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Rebecca De Mornay

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Rebecca De Mornay
De Mornay in 2006.
Born Rebecca Jane Pearch
(1959-08-29) August 29, 1959 (age 56)
Santa Rosa, California, U.S.
Other names Rebecca George
Occupation Actress, producer
Years active 1982–present
Spouse(s) Bruce Wagner
(1986–1990; divorced)
Patrick O'Neal
(1995–2002; divorced)
Children 2

Rebecca De Mornay (born Rebecca Jane Pearch; August 29, 1959)[1] is an American actress and producer. Her breakthrough film role came in 1983, when she played Lana in Risky Business alongside Tom Cruise. Her other notable film roles include Sara in Runaway Train (1985), Thelma in The Trip to Bountiful (1985), Helen McCaffrey in the thriller Backdraft (1991) and her portrayal of the nanny Peyton Flanders in the 1992 thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.

Early life[edit]

De Mornay was born in Santa Rosa, California. Her parents were Julie (Eagar)[2] and Wally George ( George Walter Pearch), a disc jockey and later television host.[3] Her paternal grandmother was vaudeville performer and child film actress Eugenia Clinchard.

When she was two, her parents divorced and, at the age of five, she took her stepfather's surname, De Mornay. She attended the independent Summerhill School in Leiston, Suffolk, England.[4] She later trained as an actress in New York at the Lee Strasberg Institute.[5]


De Mornay's film debut was a small part in Francis Ford Coppola's 1982 film One from the Heart. Soon thereafter came her star-making role in Risky Business (1983), as a call girl who seduces a high-school student played by Tom Cruise. In 1985, she appeared with Starship's Mickey Thomas in the music video for the song "Sara". The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on March 15, 1986.

One of De Mornay's most commercially successful films was the thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. She also appeared in a 1988 remake of Roger Vadim's provocative And God Created Woman, Ron Howard's Backdraft (1991) and in 1993, starred as a defense lawyer in Sidney Lumet's murder drama Guilty as Sin. Then she appeared in the 1995 drama film Never Talk to Strangers opposite Antonio Banderas, for which she was also the executive producer.

In 2003, she guest-starred as primary antagonist in the first two episodes of season 2 of Boomtown. In 2004, she guest-starred as attorney Hannah Rose for the last few episodes of The Practice and the following year, had a brief role alongside Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers. De Mornay also starred in the 2007 drama American Venus.[1]

In June 2007, she appeared in the HBO series John from Cincinnati with a starring role as matriarch of a troubled Imperial Beach, California surfing family and the grandmother/guardian of a teen surfer on the brink of greatness. She appeared in Darren Lynn Bousman's Mother's Day (2010).

In 2012, De Mornay played the role of Finch's mom in the movie American Reunion where she portrayed an attractive older woman and a love interest of Stifler. In 2015, she appeared in Marvel's Jessica Jones as Trish Walker's abusive mother.[6]

Cultural references[edit]

The name "Rebecca De Mornay" is used for a character (played by actress Sonya Eddy) in two episodes of Seinfeld: "The Muffin Tops" and "The Bookstore." Rebecca De Mornay has also been referenced in an episode of The Ricky Gervais Show co-starring with "Clive Warren" [sic] (Clive Owen) as part of a movie pitch by Karl Pilkington.[7]

Personal life[edit]

De Mornay was briefly engaged to singer Leonard Cohen.[8] She married writer Bruce Wagner on December 16, 1986, but they divorced in 1990.[9] She later married sportscaster Patrick O'Neal in 1995, and they had two daughters: Sophia (born November 16, 1997) and Veronica (born March 31, 2001).[5] They divorced in 2002.



