Laurie Metcalf is a well-known American actress recognized for her work in films, television, as well as theatre. She has won three Emmy Awards and two Tony Awards in her career so far and has also been nominated for the Oscar and the Golden Globe. She first gained popularity for her main role in the American sitcom ‘Roseanne’. The show was a huge success and appeared in TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest Shows of All Time. For her role, Metcalf won three Emmy Awards. Beginning her career as a theatre artist, she earned acclaim for her performance as Darlene in an Off-Broadway Steppenwolf production of ‘Balm in Gilead.’ Eventually, she ventured into television and films as well. Her first important role on the big screen was in the comedy drama film ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, where she played one of the supporting roles. Her other important films include ‘JFK’, the ‘Toy Story’ film series, ‘Meet the Robinsons’, and ‘Ladybird’. She played one of the main roles in ‘Ladybird’, and it earned her the Oscar nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actress’. She has also appeared in commercials for Plan USA, a humanitarian organization known for helping needy children worldwide.
Childhood & Early Life
Laurie Metcalf was born as Laura Elizabeth Metcalf in Carbondale, Illinois in the US. Her date of birth is 16th June 1955. She is the eldest of three children. Her father James worked at the Illinois University-Edwardsville as the budget director. Her mother Libby was a librarian.
Metcalf studied at the Illinois State University. During this time, she also worked as a secretary. She majored in German initially, thinking she would work as an interpreter. However, she later moved to anthropology. Finally, she realized that acting was her true passion, so she majored in theatre. She earned her BA in 1976.
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Laurie Metcalf began her career with the prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She appeared in an Off-Broadway production of ‘Balm in Gilead.’ Her performance was appreciated and won her the Obie Award for Best Actress and Theatre World Award for Best Debut. Her other works in the ensuing years include ‘Educating Rita’ (1987), ‘Libra’ (1994), and ‘All My Sons’ (2001).
In 2008, she was seen in the Broadway play ‘November’, for which she earned her first nomination for the Tony Award. She next appeared in Justin Tanner’s play ‘Voice Lessons’, after which she starred in the autobiographical play ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’ and ‘Broadway Bound’.
Over the next years, she appeared in stage productions of ‘The Other Place’, (2011), ‘Long Days into the Night’ (2012), ‘Domesticated’ (2013), and ‘Misery’ (2015-2016).
In 2017, she won her first Tony Award for ‘Best Actress in a Play’ for her performance in the Broadway production of ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2,’ a role which earned her critical acclaim. She also earned nominations for the ‘Drama Desk Award’ and the ‘Drama League Award’. She next appeared in the 2018 revival of ‘Three Tall Women’ for which she won her second Tony Award for ‘Best Featured Actress in a Play’.
Film & TV Career
Laurie Metcalf made her film debut with a small role in the American comedy-drama film ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ in 1985. It starred Rosanna Arquette, Madonna and Aldan Quinn. The film was a commercial success, earning around seven times its budget.
She started gaining attention after her main role in the TV sitcom ‘Roseanne’ (1988–97). Her performance was much appreciated and won her three Emmy Awards.
She was next seen in movies, such as ‘Stars and Bars’, (1988), ‘Miles from Home’ (1988), ‘Internal Affairs’ (1990), ‘JFK’ (1991), ‘A Dangerous Woman’ (1993), ‘Toy Story’ (1995), ‘Scream 2’ (1997), ‘Toy Story 2’ (1999).
She also appeared in TV films like ‘Always Outnumbered’ (1998) and Balloon Farm’ (1999). From 1999 to 2001, she was seen in the TV sitcom ‘The Norm Show’.
Her works in the 2000s include roles in movies such as ‘Treasure Planet’ (2002), ‘Beer League’ (2006), ‘Meet the Robinsons’ (2007), ‘Stop-Loss’’ (2008), and ‘Toy Story 3’ (2010). From 2007, she also played a recurring role in ‘The Big Bang Theory’. She was next seen in TV series such as ‘Easy Money’, ‘Getting On’ and ‘The McCarthys’.
After a long gap of seven years, she made her comeback to the big screen with a main role in the drama film ‘Lady Bird’ in 2017. The movie was directed by Greta Gerwig. The story follows a high school senior and her troubled relationship with her mother. The film was a commercial success and was also praised by the critics. Metcalf’s role earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
One of Laurie Metcalf’s significant works is her role in the American sitcom ‘Roseanne’. The series, which revolved around a working class American family, was a huge success and earned much popularity. It became the most watched TV show in 1989-90.
Metcalf’s role was also appreciated and it won her three Emmy Awards. The show was ranked No. 35 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2002.
She was seen in the conspiracy thriller film ‘JFK’ in an important role. The film examines the events that lead to the assassination of the former US President John F Kennedy. Made on a budget of $40 million, the film was a huge success financially, earning more than $205 million. The film was praised by the critics and earned eight Oscar nominations, out of which it won two for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.
Metcalf was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the 2017 drama film ‘Lady Bird’. The story is about a high school student and her poor relationship with her mother. The film was a financial success, earning $77 million on a $10 million budget, and was also met with positive reviews. It was nominated for five Oscars although it won none.
Laurie Metcalf was married to actor Jeff Perry from 1983 to 1992. They had a daughter named Zoe Perry who was born in 1984.
She started dating Matt Roth after her divorce and they had a son named Will. They eventually married. They had their second child, a daughter named Mae Akins, in 2005. They adopted another son Donovan in the late 2000s. The couple eventually divorced in 2014.