Cinema world in mourning, Piper Laurie, famous star of Hustler and Carrie, has died at the age of 91


By John

American actress Piper Lauriethree-time Oscar nominee for The Hustler (Lo Spaccone) alongside Paul Newmanthen for her role in Carrie: Satan’s Gaze and finally as Marlee Matlin’s mother in Children of a Lesser God, she died at age 91 at her home in Los Angeles. Spokeswoman Marion Rosenberg announced it. Real name Rosetta Jacobs, Piper had been ill for some time, Rosenberg said. Winner of an Emmy award (having collected a total of nine nominations), Laurie had spent three years as a child in a sanatorium, broken her first contract with Universal studios and at one point had remained, by her own choice, almost 15 years without making films. She returned to film and television in the mid-1970s.
His participation in David Lynch’s iconic television series, Twin Peaks, earned him two of his Emmy nominations (the statuette came for his role in the CBS film Promise about schizophrenia). In the first season Piper had been the vengeful Catherine Martell who died in a fire and Lynch had brought her back for the second season giving her total carte blanche to play the same part as her as a man. “I was over the moon with the possibilities. I decided I would be a Japanese businessman.” With a mustache and dark glasses, Laurie showed up on the set pretending to be the Japanese actor Fumio Yamaguchi. None of the crew, friends or family knew of this development: «The cast kept their distance: they were full of respect for an actor who, it was said, had only worked with Akira Kurosawa», he said.
In 2011 she wrote the memoir Learning to Live Out Loud in which she recounted losing her virginity at 18 to 39-year-old Ronald Reagan on the set of her first film Louise in 1950. A reluctant starlet of the studio system, Piper was put under seven-year contract from Universal at 17: she thus appeared in films such as Francis Goes to the Races (1951), Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952) with Rock Hudson, No Room for the Groom (1952 one of four with Tony Curtis), The Mississippi Gambler (1953) and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1955). All light films and she wanted something more: «If I had continued doing these insipid roles I would have killed myself», she said a few years later. She convinced her agent to break the contract and moved to New York working for four years in live TV and theater while waiting for the right film.
After 1961’s Hustler Laurie didn’t make any other films for almost 15 years having moved to Woodstock to study sculpture and raise her daughter Anna with her then husband Joe Morgenstern, an entertainment journalist. She returned to the cinema with Carrie after succumbing to Brain De Palma’s pressure, even though initially, after reading the script, she thought that the horror classic was actually a comedy.