Worked With:

Barbara Bain

Kevin Corrigan

Rosanna Arquette

Lily Rabe

Tanna Frederick

Austin Peck

Vincent D'Onofrio

Sherilyn Fenn

David Bowie

Elliott Gould

Karen Black Biography

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Birth Name: Karen Black
Born: 07/01/1939
Birth Place: Park Ridge, Illinois, USA
Died: 08/07/2013

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 Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" (1982), 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). In the middle of the decade, she had a recurring role as Elliott Gould's ex-wife on the sitcom "E/R" (CBS, 1984-85), and, in 1989, joined the parade of actors making guest appearances on the popular cop series "Miami Vice" (NBC, 1984-1990). She also appeared in "Invaders from Mars" (1986) with Hunter Carson, her son by screenwriter/actor L.M. Kit Carson. Black seemed never to turn down a part 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, during the mid-1990s, she had numerous films in the can awaiting release, ranging from the comedy "Plan 10 from Outer Space" (1995) to the sequel "Children of the Corn: The Gathering" (1996) to the indescribable "Dinosaur Valley Girls" (1996).

In the new millennium, Black was largely relegated to getting by on her status as a cult favorite, though she did appear in occasional notable productions, including the offbeat computer-obsessed movie "Teknolust" (2002), starring Tilda Swinton, and she gamely embraced her horror roots as Mother Firefly in Rob Zombie's gory creep-fest "House of 1000 Corpses" (2003). Featured in low-budget films and occasional TV shows during her final years, Black died of cancer in 2013. One of her final public appearances came earlier that year, when she sang a duet with alt-folk singer-songwriter Cass McCombs on his song "Brighter!" from the album Big Wheel and Others.