Laura is the daughter of Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd and the grand-daughter of Mary Lanier. Her great-grandfather, George Henry Dern of Salt Lake City (1872-1936) was a two-term governor of the state of Utah, from 1925 to 1933, then served as Franklin D. Roosevelts Secretary of…more
Laura earned a 'Special Distinction Award' in 2006 at the Independent Spirit Awards, when she re-teamed with director David Lynch to star in Inland Empire.
Laura co-starred with then-boyfriend Billy Bob Thornton in a 'white trash' romantic comedy that was written and directed by Thornton in Daddy and Them, in 2001.
Laura earned an Emmy nomination for playing a lesbian on the famous 'coming out' episode of Ellen in 1997.
Laura made a brief appearance opposite Sean Penn in the 2001 drama about a mentally disabled man seeking custody of his daughter in I Am Sam.
Laura made her directorial debut with the romantic short made for Showtime, The Gift in 1994.
Laura does yoga and meditation daily, to stay centered.
Laura plays the role of a caring girlfriend of dentist Steve Martin before his life is thrown off-track by a seductive, drug-seeking patient (Helena Bonham Carter) in Novacaine.
Laura won an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of a military widow in the HBO docudrama Afterburn in 1992.
Laura took a few years off from the big screen in 2002 to spend time with boyfriend Ben Harper and raise their first child, Ellery.
Laura teamed up with William H. Macy to play a Brooklyn couple who are mistaken for Jews by their anti-Semitic neighbors in the 2001 movie based on the Arthur Miller novel Focus.
Laura played a criminologist alongside Kevin Costner, in the Clint Eastwood dark film A Perfect World, in 2001.
Laura and her mother Diane Ladd both starred in a dinosaur-themed movie in 1993. Diane starred in the independent film Carnosaur, while Laura starred as Ellie Sattler in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park.
Laura received a $2,000.00 salary for her role in the 1985 movie Mask.
Laura particularly enjoys working with director Robert Altman, he is famous for letting the actors create their own characters.
Laura is a student of religion and psychology in her spare time, finding the media spotlight the downside of being an actress.
Laura admits that her breakup with Billy Bob Thornton was the hardest heartbreak she has had to endure, because of the public humility as well as the deep emotional betrayal.
Laura has turned down many high profile roles in favor of smaller ones with something important to say. She likes to work with film makers with strong vision of what they want and this, more than fame, has been the focus of her career.
Laura played a morally upright teacher who inspires some West Virginia schoolboys to look beyond coal-mining as their futures in October Sky.
Laura starred as a pregnant glue-sniffer caught in a struggle between pro-choice and pro-life forces in the satiric 1996 hit Citizen Ruth.
Laura sued for emancipation and won at age 13, when she was cast in the 1981 movie Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains and her mother refused to let her go. Diane felt she was too young to leave home for a movie shoot, but she did so anyway, the movie was not a hit.
Laura played daughter to her real-life mother in 5 movies: Citizen Ruth in 1996, Daddy and Them in 2001, Rambling Rose in 1991, Wild at Heart in 1990, and White Lightning in 1973.
Laura's idols are Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, and Lucille Ball.
Laura married Ben Harper on December 23, 2005. They have two children, son Ellery Walker, born on August 21, 2001, and daughter Jaya, born in Los Angeles on November 28, 2004.
Laura dated Treat Williams and Renny Harlin in 1984, Kyle MacLachlan from 1985-1989, was engaged to be married to Jeff Goldblum in 1994, and was engaged to marry Billy Bob Thornton in 1999, before he unexpectedly married Angelina Jolie in 2000.
Laura earned her first Oscar nomination in 1991 for 'Best Actress, starring as a pure-hearted nymphomanic in Martha Coolidge's Rambling Rose. Her mother co-starred and earned the 'Best Supporting Actress' Oscar nod, marking the first mother-daughter team to win nominations in the same year for the same film.
Laura made her New York stage debut in 1988 opposite her then-boyfriend Kyle MacLachlan in the Off-Broadway production of The Palace of Amateurs.
Laura landed a memorable role as a chain-smoking, hell-raising fireball, named Lula Pace Fortune, Nicolas Cage's free-spirited traveling companion in David Lynch's Wild At Heart in 1990.
Laura faced a few disappointing roles, the first in 1988's Haunted Summer, and in her 1989 role as a nurse who watches her lover (John Cusack) die of radiation poisoning in Fat Man and Little Boy. Both movies flopped at the box office.
Laura avoided being typecast as the 'good girl' when she turned in an impressive performance as a sexually curious teenager opposite Treat Williams, exploring the power of lust in Smooth Talk in 1995.
