About Her
Photographed by Olivia Malone for The New York Times.


Michelle Pfeiffer was born in Santa Ana, California to Dick and Donna Pfeiffer. She has an older brother and two younger sisters – Dedee Pfeiffer, and Lori, who dabbled in acting and modeling but decided against making it her life’s work. She graduated from Fountain Valley High School in 1976, and attended one year at the Golden West College, where she studied to become a court reporter. But it was while working as a supermarket checker at Vons, a large Southern California grocery chain, that she realized her true calling. She was married to actor/director Peter Horton (“Gary” of “thirtysomething” (1987)) in 1981.

“It’s my profound fear of embarrasment that’s kept me going. That’s the key to my success.”

she then had a three year relationship with actor Fisher Stevens. When that didn’t work out, Pfeiffer decided she didn’t want to wait any longer before having her own family, and in March of 1993, she adopted a baby girl, Claudia Rose. On November 13th of the same year, she married lawyer-turned-writer/producer David E. Kelley (creator of “Picket Fences and “Chicago Hope”). On August 5, 1994 their son, John Henry was born.

A classically beautiful blonde whose striking good looks, poise and talent have made her one of Hollywood’s most valuable–and likable–assets. After completing high school, she competed for and won the title of Miss Orange County in order to meet one of the judges, an agent. Pfeiffer lost the next round in the pageants but began her acting career with a bit part in the ABC hit “Fantasy Island” before accepting the role of The Bombshell in the short-lived, “Animal House”-inspired ABC sitcom “Delta House” (1979). Pfeiffer has referred to this period as a time when she traded on her looks to get by and the types of roles she usually played, the other woman, the sexy young thing, support her views. She first gained a modicum of attention as the lead in the high-profile but lackluster sequel “Grease 2” (1982), which at least allowed her to display her singing abilities. wife role as the coke-snorting, Anglo mistress of Cuban gangster Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Brian De Palma’s 1983 remake of “Scarface” seemed a throwback but it allowed the actress to hint at her abilities. She marked time in such enjoyable but little seen efforts as “Into The Night“, “Ladyhawke” (1985) and “Sweet Liberty” (1986) before the success of “The Witches of Eastwick” (1987) moved her to the front ranks as she more than held her own opposite a devilish Jack Nicholson and fellow tricksters Cher and Susan Sarandon.

While “Married to the Mob” (1988) displayed Pfeiffer’s comic versatility–she was at first nearly unrecognizable as a dark brunette–it was her prim wife-turned-passionate lover Madame de Tourvel in “Dangerous Liaisons” (also 1988) that garnered her a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination, She consolidated her standing the critics and the public in the tailor-made role of Susie Diamond, the slinky nightclub chanteuse who comes between Beau and Jeff Bridges, in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” (1989), earning numerous critics’ awards and her first Best Actress Oscar nomination. On the surface she was miscast as a dowdy waitress opposite Al Pacino’s schlubby cook in “Frankie & Johnny” (1991) but the actress imbued the character with dignity and grit. Her performance as the whip-cracking, kick-boxing Catwoman brought a much-needed spark to “Batman Returns“, the blockbuster hit of summer 1992. That same year Pfeiffer received her second Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrait of a woman obsessed with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in “Love Field“.

“Just standing around looking beauitful is so boring, really boring, so boring.”

Perhaps one of Pfeiffer’s most demanding roles was that of Countess Olenska in Martin Scorsese’s period drama, “The Age of Innocence” (1993), playing the seductively bruised, married woman who is scorned by New York’s upper class, yet adored by Daniel Day-Lewis. She was far less challenged as the love interest of the supernaturally afflicted Jack Nicholson in the wildly uneven thriller “Wolf” (1994). Yet, the talented Pfeiffer demonstrated her box-office clout headlining “Dangerous Minds” (1995), a well-meaning drama (variously interpreted as liberal and neo-conservative), based on LouAnne Johnson’s nonfiction book “My Posse Don’t Do Homework“. Her glamorous presence, a hit soundtrack and an uncomplicated script all helped make this story of a former Marine turned inner-city high school English teacher into one of the biggest hits of 1995. She further capitalized on her appeal by co-starring with Robert Redford in “Up Close and Personal” (1996), a highly fictionalized version of the life of TV newswoman Jessica Savitch that played out more as a loose remake of “A Star Is Born”. Reportedly turning down the role of “Evita” because she did not want to work on location, Pfeiffer chose a supporting role as the ghost of Peter Gallagher’s wife in “To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday” (also 1996), scripted by her second husband David E Kelley. She rounded out the year making her producing debut and starring with George Clooney in the likable but low key romantic comedy “One Fine Day“. After a turn as a farm wife facing up to her father alongside Jessica Lange in “A Thousand Acres” (1997), Pfeiffer was back as producer and star of “The Deep End of the Ocean” (1999), playing the mother of a kidnapped child. Since she had attempted Shakespeare in her first stage outing (Olivia in “Twelfth Night” in 1989), it came as no surprise that Pfeiffer was cast as Tatiana, the queen of the fairies, in a new version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1999) directed by Michael Hoffman. Pfeiffer, who co starred with Bruce Willis in “The Story Of Us” (1999), reunited with the director Jessie Nelson to work on the drama feature “I Am Sam” (2001). She also co-star with Harrison Ford in the summer blockbuster hit “What Lies Beneath” at 2000. In 2002, she was cast as Ingrid, an imprisoned mother whose daughter is forced into a gut-wrenching foster care system, in “White Oleander“. And Pfeiffer back to the voice performance again for “Sinbad – Legend of the Seven Seas” in 2003, after her first voice acting for Dreamworks animated film in 1998, “The Prince of Egypt“.

