Dianne Wiest

Dianne Wiest


3/28/1948, Kansas City, Missouri

Birth Name

Dianne Wiest


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Dianne Wiest is an American film, television and stage actress from Kansas City, Missouri. She was born on March 28th, 1948; her mother was a Scottish immigrant, and her father was a psychiatric social worker in the U.S. Army. Although Miss Wiest was a successful theatre actress for…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • As a child who grew up as a "Military brat," Diane Wiest lived in so many different places, she admits she has trouble remembering them all: Kansas City, Missouri; Nuremberg, Germany; San Antonio, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Staten Island, New York; Washington, D.C., and West Point, New York.

    • The way that Dianne Wiest squints her eyes was once memorably described as "looking as if she had just come in from the rain with her lashes still wet."

    • During a 1979 theater performance of The Art of Dining, a flaming dessert ignited Dianne Wiest's costume. Although she spent three weeks in the hospital with burns, Wiest won the coveted Obie and Theatre World awards for her work in the play.

    • Dianne Wiest stands 5' 4.5" (1.64m).

    • During an interview on Entertainment Tonight about her latest movie, Practical Magic (1998), Sandra Bullock admitted she and co-stars Dianne Wiest, Stockard Channing and Nicole Kidman actually consumed alcohol during the "Midnight Margaritas" scene, and offered this about Miss Wiest: "She's got that innocent thing where you think with that voice and that demeanor she's so angelic, but I think she could drink us all under the table."

    • Dianne Wiest said one of the reasons she took the role of "Ileen," a white woman at odds with her African-American coworker in Joel Drake Johnson's 2015 off-Broadway play Rasheeda Speaking, was "to explore my own latent racism."

    • As part of a tenant group in 2011, Dianne Wiest was involved in a lawsuit against the landlord at her West 78th Street apartment building on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, New York City. The landlord was allegedly charging tenants market-rate rent, despite getting a tax break from the city, which should have provided for rent stabilization.

    • Dianne has been nominated for two Emmy Awards. In 1997, Dianne won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series playing Lillian Hepworth on Road to Avonlea: Woman of Importance. In 1999, Dianne was nominated an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie playing Sarah McClellan on The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn. In 2008, Dianne won another Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series playing Gina Toll on In Treatment.

    • Theatre Awards

      Drama Desk Awards
      Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for The Art of Dining (1980) (Nomination)
      Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for other Places and Serenading Louie (1984) (Nominations)
      Outstanding Actress in a Play for Hunting Cockroaches (1987) (Nomination)

      Theatre World Awards
      For The Art of Dining (1980) (Won)

    • She has been nominated for 4 SAG Awards. In 2001 and 2002, she was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for her role as Interim District Attorney Nora Lewin in Law & Order. In 1997, she was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast, for the film, The Birdcage. In 1995, she won the SAG for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for the film, Bullets Over Broadway.

    • Costar Keanu Reeves, who is sixteen years her junior, proposed to her during the filming of Parenthood, a comedy movie in which she was playing his mother-in-law (1989).

    • Dianne Wiest was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1985" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 37.

    • Dianne Wiest appeared with Steven Hill in It's My Turn (1980). In 2000, she succeeded him as the District Attorney on NBC's crime/drama series Law & Order.

    • In 1989, she received her second Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in Parenthood.

    • Dianne's surname is pronounced "Wee-st."

    • In April 2005, Dianne Wiest's 17-year-old daughter Emily and two teenage classmates were arrested for allegedly roughing up a male classmate from the Beekman School in Manhattan and stealing his digital music player. The actress's child entered a plea of guilty to petit larceny in Manhattan Criminal Court in exchange for a sentence of two days of community service and restitution of $150.

    • Dianne Wiest was the first performer to win two Oscars (1986 Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Hannah and Her Sisters and 1994 Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Bullets Over Broadway) in films directed by the same person (Woody Allen).

    • Dianne Wiest is Brad Pitt's favourite actress.