Laura attracted critical acclaim when she played Eric Stolz's blind girlfriend in Mask in 1985. She performed her role so well, that many audience members believed that she was blind.
Laura landed a small role playing an obnoxious party crasher in Adrian Lyne's Foxes in 1980.
Laura appeared in a scene from Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore in 1974, with her mother. The scene called for her to eat nine ice cream cones during the shoot. Scorsese's reply to her mother's concerns that she would be sick later: 'She's not going to be sick, she's going to be an actress'.
Laura made her television debut on The Secret Storm in 1972, her mother was appearing as a regular on the show at the time.
Laura's sister Diane E. Dern was born on November 27, 1960; and she drowned at age 18 months on May 18, 1962, before Laura was born.
Laura's Godmother is Shelley Winters, her grandfather George Dern served as Secretary of War under Franklin Roosevelt, and her great-cousin was Tennessee Williams.
Laura endured teasing in her school years, she was seen as an outcast by her more conservative classmates. They made fun of her stature, she had reached 5'10" before her teen years, was extremely skinny, with large hips and big feet. She was happy when she left regular school at age nine, to study acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute.
Laura was influenced from a young age to pursue acting, by watching her mother and father (Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern) on movie sets. She was exposed to the movie industry from infancy, obtaining several bit parts as a child.
She has got scoliosis.
Laura bears an amazing resemblance to tennis star Steffi Graff. The two are frequently mistaken for each other.
Laura: I'm interested in flawed protagonists. I was raised on them.
Laura: I'd never done nudity in a movie. I've never condoned it for myself, but David Lynch wanted it, and I was completely comfortable with it because the love story was so protected.
Laura: I was raised by an actress, and I watched all those women turn sixty and ask, Shouldn't we get face work? My mother and Anne Bancroft said, We're not going to fall into that.
Laura: I wanted to go to Jupiter. That was my plan from day one, and David Lynch gave me the ticket.
Laura: I want to have a psychology degree and work professionally with children. It'll probably never happen. I'd also love to write.
Laura: I study Jung, who talks a lot about the shadow side, the repressed side. I think the scariest thing in the world is repression.
Laura: I seem to feel everything very deeply.
Laura: I made a commitment to myself, that I wanted to be an actress, and I wanted to do films that make a difference. It has to move people.
Laura: I love people who fight the system.
Laura: I knew you had to go in and audition and maybe they'd hire you, and that's where you start. I had a good understanding about press: that it's the actor's responsibility to publicize his or her films.
Laura: I hope we can be consummate artists as women or revolutionaries, or whatever women want to be, and also have love, not only for ourselves but from a partner.
Laura: I haven't worked with my dad, but I hope I get to. He's so irreverent, and you never know what is going to come out of his mouth.
Laura: I don't turn my nose up at anything. If it's a great part, it's a great part. I'd love to do a box-office hit.
Laura: I certainly want to have children, but I could never do it until I felt I loved myself enough. I still have a lot to learn. I just have two cats.
Laura: I always longed for music to be a discovery of self, a journey full of imagery and passion.
Laura: I always like to play people who are full of surprises.
Laura: Dinosaurs are in the White House.
Laura: Dinosaurs are in the White House.
Laura: I left our home to work on a movie, and while I was away my boyfriend got married, and I've never heard from him again.
Laura: It's really fun to act like a bimbo. But it's fun to act like a bimbo only when people know that you really aren't one.
Laura: I really care about what I do, and the movies I have done, I really like. I like them for specific reasons and I like the makers I am working with or the story or the character for specific reasons.
Laura: I have to say the most fun I ever get to have is when I have the opportunity to play someone who is witholding who they are, even from themselves,and have to--during the course of the movie--kind of come to terms with themselves.
Laura: It excites me to go to a movie and be reminded that I am human, and I'm filled with opposites, and I'm built with flaws. Part of growth and healing is recognizing that.
Laura: Breakups are hard enough behind closed doors, in the privacy of your own world. But when one of the partners decides to go public, and the other doesn't, it is double the betrayal.
Laura: I really don't want to do something that my heart's not in, it's just too much work, and it can be heartbreaking. In terms of my education as an actor I feel very proud of my choices.
Laura:: I like movies about longing and desperation, and dark and light things, stories about people struggling to raise children, and to have relationships and be intimate with each other. Those are the most interesting roles.
Laura: I've read a lot of scripts recently in which there is a trend towards very violent, raw, dark genre movie-making. But I think that the real courageous and bold thing to do is make movies about human behavior.