Sissy Spacek

Sissy Spacek
Lacey Terrell / HBO


Sissy Spacek
Film: South side of the 6800 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Mary Elizabeth Spacek on Dec. 25, 1949 in Quitman, TX

Six-time Oscar nominee and one-time winner Sissy Spacek started her career in show business at age 17, when she won a singer-songwriter contest and moved to New York City to live with her cousin, actor Rip Torn, and his wife. Spacek played guitar and sang at Greenwich Village coffeehouses and even recorded a novelty song, “John, You’ve Gone Too Far This Time” about John Lennon. But the song sold poorly, Spacek was dropped from her label, and she began doing modeling work and fell in with artist Andy Warhol’s Factory.

With the help of her cousin, Spacek began taking acting lessons at the Lee Strasberg Institute and landed her first credited role in 1972 in the film “Prime Cut.” TV work followed, but it was her role in director Terrence Malick’s 1973 film “Badlands,” about a pair of young criminals on the run, that made Spacek a star. The actress also met her future husband, art director Jack Fisk, on the set of the film.

Three years later, Spacek lobbied hard and won the lead role of mistreated and telekinetic teenager Carrie White in director Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s bestseller, “Carrie.” The film became a critical and popular hit, and Spacek achieved not only stardom but her first iconic role (one that also earned her first Oscar nomination for actress).

Spacek used her newfound fame to help fund then-brother-in-law David Lynch’s first film, “Eraserhead.” A few years later, she earned an Academy Award for actress playing country singer Loretta Lynn in the 1980 film “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Spacek also earned a Grammy nomination for performing a song on the film’s soundtrack. She later recorded her own country album.

She went on to earn three more Oscar nominations in the 1980s, for the political thriller “Missing” and the dramas “The River” and “Crimes of the Heart.”

In the late 1980s, Spacek chose to take a four-year break from Hollywood to raise her family in rural Virginia. She returned to the screen in 1991 in a supporting role in director Oliver Stone’s “JFK.” She also starred in director David Lynch’s change-of-pace comedy drama, “The Straight Story.”

She earned one more Oscar nomination in 2002 for director Todd Fields’ drama “In the Bedroom.”

Spacek and Fisk have two daughters, Schuyler Fisk (an actress) and Madison Fisk.

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1976 Best Actress Carrie Nomination
    1980 Best Actress Coal Miner's Daughter Win
    1982 Best Actress Missing Nomination
    1984 Best Actress The River Nomination
    1986 Best Actress Crimes of the Heart Nomination
    2001 Best Actress In the Bedroom Nomination

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