    • Dianne Wiest has never been married and, other than a three-year relationship (1984-1987) with her agent, Sam Cohn, has rarely been romantically linked with anyone. She does, however, have two adopted daughters, Emily (b. 1987) and Lily (b. 1991).

    • Although Dianne Wiest's earliest passion was ballet (She studied at the School of American Ballet in New York City.), getting cast as "Cornelia Otis Skinner" in a high school production of Our Hearts Were Young and Gay altered her course forever. Miss Wiest would later major in drama at the University of Maryland, dropping out to instead tour with the American Shakespeare Company.

    • Dianne Wiest is the elder sister of her two brothers, Donald and Gregory.

  • Quotes

    • Dianne Wiest: (giving the reasons why she has done so many films with Woody Allen) Because he asked me to! I keep thinking they take the plaque (referring to Sundance Film Festival honoring her with the 1996 Piper-Heidsieck Tribute to Independent Vision) away from me! So much for my independent spirit. But Woody is so musical in his film making. There are rhythms and beats. I have called him up to ask if I can be in his next film. I've never worked with anyone I've trusted so completely. He won't let you hit a false note.

    • Dianne Wiest: (about how she has changed since the start of her acting career) I'm more aware of time. The element of time. I wouldn't understand how you were kept standing around. They forget about you. I look at the kids coming out of Yale. They are so intelligent with their careers. I wish I had that. Young people are more intelligent and sophisticated.

    • Dianne Wiest: (when asked what role she would like to do) Gone With The Wind and I'd play everyone.

    • Dianne Wiest: (about what she is most proud of in her career) I have more than a technique, a knowledge. It's not anxiety filled. I relish it. It is like flying and it's new to me. I used to be anxiety filled.

    • Dianne Wiest: (about the repercussions of growing up around the world, following her father's military career) Since I was a kid I've always identified with the stray dog, with the misplaced. And I guess it's because when you move around a lot you do feel lost and vulnerable.

    • Dianne Wiest: (on being typecast as fragile or neurotic characters) I'd like to play a real cold, mean, mass murderer. Some cruel, hard-bitten women, like the roles that Glenn Close gets, just to show that I am capable of not being vulnerable and not being fragile onscreen. (smilingly checks her confidence) I may eat my words.

    • Dianne Wiest: (when asked if she'd consider writing her own roles in an effort to create employment for herself because of the lack of high-paying acting work available) I think that if it's meant to happen, it will happen, which is, I guess, a real sign of stupidity.

    • Dianne Wiest: (about having to live in so many different places growing up) It's rough on a kid, having to pull up and leave friends you've made. It's very painful. There are benefits: you see the world, you develop some sophistication, and when you go to new places you're forced to go through this period of adjustment, which I guess has served me well. But it wasn't like having a hometown and friends you've known all your life.

    • Dianne Wiest: (laughingly responding to Keanu Reeves, sixteen years her senior, after he proposed to her on the set of the 1989 film Parenthood) You're very charming, and get off your knee, and... leave me alone.

    • Dianne Wiest: (on whether the film roles she plays as anxious, insecure women reflect her true nature) I view myself as a sort of normal lady. (laughingly) But of course I'm familiar with deep anxiety. I'm familiar with neurosis. That's certainly in me, but I would hope that wouldn't be what you would think upon meeting me.

    • Dianne Wiest: (recalling the night she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 'Hannah and Her Sisters' in 1987) I thought my life was changed, that producers would be ringing my phone off the hook, and vans filled with script offers would be rolling up my drive. It didn't happen. What did happen was it gave me credibility: It said `you're certified.'

    • Dianne Wiest: What I love is a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. I'll just have peanut butter and bananas, then peanut butter and pickles. Peanut butter and chocolate I don't recommend.

    • Dianne Wiest: All I've done since is three days on Bright Lights, Big City as Michael J. Fox's mother. That's what an Oscar does for you.

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