Perky, lightweight ingenue of frothy 1950s romances and comedies, including four opposite Tony Curtis, the likes of which ("The Prince Who Was a Thief" 1951, "No Room for the Groom" 1952) hardly made her a critic's darling. Laurie's first substantial screen role, however--as the lame, self-destructive alcoholic involved with Paul Newman in Robert Rossen's gritty drama, "The Hustler" (1961)--earned her an Oscar nomination. She had previously won acclaim for her moving portrayal of an alcoholic in J.P. Miller's Golden Age of Television gem, "The Days of Wine and Roses" (1958) opposite Cliff Robertson on "Playhouse 90".
Laurie took a break from film to marry critic Joseph Morgenstern in 1962. She has latterly re-emerged as a rather more flamboyant character player, co-starring with Sissy Spacek as the title character's deranged religious-fanatic mother in "Carrie" (1976), Marlee Matlin's cold mother in "Children of a Lesser God" (1986) and the scheming mill owner Catherine Martell on David Lynch's cult TV soap opera "Twin Peaks" (ABC, 1990-91). In 1995, she reteamed with Spacek, this time playing her sister, in Charlie Matthau's feature adaptation of Truman Capote's "The Grass Harp".
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