Karen Black, the face of the new Hollywood of the 1970s


She was an American actress, screenwriter, and singer-songwriter who became the muse of young emerging American filmmakers.

The revolution that started in 1970s Hollywood did not only come from new and angry young directors (Spielberg, Coppola, Lucas, Hoopper…), but also had its interpreters. If Jack Nicholson stood out among them, there was one of the actresses who came out with great vigor but lost steam over time: Karen Black.

Karen Blanche Ziegler, known artistically as Karen Black (July 1, 1939 – August 8, 2013), was an American actress, screenwriter, and singer-songwriter who became the muse of the young emerging American filmmakers of the early years. 70 of the last century. The actress became very popular internationally through her appearances in films such as ‘Easy Rider’, ‘My life is my life’, ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘A plague of locusts’, ‘Nashville’, ‘Airport 75’ and in the Alfred Hitchcock’s latest movie, ‘Family Plot’. During her artistic career, she won two Golden Globes (out of three nominations) and an Oscar nomination in 1970 for Best Supporting Actress.

Karen Black grew up in an artistic environment: her mother was Elsie Mary, a writer of very popular children’s novels. His grandfather, Arthur Ziegler, was a classical musician who later became principal violinist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Karen was the sister of fellow actress Gail Brown. In 1954, he began his studies at Northwestern University. He later moved to New York to study acting with Lee Strasberg and where he would appear in an Off-Broadway production.

She made her film debut in 1959 in ‘The Prime Time’ in a small role, although her debut as an actress came in 1966 with Francis Ford Coppola with ‘You are now a great boy’. Three years later, she was an actress for whom young directors fought: after ‘Hard Contract’ (1969), Denis Hooper claimed her for his legendary ‘Easy Rider’ in which she had a brief appearance, and she stars in ‘Hastings Corner’ (1970) Also in 1970, the actress shared the poster with her boyfriend Jack Nicholson in “My life is my life,” directed by Bob Rafelson, which nominated her for an Oscar. A year later, he stars in ‘Without looking back’ (‘Drive, He Said’, the directorial debut of Jack Nicholson.

In 1973 he composed and performed the central theme of the film ‘The Pyx’ and in 1974 he participated with Robert Redford in the film adaptation of Scott Fitgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’, which became a huge success. In 1974 she plays Nancy Pryor, the flight attendant who had to land a plane at ‘Airport 75’. In the same year, he would play various roles in various segments of the “Trilogy of Terror” television movies, becoming an icon of the genre. It is during these years that he becomes part of the Church of Scientology, which will damage his career in the long run.

In 1976 he co-starred with Omar Sharif in Ivan Passer’s ‘The Last Resort’, and in 1978 appeared in another excellent title, Peter Hyams’ Capricorn One. In the next two years, already fully committed, Karen Black becomes the protagonist of several films directed by very prestigious directors: John Schlesinger’s ‘A Plague of Locusts’, Robert Altman’s ‘Nashville’ which made her a country singer, she was a clumsy kidnapper in Hitchcock’s film ‘The Plot’, and starred with Bette Davis in the horror film ‘Burnt Offerings’. Specializing in women of riotous lives or conflicting backgrounds, and with a feline yet fragile sensuality, Black had the best years of her career in the 1970s.

With the 1980s, his career began to wane, focusing mainly on television. Still, in 1986 he starred in Tobe Hooper’s “Invaders from Mars,” returned to Robert Altman’s orders in “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean,” and collaborated with Andrei Konchalovsky in “Homer and Eddie.” . But little by little, Hollywood forgot about her. His latest works include Rom Zombie’s ‘House of 1,000 Corpses’, Brian Jun and Jack Sanderson’s ‘She Loves Me Not’ and Jennifer Elster’s ‘The Being Experience’.

On August 8, 2013, Karen Black died of bladder cancer in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, at the age of 74. A third of her pancreas was removed after she battled the disease in 2011, but a year later she relapsed and had two surgeries in 2012. Black was the mother of three children: Hunter Carson, Celine Eckelberry and Diane Koehnemann Bay, and grandmother of six (two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren).

Source: La Verdad


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