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Rebecca De Mornay

Rebecca De Mornay’s screen debut was in the hit film Risky Business (1983), in which she played a seductive call girl to an impressionable Tom Cruise. In her subsequent 45+ roles on stage and screen, she has consistently been singled out by critics as an actress of striking intensity, range, and skill. Her ability to create characters of depth and originality includes her highly acclaimed portrayal of a disturbingly deranged nanny in the box-office smash The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992).

De Mornay, herself the mother of two daughters, has played many variations of motherhood on film, including a prim suburban mother in the romantic coming-of-age comedy Flipped (2010), directed by Rob Reiner; a dysfunctional and disturbed mother in the Canadian independent film American Venus (2007); a drug-addled hippie mother to Emile Hirsch in Catherine Hardwicke’s skate-board drama Lords of Dogtown (2005), with Heath Ledger; a 1950s mother who cracks and winds up institutionalized in the biographical drama Music Within (2007); and the tour-de-force role of a frighteningly devious and psychotic matriarch of a criminal family, in the thriller/horror film Mother’s Day (2010).

De Mornay’s diverse film roles include a tomboy train-mechanic in Andrei Konchalovsky’s Runaway Train (1985), with Jon Voight; a vulnerable fireman’s wife in Ron Howard’s Backdraft (1991) with Kurt Russell; a criminal psychologist who begins to unravel psychologically in Never Talk to Strangers (1995), with Antonio Banderas; a slick criminal defense attorney stalked by her own client in Sidney Lumet’s Guilty as Sin (1993), with Don Johnson; a gentle God-loving Texas wife in Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful (1985), with Geraldine Page; the wicked Milady de Winter in The Three Musketeers (1993), with Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen; a distraught mother whose baby is poisoned by nuclear radioactivity in Testament (1983), with Kevin Costner and Jane Alexander; a conniving Las Vegas lounge singer in The Winner (1996), with Vincent D’Onofrio; and a petulant fading TV star who meets a grim end in James Mangold’s thriller Identity (2003), with John Cusack. Rebecca also opens the hit comedy Wedding Crashers (2005), with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, in a hilarious cameo as a venomous woman in the middle of a bitter divorce, and in an uncredited cameo she plays a sexy older woman who seduces Seann William Scott in the comedy American Reunion (2012), the fourth film in the American Pie series. Her other films include Roger Vadim’s And God Created Woman (1988); the FBI training-school comedy Feds (1988); the musical fairy tale Beauty and the Beast (1987), with John Savage; and the thriller I Am Wrath (2016), with John Travolta.

She has three films coming out in 2023: Saint Clare from producer Cassian Elwes, with Ryan Phillippe and Bella Thorne; The Whisper Network from producer Jim Irsay, with Rainey Qualley and music supervisor Rick Rubin; and Holly Jolly for Fox Studios and MarVista Entertainment.

On television, De Mornay recently played a darkly manipulative stage mother on three seasons of Marvel’s Jessica Jones (with Krysten Ritter) and appeared as an oblivious, narcissistic mother on Lucifer. She also starred as an ornery surfer matriarch in David Milch’s HBO series John from Cincinnati (with Bruce Greenwood), and as a mother who unravels in grief when she loses her son in CBS’ Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Night Ride Home (with Ellen Burstyn).

Two of De Mornays’s favorite TV roles have been the tour-de-force role of Arlie, an uneducated woman looking to transform her life after getting out of prison, in ABC’s Getting Out, based on Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and Flo, the enchanting but doomed mistress to Jason Robards in the ABC miniseries An Inconvenient Woman. De Mornay has also played a glamorous socialite struggling with breast cancer in a multi-episode story arc for E.R., a wickedly ambitious attorney in the final four episodes of The Practice, and a deadpan homicide detective in the HBO crime comedy Thick as Thieves (with Alec Baldwin).

Other network and cable television movies include HBO’s suspense thrillers The Right Temptation, with Kiefer Sutherland; Blind Side with Rutger Hauer; and By Dawn’s Early Light with James Earl Jones; as well as the CBS miniseries Salem Witch Trials, with Shirley MacLaine.

On stage, De Mornay starred as Billie Dawn in Garson Kanin’s classic comedy Born Yesterday at the Pasadena Playhouse, as Charlotte Corday in Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade at the Williamstown Festival, and as Anna in Patrick Marber’s Closer at the Mark Taper Forum.

De Mornay made her directing debut with “The Conversion,” a segment of the cable anthology series The Outer Limits, with John Savage and Frank Whaley. She has written one unproduced screenplay—a romantic dark comedy with supernatural elements, titled Lilith—and has just completed a novel she has been working on for many years.

De Mornay was born in northern California, but was raised almost entirely in England and Austria, graduating summa cum laude from a German-speaking high school in the Austrian Alps. She is fluent in German and French. Rebecca has two daughters, Sophia (24) and Veronica (20), and she resides in Los Angeles.

Friday, April 14
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
WB 100
Discussion before
Chinese Multiplex House 1