Karen Black Biography

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Birth Name: Karen Black
Born: 07/01/1939
Birth Place: Park Ridge, Illinois, USA

Whereas others might have thrown in the towel or become women in jeopardy in TV-movies with regularity, Black instead turned to independent films. While some were of downright horrendous quality, others offered her a wider range of roles than Hollywood might have. Among the best was Robert Altman's screen adaptation of "Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" (1981), in which she portrayed a transsexual. At the other end of the spectrum was her embarrassing role as an overprotective mother in "The Invisible Kid" (1988). Black seemed never to turn down a role and was often available for low-budget films by first-time directors. As a result, her output did not diminish with her salary "quote," and in 1996 alone she had seven films in the can awaiting release, ranging from the comedy "Plan 10 From Outer Space" to the sequel "Children of the Corn: The Gathering" to the indescribable "Dinosaur Valley Girls".

Her first work on TV was in a 1967 episode of "Run for Your Life" and Black had a decidedly supporting role as the wife of the doctor assigned to watch out for a defrosted man in the sitcom "The Second Hundred Years" (ABC, 1967-68). She made her TV-movie debut in "Trilogy of Terror" (NBC, 1975), in which she was memorably terrorized by a doll, and co-starred in the miniseries "Power" (NBC, 1980). In 1984-85, she had a recurring role as Elliot Gould's ex-wife on the sitcom "ER" and in 1989 joined the parade of actors making guest appearances on the then-cool series "Miami Vice."

Black won a Drama Critics Award nomination in 1965 for her Broadway debut in the short-running "The Playroom" but subsequent work in films limited her stage appearances. In the late 80s, she appeared with the Los Angeles company of "Tamara". Her son by screenwriter-actor L.M. Kit Carson is actor Hunter Carson, with whom she appeared in "Invaders From Mars" (1989).

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