Jessica Lange: An Adventurer’s Heart

Univ. Pr. of Kentucky. Jun. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780813197258. $34.95. BIOG
Film historian Uzarowski (coauthor, Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies) illuminates actress Jessica Lange’s journey from her upbringing in Minnesota, to modeling in Paris, and to New York, where she began her acting career. Lange achieved fame in the 1980s; in 1983 she showed her range when she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for the stark drama Frances and won the Supporting Actress Oscar for the comedy Tootsie. Uzarowski’s biography shines in his careful treatment of the lesser-known aspects of Lange’s life, such as her study of photography and mime theater. Particularly enjoyable is the account of her studying with French actor Étienne Decroux in the 1970s. Although Lange has worked steadily in films, TV, and on stage, her career often receives less critical attention than some of her contemporaries, such as Meryl Streep. Uzarowski’s comprehensive account and narrative writing style seamlessly blend facts and details gleaned from press and interviews throughout Lange’s career to create a stunning portrait of a singular actress.
VERDICT A well-researched and highly readable biography that is a must for film studies collections.
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