Piper Laurie is an actress who performs in David Lynch’s series Twin Peaks and the 1976 horror film Carrie. Piper is still working today, and the actress thanks some decidedly traumatic childhood memories for her career in Hollywood. Join Facts Verse as we explore how Piper Laurie’s rotten childhood turns her into a star.
Piper Laurie’s Troubled Childhood
Piper Laurie was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1932. At the time of her birth, Piper knows as Rosetta Jacobs. She can’t enter the Hollywood studio during her teen years but Piper will grant her a famous stage name. The young star’s first studio contract comes when she is 17 years old. Though she experiences a childhood full of traumas to get through, first! Piper led a decidedly troubled childhood, but she credits her many traumas with making her the star that she is.
Piper was so incredibly shy as a child that her parents grew to wonder if she was mute. At an older age, Piper diagnoses with an anxiety disorder, though these things aren’t common when she is growing up. Because of this, Piper faced a good deal of stigma due to her undiagnosed condition. Because of Piper’s behavioral symptoms, her parents decide to lock them up with her sister in a children’s sanitarium. That’s when the future star is only around the age of six. If there is another reason behind her parents’ decision to do so, they didn’t tell her or her sister. One can imagine that this might have been a traumatic event for Piper, and it certainly was. But after her parents’ abandonment of their children, she is able to recover at the sanitarium. And stay there with inspiring much of her future talent.
Piper’s mother and father never explained why they had her and her sister institutionalized. But they come back after several years to bring the girls home and resume their life as if nothing happens. Piper’s sister’s asthma mixes with Piper’s anxiety, it affects the parent’s decision to confine them to an asylum. However, Piper and her sister constrain to guess and act as if their stay at the sanitarium never occur. Still, Piper opens up doors in her mind that will never be close, and she wants to be a star.
The Sanitarium Stay Isn’t All Bad
While institutionalized at the children’s sanitarium, Piper and her sister stood out due to their looks. They are both red hair, and their freckles are worse by the geographical area in which the girls are staying. The sanitarium is in California, and the sun makes the girls’ freckles stand out like a sore thumb. Thankfully, the girls are able to overcome their differences with the other children, though the other kids are bullying them. The thing that helped the girls cope with their sanitarium stay was the music lessons. All of the children at the institution are pushed to learn the piano and perform in front of the others. This forced Piper to open up, and is what eventually made her realize that she was a star.
According to Piper, the sanitarium becomes traumatic for many reasons, they force children to open up in front of others. These skills also allowed Piper to enter her Hollywood career. If it didn’t because of force staying in a sanitarium, she will be a nearly mute child just like before. However, it institutionalized, regardless of the reason, allowed her to truly shine.
Piper Becomes a Hollywood Star
Piper Laurie made her entrance into Hollywood at the aforementioned age of 17, signing a contract with Universal Pictures. The actress makes her big-screen debut starring alongside Ronald Reagan. She will go on to work with such notable Golden Age stars as Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson. Piper claims that she lost her virginity to Ronald Reagan, and remains close to Rock Hudson until his death. Piper finds some modest success during these early days of her career, she’s not satisfied with the Hollywood studio system. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you like to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Piper Heads to the Stage to Prove Her Worth
Laurie’s contract with Universal Pictures lasts for seven years, and her interest isn’t in renewing the contract once up. Instead, the actress was looking to find a place outside of the Hollywood system where she would feel freer to express herself. The actress set her sights on the theater. While the theater crowd hesitates to accept what they think is just another superficial Hollywood star trying to prove her dramatic chops, they win over Piper’s talents. Piper ends up becoming a notable dramatic star on the stage, and this makes the world realize that there is more to the actress than what shows during her days with Universal Pictures. While the movies that Piper had made with the studio during her early career had made her popular with the audience, they didn’t take advantage of her acting skills.
Piper’s Return to Hollywood
After reinventing herself as a dramatic actress on the stage, Piper Laurie was able to come back to Hollywood in a spectacular fashion. Upon her return to the filmmaking industry, Piper was able to give some more experimental and memorable performances. It was during this period that Piper appeared in the classic horror film, Carrie. Brian De Palma directs the horror classic, released in 1976, and Piper appears in the key role of the titular character’s mom. Of course, those who have seen the film will remember that Piper delivered quite the performance in it. Around the same time, Piper can be in the similarly classic film The Hustler. After many years, the actress respects Hollywood, and she had her forced sanitarium stay to thank for it. In the late 1980s, Piper would receive a role in the David Lynch television series Twin Peaks.
Working with David Lynch on Twin Peaks
Piper was incredibly excited about the opportunity to work with director David Lynch, as the filmmaker had risen to prominence over the course of the 1980s with such critically acclaimed features as The Elephant Man and Blue Velvet. Although David was working within the medium of television this time instead of the medium of cinema, the director was adamant that the work that he was going to be doing with his new series was going to be comparable to any Hollywood production. In fact, the pilot episode of the series was given a theatrical release internationally. During it’s first season, Twin Peaks became a big hit with the television audience and Piper was a big part of the show’s success.
As a result of her Twin Peaks performance, Piper went on to receive a Golden Globe Award and two separate Emmy nominations. On the show, Piper played the character of Catherine. Later in the series, Catherine fakes her death and changes her identity. David Lynch allowed Piper to come up with her own disguise, and the actress decided that she wanted to disguise herself as a Japanese man. David Lynch told the cast and crew that an esteemed Japanese actor was being flown in from Japan to play some supposed new role, and no one on set had any idea that it was actually Piper!
According to Piper, the aforementioned experience during the filming of Twin Peaks was one of the most rewarding experiences of her career due to the fact that she was able to choose her own disguise and fool all of her coworkers. Sadly, the character of Catherine received less focus towards the back half of the series’ original run, and Piper wasn’t one of the many stars that ended up being asked back for the show’s recent revival. However, Piper claims that there’s no bad blood between her and David Lynch.
Piper Is Still Working Today
Recently, Piper made a significant return to the big-screen in the critically acclaimed 2018 feature White Boy Rick, which also featured Matthew McConaughey and Bruce Dern. That same year, Piper also received acclaim for her performance in the low-key independent feature Snapshots. Today, Piper Laurie is 90 years old. Her most recent work was in an animated podcast series by the name of Carcerem, which she leant her voice to for one episode a few years back.
Has Piper Ever Been Married?
As far as her personal life goes since the traumatic days of her childhood, Piper Laurie has only been married once over the course of her life. Piper’s first and only husband was a film critic by the name of Joe Morgenstern. The two were married for two decades, from 1962 to 1982. Over the course of that time period, they had a daughter by the name of Anne Grace Morgenstern. It remains to be seen if Piper’s appearance in White Boy Rick will be the last that she ever makes on the big screen, but we certainly hope not!
Although Piper Laurie had a fairly traumatic childhood, she credits this traumatic childhood with inspiring her to become the star that she is today. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Piper Laurie made her debut on the big screen acting alongside Ronald Reagan, and that she also claims that she lost her virginity to him? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!