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Valerie Perrine

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Valerie Perrine
Perrine in Amsterdam, 1975
Valerie Ritchie Perrine

(1943-09-03) September 3, 1943 (age 80)
Years active1971–2016

Valerie Ritchie Perrine (born September 3, 1943)[1] is an American retired actress. For her role as Honey Bruce in the 1974 film Lenny, she won the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles, the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other film appearances include Superman (1978), The Electric Horseman (1979), and Superman II (1980).

Early life[edit]

Perrine was born in Galveston, Texas, as the daughter of Winifred "Renee" (nee McGinley), a dancer who appeared in Earl Carroll's Vanities, and Kenneth I. Perrine, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.[citation needed] Kenneth I. Perrine was the grandson of Alfred Perrine of Wallkill, N.Y., a descendant of Staten Island Huguenot Daniel Perrin. The Perrine family dates its ancestry to the French family of Perrin, which intermarried with other Normans dating back to William the Conqueror in 1066.[2] Her mother was Scottish (of Irish descent), from Helensburgh in Dunbartonshire.[3]

Owing to her father's military career, Perrine lived in many locations as the family moved to different posts.


She played soft-core pornography actress Montana Wildhack in the film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five (1972). Perrine was photographed nude for a pictorial layout in the May 1972 issue of Playboy, later appearing on the cover in August 1981. She then became the first actress to appear nude on American network television by intentionally exposing her breasts during the May 4, 1973, PBS broadcast of Bruce Jay Friedman's Steambath on Hollywood Television Theater. Only a few PBS stations nationwide carried the program. Later in 1973, she appeared in the episode "When the Girls Came Out to Play" of the romantic anthology television series Love Story (1973).

In 1975, Perrine was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress[4] and the Golden Globe[5] for Best Motion Picture Actress (Drama) and won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival[6] for her role as comedian Lenny Bruce's wife, stripper Honey Bruce, in Bob Fosse's Lenny (1974).[7]

She portrayed Carlotta Monti, mistress of W.C. Fields, in the biopic W.C. Fields and Me (1976). She played Miss Eve Teschmacher, moll of criminal mastermind Lex Luthor, in Superman (1978). For this role, she was nominated for the 1979 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. She reprised her role as Miss Teschmacher in Superman II (1980).

Perrine played Charlotta Steele, ex-wife of a rodeo champion played by Robert Redford, in The Electric Horseman (1979). Her career grew uneven after an appearance in Can't Stop the Music (1980), for which she was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actress. This film has since become a cult classic. In 1982, she played the role of Marcy, the wife of a corrupt police officer, in The Border with Jack Nicholson. In 1986, she starred in the failed CBS comedy series Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills with Harvey Korman.[8]

In the years since then, Perrine has worked in lower-profile projects, although she did have a small supporting role in the 2000 Mel Gibson film What Women Want. In 1995, Perrine made a guest appearance on the series Homicide: Life on the Street, playing an ex-wife of Richard Belzer's character, Detective John Munch.

Stacey Souther directed and produced Valerie, a 45 minute documentary about Perrine's career and her experience with Parkinson's disease.[9] Valerie was screened at the Edmonton Film Festival in 2020.[10]

Personal life[edit]

In 1969, Perrine began dating Hollywood hair stylist Jay Sebring. He invited her to a dinner party in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles. She found someone to work for her that night, but at the last minute that person got sick, and Perrine had to show up for work. It turned out that the party she missed was the night when the Manson Family murdered six people at Sharon Tate's home, including Sebring.[11]

As of April 2023, Perrine lives in Beverly Hills, California, having lived in the same apartment for 13 years.[11]


Perrine was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2015 and underwent dental surgery in 2017 to restore her teeth after they became damaged due to the medications she had been taking for her illness.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
1972 Slaughterhouse-Five Montana Wildhack
1973 The Last American Hero Marge
1974 Lenny Honey Bruce
1976 W. C. Fields and Me Carlotta Monti
1977 Mr. Billion Rosie Jones
1978 Superman Eve Teschmacher
1979 The Magician of Lublin Zeftel
1979 The Electric Horseman Charlotta
1980 The Agency Brenda Wilcox
1980 Can't Stop the Music Samantha 'Sam' Simpson
1980 Superman II Eve Teschmacher
1981 The Cannonball Run Female Cop Pulling Over Lamborghini Babes (uncredited)
1982 The Border Marcy
1985 Water Pamela Weintraub
1985 Mask of Murder Marianne McLaine
1987 Maid to Order Georgette Starkey
1990 Bright Angel Aileen
1991 Reflections in a Dark Sky Caterina
1993 Boiling Point Mona
1995 The Break Delores Smith
1995 Girl in the Cadillac Tilly Baker
1998 Curtain Call Monica Gilroy AKA, It All Came True
1998 Brown's Requiem Marguerita Hansen
1998 A Place Called Truth Estelle
1998 My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Rita Lindgross
2000 What Women Want Margo
2001 Directing Eddie Gloria Vassick Short
2002 The End of the Bar Mrs. Duncan
2005 The Amateurs V
2005 The Californians Lenora Tripp
2008 Redirecting Eddie Gloria Vassick
2016 Silver Skies Ethel
2017 The Fabulous Allan Carr Herself Documentary


Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Couple Takes a Wife Jennifer Allen TV film
1973 Lady Luck Lady Luck TV film
1973 Steambath Meredith TV film
1973 Love Story Marlene Episode: "When the Girls Came Out to Play"
1978 Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women Lillian Lorraine TV film
1982 Marian Rose White Stella White TV film
1983 Malibu Dee Staufer TV film
1983 When Your Lover Leaves Ronda Thompson TV film
1985 Faerie Tale Theatre Tina Episode: "The Three Little Pigs"
1986 Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills Liz Green Main role
1987 CBS Summer Playhouse Molly Episode: "Changing Patterns"
1988 Una casa a Roma Julie TV film
1989 Quattro storie di donne Rose Episode: "Rose"
1989 Sweet Bird of Youth Lucy TV film
1991 Burning Shore Isabelle TV film
1992 Northern Exposure Jackie Vincoeur Episode: "The Bad Seed"
1993 Ghostwriter April Flowers Episode: "Who's Who: Part 3"
1993 The Secrets of Lake Success Honey Potts Atkins TV miniseries
1994 Burke's Law Suzanne Dubonet Episode: "Who Killed the Romance?"
1995 Homicide: Life on the Street Brigitta Svendsen Episode: "Law & Disorder"
1995 ER Cookie Lewis Episodes: "Motherhood", "And Baby Makes Two"
1996 Nash Bridges Mrs. Nassiter Episodes: "Key Witness", "Internal Affairs", "The Brothers McMillan"
1997 The Practice Jane Elaine Episode: "Hide and Seek"
1998 Walker, Texas Ranger Marge Wyman Episode: "Eyes of a Ranger"
1998-99 As the World Turns Dolores Pierce TV series
2001 Just Shoot Me! Carol Episode: "Where's Poppa?"
2001 Family Law Helen Watson Episode: "The Gay Divorcee"
2001 The Beast Mrs. Silberger Episode: "The Delivery"
2002 Grounded for Life Maureen Bustamante Episode: "I Fought the In-Laws"
2005 Third Watch Merlene Episode: "Welcome Home"
2011 Lights Out Mae Episodes: "Rainmaker", "Sucker Punch"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1974 New York Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actress Lenny Won
Best Actress Nominated
National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Won
1975 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Won
Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama Nominated
Academy Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
1976 British Academy Film Awards Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles Won
Best Actress Nominated
1979 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films Best Supporting Actress Superman Nominated
1980 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actress Can't Stop the Music Nominated
1985 CableACE Award Best Actress in a Comedy Series Faerie Tale Theatre Nominated


  1. ^ Lukanic, Steven A (1993). Film Actors Guide. Lone Eagle Publ. p. 324. ISBN 9780943728384.
  2. ^ Perrine, Howland Delano. Daniel Perrine, "The Huguenot," and his descendants in America: of the surnames, Perrine, Perine, and Prine, 1665-1910, entry 1579.
  3. ^ Variety Staff (January 24, 2001). "Winifred 'Renee' Perrine". Archived from the original on April 18, 2016. Retrieved August 11, 2022.
  4. ^ "Oscar Ceremony 1975 (Actress)". Oscars.org. Academy Awards. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  5. ^ "Winners & Nominees : Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama (1975)". GoldenGlobes.com. Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "Valerie Perrine". festival-cannes.com. Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Overview for Valerie Perrine". TCM.com. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  8. ^ O'Connor, John J. (April 24, 1986). "'LEO AND LIZ' AND 'BRIDGES TO CROSS'". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Sherriff, Scarlett (May 12, 2022). "A filmmaker's "love letter" to Hollywood star Valerie Perrine". Parkinson's Life.
  10. ^ "Valerie". edmontonfilmfest.com. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Abramovitch, Seth (April 27, 2023). "Ailing Superman Star Valerie Perrine Finally Finds Her Hero: "The Guy Should Be Sainted"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  12. ^ Staff (December 13, 2017). "Now 74, Perrine suffers from a devastating case of Parkinson's disease". Inside Edition. Retrieved October 22, 2021.

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