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Rebecca De Mornay

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Rebecca De Mornay
De Mornay in 1986
Rebecca Jane Pearch

(1959-08-29) August 29, 1959 (age 64)[a]
Other namesRebecca George
Years active1975, 1981–present
(m. 1986; div. 1990)
ParentWally George (father)
RelativesEugenia Clinchard (grandmother)

Rebecca De Mornay (born Rebecca Jane Pearch; August 29, 1959,[1][2][3][a]) is an American actress. Her breakthrough film role came in 1983, when she starred as Lana in Risky Business. De Mornay is also known for her roles in The Slugger's Wife (1985), Runaway Train (1985), The Trip to Bountiful (1985), Backdraft (1991), and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992).

Her other film credits include The Three Musketeers (1993), Never Talk to Strangers (1995), Identity (2003), Lords of Dogtown, Wedding Crashers (both 2005), and Mother's Day (2010). On television, she starred as Wendy Torrance in the miniseries adaptation of The Shining (1997), and as Dorothy Walker on Marvel's Jessica Jones (2015–19).

Early life


De Mornay was born Rebecca Jane Pearch in Santa Rosa, California, the daughter of Julie[10] and Wally George ( George Walter Pearch), a disc jockey and later television host.[11] Her paternal grandmother was vaudeville performer and child film actress Eugenia Clinchard.[12]

Her parents divorced in 1960, and she took the surname of her stepfather, Richard De Mornay, after her mother married him in 1961. She spent her early years in Pasadena, California, until her stepfather died of a stroke on March 2, 1962, aged 48.[13] After his death, De Mornay and her half-brother Peter were raised by her mother, who relocated the family to Europe, where they lived in several different locations.[14] She attended the independent Summerhill School in Leiston, Suffolk, England[15] before completing her studies at a private high school in Germany.[14]


De Mornay in 1987

By the time she was 16, De Mornay had an agent who was selling her songs to German rock & roll musicians, and she had written the theme song for a kung fu movie called Goodbye Bruce Lee: His Last Game of Death (1975).[16][17] In 1980,[14] De Mornay returned to the United States and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Institute to study acting.[18] She made her film debut with a small part in Francis Ford Coppola's 1981 film One from the Heart, which starred her real-life partner at the time, Harry Dean Stanton.[19][20] Her star-making role came two years later in Risky Business (1983), as a call girl who seduces a high-school student played by Tom Cruise. In 1985, she played the title role in The Slugger's Wife opposite Michael O'Keefe, and co-starred in The Trip to Bountiful and Runaway Train, both of which were nominated for several Academy Awards. That same year, she appeared with Starship's Mickey Thomas in the music video for the song "Sara". The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on March 15, 1986.

She also appeared in Roger Vadim's provocative 1988 remake of And God Created Woman, and as the wife of Kurt Russell's character in Ron Howard's Backdraft (1991). In 1990 she enacted the role of a USAF Captain pilot in HBO's successful Cold War film By the Dawn's Early Light. One of De Mornay's most commercially successful films was the thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, released in 1992. She starred as a defense lawyer in Sidney Lumet's murder drama Guilty as Sin (1993) with Don Johnson. 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.[4]

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. From 2015 to 2019, she appeared in Jessica Jones as Trish Walker's abusive mother.[21]

Personal life

De Mornay in 2006

De Mornay dated actor Harry Dean Stanton in the early 1980s. They met in 1981 on the set of One from the Heart[22] and dated until De Mornay and Tom Cruise began an affair while filming Risky Business in 1982.[23] De Mornay and Cruise broke up in 1985.

De Mornay married writer Bruce Wagner on December 16, 1986; they divorced in 1990.[24]

De Mornay subsequently dated and was briefly engaged to singer Leonard Cohen.[25][26] She co-produced Cohen's 1992 album The Future, which is also dedicated to her.

