Jessica Lange Biography

Jessica Phyllis Lange is a highly acclaimed American actress known for her work in theater, cinema, and television. With a career that began as a model, she was discovered by film producer Dino De Laurentiis and made her film debut in the 1976 movie ‘King Kong,’ earning her first Golden Globe Award. Throughout her extensive career, Lange has acted in numerous films, including ‘Tootsie’, ‘Country’, ‘Music Box’, and ‘Blue Sky’, among others, and has received prestigious awards such as the Academy Award. In addition to her acting talents, Lange is also a professional photographer, with her artwork displayed in various galleries worldwide. She is currently a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, focusing on HIV/AIDS in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Russia. Furthermore, Lange has also contributed to several songs as a singer, showcasing her diverse artistic abilities.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Jessica Phyllis Lange
  • Age: 74 Years, 74 Year Old Females
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Paco Grande (m. 1971–1981)
    • Father: Albert John Lange
    • Mother: Dorothy Sahlman
    • Children: Hannah Jane Shepard, Samuel Walker Shepard, Shura Baryshnikov
    • Partner: Mikhail Baryshnikov (1976–1982), Sam Shepard
  • Born Country: United States
  • Occupation: Actresses, T V & Movie Producers
  • Height: 5’8″ (173 cm), 5’8″ Females
  • Ancestry: Finnish American, Dutch American, German American
  • Notable Alumni: Cloquet High School
  • U.S. State: Minnesota
  • Education: University Of Minnesota, Cloquet High School

Childhood & Early Life

Jessica Phyllis Lange was born on April 20, 1949 in Cloquet, Minnesota. Her mother Dorothy Florence was a housewife while her father Albert John Lange was a traveling salesman and teacher. She has two older sisters named Ann and Jane as well as a younger brother named George.

She attended Cloquet High School and later studied art and photography at the University of Minnesota. She later studied mime theatre and joined the opera company Opéra-Comique as a dancer.


Jessica Lange started her career as a model in the Wilhelmina modeling agency. She soon ventured into acting and made her film debut in the 1976 flick ‘King Kong’. After this, she was cast as the Angel of Death in a semiautobiographical movie titled ‘All That Jazz’.

In 1980, she did the flick ‘How to Beat the High Cost of Living’ alongside Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin. A year later, she was offered the lead role in the film ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’.

The actress played the title character of actress Frances Farmer in the biographical movie ‘Frances’ in 1982. She then produced and acted the topical flick, ‘Country’ in 1984. The same year, Lange appeared in the TV film ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’.

After this, she was cast as Patsy Cline in the movie ‘Sweet Dreams’. This was followed by her low profile movies ‘Crimes of the Heart’, ‘Far North’ and ‘Everybody’s All-American’ in the late 1980s.

Between 1990 and 1992, the American beauty appeared in the films ‘Men Don’t Leave’ and ‘Cape Fear’ as well as in the TV movie ‘O Pioneers!’ During this time, she also made her Broadway debut with the role of Blanche DuBois in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’.

She played important roles in the films ‘Losing Isaiah’, ‘Rob Roy’ and ‘A Thousand Acres’ in the mid-1990s. She then appeared in the thriller flick ‘Hush’ and in the comedy-drama flick ‘Cousin Bette’ in 1998.

In 1999, Jessica Lange starred in the film adaption of William Shakespeare’s play, ‘Titus Andronicus.’ The movie, titled ‘Titus,’ also featured Alan Cumming and Anthony Hopkins.

She appeared in a London stage production of ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’. Then after appearing in the 2001 film ‘Prozac Nation’, she acted in HBO’s TV movie ‘Normal’ in 2003. That year, the actress also did the films ‘Masked and Anonymous’ and ‘Big Fish’.

During the year 2005, she was featured in the big screen movies ‘Broken Flowers’ and ‘Don’t Come Knocking’ as well as in the play ‘The Glass Menagerie’. In 2009, Lange portrayed the role of Big Edie in the television movie ‘Grey Gardens’.

In 2011, she joined the cast of the horror anthology series titled ‘American Horror Story’ and went on to act in many of its seasons including ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’, ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ and ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’.

In 2013 and 2014, the American beauty did the films ‘In Secret’ and ‘The Gambler’. She then appeared in the movie ‘Wild Oats’ in 2016. That year, she also worked in the web series, ‘Horace and Pete’. Lange next starred in the anthology series titled ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ and also served as its co-producer.

Major Works

In 1982, Jessica Lange had a supporting role in Sydney Pollack’s flick ‘Tootsie’. In this movie, the actress starred opposite Dustin Hoffman. The film became a major hit and helped to establish her career.

In 1989, she played Ann Talbot in Costa-Gavras’ ‘Music Box’. In this movie, her performance as a Hungarian lawyer earned her an Academy Award nomination as well a Golden Globe nomination for best actress.

She played a manic depressive army wife in Tony Richardson’s final movie ‘Blue Sky’ in 1994. The film received critical praise and won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actress for Jessica Lange.

Personal Life & Legacy

Jessica Lange was married to Spanish photographer Paco Grande from 1971 to 1981. From 1976 to 1982, Lange was in a romantic relationship with ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. The couple also had a kid, Aleksandra “Shura” Baryshnikov, before separating.

After this, the actress began a relationship with American playwright Sam Shepard. The couple lived together till 2009 and had two children, Hannah Jane and Samuel Walker. In the early 1990s, the actress fostered a child with disabilities.

Though Lange does not follow any particular religion, she follows certain tenets of Buddhism.

Leave a Comment