Mary Elizabeth "Sissy" Spacek was born on 25 December 1949 in Quitman, Texas. She is famous for her role in Stephen King's thriller Carrie, for which she won an Oscar nomination. Ironically Spacek was the homecoming queen at her own prom, in stark contrast to her character, Carrie. Four years after that leading role, she won an Academy Award for her performance in Coal Miner's Daughter. She was nominated three more times for an Oscar for Missing, The River, and Crimes of the Heart.

Since 1974 she has been married to director Jack Fisk, who directed her in Raggedy Man. Actor Rip Torn is her cousin.

Spacek is a brilliant actor, and refreshingly, an actress who does not come from Hollywood's usual cookie-cutter mold for leading ladies, who often rely on a pretty face, an absurdly thin body, and a few swooning glances.


Just to add a little to Miles Dirac’s fine w/u.

What can you say? A class act if there ever was one. She doesn’t quite fit the mold of the so-called “Hollywood image” of a leading lady. In their eyes she’s not considered overly “beautiful”, avoids tabloids, shuns most publicity and basically remains a pretty private person. In my eyes, both her unassuming manner, down to earth personality and country girl good looks (she’s got freckles for crying out loud!) are far more attractive than most of the latest “hot” actresses. Not to mention, her stellar body of work (listed below) and six Oscar nominations.

Born Mary Elizabeth Spacek (that’s right, she never changed her last name for image/career sake, another plus in my eyes) in a place called Quitman, Texas on Christmas Day, 1949. Her two older brothers can be credited with giving her the name “Sissy” as they were growing up.

Upon graduating high school, Sissy decided to forsake college and head for the big time, New York City, with all intentions of becoming a singer ( a talent which she displayed in her Oscar winning performance in Coal Miner’s Daughter). She took up residence with her cousin, actor Rip Torn and played various gigs in and around Greenwich Village. Her stage name was “Rainbo” (hey man, it was the 60’s!) and she even managed to record a tune under that name. The little ditty was called “John, You’ve Gone Too Far This Time” and the lyrics were composed in response to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s posing nude on an album cover. Fortunately for those of us who appreciate her talents as an actress, the single never took off and “Rainbo” packed away her guitar in favor of the stage and screen.

Her first screen appearance was that of an extra in a film produced by Andy Warhol called “Trash” in 1970. Her first film of note was called “Prime Cut” in 1972 where she played a teenager kidnapped by a white slavery ring.

Her real break came when she landed the role of a slightly disturbed teenager who accompanies a killer in Terrence Malick’s 1973 effort called Badlands. The movie is based upon Charles Starkweather and his exploits throughout the Midwest. Although the movie was not what you could call a box” office sensation”, Spacek’s talents were becoming evident to other producers and directors.

During the next couple of years, she managed to appear in a couple of other not so noteworthy films and a few television appearances. (The Waltons) It wasn’t till she played the role of Carrie in Brian De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. She was rewarded for efforts when she received her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress. During the same year, she also appeared in a film directed by Robert Altman called “ 3Women” and in another movie called “Welcome to L.A” where she appeared as a topless house cleaner.

As the years progressed, she ditched the “teenager” roles and began to take on more challenging roles and subjects. Now considered by Hollywood as a “serious” actress, she landed the part of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter in 1980 that really put her on the map. In the movie, she was faced with task of playing Lynn from the age of 13 to that of a woman in her forties. Her portrayal landed her an Academy Award for Best Actress. (Folks, I’m not what you would call a big fan of country music but this is one of the best performances I’ve ever seen by an actress, bar none.)

During the ensuing years, Spacek made some other noteworthy films (see filmography) but then decided to take a break from acting and concentrate on parenting (she’s the mother of actress Schuyler Fisk) and perhaps in deference to her Texas roots, horse-breeding.

Eventually, she decided to return to the screen but only on her terms. She no longer took roles that could be seen as bolstering her career but instead, concentrated on more satisfying, personal roles. We should all be grateful.

Her career in films (Includes TV movies, HBO, Showtime, PBS and other efforts.

Tuck Everlasting2002
In the Bedroom2001 ( Best Actress Nomination)
Blast from the Past1999
The Straight Story – 1999
If These Walls Could Talk1996
Beyond the Call1996
Thomas Jefferson: A View from the Mountain1996
The Grass Harp1995
The Good Old Boys1995
Streets of Laredo1995
Trading Mom1994
A Place for Annie1994
Hard Promises1992
A Private Matter – 1992
Shelly Duvall’s Bedtime Stories, Vol 4, There’s a Nightmare in My Closet – 1992
The Long Walk Home1989
Crimes of the Heart1986 – Best Actress Nomination
‘Night Mother1986
Violets Are Blue1986
AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards: Lillian Gish1984
The River1984- Best Actress Nomination
The Man with Two Brains1983
Missing1982 – Best Actress Nomination
Heart Beat1980
Coal Miner’s Daughter - 1980 Academy Award Winner – Best Actress
The Seducers1977
Guest Host – Saturday Night Live1977
3 Women 1977
Carrie1976 – Best Actress Nomination
Welcome to L. A1976
Phantom of the Paradise1974
The Migrants1974
Ginger in the Morning – 1973
The Girls of Huntington House1973
Prime Cut1972

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