment which led him to include her name in his song was her portrayal of Selina Kyle in Batman Returns. He said, "She comes back to her apartment after being thrown out the window by Christopher Walken and she goes mental. Her apartment's all pink and beautiful, and kind of creepy and infantile, then she just smashes it all up and spray paints stuff and transforms into Catwoman. It's this really kind of sexual scene; it's amazing." Pfeiffer is also mentioned in Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars's 2014 song, "Uptown Funk" ("This hit, That ice cold, Michelle Pfeiffer, That white gold"). In an interview, Ronson told a reporter his favorite Pfeiffer movie was "The Fabulous Baker Boys. I also liked her in Scarface and Tequila Sunrise. She was such a babe." Hip hop vocalist Mahawam released the song "Michelle Pfeiffer" in 2019.
Currently, Michelle Pfeiffer is 63 years, 2 months and 29 days old. Michelle Pfeiffer will celebrate 64th birthday on a Friday 29th of April 2022.
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