Sissy Spacek (Actress) - Carrie
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Updated: 4/9/09

Name: Sissy Spacek

Birth Name: Mary Elizabeth Spacek

Born: December 25, 1949, Quitman, Texas

Claim To Fame: Who doesn't remember Sissy Spacek as the blood-spattered title character of 1976's high-school melodrama/horror film Carrie? She became a leading lady in Hollywood after she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1980 for her role as country star Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter.

Family Life: Spacek married production designer Jack Fisk in 1974. They have two daughters, Schuyler Elizabeth and Madison Fisk. Schuyler Fisk has appeared in several film roles, and is now pursuing a career as a singer.

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Info: Originally hoping to be a singer, Spacek started out singing at coffee houses in Greenwich Village under the name Rainbo. She recorded one single titled "John, You've Gone Too Far This Time," over John Lennon's use of the name Rainbo on the cover of his album Two Virgins.

However, Spacek got bit by the acting bug, and enrolled in the Lee Strasberg Theatrical Institute - with a little help from her cousin, actor Rip Torn. After an appearance as an extra in Andy Warhol's Trash (1971), she made her official acting debut in Michael Ritchie's Prime Cut (1972). She gained international attention the next year for her portrayal of a teenage accomplice to ruthless cross-country killer Martin Sheen in Terrence Malick's Badlands.

In 1976, she starred in Brian De Palma's chilling adaptation of Stephen King's novel Carrie as the mousy teenager with telekinetic powers who uses them to exact revenge upon her cruel schoolmates and mother. Her performance earned her a Best Actress nomination. Spacek's portrayal of country singer Loretta Lynn in 1980's Coal Miner's Daughter won her the Best Actress Oscar and also allowed Spacek to put her singing talents to use.

After two more Oscar nominations (for her work in Missing (1982) and Crimes of the Heart (1986)), Spacek took a break from acting to concentrate on raising her family. She made return appearances to the big screen throughout the 1990s in JFK (1991), The Grass Harp (1996), and Affliction (1998). In 2001, Spacek took home the Golden Globe for Best Actress and earned an Oscar nod in the same category for her brooding and sympathetic performance in Todd Field's In the Bedroom.

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Trivia: Got her nickname Sissy from her brothers when she was growing up, and it stuck with her.

During her audition for Carrie, she wore a dress that her mother forced her to wear to a party when she was in the seventh grade.

Nominated for a Grammy for her rendition of the title song in Coal Miner's Daughter.

Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1976" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 28.

Appeared in the music video and sang in the choir on the song "Voices That Care."

Attended Quitman High School in Quitman, Texas. She was a majorette and homecoming queen.

Released a country LP titled Hangin' Up My Heart on Atlantic Records in 1983.

Decided to skip college after her older brother, Robbie, died at 18 years of age in 1967 from leukemia during her senior year in high school.

Brother Ed is a music industry consultant in Austin, Texas.

Godmother of Rebecca Taylor.

One of a chosen few to be Oscar nominated for a lead performance in a horror film for Carrie.

Her performance as Carrie White in Carrie (1976) is ranked #63 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

Is third cousin to actor Cillian De Ros.

Was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in March 2001 in Austin, Texas.

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Where Are They Now: Spacek continues to turn out memorable performances, including a moving portrayal of quietly unfaithful wife Ruth in Rodrigo Garcia's Nine Lives (2005), and as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's in the television movie Pictures of Hollis Woods (2007). This past winter, she had a cameo role in the Christmas movie Four Christmases, and also starred in the drama, Lake City. Spacek and her family reside on a horse ranch near Charlottesville, Virginia. Spacek is also a strong women's rights advocate.

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