Blair Brown

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For the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in British politics, see Blair-Brown.
Blair Brown
Blair Brown by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Brown at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2010
Born Bonnie Blair Brown
(1947-04-23) April 23, 1947 (age 67)
Washington, D.C.
Education National Theatre School of Canada
Occupation actress

Bonnie Blair Brown (born April 23, 1947) is an American theater, film, and television actress. She has had a number of high-profile roles, including a Tony Award-winning turn in the play Copenhagen on Broadway, as well as a run as the title character in the television comedy-drama The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, which ran from 1987 to 1991.[1] Brown is well known for her recent role as Nina Sharp in the television series Fringe, broadcast on Fox.

Personal life[edit]

Brown was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Elizabeth Ann (née Blair), a teacher, and Milton Henry Brown, a U.S. intelligence agent.[2][3] She graduated from The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia before going on to pursue acting at the National Theatre School of Canada, graduating in 1969.[4] She gained notice as a participating actor at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and spent several years honing her work on the stage.[1]

Brown had a relationship with actor Richard Jordan, whom she met while filming the miniseries Captains and the Kings in 1976. The couple lived together from 1976 to 1985; they had one son, Robert Anson Jordan III, born in 1983.[5]

Career[edit]

Film[edit]

Brown's first feature film role was in the Oscar-winning 1973 film The Paper Chase; her first major starring role was in The Choirboys in 1977. Among her other film credits were Altered States (opposite William Hurt), One Trick Pony, the film Stealing Home (opposite Mark Harmon) and A Flash Of Green (1984). Her arguably highest profile film role to date was the romantic lead opposite John Belushi in Continental Divide (1981) for which she received her first Golden Globe Award nomination, in the category of Best Motion Picture Actress in a Comedy/Musical.

Other film roles include: And I Alone Survived (1978), Strapless (1989), The Astronaut's Wife (1999), Clint Eastwood's Space Cowboys (2000), Lars von Trier's Dogville, the Kevin Bacon-directed Loverboy (2005) and The Sentinel (2006).

Television[edit]

Brown appeared in several television movies and miniseries, primarily during the 1980s. A high-profile role as Jacqueline Kennedy in the 1983 TV miniseries Kennedy earned her a second Golden Globe nomination, for Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, as well as a BAFTA nomination. She also appeared in several other programs about the Kennedys, including the 1996 miniseries A Season in Purgatory, which was a thinly veiled portrait of the family, as well as an appearance as Anna Roosevelt in a telefilm about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Brown is perhaps best known for her five-year run (1987–1991) on the Emmy Award-nominated comedy-drama series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd. Brown played the title role, and she, and the show, earned a small but dedicated following. Brown received five consecutive Emmy Award nominations for each season, in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, but never won. The show spent two years on NBC, then moved to the Lifetime cable channel for the remainder of its run.

Brown also appeared in other prime-time series including The Rockford Files, Kojak, Frasier, Smallville, Touched by an Angel, ER, and Ed. Beginning in 2008, Brown starred as Nina Sharp in the Fox television series Fringe.

Stage[edit]

Brown has been involved with theater since the beginning of her career. She appeared in the 1975 New York Shakespeare Festival production of The Comedy of Errors.[6] Among her earlier roles was a run as Lucy Brown in the 1976 production of Brecht & Weill's The Threepenny Opera, produced by Joe Papp and directed by Richard Foreman. She left the production for film work, but after being away from the production for eight months, Ellen Greene, who was playing the part of Jenny, fell ill. Brown astounded the stage manager of the production by coming in and, with one hour of rehearsal, put on a "brilliant" performance as Jenny.[7] Her first major appearance on the Broadway came in 1989, in the play Secret Rapture, written by David Hare.

Once "Molly Dodd" concluded, Brown became a prolific Broadway actress, appearing in a number of roles. Among them were roles in Tom Stoppard's 1995 Lincoln Center Theater production of Arcadia[8] and two separate runs as Frau Schneider in the revival of Cabaret (1998 and 2003).[9] She played Margrethe, the wife of physicist Niels Bohr, in the play Copenhagen,[10] a role for which she won a 2000 Tony Award in the category of Best Featured Actress in a Play.[11] Brown played the lead role in Sarah Ruhl's 2006 play The Clean House at Lincoln Center.[12]

Voice[edit]

In the 1990s, Brown expanded her career from performance into voiceover work. Brown has narrated a number of books, as well as being a narrator in films and documentaries. She has narrated a number of audiobooks, including John Grisham's The Client, Lois Lowry's Number the Stars, Stephen King's Rose Madder, Kevin Henkes' Olive's Ocean, Sue Miller's 2005 novel Lost in the Forest, and Isabel Allende's Inés of My Soul.

Brown has narrated numerous documentaries, especially for PBS's American Experience series. She narrated the 2007 PBS series The Mysterious Human Heart. Other documentary narrations include the scientific series The Secret Life of the Brain, a documentary on Aimee Semple McPherson, which aired in April 2007, and a 2006 PBS documentary about Marie Antoinette. In April, 2010, she co-narrated the PBS special, The Buddha, with Richard Gere.

