Michelle Marie Pfeiffer was born on April 29, 1958 in Santa Ana California. She’s been married twice, once to Peter Horton of 30something fame and currently to David E. Kelley of prolific creator of excellent TV fame. Michelle has two children – Claudia Rose whom she adopted in 1993 and John Henry, with David.
Michelle appeared on the cover of People’s first “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” issue in 1990, and again in 1999, having made the list a record six times during the decade.
Michelle as Sukie in The Witches Of Eastwick
Michelle was queen of the screen for me during the latter half of the 80′s. The media always had her compared to Kim Basinger and Melanie Griffith – even Kathleen Turner and Meryl Streep – but it was always Michelle for me. I’d discovered her in The Witches of Eastwick, a film that we mainly went to see for Cher and Jack Nicholson plus it looked funny and who doesn’t love a good comedy so, why not? Anyway, the movie of course was enjoyable (and I was overjoyed to see Veronica Cartwright in it) – but Michelle’s character made the biggest impact on me and I came away thinking she was a wonderful actor – why hadn’t I seen her in anything before? I was determined to find out as much as I could about her – which being pre-internet meant hiring (then usually buying) her backlog of films. I watched everything from Grease 2 through to Sweet Liberty and in doing so fell madly in love with Ladyhawke & Into the Night. I was already collecting film magazines by that point so I went through my back issues and found a little article here or there about Into The Night or Ladyhawke and Scarface. It wasn’t much but it was all I had. Honestly, when Michelle went onto greater things very shortly after Witches ie: Dangerous Liaisons and scored nominations for her work – I wasn’t in the least surprised but I was stoked. I was so happy for her and it was gratifying to see people in the film industry validate you. [I don't mean to sound vain or anything - it's just that you feel confident that you can spot a good actor if industry professionals agree with you].
As Diana in Into The Night
Michelle has this amazing ability to hide pain or despair but conversely let the audience see it. Her characters have depth and things going on underneath the surface, which, to me, makes her a wonderful actor. I recall Steve Kloves speaking of a scene in The Fabulous Baker Boys, where Michelle first sees the little girl that lives above Jeff Bridges’ apartment. He said Michelle was able to convey with one look that she’d (Susie) been that little girl growing up and he was right. The recognizing look conveyed so much that we knew Susie’s backstory without a word being spoken. The magnificent Age Of Innocence totally revolves around the unspoken and unsurprisingly, Michelle played Madame Olenska sublimely. Aside from being able to hide pain and despair Michelle can also give some fairly cool death glares. You wouldn’t want to cross one of her characters pissed off! She can also convey a lot of strength and integrity as well as bringing sincerity, truth and believability to her roles, something you desire from any good actor of course and Michelle definitely has every quality that makes for a wonderful actor – in spades. In short, she has a wide range that audiences can – and do – appreciate.
I eagerly awaited Michelle’s next film, whatever it would be. I was excited and looked forward to it’s release because I knew it would be good – I had faith in her script picking abilities. I pre-ordered her film’s one sheets, as I’d begun collecting movie posters and press kits by this stage, as film was my primary hobby.
After going from strength to strength winning awards left, right and center for many of her films Michelle achieved iconic when Batman Returns hit. To many, she is the definitive Catwoman, despite the part being played by several others throughout different eras.
In short, Michelle was my favorite female actor of the 80′s and I never missed a film and! I was never disappointed.
Trivia: Parts Michelle was offered but declined.
The Silence of the Lambs - Michelle was first choice for Clarice Starling but worried that the film may glorify serial killers. She said: “The reason was I was nervous about the subject matter. I was concerned about the glorification of serial killers- not that they glorified it, but I think that Anthony Hopkins’ part was the most charming and smartest. And he wins at the end. So that kind of made me nervous. There was only one time after that that I regretted turning it down and that was when I actually met Anthony Hopkins, and there was a moment when I thought: Oh, I should have done that movie with him. But that was the only time.” (*weeps* Yours truly loves this film and I remember rumors that Michelle was going to be in it and was sad she turned it down. That said, Jodie did a fantastic job so…)
Thelma and Louise – Again, I remember Michelle was going to be in this film and thought it sounded so cool. The rumor mill said it was going to be Michelle and bff Cher. Michelle passed, however, much to my chagrin.
Basic Instinct – She considered it but refused the nude scenes and asked them to be toned down or rewritten, which obviously didn’t happen.
Lorenzo’s Oil – Originally accepted the part of Michaela Odone but dropped out after Andy Garcia dropped out.
Sleepless In Seattle - She turned it down but after seeing it, regretted it. (I don’t).
Disclosure – Turned it down
Evita – The role was hers and she took more voice lessons and made demos. I distinctly remember the media making a deal out of Madonna being a bitch about it all as well. Michelle eventually dropped out, however, due to family reasons, as the production was moved out of L.A. and Michelle didn’t want to be away from her new family.