Sissy Spacek (born Mary Elizabeth Spacek; December 25, 1949) is an Academy Award-winning American actress and singer. She came to international prominence for her roles as Holly Sargis in Terrence Malick's 1973 film Badlands, and as Carrie White in Brian De Palma's 1976 horror film Carrie (based on the first novel by Stephen King) for which she earned her first Academy Award nomination. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as country star Loretta Lynn in the 1980 film Coal Miner's Daughter. She also received Oscar nominations for her roles in Missing (1982), The River (1984), Crimes of the Heart (1986) and In the Bedroom (2001).
Early life[edit source | edit]Edit
Spacek was born on December 25, 1949, in Quitman, Texas. She is the daughter of Virginia Frances (née Spilman) and Edwin Arnold Spacek, Sr., a county agricultural agent. Spacek's father was of Czech (Moravian) and German ancestry; her paternal grandparents were Mary (Červenka) and Arnold A. Špaček (who served as Mayor of Granger, Texas in Williamson County). Her mother, of English and Irish descent, was from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
Spacek was greatly affected by the death of her eighteen-year old brother, Robbie, in 1967, which she has called "the defining event of my whole life." After she graduated from high school she moved to New York City, hoping to become a singer. There, she lived with her first cousin, actor Rip Torn, and his wife, actress Geraldine Page.
Career[edit source | edit]Edit
Early work in New York City[edit source | edit]Edit
For a while, Spacek sang and played guitar in many of the Greenwich Village coffeehouses, eventually landing some paying work singing commercial jingles. In late 1968, under the pseudonym of "Rainbo", Spacek recorded a novelty song titled '"John, You Went Too Far This Time"; the song proclaimed her disillusionment and shock over John Lennon, who on the cover of his newest album Two Virgins appeared in full-frontal nudity with his then-girlfriend Yoko Ono, shocking many fans. The single did not appear on the record charts and failed to sell well, so she was dropped by the record company.
1970s and beginning of acting career[edit source | edit]Edit
While singing, Spacek also worked for a time as photographic model, and worked as an extra at Andy Warhol's Factory, appearing in a non-credited role in his 1970 film Trash. With the help of Rip Torn, she was enrolled in Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio and then the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York. Her first credited role was in the 1972 cult classic Prime Cut, in which she played Poppy, a girl sold into sexual slavery. The role led to television work, which included a guest role in The Waltons, which she played twice in 1973. Spacek received international attention after starring in Terrence Malick's 1973 Badlands, in which she played Holly, the narrator of the film and 15-year old girlfriend of mass-murderer Kit (Martin Sheen). Spacek has described Badlands as the "most incredible" experience of her career. On the set of Badlands, Spacek met art director Jack Fisk, whom she married.
Spacek in Brian De Palma's Carrie, 1976.
Spacek's iconic and career-defining role came in 1976 with Brian De Palma's Carrie, in which she played Carietta "Carrie" White, a shy, troubled high school senior with telekinetic powers.Spacek had to work hard to persuade director de Palma to engage her for the role. Rubbing Vaseline into her hair, and donning an old sailor dress her mother made for her as a child, Spacek turned up at the audition with the odds against her, but won the part. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in the film (Veteran actress Piper Laurie, who played Carrie's religious, maniacal mother Margaret White, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress). Spacek had previously been the set dresser for DePalma's film Phantom of the Paradise.
After Carrie, Spacek played the small role of housekeeper Linda Murray in Alan Rudolph's ensemble piece Welcome to LA (1976), and cemented her reputation in independent cinema with her performance as Pinky Rose in Robert Altman's 1977 classic 3 Women. Altman was deeply impressed by her performance, having stated: 'She's remarkable, one of the top actresses I've ever worked with. Her resources are like a deep well.' Brian de Palma added: '[Spacek is] a phantom. She has this mysterious way of slipping into a part, letting it take over her. She's got a wider range than any young actress I know.' Spacek also helped finance then-brother-in-law David Lynch's directorial debut, Eraserhead (1976) and is thanked in the credits of the film.
1980s and Oscar win[edit source | edit]EditSpacek as country queen, Loretta Lynn inCoal Miner's Daughter, 1980.
Spacek began the 1980s with an Oscar in 1980 for Coal Miner's Daughter, in which she played country music star Loretta Lynn, who selected her for the role. In the film, both she andBeverly D'Angelo, who played Patsy Cline, performed their own singing. Film critic Roger Ebert has credited the movie's success "to the performance by Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn. With the same sort of magical chemistry she's shown before, when she played the high school kid in Carrie, Spacek at 29 has the ability to appear to be almost any age on screen. Here, she ages from about 14 to somewhere in her 30s, always looks the age, and never seems to be wearing makeup." Spacek also was nominated for a Grammy Award for her singing on the film'ssoundtrack album. She followed this with her own country album, Hangin' Up My Heart, in 1983; the album spawned one hit single, "Lonely But Only For You", a song written by K. T. Oslin, which reached No. 15 on the Billboard Country chart.
