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Catherine Keener

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Catherine Keener
Catherine Keener 2014 (cropped).jpg
Catherine Keener at an Elephant Song press conference, 2014 Toronto Film Festival
Catherine Ann Keener

(1959-03-23) March 23, 1959 (age 62)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Alma materWheaton College (BA)[1]
Years active1986–present
(m. 1990; div. 2007)
RelativesElizabeth Keener (sister)

Catherine Ann Keener (born March 23, 1959)[2] is an American actress. Keener has portrayed disgruntled and melancholic yet sympathetic women in independent films, as well as supporting roles in studio films. She has been twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Being John Malkovich (1999) and for her portrayal of author Harper Lee in Capote (2005).

Keener also appeared in the films The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Into the Wild (2007), Synecdoche, New York (2008), and Get Out (2017), which were all well received by critics. Keener is the muse of director Nicole Holofcener, having appeared in each of Holofcener's first five films.[3] She also appeared in each of director Tom DiCillo's first four films, and three films directed by Spike Jonze. From 2018 to 2020, she starred in the Showtime dramedy series Kidding.

Early life and education

Keener was born on March 23, 1959, in Miami, Florida, the third of five children of Evelyn (née Jamiel) and Jim Keener, a manager of a mattress store in Hialeah, Florida.[4] She is of Irish descent on her father's side and of Lebanese descent on her mother's.[4][5] Keener was raised in Hialeah[6] as a Catholic and attended Catholic schools. She attended Monsignor Edward Pace High School.[7][8]

Keener's sister, Elizabeth Keener, is also an actress and a real estate agent working for Sotheby's in Los Angeles.

Keener attended Wheaton College, in Norton, Massachusetts. She majored in American Studies, also enrolling in a theater course. Her first theatrical production was the Wendy Wasserstein play Uncommon Women and Others, during her junior year at Wheaton. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College in 1983.


Keener had a supporting role as Lt. Cricket Sideris in the television series Ohara. The series ran from January 1987 to May 1988.

Her first film appearance was one line in About Last Night... (1986). Although she struggled professionally over the next few years, one project had an unexpected dividend: Keener met her future husband, actor Dermot Mulroney, in 1987 while working on Survival Quest (1989), after Mulroney became stuck while attempting to scale a cliff.

She also guest-starred as an artist on an episode of Seinfeld called "The Letter". She played Jerry's girlfriend, an artist who painted a famous portrait of Kramer. Keener then earned her first starring role, in Johnny Suede, with the then-unknown Brad Pitt. Her performance gained critical acclaim and earned her first Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead. She went on to work with director Tom Dicillo again, in Living in Oblivion (1995). Two years later, she was once again nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her performance in Walking and Talking, an independent cult-comedy film directed by Nicole Holofcener.

In 2000, Keener earned her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Being John Malkovich, directed by Spike Jonze.[9] In 2001, she worked with director Nicole Holofcener in Lovely and Amazing, garnering her a third Independent Spirit Award nomination. In 2002, she co-starred with Edward Norton in the off-Broadway revival of Burn This and the film Death to Smoochy. She also took part in the film Full Frontal, and Simone alongside Al Pacino.

In 2005, she starred in the political thriller The Interpreter (as a Secret Service agent partnered with Sean Penn's character) and The Ballad of Jack and Rose with Daniel Day-Lewis, and played the love interest of Steve Carell in Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Keener's performance as writer Harper Lee in Capote (also 2005) earned her several awards and nominations, including her second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[9] In 2006, she starred in the film Friends with Money, directed by Nicole Holofcener.

In 2007, Keener played Jan Burres in Sean Penn's critically acclaimed film Into the Wild, based on Jon Krakauer's best-selling book of the same name. In 2008, her film An American Crime, the true story of Gertrude Baniszewski, a middle-aged mother who tortured and murdered Sylvia Likens in her Indiana home, was aired on Showtime. Keener played Baniszewski and her portrayal earned her an Emmy nomination in the Best Actress in a TV Mini-Series or Movie category. In 2008, Keener portrayed Philip Seymour Hoffman's wife Adele in Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York. She and Hoffman again played husband and wife in the 2012 film A Late Quartet. Keener played the title character's mother in the 2010 film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, based on the series of books by Rick Riordan.