After almost 4 year break Pfeiffer will back to the big screen again by “I Could Never Be Your Woman” in 2006, a romantic comedy co-start with actor Paul Rudd, directed by Amy Heckerling. And a fantasy adventure film “Stardust” will be relesead at June 2007, which Pfeiffer plays a dangerous & beauitful witch again. In additional, Pfeiffer joined the all-star team in the blockbuster musical “Hairspray“.

After an indie movie “Personal Effects” with Ashton Kutcher. Pfeiffer reteamed with the “Dangerous Liaisons” director Stephen Frears and writer Christopher Hampton in “Chéri” at 2009 based on the famous French novel by Colette, which was officially selected by the 59th Berlin International Film Festival 2009.

In the begining of 2011, Pfeiffer is currecntly working on Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy “New Year’s Eve“, DreamWorks picture “Welcome to People” which she will play the mother role of Chris Pine, and possibly, Pfeiffer will soon reteam with  director Tim Burton who directed her as Catwoman in “Batman Returns“, in his new project “Dark Shadows” oppsite Johnny Depp and Eva Green.


Michelle Pfeiffer with her Best Actress Award at the 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1990.

Year Movie Result Award Category
2021 French Exit Won Canadian Screen Awards, CA Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated Golden Globes, USA Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Nominated Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Nominated AARP Movies for Grownups Awards Best Actress
2020 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Nominated CinEuphoria Awards Best Supporting Actress – International Competition
2018 Where is Kyra? Nominated American Film Awards Best Actress
Nominated Gotham Awards Best Actress
Nominated Indiana Film Journalists Association, US Best Actress
The Wizard of Lies Nominated Golden Globes, USA Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Nominated Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series
Nominated Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Mother! Nominated GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics Film Performance of the Year – Supporting Actress
2017 Mother! Nominated Odyssey Awards Best Support Actress
Nominated Indiewire Critics’ Poll Best Supporting Actress
Nominated Fright Meter Awards Best Supporting Actress
The Wizard of Lies Nominated Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Variety’s Power of Women LA Won Power of Women Variety’s Power of Women LA
2012 Won CinemaCon 2012 Cinema Icon Award
2011 Won 18th Women in Hollywood Icon
2008 Stardust Nominated Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress
Hairspray Nominated Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2007 Won Star on the Walk of Fame Motion Picture On 6 August.
At 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.
2003 White Oleander Won San Diego Film Critics
Best Supporting Actress
Won Kansas City Film Critics Best Supporting Actress
Runner-up Washington DC Film Critics Supporting Actress
Nominated Screen Actors Guild Best Supporting Actress
Nominated Alexandrias Best Supporting Actress
2001 What Lies Beneath Won Apex Awards Best Actress,
Won Blockbuster Award Favourite Actress, Suspense
Nominated Saturn Award Best Actress
1998 A Thousand Acres Won Verona Love Screens Film
1997 One Fine Day Won Blockbuster Award Favourite Actress, Comedy
1996 Dangerous Minds Won Blockbuster Award Favorite Actress, Drama
Nominated MTV Award Most Desirable Female
Nominated MTV Award Best Female Performance
1995 Wolf Won Apex Awards Best Actress, Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror
Won Hasty Puddings Theatrical Woman of the Year 1995
1994 The Age of Innocence Nominated Golden Globe Award Best Actress, Drama
Won ShoWest Female Star of the Year
1993 The Age of Innocence Won Venice Film Festival Elvira Notari Prize (share with Martin Scorsese)
Batman Returns Won Apex Award Supporting Actress, Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror
Nominated Fennecus Best Supporting Actress
Nominated MTV Awards Most Desirable Female
Love Field Won Berlin International
Film Festival
Best Actress
Nominated Academy Award Best Actress
Nominated Alexandrias Best Actress
Nominated Golden Globe Award Best Actress, Drama
Won Women in Film The Crystal Award
1992 Frankie & Johnny Nominated Golden Globe Award Best Actress, comedy
1991 The Russia House Nominated Golden Globe Award Best Actress, drama
1990 The Fabulous Baker Boys Won Golden Globe Award Best Actress, Drama
Won Apex Award Best Actress, Drama
Won Chicago Film Critics
Best Actress
Won Fennecus Awards Best Actress
Won Fennecus Awards Best Song Performance
Making Whoopee
Won Los Angeles Film Critics
Best Actress
Won National Board of Review Best Actress
Won National Society of Film
Best Actress
Won New York Film Critics Best Actress
Nominated Academy Awards Best Actress
Nominated Alexandrias Best Actress
Nominated BAFTA Best Actress
Nominated American Comedy Award Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
1989 Married to the Mob Nominated Golden Globe Award Best Actress, comedy
Nominated Apex Award Best Actress, comedy
Dangerous Liaison Won BAFTA (British Academy) Best Supporting Actress
Nominated Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress
Tequila Sunrise Nominated Apex Award Best Actress, Action/Mystery/
1986 Ladyhawke Nominated Saturn Awards Best Actress
1983 Grease 2 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Young Motion Picture