De Mornay was in a relationship with actor turned sportscaster Patrick O'Neal. They have two daughters together.[3][27]




Rebecca De Mornay film work
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
1990 By Dawn's Early Light Captain Moreau, USAF
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 Det. Louise 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 Mrs. Pimental
2010 Flipped Patsy Loski
2010 Mother's Day Natalie "Mother" Koffin
2011 A Fonder Heart Dr. Bach
2011 Apartment 1303 3D Maddie Slate
2012 American Reunion Rachel Finch
2015 Collar Mayor Ramona 'Nomi' Billingsley
2016 I Am Wrath Vivian Hill
2018 Periphery Vi Warner
2020 She Ball Aggie
2024 Peter Five Eight Brenda


Rebecca De Mornay television work
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 The Outer Limits Woman Episode: "The Conversion".
Also directed the episode.
1997 The 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 Salem Witch Trials Elizabeth Parris Television film
2003 No Place Like Home Liz Television pilot
2003 Boomtown Sabrina Fithian / Jill Foster 2 episodes
2004 The 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"
2015–2019 Jessica Jones Dorothy Walker 13 episodes
2016, 2021 Lucifer Penelope Decker 3 episodes

Music videos

Rebecca De Mornay music video work
Year Artist Song Role
1985 Starship "Sara" Sara


  1. ^ a b Sources vary on De Mornay's birth year.[4] Sources have given either a 1959,[5][6] a 1961[7] or 1962[8][9] birth year.


  1. ^ "Famous birthdays for Aug. 29: Rebecca De Mornay, Liam Payne". UPI. August 29, 2019. -- Actor Rebecca De Mornay in 1959 (age 60)
  2. ^ "Celebrity birthdays for the week of Aug. 29-Sept. 4". AP News. The Associated Press. August 23, 2021. Aug. 29...Actor Rebecca DeMornay is 62.
  3. ^ a b "Passages". Archived from the original on April 3, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Rebecca De Mornay arrested for suspected DUI". Today. Associated Press. November 6, 2007. Retrieved November 24, 2021. Associated Press records indicate De Mornay's age is 45, while some other sources give it as 48.
  5. ^ "Famous birthdays for Aug. 29: Rebecca De Mornay, Liam Payne". UPI. August 29, 2019. Retrieved March 21, 2023.
  6. ^ "Vital Statistics: Births, Deaths, Marriages, Divorces". The Press Democrat. August 31, 1959 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Rebecca De Mornay Filmography and Movies". Fandango. Archived from the original on April 25, 2010.
  8. ^ Thomson 2010, p. 98.
  9. ^ "Rebecca De Mornay Filmography". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018.
  10. ^ "Rebecca De Mornay Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  11. ^ 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 December 11, 2021.
  12. ^ Kiehn 2003, p. 258.
  13. ^ "A Pasadena Genius Passes". Independent Star-News. April 8, 1962.
  14. ^ a b c "Rebecca De Mornay Biography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 14, 2022.
  15. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (March 24, 2000). "Radical boarding school escapes closure threat". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  16. ^ "King Of Kung Fu (Titelsong A. D. Film Good Bye, Bruce Lee)". Discogs. 1975.
  17. ^ "A blast through the past". Pop Cult Master. April 13, 2018.
  18. ^ "Rebecca De Mornay — about this person". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2011. Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  19. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (September 10, 2013). "Harry Dean Stanton Looks at the Actor's Life". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  20. ^ "Notes on the New Harry Dean Stanton Documentary". vice.com. September 20, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  21. ^ Abad-Santos, Alex (November 23, 2015). "In Marvel's Jessica Jones, women get stuff done while men just talk about women". Vox. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  22. ^ Fortune, Drew (September 20, 2017), The Tao of Harry Dean Stanton: Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Knowing "You're Nothing", Vanity Fair magazine
  23. ^ Sager, Jessica (June 24, 2021), From Teen Crushes to Couch Jumping, Tom Cruise's Dating History Has Been a Heck of a Ride, Parade magazine
  24. ^ "Still Holding, Bruce Wagner — book review". New York Magazine. November 3, 2003. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  25. ^ King, Randall (August 29, 2009). "Rebecca De Mornay joins film's killer cast". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  26. ^ Cohen, Leonard (June 1, 1993). "Knowing Rebecca de Mornay Like Only Leonard Cohen Can". Interview magazine. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  27. ^ "Star Tracks". Archived from the original on April 3, 2016.


  • Kiehn, David (2003). Broncho Billy and the Essanay Film Company. Berkeley, California: Farewell Books. ISBN 978-09729-2265-4.
  • Thomson, David (2010). The New Biographical Dictionary of Film: Completely Updated and Expanded. New York City, New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-3075-9461-7.

Further reading