Basinger at the 62nd Academy Awards in March 1990
|Born||Kimila Ann Basinger
December 8, 1953
Athens, Georgia, U.S.
|Alma mater||Clarke Central High School|
|Height||5 ft 7.5 in (1.71 m)|
Kimila Ann "Kim" Basinger (// BAY-sing-ər, often mispronounced // BASS-in-jər; born December 8, 1953) is an American actress and former fashion model. In a career spanning nearly four decades, she has appeared in overall thirty-eight feature films, five television movies, and nine television series. On TV, Basinger made her acting debut as Sheila in "Night Train to Dallas", an episode of the action/adventure drama series Gemini Man that aired on NBC in 1976. In film, she debuted in the drama Hard Country (1981), playing Jodie.
She came to prominence in the 1980s with roles as Bond girl Domino Petachi in Never Say Never Again (1983), opposite Sean Connery, her Golden Globe-nominated role as Memo Paris in the sports drama The Natural (1984), Elizabeth in the controversial erotic romantic drama 9½ Weeks (1986), and Vicki Vale in the superhero film Batman (1989). She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1997 for her performance in the neo-noir crime film L.A. Confidential (1997). Her other films include the adventure film I Dreamed of Africa (2000) (as Kuki Gallmann), the hip-hop biopic film 8 Mile (2002), and the action crime thriller Cellular (2004).
Basinger was born in Athens, Georgia, on December 8, 1953. Her mother, Ann Lee (née Cordell), was a model, actress, and swimmer who appeared in several Esther Williams films. Her father, Donald Wade Basinger, was a big band musician and loan manager; as a U.S. Army soldier, he landed in Normandy on D-Day. The third of five children, she has two brothers, James Michael "Mick" and Skip, and two sisters, Ashley and Barbara. Basinger's ancestry includes English, German, French, Swedish, and Scots-Irish. She was raised a Methodist. Her relationship with her parents was tenuous, and her father's critical nature affected her emotionally from a young age. She has said, "I just couldn't please him enough. He never complimented me ever. And I saw a lot of silence. Children always read into silence as something terrible." Basinger has described herself as extremely shy and lonely during her childhood, and has stated that she faced many hardships during her school years as a result.
Basinger studied ballet from about age three to her mid-teens. By her mid teens, she grew in confidence and successfully auditioned for the school cheerleading team. When Basinger was 16, she started modeling, by winning the Athens Junior Miss contest. She then won the title "Junior Miss Georgia". She competed in the national Junior Miss pageant and was offered a modeling contract with the Ford Modeling Agency. She turned it down in favor of singing and acting, and enrolled at the University of Georgia, but soon reconsidered and went to New York to become a Ford model. Despite earning $1,000 a day, Basinger never enjoyed modeling, saying "It was very hard to go from one booking to another and always have to deal with the way I looked. I couldn't stand it. I felt myself choking." Basinger has said that even as a model, when others relished looking in the mirror before appearing, she abhorred it and would avoid mirrors out of insecurity. Not long after her Ford deal, Basinger appeared on the cover of magazines. She appeared in hundreds of advertisements throughout the early 1970s, most notably as the Breck Shampoo girl. She alternated between modeling and attending acting classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse, as well as performing in Greenwich Village clubs as a singer.
In 1976, after five years as a cover girl, Basinger quit modeling and moved to Los Angeles to act. After appearing in small parts on a few TV shows such as McMillan & Wife and Charlie's Angels, her first starring role was in a made-for-TV movie, Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold (1978) in which she played a small town girl who goes to Hollywood to become an actress and winds up becoming a famous centerfold for a men's magazine. She then appeared in the miniseries remake From Here to Eternity (1979) with Natalie Wood and William Devane. Her feature debut was the critically well-received rural drama Hard Country (1981), which she followed up with the adventure film Mother Lode (1982), which co-starred Charlton Heston.
Basinger's breakout role was as the Bond girl Domino Petachi in Never Say Never Again (1983), where she starred opposite Sean Connery. To promote her role in the Bond film, Basinger did a famous nude pictorial for Playboy. Basinger said the Playboy appearance led to good opportunities, such as Barry Levinson's The Natural (1984), co-starring Robert Redford, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actress. Her most controversial appearance was in Adrian Lyne's erotic drama 9½ Weeks (1986) with Mickey Rourke, which failed at the box office but quickly acquired a large fanbase on home video. Academy Award winning writer-director Robert Benton cast her in the title role for the film Nadine (1987). Several directors cast her twice in their films, including Blake Edwards for The Man Who Loved Women (1983) and Blind Date (1987) and Robert Altman for Fool for Love (1985) and Prêt-à-Porter (1994). The highest-grossing film of her career thus far was Tim Burton's 1989 blockbuster Batman, where Basinger played the role of photojournalist Vicki Vale.
In 1992, Basinger was a guest vocalist on a re-recorded version of Was (Not Was)'s "Shake Your Head", which also featured Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, and reached the UK Top 5. In 1997, after a three-year hiatus from acting, Basinger made a comeback as the femme fatale in Curtis Hanson's neo-noir L.A. Confidential alongside Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe. She initially turned down the film twice, feeling an insecurity at returning to the screen and enjoying motherhood. The role earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as the Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild Award. She holds the distinction of being the only actress who has both posed nude in Playboy and won an Academy Award. In a 2000 interview with Charlie Rose, Basinger said that L.A. Confidential and her next project, I Dreamed of Africa (2000), were the most pleasurable of her career and that the cast were all there for the right reasons. She says that Vincent Pérez was the "most incredible actor she had ever worked with" and had the "biggest heart of anybody she has ever worked with."
