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Grace Zabriskie

Grace Zabriskie

Grace Zabriskie (née Caplinger; born May 17, 1941) is an American actress. She is known for her roles as Sarah Palmer in Twin Peaks (1990–1991; 2017) and its film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), Lois Henrickson in Big Love, as well as in cult films such as two of David Lynch's films: Juana Durango in Wild at Heart (1990) and Visitor #1 in Inland Empire (2006). Other film roles include Norma Rae (1979), An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), Nickel Mountain (1984), The Big Easy (1986), Leonard Part 6 (1987), Drugstore Cowboy (1989), Child's Play 2 (1990), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993), Armageddon (1998), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), and The Grudge (2004). She is also known for her recurring roles on such shows as Seinfeld (as George's fiancée Susan's mother), Charmed, and Ray Donovan.

Early life

Zabriskie was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Marion Grace (née Zabriskie), of Wyckoff, New Jersey, and Roger Thomas "Tom" Caplinger. Her mother had distant Polish and Dutch ancestry, and was a relative of James Zabriskie, a 19th-century railroad industrialist and early pioneer of California. Zabriskie has said that her family was visited by Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote during her childhood. Her father owned the famous French quarter gay bar Cafe Lafitte in Exile.

In the early 1960s, Zabriskie was among a circle of Kerry Thornley's New Orleans friends. At one point, Thornley began work on a novel about her titled Can Grace Come Out and Play? Thornley later claimed to have had an "eight-year-long, off-again-on-again, affair/friendship/rivalry/ego-game/karmic unraveling" with her, but Zabriskie described it as "four and a half minutes in bed" after a discussion on the exclusion of sex from their friendship—shared with Zabriskie's then-husband Rob—as being "irrational".

Her sister, Lane Caplinger, worked as a typist in New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's office. Caplinger is reputed to have covertly produced all five copies of the first edition of the Principia Discordia in 1965.


After making her major film debut in Norma Rae, Zabriskie went on to appear in dozens of other works, including the 1981 Roger Corman horror film Galaxy of Terror and the 1981 miniseries adaptation of John Steinbeck's East of Eden. She played the nanny in The Private Eyes, Debra Winger's mother in An Officer and a Gentleman, Heather Langenkamp's mother in Nickel Mountain, and Paul Le Mat's mother in The Burning Bed (starring Farrah Fawcett). She had a small but crucial part in the fifth season finale of Knots Landing. In 1988, she played Richard Mulligan's love interest "Eva Barrett" on the hit NBC sitcom Empty Nest.

She appeared in 1989's Drugstore Cowboy and as the ill-fated orphanage owner Grace Poole in Child's Play 2. Other movies include the 1991 film adaptation Fried Green Tomatoes and Philip Ridley's 1995 film The Passion of Darkly Noon.

Zabriskie is perhaps most familiar for her television work. After a recurring role on the soap opera Santa Barbara, she appeared on David Lynch's Twin Peaks and its spin-off film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me as Sarah Palmer, the eerily psychic mother of the doomed Laura Palmer.

Zabriskie also appeared in Lynch's Wild at Heart—notably as the twin sister of a character played by Isabella Rossellini, an actress eleven years her junior. David Lynch later cast her as a sinister Polish neighbor in Inland Empire in 2006.

Zabriskie may best be remembered as Mrs. Ross, a recurring character on the sitcom Seinfeld. She played the mother of another doomed daughter, Susan Ross—George Costanza's fiancée—who died after licking cheap envelope adhesive when mailing out her wedding invitations. Zabriskie's character's husband on the series, who also appeared in a recurring role, was played by her former Twin Peaks co-star, Warren Frost.

She also made a brief but memorable appearance in the episode "S'ain't Valentine's" on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens, as the emotionally disturbed and alcoholic mother of Spence Olchin (played by Patton Oswalt). While the character Veronica Olchin would reappear throughout the series, Zabriskie would not portray her again, having been replaced by Anne Meara. She also appeared twice in Aaron Spelling's series Charmed as "The Crone".

She has worked in radio, collaborating with radio dramatist/monologist Joe Frank several times. In one episode of Frank's show, "Home (Original)", she talks at length about her childhood in New Orleans, with a focus on her father.

Zabriskie appeared in the 2004 American remake of The Grudge, in which she played a senile elderly woman sensitive to the paranormal occurrences in her home.

From 2006 to 2011, she played "Lois Henrickson" on the hit HBO series Big Love. The drama series seriously explored the issue of polygamy,

In 2013, she played "Mama Dips" on The Killing.

In 2015, she played "Miss Monassian" on the hit Showtime series Ray Donovan. Then in 2016, she played "Mildred" on Outcast.

In 2017, she reprised her role as Sarah Palmer on the Showtime revival of Twin Peaks. Also in 2017, she played the role of "Mrs. Baković" on the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet.

In 2018, she played "Enid" on the hit HBO series Ballers, opposite Dwayne Johnson. Also in 2018, she played "John's grandmother" on The Alienist.

In 2020, she starred in the music video for Grouplove's "Youth", directed by Christopher Blauvelt.

In 2022, she portrayed "Camille D'Amato" in the Hulu limited series Mike, opposite Trevante Rhodes as Mike Tyson.

Personal life

In her early 20s, Zabriskie "had an intense friendship” with Kerry Wendell Thornley; this friendship was "centered around an intense shared love for and fascination with the philosophy of Ayn Rand". Although Thornley claimed that he and Zabriskie had an affair that lasted over a decade, Zabriskie denies this and states that their friendship ended due to Thornley's belief that she was involved in a conspiracy.

In May 1963, she married John Dunham MacEachron. Zabriskie has two daughters: Helen, who became an actress and Marion Lane, a painter. In 1993, Helen died of Hodgkin's disease. Marion died in 2019, aged 56, of cancer. In 2006, she told the Los Angeles Times, "You can make your life an absolute bummer out of the inevitability of death. Or you can decide to absorb this blow and figure out a way to exist with as much energy and creativity and lack of fear as you can".




External links

  • Grace Zabriskie at IMDb

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Grace Zabriskie by Wikipedia (Historical)