Keener starred in the six-episode HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero, based on the 1999 nonfiction book of the same name by Lisa Belkin.[10][11] It aired in August 2015.[12] In 2016, Keener starred in the independent film Unless.[13][14]

In 2017, Keener starred as Missy Armitage in the racially themed horror film Get Out,[15] which was a critical and commercial success.[16][17]

In November 2019, it was announced that Keener would appear in a main role on the Netflix horror drama miniseries Brand New Cherry Flavor.[18] The miniseries was released on August 13, 2021.[19]

Acting style and reception

Throughout her career, Keener has developed a reputation for succeeding in complex roles,[5] often portraying desolate, bittersweet women "who come across as empty or unfulfilled in their relationships or their creative endeavors", effortlessly earning sympathy from audiences in both protagonistic and antagonistic roles.[20] Director Rebecca Miller said that Keener is "very good at playing disgruntled", a designation about which Keener explained, "Anger is not a bad thing"; she finds comfort in playing roles of this nature because "It doesn't go hand in hand with the mode of behaviour that's ladylike or proper or dignified."[21] Nate Williams of deemed Keener "one of the most interesting performers in the game" as of 2019 due to her willingness "to embrace different roles", describing her as "A dramatic actor with no problem playing strange characters".[20]

Keener gravitates towards roles in independent films, and opts for smaller character roles on rare occasions when she agrees to appear in larger studio ventures, which Entertainment Weekly critic Missy Schwartz believes "she inhabits more comfortably than flashier ones."[4] Amanda McCorquodale, contributing to the Miami New Times, wrote that Keener regularly plays smart, neurotic women in independent films, likening her body of work to Woody Allen heroines.[22] Rotten Tomatoes crowned Keener "one of the queens of 1990s American independent cinema",[23] while The Independent called her "A darling of the independent film world".[21] Despite commending her diverse yet carefully cultivated roles, The Independent observed that most of Keener's studio roles have "barely registered" among critics and audiences.[21] Williams believes that Keener's skillset and versatility have allowed her to work with some of the industry's best filmmakers.[20] Schwartz wrote that directors such as Neil LaBute (Your Friends & Neighbors, 1998) and Steven Soderbergh (Full Frontal, 2002) have consistently "put her unusual beauty and trademark dry wit to good use."[4]

Despite employing a publicist, Keener seldom gives interviews, believing that overexposure "becomes a dirty business".[4] The actress is known for being notoriously press-shy, and refuses to refer to herself as "famous" despite her success in the film industry.[4] In 2010, Inside Jersey contributor Stephen Whitty observed that, throughout a decade of interviewing the actress, Keener had always been open to commenting about her collaborators, both directors and co-stars, but often refused to be interviewed about herself, considering her a shy person who values her privacy.[5] In 2014, the Montreal Gazette journalist T'Cha Dunlevy selected Keener as his most memorable interview of the year, during which he admitted to mostly remembering laughing.[24] Dunlevy described the actress as "a consummate pro who has brought charisma and soul to projects ranging from" goofball comedies to blockbuster films.[24] Keener has continued to enjoy a reputation "as a both charming and well respected actress".[23]

Personal life

Keener married actor Dermot Mulroney in 1990. They have a son, Clyde, born in 1999, who is a singer.[9] Mulroney filed for divorce in June 2007, citing irreconcilable differences[25] and the divorce became final on December 19, 2007.[26][27]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 About Last Night... Cocktail Waitress
1989 Survival Quest Cheryl
1990 Catchfire Trucker's girl
1991 Switch Steve's Secretary
Johnny Suede Yvonne
Thelma & Louise Hal's wife Scenes cut[28]
1992 The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag Suzanne
1993 The Cemetery Club Ester's Daughter
1995 Living in Oblivion Nicole Springer
1996 Walking and Talking Amelia
Boys Jilly
Box of Moonlight Floatie Dupre
1997 The Real Blonde Mary
1998 Out of Sight Adele Delisi
Your Friends & Neighbors Terri
1999 8mm Amy Welles
Simpatico Cecilia
Being John Malkovich Maxine Lund
2001 Lovely & Amazing Michelle Marks
2002 Adaptation Herself Cameo
Full Frontal Lee
Death to Smoochy Nora Wells
Simone Elaine Christian
2005 The Ballad of Jack and Rose Kathleen
The Interpreter Dot
The 40-Year-Old Virgin Trish Piedmont
Capote Nelle Harper Lee
2006 Friends with Money Christine
2007 An American Crime Gertrude Baniszewski
Into the Wild Jan Burres
2008 Hamlet 2 Brie Marschz
What Just Happened Lou Tarnow
Synecdoche, New York Adele Lack
Genova Barbara
2009 The Soloist Mary Weston
Where the Wild Things Are Connie Also associate producer
2010 Please Give Kate
Cyrus Jamie
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Sally Jackson
Trust Lynn Cameron
2011 The Oranges Paige Walling
Peace, Love & Misunderstanding Diane
Maladies Catherine
2012 A Late Quartet Juliette Gelbart
2013 The Croods Ugga Crood Voice
Enough Said Marianne
Captain Phillips Andrea Phillips
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa Ellie
2014 Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.5 Ellie Direct to video
War Story Lee Also producer
Begin Again Miriam
Elephant Song Susan Peterson
2015 Accidental Love Rep. Pam Hendrickson
2016 Unless Reta
2017 Get Out Missy Armitage
Little Pink House Susette Kelo
We Don't Belong Here Nancy Green
November Criminals Fiona
2018 Nostalgia Donna Beam
Incredibles 2 Evelyn Deavor / Screenslaver Voice
Sicario: Day of the Soldado Cynthia Foards
2020 The Croods: A New Age Ugga Crood Voice
2022 The Adam Project Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1986 L.A. Law Waitress Episode: "The House of the Rising Flan"
1987 Ohara Lt. Cricket Sideris 11 episodes
1988–1989 Knightwatch Rebecca 2 episodes
1989 CBS Summer Playhouse Jan Engle Episode: "Curse of the Corn People"
1992 Seinfeld Nina West Episode: "The Letter"
1996 Heroine of Hell Magda Television film
If These Walls Could Talk Becky Donnelly Television film; segment: "1952"
2014 How and Why Alice Pilot
2015 Show Me a Hero Mary Dorman 5 episodes
2018–2020 Kidding Deirdre "Didi" Perera 20 episodes
2018 Forever Kase 5 episodes
2019 Modern Love Julie 2 episodes
2021 Brand New Cherry Flavor Boro Main role

