Patricia Clarkson


29 Dec 1959


New Orleans, Louisiana, USA


Patricia Davies Clarkson


This remarkable, one-of-a-kind actress has, since the early 1990s, intrigued film and TV audiences with her glowing, yet careworn eccentricity and old world-styled glamour. Very much in demand these days as a character player, Patricia Clarkson nevertheless continues to avoid the temptation of money-making mainstream filming while reaping kudos and acting awards in out-of-the-way projects.

The New Orleans born-and-bred performer with the given name of Patricia Davies Clarkson was born on December 29, 1959, the daughter of Arthur ("Buzz") Clarkson, a school administrator, and Jacquelyn (Brechtel) Clarkson, a local city politician and councilwoman. Patricia demonstrated an early interest in acting and managed to appear in a few junior high and high school-level plays while growing up. She took her basic college studies at Louisiana State University, studying speech for two years, before transferring to New York's Fordham University and graduating with honors in theatre arts.

Accepted into the prestigious Yale School of Drama graduate program, she earned her Master of Fine Arts after gracing a wide range of productions including "Electra," "Pericles," "Twelfth Night", "The Lower Depths," "The Misanthrope," "Pacific Overtures" and "La Ronde". From there she took on New York City where she attracted strong East Coast notice in 1986 for her portrayal of Corrina in "The House of Blue Leaves" and in such other plays as "Eastern Standard" (1988) and "Wolf-Man" (1989).

Known for her organic approach to acting, the flaxen-maned actress decided to try out her trademark whiskey voice in Hollywood at age 28, making her movie debut as Mrs. Eliot Ness in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987) starring Kevin Costner. The following years she gained attention for playing Samantha Walker in The Dead Pool (1988) where she starred opposite Clint Eastwood's popular "Dirty Harry" character. Playing supportive, wifely types at the onset, she became a strong contender for character stardom by the mid-to-late 1990s, not only on stage but in the independent film arena.

On stage Patricia received impressive notices for her contributions to the plays "Raised in Captivity," "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan," "Three Days of Rain" and, in particular, "The Maiden's Prayer," which nabbed her both Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Award nominations. In 2004, she finally enacted the classic part she seemed born to play, that of Southern belle Blanche DuBois in the Kennedy Center production of "A Streetcar Named Desire". She earned glowing notices. On camera she was offered roles of marked diversity. From the heavier dramatics of a film like Pharaoh's Army (1995), she could move deftly into light comedy, courtesy of Neil Simon in the TV-movie London Suite (1996). It was, however, her bleak, convulsive portrayal of Greta, a strung-out, heroin-happy German has-been actress, opposite a resurgent Ally Sheedy in the acclaimed art film High Art (1998) that truly put Patricia on the indie map. From this she was handed a silver plate's worth of excitingly offbeat roles. In 2003 alone, Patricia received a special acting prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her superb work in three films: as a somber, grieving artist in The Station Agent (2003), a cold-hearted cancer victim in Pieces of April (2003) and a jokey, get-with-it mom in All the Real Girls (2003). She was nominated for a "Supporting Actress" Oscar for the second movie mentioned.

On TV Patricia received two Emmys for her recurring guest part as Frances Conroy's free-spirited sister in the acclaimed black comedy series Six Feet Under (2001). She also received the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics awards for her supporting work in the gorgeous, 1950s-styled melodrama Far from Heaven (2002), as a prim and proper Stepford-wife and deceptive friend to Julianne Moore.

No matter the size, such as her extended cameos in The Green Mile (1999), All the Real Girls (2003), Miracle (2004) and Elegy (2008), Patricia manages to make the most of whatever screen time she has, often stealing scenes effortlessly. Seen everywhere because of her in-demand status in Hollywood, Patricia recently worked for director/actor Woody Allen. Impressed with her small but excellent contribution in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), she was promoted to a lead in his more recent picture Whatever Works (2009).

Actor ( 110 credits )