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1972 House of Lovers George Thacker
1973 Dracula Television film
The Paper Chase Miss Farranti
1977 Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years Anna Roosevelt Television film
Charlie Cobb: Nice Night for a Hanging Charity Television film
The 3,000 Mile Chase Rachel Kane Television film
The Quinns Millicent Priestley Television film
The Choirboys Kimberly Lyles
1978 And I Alone Survived Lauren Elder Television film
1979 The Child Stealer Jan Rodman Television film
1980 One Trick Pony Marion
Altered States Emily Jessup
1981 Continental Divide Nell Porter Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1983 The Skin of Our Teeth Sabina Television film
1984 A Flash of Green Kat Hubble
1985 The Bad Seed Christine Penmark Television film
1987 Hands of a Stranger Diane Benton Television film
1988 Stealing Home Ginny Wyatt
1989 Strapless Dr. Lillian Hempel
1990 Extreme Close-Up Margaret Toll Television film
1991 The Good Policeman
Lethal Innocence Sally Hatch Television film
1992 Those Secrets Neille Banesh Television film
Passed Away Amy Scanlan
Majority Rule Gen. Katherine Taylor Television film
1993 Rio Shannon Elizabeth Cleary Television film
The Day My Parents Ran Away Mrs. Judy Miller Television film
1994 Moment of Truth: To Walk Again Carol Keating Television film
The Gift of Love Helen Porter Television film
1996 The Ultimate Lie Joan 'Joanie' McGrath Television film
A Season in Purgatory Grace Bradley Television film
1997 Convictions Zalinda Dorcheus Television film
1999 The Astronaut's Wife Shelly McLaren
2000 Space Cowboys Dr. Anne Caruthers
2000 In His Life: The John Lennon Story Mimi Smith Television film
Hamlet Gertrude Television film
2001 Follow the Stars Home Hannah Parker Television film
2002 Grasp Jean Malcheck
2003 Dogville Mrs. Henson
2004 Dark Shadows Elizabeth Collins Stoddard Television film
Copshop Frances Harding Television film
2005 Loverboy Jeanette Rawley
2006 The Sentinel National Security Advisor
The Treatment Miss Callucci
Griffin & Phoenix Eve
2007 Dark Matter Hildy
First Born Laura's Mother
2011 The Speed of Thought Bridger Post-Production

TV series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1971 Police Surgeon Dulcy
1972 The Whiteoaks of Jalna Pheasan Vaughan
1975 Performance
Marcus Welby, M.D.
The Rockford Files Dep. DA Kate Doyle / Kate Flanders
1976 The Oregon Trail Jessica Thorpe
Captains and the Kings Elizabeth Healey Miniseries
Kojak Stella
1977 Family Miss Jessup
1978 Wheels Barbara Lipton Miniseries
1983 Kennedy Jacqueline Kennedy Miniseries
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
1985 Space Penny Hardesty Pope Miniseries
ABC Afterschool Special Joan Stewart
1986 Comedy Factory Valerie Arnold
1987-1991 The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Molly Dodd / Lorna LaSalle Nominated – Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
1995 Frasier Jill
1997 Feds Erica Stanton
2001 Touched by an Angel Victoria
2002 Smallville Rachel Dunleavy
Benjamin Franklin Jane Franklin Mecom Miniseries documentary
Young Dr. Freud Narrator Documentary
CSI: Miami Margie Winters
2003 Law & Order Virginia Masters
2003-2004 Ed Mary Burton
2004 ER Dr. Vicki Ford
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Attorney Lynne Riff
2005 Missing Emma Roderick
1995-2007 American Experience Narrator / Evelyn Nesbit Documentary
2011 Falling Skies Sonya Guest appearance
2008-2013 Fringe Nina Sharp Main cast

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "We're Sorry". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Weber, Bruce (April 27, 1995). "At Home With: Blair Brown; Never the Ingenue". New York Times. 
  3. ^ "Blair Brown biography". FilmReference.com. 
  4. ^ "Alumni: 1963-1969". National Theatre School of Canada. 
  5. ^ Blair Brown at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ O'Hare, Patricia (April 19, 2000). "Red-haired Brown liable to lasso two Tony nominations". New York Daily News. 
  7. ^ Gindi, Roger (February 6, 2000). "Blair Brown; To the Rescue". New York Times. 
  8. ^ "PHOTO ARCHIVE: Arcadia in 1995, With Billy Crudup, Blair Brown and Victor Garber". Playbill.com. 
  9. ^ Hernandez, Ernio (September 8, 2003). "Tony Roberts and Blair Brown Are Cabaret's New Schultz and Schneider, Sept. 22". Playbill.com. 
  10. ^ Brantley, Ben (April 12, 2000). "Theater Review; A Fiery Power In the Behavior Of Particles And Humans". New York Times. 
  11. ^ McBride, Murdoch (June 4, 2000). "2000 TONY AWARD WINNER: Best Featured Actress In A Play - Blair Brown". Playbill.com. 
  12. ^ Isherwood, Charles (October 31, 2006). "Theater Review: 'The Clean House'". New York Times. 

External links[edit]