Year Title Role Notes
1982 One from the Heart Understudy Credited as Rebecca de Mornay
1983 Risky Business Lana
1983 Testament Cathy Pitkin
1985 The Slugger's Wife Debby Palmer
1985 Runaway Train Sara
1985 The Trip to Bountiful Thelma
1987 Beauty and the Beast Beauty
1988 Feds Elizabeth "Ellie" DeWitt
1988 And God Created Woman Robin Shea Moran
1989 Dealers Anna Schuman
1991 Backdraft Helen McCaffrey
1992 The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Mrs. Mott / Peyton Flanders MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
1993 Guilty as Sin Jennifer Haines
1993 The Three Musketeers Milady de Winter
1995 Never Talk to Strangers Dr. Sarah Taylor Executive producer
1996 The Winner Louise Credited as Rebecca DeMornay
1999 Thick as Thieves Petrone
1999 A Table for One Ruth Draper
2000 The Right Temptation Derian McCall
2003 Identity Caroline Suzanne Credited as Rebecca DeMornay
2004 Raise Your Voice Aunt Nina
2005 Lords of Dogtown Philaine
2005 Wedding Crashers Mrs. Kroeger
2007 American Venus Celia Lane
2007 Music Within Richard's Mom
2010 Flipped Patsy Loski
2010 Mother's Day Mother
2011 A Fonder Heart Dr. Bach
2011 Apartment 1303 3D Marilyn
2012 American Reunion Rachel Finch
2015 Collar Mayor Ramona 'Nomi' Billingsley
2016 I Am Wrath Vivian Hill Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Tall Tales & Legends Slew Foot Sue Episode: "Pecos Bill"
1986 The Murders in the Rue Morgue Claire Dupin Television film
1990 By Dawn's Early Light Captain Moreau Television film
1991 An Inconvenient Woman Flo March Television film
1993 Blind Side Linda Kaines Television film
1994 Getting Out Arlene Holsclaw Television film
1995 Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits Woman Episode: "The Conversion"
1997 Shining, TheThe Shining Wendy Torrance Miniseries
1998 The Con Barbara Beaton / Nancy Thoroughgood Television film
1999 Night Ride Home Nora Mahler Television film
1999 ER Elaine Nichols 5 episodes
2000 Range of Motion Lainey Berman Television film
2001 A Girl Thing Kim McCormack Television film
2002 The Salem Witch Trials Elizabeth Parris Television film
2003 No Place Like Home Television film
2003 Boomtown Sabrina Fithian / Jill Foster 2 episodes
2004 Practice, TheThe Practice Hannah Rose 4 episodes
2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Tessa McKellen Episode: "Manipulated"
2007 John from Cincinnati Cissy Yost 5 episodes
2013 Hatfields & McCoys Mary Hatfield Unaired pilot
2013 Hawaii Five-0 Barbara Cotchin Episode: "A ia la aku"
2015 Jessica Jones Dorothy Walker 3 episodes

Music videos[edit]

Year Artist Song Role
1985 Starship "Sara" Sara


  1. ^ a b "Rebecca De Mornay reportedly arrested for DUI". USA Today. Associated Press. July 11, 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-11. Associated Press records indicate De Mornay's age is 45, while some other sources give it as 48. 
  2. ^ "Person Details for Rebecca J Pearch, "California, Birth Index, 1905-1995" —". Retrieved 2014-12-25. 
  3. ^ Hammer, Joshua (February 27, 1984). "Rabble-Rouser Wally George Is the New Pitchman and Great Right Hope of TV Squawk Shows". People 21 (8). Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  4. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (March 24, 2000). "Radical boarding school escapes closure threat". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  5. ^ a b "Rebecca De Morney — about this person". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  6. ^ Abad-Santos, Alex (November 23, 2015). "In Marvel's Jessica Jones, women get stuff done while men just talk about women". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved 2015-11-24. 
  7. ^ 17 S2 E1 Karl's Film Idea 1/2. YouTube. 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  8. ^ King, Randall (August 29, 2009). "Rebecca De Mornay joins film's killer cast". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  9. ^ "Still Holding, Bruce Wagner — book review". New York Magazine. November 3, 2003. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "The Key to Rebecca". Saturday Review 12 (1): 30–34. January–February 1986. 
  • Tykus, Michael J. (2000). "Rebecca de Mornay". Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television 29. Gale Research Co. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-7876-3188-8. 
  • Room, Adrian (2010). "Rebecca de Mornay". Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (5th ed.). McFarland. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4. 
  • Segrave, Kerry; Martin, Linda (1990). "Rebecca de Mornay". The Post-Feminist Hollywood Actress: biographies and filmographies of stars born after 1939. McFarland & Co. pp. 265–269. ISBN 978-0-89950-387-5. 
  • Aylesworth, Thomas G.; Bowman, John S.; Fairbanks, Douglas (1992). "De Mornay, Rebecca". World Guide to Film Stars. Great Pond. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-56657-007-7. 
  • Sleeman, Elizabeth (2001). "De Mornay, Rebecca". The International Who's Who of Women 2002 (3rd ed.). Routledge. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-85743-122-3. 
  • Riggs, Thomas, ed. (2005). "De MORNAY, Rebecca". Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television: A Biographical Guide 64. Gale / Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-0-7876-9037-3. 

External links[edit]