The actress best known for creating the role of Flo in Martin Scorsese’s “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (the basis for the hit TV series “Alice”) was born to a veterinarian and a housewife in Mississippi. She got her start in acting early, when she was spotted performing with a local band at age 16 and chosen to join a touring company of the play “Tobacco Road” with John Carradine.
She turned down a scholarship at Louisiana State University to pursue acting in New York City, where she made her off-Broadway debut in a revival of “Orpheus Descending,” written by her second cousin, Tennessee Williams.
In 1960, she married fellow actor Bruce Dern and gave birth to two children: Diane Elizabeth Dern in 1961 and Laura Elizabeth Dern in 1967. Diane died at just 18 months after she sustained a head injury from falling into a swimming pool.
Ladd’s first marriage ended in 1969, and she married her second husband, William A. Shea Jr. the same year.
In 1974, she appeared as the grizzled waitress Flo “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” The role earned Ladd her first Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. She was also nominated in 1991 for “Wild at Heart” and 1992 for “Rambling Rose.” (She appeared alongside her daughter Laura in the latter two films, and “Rose” is the only film in which a mother and daughter have both been nominated.)
Her marriage to Shea ended in 1977, and in 1999 she married her current husband, former PepsiCo Food Systems CEO Robert Charles Hunter.
She will soon be appearing in Laura Dern’s upcoming HBO series “Enlightened.”
|1974||Best Supporting Actress||Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore||Nomination|
|1990||Best Supporting Actress||Wild at Heart||Nomination|
|1991||Best Supporting Actress||Rambling Rose||Nomination|