Dianne Wiest

Dianne Wiest
Dianne Wiest

Wiest in 2009
Born March 28, 1948 (1948-03-28) (age 63)
Kansas City, Missouri,
United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1969–present

Dianne Wiest (born March 28, 1948) is an American actress. She has had a successful career on stage, television, and film, and has won two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. Wiest has also been nominated for a BAFTA Award.


Early life

Wiest was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Her mother, Anne Stewart (née Keddie), was born in Auchtermuchty, Scotland, and worked as a nurse, and her father, Bernard John Wiest, was a college dean and former psychiatric social worker for the U.S. Army. The two met in Algiers.[1][2][3][4] She has two brothers: Greg and Don Wiest. Wiest's original ambition was to be a ballerina, but in late high school she switched her goal to theatre.[citation needed]

Wiest graduated from the University of Maryland in 1969 with a degree in Arts and Sciences.[5]


She made her film debut in It's My Turn (1980),[6] but did not establish herself as a film actress until her work for Woody Allen in the 1980s.


Wiest studied theatre at the University of Maryland, leaving after her third term to tour with a Shakespearean troupe. Later, she had a supporting role in a New York Shakespeare Festival production of Ashes.[6] She also acted at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, playing the title role in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. She was an understudy both off-Broadway and on Broadway, in Kurt Vonnegut's Happy Birthday, Wanda June in 1970.[7][8]

She made her Broadway debut in Robert Anderson's Solitaire/Double Solitaire, taking over in the role of the daughter in 1971.[9] She landed a four-year job as a member of the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.,[10] in such roles as Emily in Our Town, Honey in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and leading roles in S. Ansky's The Dybbuk, Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths and Shaw's "Heartbreak House."[1] She toured the USSR with the Arena Stage.[11]

In 1976, Wiest attended the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and starred in leading roles in Amlin Gray's Pirates and Christopher Durang's A History of the American Film. At Joe Papp's Public Theatre she took over the lead in Ashes, and played Cassandra in Agamemnon, directed by Andrei Şerban.

She appeared in two plays by Tina Howe: Museum and The Art of Dining. In the latter, Wiest's performance as the shy and awkward authoress Elizabeth Barrow Colt won three off-Broadway theatre awards: an Obie Award (1980), a Theatre World Award (1979–1980), and the Clarence Derwent Award (1980), given yearly for the most promising performance in New York theatre.[12][13][14][15]

On Broadway she appeared in Frankenstein (1981), directed by Tom Moore, portrayed Desdemona in Othello (1982) opposite James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer and co-starred with John Lithgow in Christopher Durang's romantic screwball comedy Beyond Therapy (1982), directed by John Madden.[9] (She played opposite Lithgow again in the Herbert Ross film Footloose.)

During the 1980s, she also performed in Hedda Gabler, directed by Lloyd Richards at Yale Repertory Theatre,[16] and in Harold Pinter's A Kind of Alaska (1984, Manhattan Theatre Club),[17] Lanford Wilson's Serenading Louie (1984),[18] and Janusz Glowacki's Hunting Cockroaches (1987, Manhattan Theater Club).[19]

As Wiest became established as a film actress through her work in Woody Allen's films, she was less frequently available for stage roles. However, she did appear onstage the 1990s, in In the Summer House, Square One,[disambiguation needed ] Cynthia Ozick's The Shawl, and Naomi Wallace's One Flea Spare.

In 2003, she appeared with Al Pacino and Marisa Tomei in Oscar Wilde's Salome. In 2005, she starred in Kathleen Tolan's Memory House. She also starred in a production of Wendy Wasserstein's final play Third (directed by Daniel Sullivan) at Lincoln Center.

Recent New York theater roles include performances as Arkadina in an off-Broadway revival of The Seagull (opposite Alan Cumming's Trigorin) and as Kate Keller in a Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons, opposite John Lithgow, Patrick Wilson, and Katie Holmes.[20] In 2009, Wiest appeared in the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in a dialogue with Katie Holmes celebrating the life of an American veteran seriously wounded in Iraq, José Pequeño.[21]

Wiest spent September 2010 as a visiting teacher at Columbia University's Graduate Acting Program,[22] working with a group of 18 first-year MFA Acting students on selected plays by Anton Chekhov and Arthur Miller.