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2018 Lego The Incredibles Evelyn Deavor


Year Title Role Notes
2016–2017 Homecoming Heidi Bergman

Awards and nominations

Year Title Award
1991 Johnny Suede Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
1995 Walking and Talking
1999 Being John Malkovich Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2001 Lovely & Amazing Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2005 The Ballad of Jack and Rose Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
The Interpreter Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
The 40-Year-Old Virgin Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Capote Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
2007 An American Crime Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Into the Wild Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2008 Synecdoche, New York Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award
2009 Where the Wild Things Are Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
2010 Please Give Nominated—Comedy Film Award for Best Leading Actress
Nominated—Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2017 Get Out Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

See also


  1. ^ "Catherine Keener '83 receives Oscar nomination for Capote role" Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine, News release, Wheaton College, February 8, 2006
  2. ^ "Birth Records Search". Archived from the original on January 3, 2018. Retrieved March 25, 2007.
  3. ^ Friedman, Nick (December 24, 2013). ""MY MUSE": DIRECTORS & ACTORS WHO KEEP WORKING TOGETHER—PART I". Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Schwartz, Missy (April 14, 2006). "Being Catherine Keener". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Whitty, Stephen (May 9, 2010). "Two-time Oscar nominee Catherine Keener has earned a reputation for mastering complex roles". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  6. ^ "Filmography". Premiere. Premiere Pub. 15 (2–12): 83. 2001.
  7. ^ "'Catherine Keener'". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  8. ^ "'Catherine Keener: America's muse captures British director of Genova'". The Times. October 4, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  9. ^ a b c "Being Catherine Keener" August 27, 2006, New York Times
  10. ^ "James Belushi, Terry Kinney & Michael Stahl-David Join HBO's 'Show Me A Hero'". Deadline Hollywood. August 15, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 30, 2014). "HBO Greenlights David Simon Miniseries Starring Oscar Isaac & Catherine Keener". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  12. ^ Simon, David (May 4, 2015). "A Maryland Film Festival panel slated". Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  13. ^ "Catherine Keener Joins Indie Movie 'Unless'". The Hollywood Reporter. March 16, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  14. ^ Vlessing, Etan (March 16, 2015). "Alan Gilsenan's indie Unless starts shooting in Toronto". Playback. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  15. ^ Rios, Edwin (February 24, 2017). ""Get Out" is the horror flick America needs right now". Mother Jones. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  16. ^ "'Get Out' box office success is important for the future of cinema".
  17. ^ "Vanity Fair: Get Out Is Thrilling, Terrifying, and Timely".
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 15, 2019). "N'Brand New Cherry Flavor' Series Headlined By Rosa Salazar A Go At Netflix; Catherine Keener, Eric Lange, Jeff Ward & Manny Jacinto Co-Star In Horror Adaptation". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  19. ^ Cordero, Rosy (July 19, 2021). "Rosa Salazar Goes Dark In Netflix's 'Brand New Cherry Flavor' Teaser Trailer". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  20. ^ a b c Williams, Nate (May 8, 2019). "Catherine Keener's Ten Best Roles". Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  21. ^ a b c "Catherine Keener: Oscar success within her sights". The Independent. February 24, 2006. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  22. ^ McCorquodale, Amanda (March 11, 2010). "Hialeah Actress Catherine Keener Returns to Miami for Tonight's Festival Premiere". Miami New Times. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Catherine Keener". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  24. ^ a b Dunlevy, T'Cha (December 25, 2014). "Catherine Keener made me laugh, and left a lasting impression". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  25. ^ "Dermot Mulroney Files for Divorce from Catherine Keener". June 11, 2007.
  26. ^ "Catherine Keener, Dermot Mulroney Divorce Finalized". Extra (TV program). October 31, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  27. ^ "Divorce papers" (PDF). Los Angeles County Superior Court. Extra. October 30, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  28. ^ Anderson, Matt (February 13, 2011). "Thelma & Louise". Movie Habit. Retrieved September 9, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 30 August 2021, at 21:53
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