US actress Piper Laurie, star of 'Carrie' and Twin Peaks, dies aged 91

US actress Piper Laurie, star of Carrie and Twin Peaks, dies aged 91
US actress Piper Laurie, star of Carrie and Twin Peaks, dies aged 91 Copyright AP, ABC
By David MouriquandAP
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The Oscar nominated actress, best known for her roles in 'The Hustler', 'Carrie' and Twin Peaks, died of old age.


Three-time Oscar nominee Piper Laurie, who performed in acclaimed roles in The Hustler, Carrie, and the seminal TV show Twin Peaks, died this weekend (Saturday 14 October) at her home in Los Angeles. She was 91.

According to her manager, Marion Rosenberg, Laurie died of old age. She added that she was “a superb talent and a wonderful human being.”

Laurie arrived in Hollywood in 1949 as Rosetta Jacobs and was quickly given a contract with Universal-International, a new name that she hated, and a string of starring roles with Ronald Reagan, Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis, among others.

Piper Laurie in Brian De Palma's Carrie
Piper Laurie in Brian De Palma's CarrieMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists

Laurie made her debut at 17 in Louisa, playing Reagan’s daughter. She made several films with Curtis, whom she once dated, including The Prince Who Was a Thief, No Room for the Groom, Son of Ali Baba and Johnny Dark.

Fed up, she walked out on her $2,000-a-week contract in 1955, vowing she wouldn’t work again unless offered a decent part. She moved to New York, where she found the roles she was seeking in theater and live television drama.

Performances in Days of Wine and Roses, The Deaf Heart and The Road That Led After brought her Emmy nominations and paved the way for a return to films, including in an acclaimed role as Paul Newman’s troubled girlfriend in The Hustler.

For many years after, Laurie turned her back on acting. She married film critic Joseph Morgenstern, welcomed a daughter, Ann Grace, and moved to a farmhouse in Woodstock, New York. She said later that the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War had influenced her decision to make the change.

“I was disenchanted and looking for an existence more meaningful for me,” she recalled, adding that she never regretted the move. “My life was full,” she said in 1990. “I always liked using my hands, and I always painted.”

Piper Laurie in Twin Peaks
Piper Laurie in Twin PeaksABC

She received Academy Award nominations for three films: The 1961’s The Hustler; the film version of Stephen King’s horror classic Carrie in 1976; and the romantic drama Children of a Lesser God, in 1986. Other notable film roles include The Crossing Guard, The Faculty and Hesher. She also appeared in several acclaimed roles on television and the stage, including in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks in the 1990s as the villainous Catherine Martell.

Her desire to act rekindled, Laurie resumed a busy career that spanned decades. On television, she appeared in such series as Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, Frasier, and played George Clooney’s mother on ER.

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