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Kim Dickens Biography

Home > Actresses > D > Dickens, Kim > Biography

Birth Name: Kim Dickens
Born: 06/18/1965
Birth Place: Huntsville, Alabama, USA

Born on June 18, 1965 in Huntsville, AL, Dickens graduated from Lee High School before attending Vanderbilt University, where she made her stage debut in a student production of David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity in Chicago." She went on to study her craft at the Lee Stasberg Theatre and Film Institute and graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. After working in regional theater and performing summer stock, Dickens was featured as a model for Calvin Klein's spring collection in 1994, before making her television movie debut in "Voice from the Grave: From the Files of 'Unsolved Mysteries'" (NBC, 1996). From there, she made her feature debut as Vincent Gallo's love interest in the notable indie comedy "Palookaville" (1996) and reunited with the actor in Kiefer Sutherland's feature directorial debut "Truth or "Consequences, N.M." (1997). Following a turn as a vengeance-seeking daughter in "Zero Effect" (1998), Dickens more than held her own opposite Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin in "Mercury Rising" (1998).

During this time, Dickens gained a foothold on the small screen with roles in TV movies like "Two Mothers for Zachary" (ABC, 1996) and "Heart Full of Rain" (CBS, 1997), while also landing guest spots on "Spin City" (ABC, 1996-2002) and "Swift Justice" (UPN, 1996). After a supporting role in Alfonso Cuaron's interpretation of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" (1998) and a small part in the straight-to-video release "The White River Kid" (1999), she made an appearance as an eccentric veterinarian in the poorly-received horror flick, "Hollow Man" (2000), starring Kevin Bacon and Elisabeth Shue. Dickens continued performing admirably in smaller roles, appearing in the supernatural thriller "The Gift" (2000) and as a spurned wife in the dark character drama "The House of Sand and Fog" (2003), starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. Finally able to land a starring role, Dickens played an up-and-coming singer living a Janis Joplin-like existence in "Things Behind the Sun" (Showtime, 2001), directed by noted indie helmer Allison Anders. She returned to television with a regular gig as a rookie FBI agent on the detective series, "Big Apple" (CBS, 2001), but network axed the show after less than a month on the air.

Dickens followed up with another regular gig on a short-lived series, "Out of Order" (Showtime, 2003), which focused on a Hollywood screenwriting couple who finds their marriage is in trouble because of drugs, depression and extra-marital affairs. Tapped by "Big Apple" creator David Milch, Dickens finally earned her due on an acclaimed series when she was cast to play a prostitute-turned-whorehouse madam on the award-winning revisionist Western series, "Deadwood" (HBO, 2004-06). Alongside a cast that included Timothy Olyphant as violence-prone sheriff Seth Bullock, Robin Weigert as foul-mouthed Calamity Jane, and Ian McShane as murderous saloon owner Al Swearengen, "Deadwood" was hailed by critics for its profane but lyrical look at the South Dakota gold-mining town that struggles to keep out the feds while reaping the rewards of lucrative gold strikes. As Joanie Stubbs, Dickens' emotionally scarred character breaks away from the hold of her former employer, Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe) to start her own high-class whorehouse while developing a bond with Charlie Utter (Dayton Callie), a former friend of Wild Bill Hickcok (Keith Carradine). Despite critical acclaim and a loyal following, HBO abruptly canceled the series, shocking both fans and actors who never saw the cancelation coming.

Back on the big screen, Dickens played the ex-wife of a Big Tobacco lobbyist (Aaron Eckhart) in Jason Reitman's satirical comedy "Thank You for Smoking" (2006), before landing a recurring role as a divorcée conned by grifter Sawyer (Josh Holloway) on several 2008 episodes of "Lost" (ABC, 2004-2010). From there, she had a recurring role as the estranged mother of the shy and stammering Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) on "Friday Night Lights" (NBC, 2006-2011) while making a 2009 guest appearance on the high-concept, but short-lived "FlashForward" (ABC, 2009-2010). Returning to the big screen, Dickens had supporting turns opposite Oscar winner Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side" (2009) and in the underwhelming remake of "Footloose" (2011). But it was on television that she found her most promising work, as Dickens has a leading role as a chef trying to keep her New Orleans restaurant open in the wake of Hurricane Katrina on David Simon's critically acclaimed "Treme" (HBO, 2010- ), which recounted the struggles of a wide swath of people attempting to rebuild their lives and city after the devastating storm.

By Shawn Dwyer