Jeanne Marie Tripplehorn is an American film, television, and theatre actress. A gifted thespian, she has been active professionally from the last 27 years. She made her acting debut on stage in an off-Broadway production of ‘The Big Funk’ by John Patrick Shanley in 1990. A year later, she was cast in her first TV role in ‘The Perfect Tribute’. The big break in her career came about in 1992 when she played a supporting character in ‘Basic Instinct’. It was in the movie ‘The Firm’ however, that she was cast as the female lead for the first time, and that too opposite stars like Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman. Throughout the 1990s, she worked with some of the top stars in the industry, including Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Sliding Doors’, Hugh Grant in ‘Mickey Blue Eyes’, and Julie Andrews in ‘Relative Values’. Recently, she played Dr Alex Blake in the internationally popular police procedural crime drama, ‘Criminal Minds’.
Jeanne Tripplehorn started off by performing in the local television shows, ‘Creature Feature’ (1982-83) and ‘Night Shift’, when she was still a student. After finishing her education, she debuted as an actress in John Patrick Shanley's ‘The Big Funk’, a play that ‘The Guardian’ described as “Friends set in a self-help manual on acid.” She followed this up with the 1993 production of John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore’, where she had Val Kilmer as her co-actor. She also worked with Lili Taylor and Amy Irving in the Broadway production of Anton Chekov’s ‘Three Sisters’.
She had her screen debut in 1991 in the television film ‘The Perfect Tribute’. She played the character, Julia. Later, she collaborated with Ben Stiller for the first time in 1992 on ‘Ben Stiller Show’, making an appearance in three episodes as The Wilson Woman / Goo.
Tripplehorn portrayed the police psychologist Dr Beth Garner who has a passionate affair with the male protagonist Detective Nick Curren (Michael Douglas) in director Paul Verhoeven’s neo-noir erotic thriller ‘Basic Instinct.’ The movie provoked heated controversy at the time of its release due to its explicit sexual content and the unapologetic rendition of violence. The film has since come to be seen as a milestone in terms of depiction of sexuality in Hollywood films.
In 1993, she was cast alongside Matthew Broderick in the romantic comedy ‘The Night We Never Met’. Her next project, Sydney Pollack’s ‘The Firm’, remains her best work to date. She starred as Abby McDeere, wife of Tom Cruise’s character Mitch McDeere. Based on the novel of the same name by John Grisham, the film was a critical and commercial success, earning $270.2 million at the box office.
In ‘Waterworld’ (1995), she played the female lead Helen opposite Kevin Costner. Made on a humongous budget ($172 million), the film did not earn the money back at the box-office and the critics compared it with previous box-office disasters ‘Heaven’s Gate’ (1980) and ‘Ishtar’ (1987). However, through home video sales and TV broadcast rights, the movie eventually turned profitable.
After a series of flops such as 'Til There Was You’ (1997), ‘Monument Ave.’ (1998), and ‘Mickey Blue Eyes’ (1999), her career lost the momentum it had garnered from ‘The Firm’. In the first decade of the 21st century, she continued to play small roles and work in independent films. In 2012, she was cast as Dr Alex Blake in CBS’ ‘Criminal Minds’. She was a series regular in season 8 and 9, leaving the show after 48 episodes. She is set to appear in Donal Lardner Ward’s directorial venture ‘We Only Know So Much’.
You May Like
Continue Reading Below
Born on June 10, 1963, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jeanne is the daughter of Suzanne Ferguson and Tom Tripplehorn. Ferguson is a published non-fiction author while Tripplehorn was a guitarist once associated with 1960s pop and rock group Gary Lewis & the Playboys. She has three brothers, Kelly, Jason, and Daniel. When Jeanne was two years old, her parents divorced.
She attended Edison High School before enrolling at the University of Tulsa for one semester. Later, she was educated at the drama division of Juilliard School in New York as a member of Group 19 (1986-90). Fellow actress Laura Linney was her batchmate.
During the early years of her career, she had a six-year long relationship with her ‘Reality Bites’ co-star Ben Stiller. Tripplehorn began dating character actor Leland Orser in 1999. They married a year later, on October 14, 2000. The couple has a son together, August Tripplehorn Orser (born on May 22, 2002).
Tripplehorn used to be a DJ in her home city of Tulsa.
She was originally supposed to play Mia Wallace in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994) before the role went to Uma Thurman.
Due to her mother’s passing only weeks before the filming started, she had to turn down the role of Carrie in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ (1994). Andie MacDowell was eventually cast for the part.