Born March 28, 1948 in Kansas City, Missouri, Dianne Wiest’s childhood ambition was to become a ballerina. During her latter years in high school and after working on stage productions, she decided to switch to acting. She took up a degree in Arts and Sciences at the University of Maryland and graduated in 1969.
Dianne Wiest's Broadway debut was in Solitaire/Double in 1971. Among the stage productions she was part of were Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Pirates, Ashes, Agamemnon, Memory House, The Seagull and The Lower Depths to name a few. Her portrayal of the shy and awkward author Elizabeth Barrow Colt in Tina Howe's The Art of Dining won her an Obie Award, a Theatre World Award and the Clarence Derwent Award.
She made her big screen debut on the 1980 comedy drama It's My Turn, where she portrayed the role of Gail. In 1986, her work on Hannah and Her Sisters earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was Oscar nominated for playing Helen Buckman in the comedy film Parenthood. She won her second Best Supporting Actress Award for her role as Helen Sinclair in Bullets Over Broadway in 1994. She was seen in the movies Footloose, Edward Scissorhands, The Lost Boys, The Horse Whisperer, Dan In Real Life, Practical Magic and I am Sam among many others.
In 2000, she was cast as Nora Lewin on NBC's long-time running crime drama Law & Order. Her other TV appearances were on The Tenth Kingdom, The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn and Not Afraid, Not Afraid.
She was listed as one of the 12 Promising New Actors in the 1985 issue of Screen World. She has no husband but had adopted two children namely Emily and Lily. In 2008, she landed the role of Gina on the HBO drama In Treatment. Despite not having a spouse, Dianne managed to portray a wife who had lost her husband, reached the age of 60, retired her career as a therapist and assumed a new role of being a novel writer. Also that year, Wiest landed roles in The Return of Jezebel James, Passengers and Synecdoche, New York.
(Photo courtesy of HBO)