With a distinctive voice and her mysterious smile, Kathleen Turner became Hollywood’s favourite leading lady in the 1980s.
Born in Missouri, Turner’s father was an American diplomat in the Foreign Service, and she lived with her family in Venezuela, Canada, and England, and was living in Cuba when Castro took power of that island nation. As a teenager she took gymnastics as well as did theatre and music classes.
In the late 1970s after getting her university degree, Turner acted in many theatre productions before landing her first role in 1978 in daytime television soap The Doctors.
But it was her role in 1981′s Body Heat, that made everyone in Hollywood take a second look. Playing the sexy femme fatale, Turner’s distinctive voice led her to be dubbed a young Lauren Bacall.
Her next role in The Man With Two Brains showed her comedic talent and lured many viewers with her contagious laugh. Her next film, with Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone, led her to the top of the box office and for film critic Pauline Kael to say “Turner knows how to use her dimples amusingly and how to dance like a woman who didn’t know she could.”
She was now the actress of choice teaming up with Jack Nicholson in Prizzi’s Honor, in the sequel The Jewel of the Nile with Michael Douglas and in Peggy Sue Got Married with Nicolas Cage, gaining her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Her voice landed her in the toon-drama Who Framed Roger Rabbit? voicing the sultry Jessica Rabbit, who spoke the line “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way…”
Turner finished her trilogy with Douglas and sidekick Danny Devito with The War of the Roses, the final Romancing…film earning her many accolades including “each of her is at his or her comic best as being as awful as both are required to be here….” said a review of the time.
For women, Turner was strong and smart, not afraid to show her fears or vulnerability in her characters, while for men, her voice and sultry style was alluring no matter what her role.
By the end of the 1980s, she was a blockbuster star and had left her mark as a femme fatale.