US actress whose striking good looks and unschooled acting talent have made her a Hollywood star.
Born in Santa Ana, California, Michelle Pfeiffer began working as a supermarket checkout girl in 1977. After winning the Miss Orange County beauty contest in 1979, she began to work in television and made her feature-film debut the following year, with a minor role in Falling in Love Again (1980). Pfeiffer shot to stardom with her portrayal of the cocaine-snorting wife of a ganster (played by Al Pacino) in Scarface (1983). In 1987 she appeared with Jack Nicholson, Cher, and Susan Sarandon in The Witches of Eastwick, and the following year she received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress for playing the victim of an evil philanderer in the eighteenth-century costume drama Dangerous Liaisons.
Pfeiffer received another Oscar nomination, this time for best actress, for her part as a nightclub singer in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), and gave a smouldering but intelligent performance as the leather-clad Catwoman in the hit Batman Returns (1992). Her subsequent films include The Age of Innocence (1993), based on the novel by Edith Wharton; Dangerous Minds (1995), in which she played an inner-city teacher; Up Close and Personal (1996); and One Fine Day (1997), a comedy in which she plays a woman trying to balance her career as an architect with her role as a single parent.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).