|Full Name||Michelle Marie Pfeiffer|
|Age||64 years old|
|Birthday||April 29, 1958|
|Birth Place||Santa Ana, California, United States|
|Spouse||David E. Kelley (m. 1993)|
|Net Worth||$250 million|
Michelle Pfeiffer is an acclaimed American actress whose illustrious career has spanned over four decades, making her one of the most versatile, talented and iconic actresses in Hollywood history. Known for her striking beauty and ability to portray complex, nuanced characters, Pfeiffer has delivered unforgettable performances across a diverse range of genres and cemented her status as a legend of the silver screen.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Michelle Marie Pfeiffer was born on April 29, 1958 in Santa Ana, California to Donna and Richard Pfeiffer. She grew up with an older brother and younger sister in Midway City and later Fountain Valley. As a teenager, the striking blonde beauty won her first beauty pageant at age 18. This prompted her to pursue an acting career.
After graduating from Fountain Valley High School in 1976, Pfeiffer attended Golden West College and worked as a check-out girl at Vons supermarket. At age 20, she made the bold move to Los Angeles to break into the cutthroat entertainment industry. Her first role came in 1979‘s "The Hollywood Knights", followed by minor parts in films like "Falling in Love Again" and "Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen".
Pfeiffer got her big break when she was cast as Stephanie Zinone in 1982‘s "Grease 2", the sequel to the massively popular musical "Grease". Though the film did not garner critical acclaim, Pfeiffer earned positive reviews for her performance as the sassy Pink Lady and proved she was more than just another pretty face in Hollywood. This launched her career as a leading lady.
Rise to Stardom in the 1980s
In 1983, Pfeiffer cemented her star status with her sultry, nuanced turn as cocaine addict Elvira Hancock in Brian De Palma‘s gritty crime drama "Scarface" opposite Al Pacino. Her performance spotlighted her ability to portray complexity and vulnerability even in an unlikable character.
Pfeiffer continued to choose varied, complex roles throughout the ‘80s that highlighted her versatility as an actress. She earned her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as mafia wife Angela de Marco in 1988‘s beloved mobster film "Married to the Mob".
But it was her luminous, refined turn as the manipulative Marquise de Merteuil in 1988‘s "Dangerous Liaisons" opposite John Malkovich that garnered Pfeiffer her first Best Actress Oscar nomination as well as a British Academy Film Award. Her portrayal of the calculating, scheming marquise was critically lauded, cementing her as a serious dramatic actress.
90s Classics and Widespread Acclaim
If the ‘80s proved Pfeiffer‘s star power, the 1990s cemented her status as one of the most talented actresses of her generation. She reunited with director Brian De Palma to play lounge singer Susie Diamond in "The Fabulous Baker Boys" opposite Jeff Bridges. Her performance as the wise-cracking, weary singer earned her a Golden Globe and her second Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
In 1992, Pfeiffer took on the iconic role of Catwoman/Selina Kyle in Tim Burton‘s gothic superhero film "Batman Returns" opposite Michael Keaton. Her sexy, unhinged and fiercely physical performance became one of her most legendary roles and a defining portrayal of Catwoman.
Pfeiffer went on to deliver a magnetic, nuanced turn as the melancholic Countess Ellen Olenska in Martin Scorsese‘s adaptation of "The Age of Innocence" in 1993, based on the Edith Wharton novel. She won another Golden Globe and received her third Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
Other iconic ‘90s roles included "Wolf" opposite Jack Nicholson, "One Fine Day" with George Clooney, and "Dangerous Minds", for which she earned a record-breaking $12 million paycheck, the highest ever at the time for an actress.
2000s to Today: Varied Roles & Acting Excellence
In the 2000s, Pfeiffer continued taking on diverse, complex roles, though she acted less frequently, taking time off to raise her children Claudia and John with husband David E. Kelley. She delivered praised performances in films like "I Am Sam", "White Oleander", "Hairspray", "Stardust", and "Chéri" opposite Rupert Friend.
Pfeiffer made her return as an older incarnation of her iconic Catwoman role in 2017’s “mother!” and appeared in 2018’s star-studded mystery “Murder on the Orient Express” as Caroline Hubbard.
In 2021, she starred in the dark comedy “French Exit” opposite Lucas Hedges to rave reviews. Pfeiffer‘s performance as the wealthy, eccentric Frances Price earned her yet another Golden Globe nomination. She also appeared as Betty Ford in the historical drama series “The First Lady” in 2022, earning her a ninth Golden Globe nomination.
Now in her 60s, the three-time Golden Globe winner continues to take on complex, varied roles across genres that highlight her immeasurable talent and cement her status as a living legend.
Legacy as a Hollywood Icon
Over her expansive four decade career, Michelle Pfeiffer has proven to be one of the most multi-faceted, talented actresses of the modern era. She became one of the highest paid actresses of the 1990s, commanding $12 million per film at her peak.
Pfeiffer is revered for her willingness to take on provocative, challenging material and fully commit to portraying even the most complex characters. She imbues her roles with elegance, humanity, intelligence, and depth.
Among her generation of actresses, only Meryl Streep rivals Pfeiffer for her sheer number of iconic performances across nearly every genre – from musicals to mob films to comic book movies.
Pfeiffer‘s legendary turns as Elvira Hancock, Susie Diamond, Catwoman, and the Countess de Merteuil showcase her ability to delve into the subtleties of the human psyche and bring nuance to even unsympathetic characters.
With six Golden Globe nominations over four decades, an Emmy win, three Oscar nominations and countless iconic roles under her belt, Pfeiffer has firmly cemented her legacy as one of the greatest and most versatile screen actresses of all time. She continues to inspire fellow actors with her talent, work ethic, and commitment to the craft of acting.