Delirium (2017)
The Bookshop (2017)
Light on Broken Glass (2017)
The Party (2017)
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) Ava Paige
October Gale (2014) Helen Matthews
Annie (2014) Focus Group Woman
Learning to Drive (2014) Wendy
The Maze Runner (2014) Ava Paige
Last Weekend (2014) Celia Green
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (2014)  Daisy Suckley (4 episodes, 2014)
Late Night with Seth Meyers (2014)  Herself (1 episode, 2014)
Broad City (2014)  Timothy's Mother (1 episode, 2015)
The East (2013) Sharon
The Broadway.Com Show (2013)  Herself (1 episode, 2014)
Hollywood Health Report (2013)  Herself - Guest (1 episode, 2015)
It's Getting Late (2012)
The Flying House (2011) Woman
One Day (2011) Alison
Friends with Benefits (2011) Lorna
Rise (2011) Maribel Vinson Owen
Vine Talk (2011)  Herself (1 episode, 2011)
7 Minutes in Heaven (2011)  Herself - Guest (1 episode, 2011)
Main Street (2010) Willa Jenkins
Easy A (2010) Rosemary
Legendary (2010) Sharon Chetley
Shutter Island (2010) Rachel 2
Janela Indiscreta (2010)  Herself (1 episode, 2011)
Beyond All Boundaries (2009) Marguerite Higgins - New York Herald Tribune Correspondent (voice)
2081 (2009) Narrator (voice)
Whatever Works (2009) Marietta
For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (2009) Narrator (voice)
Cairo Time (2009) Juliette Grant
Parks and Recreation (2009)  Tammy One (2 episodes, 2011)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) Judy
Elegy (2008) Carolyn
Phoebe in Wonderland (2008) Miss Dodger
Blind Date (2007) Janna
Married Life (2007) Pat Allen
No Reservations (2007) Paula
Lars and the Real Girl (2007) Dagmar
Xposé (2007)  Herself (1 episode, 2010)
Up Close with Carrie Keagan (2007)  Herself (1 episode, 2008)
Amazing Planet (2007)  Narrator (3 episodes, 2007)
The Woods (2006) Ms. Traverse
All the King's Men (2006) Sadie Burke
Secret's Out (2006)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2009)
Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005) Shirley Wershba
The Dying Gaul (2005) Elaine
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2005)  Herself (2 episodes, 2008)
Made in Hollywood (2005)  Herself (1 episode, 2011)
The Hour (2005)  Herself (1 episode, 2009)
Miracle (2004) Patti Brooks
Dogville (2003) Vera
Dogville Confessions (2003) Herself
All the Real Girls (2003) Elvira
The Station Agent (2003) Olivia Harris
Pieces of April (2003) Joy Burns
Shootout (2003)  Herself (2 episodes, 2004-2008)
Tussen de sterren (2003)  Herself (1 episode, 2003)
The Baroness and the Pig (2002) The Baroness
Searching for the Wendigo (2002) Herself
Welcome to Collinwood (2002) Rosalind
Far from Heaven (2002) Eleanor Fine
Heartbreak Hospital (2002) Lottie Ohrwasher
The Safety of Objects (2001) Annette Jennings
Falling Like This (2001) Caroline Lockhart
Wendigo (2001) Kim
The Pledge (2001) Margaret Larsen
Six Feet Under (2001)  Sarah O'Connor (7 episodes, 2002-2005)
Dinner for Five (2001)  Herself (1 episode, 2003)
Joe Gould's Secret (2000) Vivian Marquie
Wonderland (2000)  Tammy Banger (2 episodes, 2000)
The Green Mile (1999) Melinda Moores
Wayward Son (1999) Wesley
Simply Irresistible (1999) Lois McNally
Playing by Heart (1998) Allison
High Art (1998) Greta
The View (1997)  Herself (1 episode, 2010)
Corazón de... (1997)  Herself (5 episodes, 2005-2006)
Amazing Planet (1996)  Narrator (1996)
Pharaoh's Army (1995) Sarah Anders
Jumanji (1995) Carol Parrish
Murder One (1995)  Annie Hoffman (23 episodes, 1995-1996)
E! Live from the Red Carpet (1995)  Herself - Vanity Fair Guest (1 episode, 2016)
Frasier (1993)  Claire French (4 episodes, 2001)
WWF Raw (1993)  Herself (1 episode, 2010)
Intimate Portrait (1993)  Herself (1 episode, 1999)
In the Life (1992)  Herself (2 episodes, 2003-2006)
Gomorron (1992)  Herself (1 episode, 2003)
Davis Rules (1991)  Cosmo Yeargin (13 episodes, 1991)
Charlie Rose (1991)  Herself - Guest (1 episode, 2010)
KTLA Morning News (1991)  Herself (1 episode, 2010)
Tune in Tomorrow... (1990) Aunt Olga
Law & Order (1990)  Laura Winthrop (1 episode, 1990)
Tales from the Crypt (1989)  Suzy (1 episode, 1990)
Everybody's All-American (1988) Leslie Stone
Rocket Gibraltar (1988) Rose Black
The Dead Pool (1988) Samantha Walker
The Untouchables (1987) Catherine Ness
The Equalizer (1985)  Deborah Wade (1 episode, 1986)
Spenser: For Hire (1985)  Elizabeth Haller (1 episode, 1985)
American Masters (1985)  Narrator (1 episode, 2007)
Larry King Live (1985)  Herself (1 episode, 2004)
Nature (1982)  Narrator (2 episodes, 2001-2006)
Entertainment Tonight (1981)  Herself (1 episode, 2014)
Saturday Night Live (1975)  Mother / ... (uncredited) (2 episodes, 2009-2011)
Film '72 (1971)  Herself (1 episode, 2006)
Today (1952)  Herself / ... (2 episodes, 2014)
Jonathan (0) Dr. Mina Nariman