Beverly D'Angelo could be a household name, multi-talented, she first gravitated to art, working in the animation department of Hanna-Barbera before moving to Canada to pursue her singing career; most notably with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins. It was there that Gower Champion spotted her and cast her as Ophelia in his Canadian production of "Rockabye, Hamlet" (1975), which moved the next year to Broadway for a short run. After smaller roles in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" and Michael Winner's "The Sentinel" (both 1977), D'Angelo gained wide attention as the rebellious debutante Sheila in Milos Forman's highly acclaimed film version of "Hair" (1979). She secured her reputation with a compelling portrayal of Patsy Cline in Michael Apted's "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980), singing with style and accuracy the Patsy Cline songs for a soundtrack album which went gold.
D'Angelo first played Ellen Griswold, the role audiences most identify with her, in "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983) and then reprised the part opposite screen husband Chevy Chase in three equally light-weight sequels (1985, 1989 and 1997) which did well at the box office and made her a bunch of money. Though she has done her best by such forgettable misfires as "High Spirits" (1988) and "Man Trouble" (1992), D'Angelo made a memorably beautiful movie with then-boyfriend Irish director Neil Jordan, "The Miracle" (1991), just before breaking up with him. On TV, she won raves for her luminous Stella Kowalski in the 1984 TV remake of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (ABC) opposite Treat Williams and Ann-Margret. D'Angelo also starred as crime victim Mary Heard in the CBS miniseries "Hands of a Stranger" (1987), portrayed Kitty Menendez in the 1994 miniseries "Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills" (NET) and appeared with Bruce Davison and MacKenzie Astin in the HBO murder mystery movie "Widow's Kiss" (1996).
D'Angelo returned to the New York stage in 1994 to star opposite Ed Harris in Sam Shepard's play "Simpatico", earning a Theatre World Award for her efforts. She sang eight songs for the soundtrack and acted in "Daddy's Dyin' . . . Who's Got the Will" (1991) and also performed "Lovin' You" for "Vegas Vacation" (1997). Her jazz band Blue Martini (which includes bassist brother Jeff) has afforded her the chance to display her singing talent, however, good friend John Schlesinger (who directed her in three movies) lamented, "She should be singing more. She should have a much wider audience."