Daryl Hannah has lived her life fiercely on her own terms as an actress, rebel and activist. She rocketed to fame with her mermaid role in Splash but has always followed her own compass. Here‘s a sweeping overview of this singular star:
|Full Name:||Daryl Christine Hannah|
|Born:||December 3, 1960 in Chicago, Illinois|
|Net Worth:||$20 million|
|Social Media:||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram|
Early Life: Painfully Shy Girl Finds Refuge in Nature
Born in Chicago in 1960, Hannah lived a transient childhood as her family moved between Illinois, Maryland and Connecticut. Her parents divorced when she was just 7 weeks old and she was primarily raised by her mother Susan, a producer, and adoptive father Jerrold Wexler, a wealthy businessman.
Young Daryl was excruciatingly shy and diagnosed with borderline autism. She often escaped into nature, climbing trees and riding horses near her home for hours. This early connection with the outdoors fueled her lifelong passion for environmentalism.
At age 11, Hannah saw Splash and found her calling, badgering her mother to let her act. Susan recognized her daughter‘s unwavering focus and enrolled her in acting lessons. Though initially reluctant to homeschool Daryl, Susan soon recognized this allowed her to train intensively while accommodating her unconventional learning style.
Seeking Her Spotlight: Bit Parts Lead to Blade Runner
The Hannah family relocated to Los Angeles full-time when Daryl was 16 so she could formally pursue acting. She worked odd jobs while taking acting classes and scoring minor film roles like 1978‘s The Fury.
Her big break came at age 21 when she was cast as the replicant Pris in Ridley Scott‘s 1982 sci-fi thriller Blade Runner. It was a complex part that required her to embody both childlike innocence and feral physicality. Though the film wasn‘t a hit at the time, it proved Hannah could handle mature, multifaceted roles.
Next came what is still considered her most iconic role – Madison the mermaid in 1984‘s Splash opposite Tom Hanks. The film combined Hannah‘s ethereal beauty with surprising comedic chops. It earned her a Best Actress Saturn Award and cemented her status as Hollywood‘s newest darling.
80s Star Power: Drama, Comedy, Action
Now an in-demand leading lady, Hannah had a prolific career throughout the rest of the 80s. She showed her range with acclaimed dramatic performances in Wall Street and Roxanne. Proving she could also headline action flicks, she did her own stunts in At Play in the Fields of Lord and High Spirits.
Daryl selected roles based on the director‘s vision, not box office prospects or vanity. She turned down bombs like Stakeout to work with legends like Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone and Steve Martin. Costars remarked on her preternatural focus and dedication to craft.
However, Hannah was never comfortable with the invasive tabloid culture or self-promotion required of 80s starlets. She focused solely on the work and turned down "flashier" projects that objectified women. Her careworn leather jacket and tendency to go barefoot on talk shows cemented her image as the anti-glam leading lady.
Personal Life: Long Love Affairs & Liberal Activist
Hannah has always been extremely private about her romantic life. Early tabloid reports linked her to Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty but she denied these. She had serious long-term relationships with two rock stars: Jackson Browne in the late 80s/early 90s and John Fogerty in the late 90s.
The actress has never married or had children, prioritizing her art and activism. She‘s lived primarily on eco-friendly ranches outside Los Angeles and Oregon. An animal lover, she rescues dogs and advocates for marine mammal protection.
Politically liberal, Hannah traveled to the Iraq border before the 2003 invasion to protest the impending war. She‘s been arrested multiple times for various environmental protests over the decades. Her fierce principles and bohemian lifestyle have long set her apart from conventional Hollywood.
90s & Beyond: Cult Hits and Comebacks
In the early 90s, Hannah stepped back from major studio films, seeking grittier indie projects like 1993‘s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. She earned strong reviews but these artier films had smaller audiences.
Hannah continued working steadily in lower-profile movies, miniseries and TV shows like CSI: Miami throughout the 90s and early 2000s. But she was about to make a killer comeback…
Quentin Tarantino cast Hannah as the villainous Elle Driver in his two-part revenge epic Kill Bill. Her portrayal of the ruthless assassin ranks among her most memorable performances. This explosive turn put her back on the A-list at age 42.
She continues taking risks in provocative films like 2013‘s Skin Traffik while also appearing on hit shows like Sense8. Most recently, she‘s earned raves for her comedic turn on Netflix‘s Grace and Frankie. She‘s respected by peers as a consummate actress committed to her principles.
Activism: Protesting for the Planet and People
Hannah‘s environmental activism blossomed in the late 80s as she educated herself about threats to rainforests and biodiversity. She joined high-profile protests related to causes like saving old-growth forests.
In the 90s, she was arrested for protesting the celebration of Columbus Day and damaging equipment on an anti-nuclear weapons boat. Her fierce civil disobedience continued into the 2000s at mining sites and urban community gardens.
She‘s advocated before Congress for renewable energy and whale protection. At home, Hannah converted her house to solar power and drives a biodiesel Mercedes. She uses her platform consistently to spotlight sustainability and animal welfare.
Hannah By the Numbers
- 50+ – Feature films she‘s appeared in
- 5‘10" – Her tall height sets her apart from petite starlets
- 3 – Times arrested for environmental civil disobedience
- 2 – Rock star boyfriends – Jackson Browne and John Fogerty
- 1984 – Year she earned her first Saturn Best Actress Award for Splash
In Her Own Words: Fearless Daryl Hannah
"I‘ve always considered the environment like another character in a film."
"People come up to me and say, ‘I love what you‘re doing, keep it up.‘ That‘s really gratifying."
"Sure I could be the actress who goes to Hollywood parties, but I don‘t think they need me. There are plenty of people doing that."
"You might see me holding a sign. I‘m not afraid to protest; I don‘t have a problem with going to jail."
"I never really knew how to sell myself before. I still don‘t really, but I‘m learning."
Decades into her unconventional career, Daryl Hannah remains a singular force who fascinates movie buffs and activists alike. She‘s never been willing to play the Hollywood game or compromise her ideals one iota. Refreshingly real in a plastic town, this mermaid still swims to the beat of her own offbeat drummer.