Hanson cast her again, as Eminem's alcoholic mother in the hit film 8 Mile (2002). In 2004, Basinger starred opposite Jon Foster in The Door in the Floor, a drama with heavy sexual themes adapted from the novel A Widow for One Year by John Irving. She was next featured in the crime thrillers Cellular (2004) and The Sentinel (2006), and starred in the Lifetime original movie The Mermaid Chair (2006) as a married woman who falls in love with a monk. Her 2009 film, The Informers, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. Her next film, The Burning Plain, was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2008 and at the Savannah Film Festival in October 2008.
Basinger's more recent work in the 2010s includes Charlie St. Cloud (2010) and Grudge Match (2013). She recently finished filming 4 Minute Mile for director Charles-Olivier Michaud, where she stars alongside Richard Jenkins, Kelly Blatz and Analeigh Tipton, and a German-Danish movie directed by Anders Morgenthaler, I Am Here. The latter work has been presented at the 2014 Hamburg Film Festival, held in September.
- Studio albums
- 1989: Hollywood Affair, produced by Prince; Sabotage Records
- 1989: The Scandalous Sex Suite EP with Prince, Warner Bros. Records
- 1991: Too Hot to Handle EP: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (to The Marrying Man), produced by Tim Hauser; Hollywood Records
Awards and honors
Basinger has received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe award (out of two nominations), a Screen Actors Guild Award (out of two nominations), an award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, and an award from the Southeastern Film Critics Association. For her lifetime achievements in the cinematic arts, she received the Athena Award at the Kudzu Film Festival, and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has also been nominated for the British Academy Film Awards, the People's Choice Awards, the Saturn Awards (three times) and the MTV Movie Awards (four times). More details on Basinger's movie and TV awards and nominations are available on her IMDb page.
On October 12, 1980, Basinger married makeup artist Ron Snyder-Britton, 15 years her senior. They had met on the film Hard Country. Basinger filed for divorce on December 1, 1988 and it was finalized a year later. Britton later wrote a memoir, Longer Than Forever, published in 1998, about their time together.
She met her second husband, Alec Baldwin, in 1990 when they played lovers in The Marrying Man, and they married on August 19, 1993. They appeared together in the remake of The Getaway (1994) and played themselves in a 1998 episode of The Simpsons, in which Basinger corrected Homer Simpson on the pronunciation of her last name and polished her Oscar statuette. Basinger and Baldwin have a daughter, Ireland Eliesse Baldwin (born October 23, 1995). Basinger filed for divorce on January 12, 2001; it was finalized on February 3, 2002. In the following years, the pair were embroiled in a contentious custody battle over their daughter.
Some family members recommended Basinger buy the bulk of the privately-owned land in the small town of Braselton, Georgia, some 1,691 acres in 1989 for US$20 million, to establish as a tourist attraction with movie studios and film festival. However, she encountered financial difficulties and started to sell parts of it off in 1995. The town is now owned by developer Wayne Mason. In a 1998 interview with Barbara Walters, Basinger admitted that "nothing good came out of it", because a rift resulted within her family.
Basinger's financial difficulties were exacerbated when she pulled out of the controversial film Boxing Helena (1993), resulting in the studio's winning a US$8.1 million judgment against her. Basinger filed for bankruptcy  and appealed the jury's decision to a higher court, which sided with her. She and the studio settled for $3.8 million instead.
- Parish, James Robert (24 August 2007). The Hollywood Book of Extravagance: The Totally Infamous, Mostly Disastrous, and Always Compelling Excesses of America's Film and TV Idols. John Wiley & Sons. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-470-05205-1. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Kim Basinger. Yahoo Movies.
- Baltake, Joe (1983-12-22). "Kim Basinger – Information on the Academy Award Winning Actress and former fashion model.". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1999
- Wuntch, Philip (1987-08-02). "NADINE IS THAT YOU? Robert Benton needed a down-home girl to play a manicurist in his movie. He found her in Kim Basinger". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- Denisoff, R. Serge; Romanowski, William D. (1991). Risky Business: Rock in Film. Transaction Publishers. p. 547. ISBN 978-0-88738-843-9. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "Interview". Charlierose.com. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Sherrow, Victoria (2006). Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-313-33145-9. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Publishing, Macmillan; Brownstone, David; Franck, Irene (1 May 1995). People in the News 1995. Macmillan Reference USA. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-02-897058-5. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Stephens, Autumn (1998). Drama Queens: Wild Women of the Silver Screen. Conari Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-57324-136-6. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Current biography yearbook. H.W. Wilson Company. 1991. p. 53. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "With Her Latest Role, Blond Beauty Kim Basinger Goes from Bond to Bondage". People magazine. August 8, 1985. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- "Kim Basinger Movie Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
- "Chart Stats – Was (Not Was)". chartstats.com. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
- Kemp, Stuart (2007-11-05). "Market buyers pick up pace, pics". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "People In The News". Eugene Register-Guard. December 18, 1998. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- "Basinger About to Divorce". The News and Courier. November 28, 1989. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- Britton, Ron. Longer than Forever. Blake Publishing. 1998. ISBN 978-1-85782-325-7.
- New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. 23 September 1996. p. 24. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- For Kim Basinger, the "fire ball" is out – and Veronica Lake is in
- O'Steen, Kathleen (1993-05-26). "Basinger files Chapter 11". Variety.
- Celebs that protest for PETA, some in the buff. (2008-07-21). "Kim Basinger – Protesting for PETA – Pictures – Homefamily". Virgin Media. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- Britton, Ron; Markham-Smith, Ian; Hodgson, Liz (October 1998). Kim Basinger: Longer Than Forever. Blake. ISBN 978-1-85782-325-7.
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