Lori Jacqueline Singer is an American actress known for her roles in the feature film ‘Footloose’ and the musical drama series ‘Fame’. She is also a prominent cellist, having been trained under the legendary Leonard Rose. Originally from Texas, Singer was raised in a family where musical aspirations were highly encouraged. She later attended Juilliard and has performed in prestigious venues like the Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall. In 1982, Singer made her screen debut in ‘Fame’, portraying the dancer and cellist Julie Miller. Not long after she was done with ‘Fame’, she was cast as the female lead, Ariel Moore, in Herbert Ross’ classic film ‘Footloose’. In the ensuing years, she has appeared in films like ‘Equinox’, ‘Summer Heat’, ‘Warlock, ‘Sunset Grill’, and ‘F.T.W.’. She and the rest of the cast of the 1993 comedy-drama ‘Short Cuts’ received the best ensemble cast award at the 50th Venice International Film Festival and the 51st Golden Globe Awards.
Only a year after Lori Singer started attending Juilliard, she had her debut performance as a soloist with the Western Washington Symphony. She came first in the Bergen Philharmonic Competition in 1980. Besides performing in front an audience on the stages such as Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall, she has portrayed a cello player in ‘Short Cuts’, ‘Fame’, and the 1997 short film ‘Sarabande’. In January 2008, at Carnegie Hall, a hymn penned by Karl Jenkins in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. was introduced through Singer’s soloist performance.
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Lori Singer became interested in pursuing a career as an actress after witnessing the success her brother Marc was garnering in Hollywood. Not long after she landed in the tinsel town, she was cast as Julie Miller in ‘Fame’ (1982-83), the NBC (later syndication) musical-drama based on the 1980 film of the same name. Singer had the opportunity to explore all three of her passions, dancing, playing the cello, and acting, while she portrayed Julie. Her character appeared in the first two seasons of the show.
In 1982, she appeared in the telefilm ‘Born Beautiful’, portraying Jodi Belcher. Her performance in the television movie earned her the ShoWest "Newcomer of the Year" Award. Singer made her big screen debut two years later, opposite Kevin Bacon, in ‘Footloose’. Despite being a newcomer, Singer beat out the likes of Madonna, Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Rosanna Arquette to land the role of the rebellious teenager Ariel Moore. Despite garnering mixed reviews from the critics, the movie was a box-office hit. Singer won the ShoWest “Breakthrough Performer of the Year" Award for her performance.
In 1986, she was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for her portrayal of Georgia in the neo-noir film ‘Trouble in Mind’. She was cast as Roxy Walston in ‘Summer Heat’ (1987), Kassandra in ‘Warlock’ (1989), Sharon Ace in ‘Equinox’ (1992), Loren in ‘Sunset Grill’ (1993), and Scarlett Stuart in ‘F.T.W.’ (1994). She worked with Matthew Modine, Julianne Moore, Fred Ward, Anne Archer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert Downey Jr., and Madeleine Stowe in the critically acclaimed comedy-drama ‘Short Cuts’.
In 1995, she portrayed the lead protagonist, Sydney Bloom, in Fox’s short-lived science fiction series ‘VR.5’. In 2011, Singer came back to the small screen to play Dede Aston in a season 12 episode of NBC’s crime-drama ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’. Her most recent screen appearance was in the 2017 thriller ‘The Institute’.
Family & Personal Life
Born on November 6, 1957, in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, Lori Singer is one of the four children of Leslie and Jacques Singer. She has a twin brother, Gregory, as well as two other brothers, Marc and Claude. Her father was a virtuoso violinist, symphony orchestra conductor, and music educator while her mother is a piano virtuoso and pedagogue. Singer grew up in Texas, Portland, Vancouver and London in a family that had several members pursuing the epitome of musical excellence. Her twin brother, Gregory, is himself a graduate from Juilliard and has become a renowned violinist, conductor, pedagogue, and the founder and music director of the Manhattan Symphonie.
The family has its share of film personalities as well. Singer’s brother Marc is an actor and her cousin is filmmaker Bryan Singer. Since she was a child, Singer wanted to be a dancer. After she turned 12, she became interested in playing the cello and soon developed prodigious skills on the instrument. When she was 14 years old, she was admitted into Juilliard.
At one point, Singer was in a relationship with actor Warren Beatty. She exchanged wedding vows with lawyer Richard David Emery in 1981. They have a son, Jacques Rio Emery (born March 1991). The couple divorced in 1998.