Film and television

Under Woody Allen's direction, Wiest won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Hannah and Her Sisters in 1987 and Bullets Over Broadway in 1995.[10][23] She also appeared in three other Woody Allen films: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Radio Days (1987) and September (1987).

Her early screen roles include small roles in It's My Turn and I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can, both starring Jill Clayburgh in the lead roles.

In 1984, she starred in Footloose, as the reverend's wife.

She followed her first Oscar success with performances in The Lost Boys (1987) and Bright Lights, Big City (1988). She also starred with Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Keanu Reeves and Martha Plimpton in Ron Howard's Parenthood, for which she received her second Oscar nomination.

Wiest in 1990

In 1990, Wiest starred in Edward Scissorhands. She worked with Woody Allen once again, in 1994, for Bullets Over Broadway, a comedy set in 1920s New York City, winning her second Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Helen Sinclair, a boozy, glamorous, and loud star of the stage.

Other major film roles include Jodie Foster's Little Man Tate (1991) and The Birdcage (1996), Mike Nichols' remake of La Cage aux Folles.

On television, her performance on the series Road to Avonlea, in 1989, brought her her first Emmy Award, for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. She received another nomination for her performance in the 1999 telefilm The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn, co-starring Sidney Poitier. She starred in the television mini-series The 10th Kingdom in 2000.

From 2000 to 2002, Wiest portrayed interim District Attorney Nora Lewin in the long-running NBC crime drama Law & Order.

Wiest starred alongside Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche in Dan in Real Life (2007) and had a key supporting role in Charlie Kaufman's 2008 film Synecdoche, New York.

In 2008, she appeared as Gabriel Byrne's therapist, Gina Toll, on the HBO television series In Treatment, for which she received her second Emmy Award, for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She received another nomination (in the same category) for the second season, in 2009, but did not win.

She starred alongside Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole (2010), which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. Weist also co-stars in Lawrence Kasdan's upcoming comedy Darling Companion, alongside Kevin Kline and Diane Keaton.

Personal life

Wiest was in a long-term relationship with a New York talent agent, Sam Cohn, for many years.[24] She has two adopted daughters, Emily (b. 1987) and Lily (b. 1991).[11]


Year Title Role Notes
1980 It's My Turn Gail as Diane Wiest
1982 I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can Julie Addison
1983 Face of Rage Rebecca Hammil
1983 Independence Day Nancy Morgan
1984 Falling in Love Isabelle
1984 Footloose Vi Moore
1985 Purple Rose of Cairo, TheThe Purple Rose of Cairo Emma
1986 Hannah and Her Sisters Holly Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1987 Radio Days Bea Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1987 September Stephanie
1987 Lost Boys, TheThe Lost Boys Lucy Emerson
1988 Bright Lights, Big City Mother
1989 Parenthood Helen Buckman Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1989 Cookie Lenore
1990 Edward Scissorhands Peg Boggs Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1991 Little Man Tate Jane Grierson
1994 Bullets Over Broadway Helen Sinclair Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture
Society of Texas Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
1994 Cops and Robbersons Helen Robberson
1994 Scout, TheThe Scout Doctor H. Aaron
1995 Drunks Rachel
1996 Associate, TheThe Associate Sally Dugan
1996 Birdcage, TheThe Birdcage Louise Keeley Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1998 Practical Magic Aunt Bridget 'Jet' Owens
1998 Horse Whisperer, TheThe Horse Whisperer Diane Booker
2000 10th Kingdom, TheThe 10th Kingdom The Evil Queen/Christine White Television miniseries
2000–02 Law & Order D.A. Nora Lewin Seasons 11 & 12: 48 episodes

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2000–01)

2001 I Am Sam Annie Cassell
2001–02 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit D.A. Nora Lewin 2 episodes
2002 Merci Docteur Rey Elisabeth Beaumont
2004 Blackwater Lightship, TheThe Blackwater Lightship Lily Television film

Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film

2004 Category 6: Day of Destruction Secretary of Energy Shirley Abbott Television miniseries
2005 Robots Lydia Copperbottom
2006 Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, AA Guide to Recognizing Your Saints Flori Sundance Film Festival - Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Performance
2007 Dedication Carol
2007 Dan in Real Life Nana Burns
2008 In Treatment Dr. Gina Toll Season 1 & 2: 17 episodes

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama Series (2008)
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama Series (2009)
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (2009)
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2008)

2008 Passengers Toni
2008 Synecdoche, New York Ellen Bascomb/Millicent Weems Gotham Independent Film Award - Best Ensemble Cast
2009 Rage Miss Roth
2010 Rabbit Hole Nat Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
2012 Odd Life of Timothy Green, TheThe Odd Life of Timothy Green Ms. Crudstaff


  1. ^ a b Dianne Wiest biography. Film Reference.com.
  2. ^ Bennetts, Leslie (March 18, 1987). "Dianne Wiest Makes Neurosis A Success Story". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE5DD1F30F93BA25750C0A961948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ Moment of truth for Weist *** Anne Wiest shares daughter's triumph at Oscar presentations
  4. ^ DEATHS
  5. ^ The Women of Maryland: Alumni Who Have Made A Difference. University of Maryland Women Alumni.
  6. ^ a b Dianne Wiest Profile. E!Online.
  7. ^ 'Happy Birthday, Wanda June' listing at the Internet Broadway Database. Internet Broadway Database, accessed October 30, 2010
  8. ^ 'Happy Birthday, Wanda June' listing, Internet Off-Broadway Database listing. Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed October 30, 2010
  9. ^ a b Dianne Wiest at the Internet Broadway Database
  10. ^ a b Dianne Wiest Biography. Yahoo! Movies.
  11. ^ a b Biography. tcm.com, accessed October 30, 2010
  12. ^ 'The Art of Dining' listing, Internet Off-Broadway Database. Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed October 30, 2010
  13. ^ Wiest Obie Awards. villagevoice.com, accessed October 30, 2010
  14. ^ Theatre World Awards History. theatreworldawards.org, accessed October 30, 2010
  15. ^ Derwent Awards. actorsequity.org, accessed October 30, 2010
  16. ^ Gussow, Mel.Review: 'HEDDA GABLER' BY YALE REP". New York Times, March 11, 1981
  17. ^ New York Magazine listing. New York Magazine, April 30, 1984
  18. ^ Rich, Frank."Review:'Serenading Louie'. New York Times, February 3, 1984
  19. ^ Rich, Frank.Review, 'Hunting Cockroaches'. New York Times, March 4, 1987
  20. ^ The New York Times, “Two Fathers Are Learning Lessons of ‘All My Sons’.” Cohen, Patricia. November 12, 2008
  21. ^ "The Concert 2009 Features Families of Disabled Vets" PBS.org
  22. ^ Faculty. columbia.edu, accessed October 30, 2010
  23. ^ Wiest Academy Award wins and nominations. awardsdatabase.oscars.org, accessed October 31, 2010
  24. ^ Weber, Bruce (May 6, 2009). "Sam Cohn, Powerful Talent Broker, Dies at 79". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/07/arts/07cohn.html. Retrieved May 7, 2009. 

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  • Wiest — ist der Name folgender Personen: Alois Wiest, Abgeordneter und Mitglied der Württembergischen Landsstände 1848 bis 1849 Dianne Wiest (* 1948), US amerikanische Schauspielerin Olaf Wiest, deutsch amerikanischer Chemiker Wilhelm Wiest (1803–1877),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Wiest, Dianne —  (1948–) American actress …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Γουίστ, Νταϊάν — (Dianne Wiest, Κάνσας 1948 –). Αμερικανίδα ηθοποιός του κινηματογράφου. Σπούδασε μπαλέτο στη Νέα Υόρκη και οι πρώτοι ρόλοι της στον κινηματογράφο ήταν σχετικοί με τον χορό. Ο σκηνοθέτης Γούντι Άλεν ήταν αυτός που την ανέδειξε και την έβαλε να… …   Dictionary of Greek

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