Diane Ladd, born Rose Diane Lanier (Ladnier) , is a native Mississippian (I was the prettiest baby in the hospital, I was the only baby in the hospital; Rilberton didn't have a large population, you see. There was this sign at the city limits, "Welcome to Rilberton , 300 nice folks and a few old soreheads! . . . Diane's Daddy, was a Veterinarian, selling his own Products for poultry and livestock throughout the five Southern States of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia. Her Mother, Mary Bernadette, hailing from Alabama was a beautiful blonde blue-eyed gracious housewife. Diane's Great-grandmother was Prudence Lanier, better known as "Aunt Prudie" a country doctor and midwife who delivered over 3,000 babies, has been titled, "The Mother of South Mississippi!"(once she was in a snowstorm, the horse threw her, breaking her leg: Aunt Prudie went and delivered the baby and then had her leg set!)
Time Magazine's Richard Corliss wrote "Diane Ladd is one of the top ten actresses not only in this country, but the whole world."
Ladd - actress, director, writer, author and producer is a 3x Emmy and 3x Oscar nominee and the winner of twenty seven international awards, including the British Academy Award, the Independent Spirit Award and the Eleanor Duse Award. Diane also performed as a dancer, singer, and comedian. Graduating from high school at age 16, she attended a finishing school in New Orleans, where she also sang with the French Quarter Band, "Dixie Hi De Ho Jo," on week-ends. Turning down the opportunity to study law with a scholarship at L.S.U., she chose instead to embark on a show business career; having been seen by the great John Carradine (David and Keith's Daddy) in a local theatrical production at New Orleans' Gallery Circle Theatre. Carradine hired her to join his National Company of "Tobacco Road" in the portrayal of "Pearl." (Diane replaced an actress from New Jersey who was ironically giving up show business to marry a "Mississippi Boy" and be a housewife!)
Turning 17, she became one of the famed Copa Girls in New York's Copacabana and shortly thereafter made her New York theatrical debut in (her cousin) Tennessee Williams' off-Broadway hit revival of Orpheus Descending, to rave reviews.
Subsequently, Diane also has performed in theatrical productions ranging from musicals to comedy to Shakespeare to Drama throughout the country. She starred with actors such as Robert DeNiro in Noisy Passengers, Jane Fonda in Woman Speak, Louis Gossett Jr. and David Steinberg in Broadway's Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights.
First movie role in 1966 was Roger Corman's Wild Angels, a Venice Film Festival selection and Parisian Critic Award winner in which she starred with her first husband, Bruce Dern, along with Nancy Sinatra and Peter Fonda. Ladd has co-starred in many films including All Night Long with Barbara Streisand, Gene Hackman and Dennis Quaid/ Roman Polanski's Congressional selection, Chinatown / Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore for which Diane received her first Oscar Nomination by creating the memorable role of waitress. Flo, - she lost to the great Ingrid Bergman, (which isn't chopped liver,) but won The British Academy Award! Every Christmas she's seen in the annual playing film, Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase.
In the early eighties, returning from starring on Broadway in LuAnn Hampton Laverty Oberlander (part of the Texas Trilogy) for which Miss Ladd received one of the three greatest sets of reviews in the history of Broadway. CBS then enticed her to join the TV series cast of "ALICE" (based on Scorsese's movie "Alice Doesn't") - Not wanting to play Flo again, C.B.S. in co-operation with Diane created the role of the singing-songwriter waitress Belle hailing from Mississippi, (Diane's choice!) for which she won the Golden Globe award, taking the audience on the first night of her appearance from their amazing 35,000,000 viewers a week to an incredible 75,000,000 weekly viewing audience! She and her father wrote many of the songs that she sang live on the show.
Ladd's second Oscar Nomination was for the role of Marietta
in David Lynch's Wild At Heart winning France's Cannes' Palme
d'Or Award; her third Oscar Nomination was for the Film, Rambling
Rose, in which she co-starred along with Robert Duval, Lucas Haas,
and her Daughter, actress, Laura Dern. She and Laura made show business
history as the first mother and daughter tandem ever to be nominated
for the Oscar for the same motion picture in the same year! Rambling
Rose was selected by the late Princess Diana as one of her favorites
and given a Royal premiere in London and a party in the Actresses'
Ladd then starred in the film, Cemetery Club with Danny Aiello, Olympia Dukakis, Ellen Burstyn and Lainie Kazan. Ladd also sang in the film (pretending to be Monroe.)
Diane has starred in more than 300 Films and Television shows including two series (Alice) and Stephen King's fifteen hour mini-series, Kingdom Hospital. She was recently seen in: Lifetime's (Nora Roberts) Movie of the Week, Montana Sky: and in the film, The World's Fastest Indian co-starring with Anthony Hopkins.
Ladd made her directing and writing debut with the film, Mrs. Munck (Viacom) starring Bruce Dern, Kelly Preston, the late Shelley Winters and herself. The film received rave reviews, comparing her to a 'Woody Allen" and "Hal Ashby" as a director, and it was selected by ten International Festivals, including co-opening the Edinburgh Film Festival in Scotland . Mrs. Munck garnered 3 Best Director awards..
Ladd's book, Spiraling through the School of Life, published by Louise Hay; received 15 amazing endorsements from such notables as Stephen King, Marianne Williamson, Helen Thomas, Drs.Wayne Dyer/Dean Ornish/Bernie Siegel and former Congressman Berkley Bedell, among many others. She also has completed a book of short stories A, Bad Afternoon for a Piece of Cakeand has just finished her next book a political based autobiographical novel, Interrupted Destiny which Gloria Steinem has graciously offered to endorse, projected to be in the bookstores sometime in 2012. Ladd has co-authored a Broadway Musical, Last of the Bad Girls, starring Lainie Kazan, Connie Stevens and Diane - slated for Broadway 2012.
An astute business person, her creative and fiscal success as a director is a strongpoint in her own film production company, Exxcell Entertainment Films. Their company is in pre-production for the film, Woman Inside," about the late Martha Mitchell, and her husband Attorney General John Mitchell, during the Watergate Days; Martin Scorsese, winner of the 2007 Academy Awards' Best Director and Best Picture is their Executive Director and Jeff Stott (Bucket List) is their producer. Also slated for its future are films, "Hot Water Biscuits," starring Laura Dern: and the film, "Relative Truth," starring James Earl Jones, along with (Diane's son-in-law) Ben Harper, Bellina Logan and Diane.
Ms. Ladd's efforts have been instrumental in helping to curtail Runaway Productions, and keep US productions in America as she persuaded key members of Congress to support the first tax legislation favorable to investors, the film industry, and its workforces; to be passed in 40 years, signed by President George W. Bush December 2004.
Her continuous efforts to improve the quality of culture in the US are evident in her work as well as her avocations; Member of the famed Actors Studio's acting, directing and playwriting units; and a Screen Actors Guild National Board Member, holding a number of noteworthy positions through the years. She is the Founder and President of the Art & Culture Taskforce, ACT a charitable organization dedicated to strengthening Education and the Arts in America.
Recognized as a leader in actively pursuing improvement in all facets of the creative arts, she was given the Woman of the Year Award among many others. Film Festivals across our nation have honored Diane, including the recent High Falls Festival wherein she was the recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award and the Newport, Rhode Island Festival wherein the Governor declared a Diane Ladd Day!
Miss Ladd will be seen this fall, in HBO's new series, Enlightened, In which her daughter, Laura stars as 'Amy." Diane co-stars in the role of her mother, 'Helen' along with Luke Wilson who co-stars as 'Levy", Amy's ex-husband.