Also in the 1980s, Spacek starred alongside Jack Lemmon in Constantin Costa-Gavras's 1982 political thriller Missing (which was based on the book The Execution of Charles Horman), appeared with Mel Gibson in the rural drama The River (1984), and with Diane Keaton and Jessica Lange in 1986's Crimes of the Heart. She was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for all of these roles. Other performances of the decade included star turns in husband Jack Fisk's directorial debut Raggedy Man (1981) and alongside Anne Bancroft in the suicide-themed dramaNight Mother (1986). Spacek also showed her lighter side by voicing the brain in the Steve Martin comedy The Man with Two Brains (1983).
1990s–2000s[edit source | edit]EditSpacek at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
The 1990s saw Spacek slowly come back to Hollywood after her self-imposed hiatus. She had a supporting role as Jim Garrison's wife (played by Kevin Costner) in Oliver Stone's JFK (1991), and made a number of comedies, TV movies and the occasional film. Most notable of her appearances during these years was her turn as the evil Verena Talbo in the 1995 ensemble pieceThe Grass Harp, which reunited her with both Laurie and Lemmon, as well as a supporting performance, again alongside Nick Nolte, as the waitress Margie Fogg in Paul Schrader's father-son psychodrama Affliction (1997). She also played Rose Straight in David Lynch's The Straight Story (1999).
Spacek's memoir, My Extraordinary Ordinary Life, published in May 2012.
In 2001, she was again nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, for her work in Todd Field's In the Bedroom. New York Times film critic Stephen Holden said of her work in the film: "Ms. Spacek's performance is as devastating as it is unflashy. With the slight tightening of her neck muscles and a downward twitch of her mouth, she conveys her character's relentlessness, then balances it with enough sweetness to make Ruth seem entirely human. It is one of Ms. Spacek's greatest performances." Her performance as Ruth Fowler, a grieving mother consumed by revenge, won extraordinary praise and garnered the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress as well as the Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead among many others. 
Other performances of this decade include unfaithful wife Ruth in Rodrigo García's Nine Lives (2005) and a turn as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's in the television movie Pictures of Hollis Woods(2007). In 2008, Spacek had a supporting part in the Christmas comedy Four Christmases and a lead role in the independent drama, Lake City. Spacek appeared on the HBO drama Big Love, for a multi-episode arc, as a powerful Washington, D.C. lobbyist.
In 2006, she narrated the audiobook of the classic 1960 Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird and it sold over 30 million copies. In 2011, she received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. In 2011, Spacek was featured in The Help, directed by Tate Taylor. Spacek, along with the cast, was awarded with the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for their performance in the film.
In 2012, Spacek published a memoir, My Extraordinary Ordinary Life, written along with Maryanne Vollers. The Washington Post's Jen Chaney called it "refreshingly down-to-earth" and "beautifully written". She also mentioned that Spacek's description of her childhood is "evocative that one can almost taste the sour stalks of goatweed she chewed on steamy summer afternoons". Jay Stafford of Richmond Times-Dispatch pointed out that unlike other actors' autobiographies, Spacek's "benefits from good writing and remarkable frankness". The Austin Chronicle's Margaret Moser stated that Spacek's memoir is "as easy to read as it is a pleasure to digest". Joe Muscolino of the Biographile gave the book a 5 out of 5 rating, saying that it "does not disappoint".Kirkus Reviews, however, was less appreciative of the book, calling it "an average memoir" and "overly detailed" while criticizing its lack of "narrative arc" but complimenting Spacek for being "truly down-to-earth". It further criticized that "the book is 'ordinary' and does not have enough drama to engage readers not directly interested in Spacek and her work" and ended the review by saying that it's "for die-hard movie buffs and Spacek fans only".
Personal life[edit source | edit]Edit
Spacek married production designer and art director Jack Fisk in 1974, after they met on the set of Badlands. Fisk later directed her in the films Raggedy Man and Violets Are Blue. They have two daughters, Schuyler Fisk (born July 8, 1982) and Madison Fisk (born September 21, 1988).
Filmography[edit source | edit]Edit
Discography[edit source | edit]Edit
Albums[edit source | edit]Edit
|1983||Hangin' Up My Heart||17||Atlantic|
Singles[edit source | edit]Edit
|US Country||US Bubbling||CAN Country|
|1980||"Coal Miner's Daughter"||24||—||7||Coal Miner's Daughter (Soundtrack)||Nominated — Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance(for "Coal Miner's Daughter")|
|"Back in Baby's Arms"||—||—||71|
|1983||"Lonely but Only for You"||15||10||13||Hangin' Up My Heart|
|1984||"If I Can Just Get Through the Night"||57||—||41|
|"If You Could Only See Me Now"||79||—||—|