Michelle Pfeiffer: ‘The Leading Lady’

She says, ‘I’m good at disguising my feelings,’ and yet she is the utmost figure of authenticity on screen. Michelle Pfeiffer is an American actress who raised to fame by being one of the most expressive faces screens ever knew. Of course, this is definitely the result of a character built up within. Known for her film roles in Scarface, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Batman Returns, she once stated: ‘I do find comedy difficult. I don’t know why. Maybe I think about it too much. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure to be funny.’ No wonder, as Michelle Pfeiffer is good at emotions at all levels and facets. She always wanted to become a psychiatrist and she has always been good at understanding people, the many layers they handle underneath and the different aspects of their personalities. Michelle Pfeiffer is known for her striking looks and flexibility, and has enjoyed great popularity as a film actress.


Michelle Pfeiffer was born in Santa Ana, California on April 29, 1958. As a teenager, Michelle Pfeiffer won several beauty contests. After briefly studying to be a court reporter, Pfeiffer decided to pursue an acting career. She started acting on television, appearing on such shows as Fantasy Island. Winner of the Miss Orange County beauty pageant got her breakthrough role in Scarface, 1983. Later on, she earned an Oscar nomination for best actress for the film The Fabulous Baker Boys,1989. Her later films include Batman Returns and Hairspray. Pfeiffer has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She’s married to television producer David E. Kelley. ‘I’ve never met a person who has more integrity than my husband. I respect that. There’s his humor and intelligence, too, and he’s really cute, all those things – but if you don’t respect your partner, you’ll get sick of him,’ she affirmed.
By the late 1990s, Michelle Pfeiffer was focusing more on her family than her career. She had adopted her daughter, Claudia, in 1993, and married TV writer-producer David E. Kelley later that year. The couple added to their family in 1994, with the birth of their son, John Henry.


How did she get started?
‘I act for free, but I demand a huge salary as compensation for all the annoyance of being a public personality. In that sense, I earn every dime I make.’ –Michelle Pfeiffer


Pfeiffer had a small part in 1980’s Falling in Love Again, but had a breakthrough with Grease 2. She soon switched to the now-classic crime drama Scarface (1983), and showed critics that she could hold her own, starring opposite acting powerhouse Al Pacino.


Moreover, she starred as the tragically cursed lover Isabeau opposite Rutger Hauer and Matthew Broderick in the fantasy adventure film Ladyhawke (1985). She played one of the title characters in 1987’s The Witches of Eastwick, with Cher and Susan Sarandon. Turning to historical drama, she starred in Dangerous Liaisons(1988), opposite John Malkovich and Glenn Close. In Liaisons, Michelle Pfeiffer –Tourevel plays an innocent doll in a play between John Malkovich’s –Valmont, and Glenn Close’s –Madame de Merteuil characters. For her performance, she received her first Academy Award nomination.


‘I’m a perfectionist, so I can drive myself mad – and other people, too. At the same time, I think that’s one of the reasons I’m successful. Because I really care about what I do.’ –Michelle Pfeiffer


Persona Highlights
‘Even though I don’t feel I need approval, it’s still important to me to give a good performance. I’m hard on myself.’ –Michelle Pfeiffer


Despite her mostly dramatic roles on screens, Michelle Pfeiffer is a positive joyful person. At least, she fights for happiness in her everyday life. ‘I’m a really happy person, I enjoy life. I think you see that on people. I think there’s nothing more aging than misery,’ she announced. She also added, ‘Somewhere along the line I made the switch and was able to look at the bight side rather than the dark side all the time. Now I look at everything I have and think how lucky I am.’


What helps her being successful is her ability to focus on herself during her working hours not to say intensive shooting days. ‘You know, when I am working, I take really, really good care of myself. I eat really well, and I exercise, and again, I have this team of people pulling me together every day,’ she attests.


Determined and passionate, she always managed to find her way through the roles she wanted and gain people’s hearts with her unbeatable talent.
‘I’m very stubborn. I think I have common sense; I’m probably at times a bit tunnel-visioned, but I’m strong.’ –Michelle Pfeiffer


Leading Lady
Pfeiffer showed off her comedic side by starring in the 1988 comedy Married to the Mob. Two years later, she won wide acclaim as a sultry singer in The Fabulous Baker Boys, starring opposite real-life brothers Beau and Jeff Bridges. For the 1991 romantic comedy Frankie and Johnny, Pfeiffer tried to tone down her remarkable good looks to play a lonely waitress who gets involved with another restaurant employee (Al Pacino). She quickly turned up the heat with Tim Burton’s Batman Returns (1992), in which Michael Keaton plays the title character. For the film, Pfeiffer tackled a legendary villainess, “Catwoman,” and more was made of her skin-tight suit than her performance.
In 1996, she played a single parent who falls for George Clooney in One Fine Day. In another romantic tale, Up Close and Personal (1996), set in a television newsroom, she appeared opposite screen legend Robert Redford.


Recent Projects
Selective about her work, Pfeiffer starred opposite Sean Penn in I Am Sam(2001), the heart-wrenching story of a mentally challenged man who is fighting to keep his young daughter. She continued to explore family issues with 2002’s White Oleander, playing a mother whose life is ruined when she’s sentenced to prison, and her daughter is put into foster care.


In 2007, Pfeiffer returned to the big screen after being absent for several years. She gave an impressive, humorous performance in the hit musicalHairspray, co-starring with John Travolta, Christopher Walken and Nikki Blonsky. She then appeared in a number of films that met with little success, including the family friendly adventure Stardust (2007), with Robert De Niro; and the drama Personal Effects (2009), with Ashton Kutcher.


More recently, Pfeiffer reunited with Tim Burton for 2012’s Dark Shadows, co-starring with actor Johnny Depp. She also appeared in the family drama, People Like Us (2012).


Latest News
Michelle Pfeiffer would be starring in the new trilogy ’50 shades of grey’ adaptation on screens: ’50 Shades Darker.’
‘I feel less pressure to dress youthfully. I’m 50 and everyone knows I’m 50 – who are you kidding? Jeans are my uniform. I have about 15 pairs.’ –Michelle Pfeiffer