Nationality: American. Born: Athens, Georgia, 8 December 1953. Education: Attended University of Georgia. Family: Married 1) Ron Britton, 1982 (divorced 1990); 2) Alec Baldwin, 1993; one child: Ireland. Career: 1969—Breck Shampoo girl; 1976–77—episodic appearances in TV series, Charlie's Angels , The Six-Million Dollar Man ; 1977—in TV series, Dog and Cat; 1978—first leading role in TV movie Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold ; 1979—in TV mini-series From Here to Eternity ; 1981—film debut in Hard Country ; 1989—bought town of Braselton, Georgia, for future development; 1993—sued by Main Line Pictures for reneging on agreement to do Boxing Helena ; forced to declare bankruptcy; decision against Basinger later reversed by California Court of Appeals. Awards: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, for L.A. Confidential , 1998. Agent: Ron Meyer, CAA, 11288 Ventura Blvd. #414, Studio City, CA 91604, U.S.A.
Dog and Cat (Kelljan—for TV) (as Officer J. Z. Kane)
Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold (Greenwald—for TV) (as Katie); The Ghost of Flight 401 (Steven Hilliard Stern—for TV) (as Prissy Frasier)
Killjoy ( Who Murdered Joy Morgan? ) (Moxey—for TV) (as Laury Medford); Hard Country (David Greene) (as Jodie Lynn Palmer)
Mother Lode (Charlton Heston and Joe Canutt) (as Andrea Spalding)
Never Say Never Again (Kershner) (as Domino Petachi); The Man Who Loved Women (Edwards) (as Louise)
The Natural (Levinson) (as Memo Paris)
Fool for Love (Altman) (as May)
No Mercy (Pearce) (as Michel Duval); 9 1/2 Weeks (Lyne) (as Elizabeth)
Blind Date (Edwards) (as Nadia Gates); Nadine (Benton) (title role)
My Stepmother Is an Alien (Richard Benjamin) (as Celeste Martin)
Batman (Burton) (as Vicki Vale)
The Marrying Man ( Too Hot to Handle ) (Rees) (as Vicki Anderson)
Final Analysis (Joanou) (as Heather Evans); Cool World (Bakshi) (as Holli Would)
Wayne's World 2 (Surjik) (as Honey Horne); The Real McCoy (Mulcahy) (as Karen McCoy)
The Getaway (Donaldson) (as Carol McCoy); Ready to Wear ( Prêt-a-Porter ) (Altman) (as Kitty Potter)
L.A. Confidential (Hanson) (as Lynn Bracken)
I Dreamed of Africa (Hudson) (as Kuki Gallmann); Bless the Child (Russell) (as Maggie O'Connor)
Guérif, François & Lahaie, "Kim Basinger. Un èstrange cocktail," interview in Revue du Cinéma (FR), November 1987.
"Kim Basinger," interview with Ivor Davis, in Los Angeles Magazine , December 1988.
"Kim Basinger Talks," interview with Brendan Lemon, in Interview (New York), December 1994.
Stivers, Cyndi, "Blond Ambition," in Premiere (New York), September 1989.
Current Biography 1990 , New York, 1990.
Masters, Kim, "Princess," in Premiere (New York), March 1990.
Fleming, Michael, " Boxing K.O. Spurs Bout with Basinger," in Variety (New York), 24 June 1991.
Iskusstvo Kino (Moscow), November 1992.
Stars (Mariembourg), Summer 1995.
Epstein, Jan, "Demon Dogs. LA Confidential," in Cinema Papers (Abbotsford), November 1997.
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Her beauty is the subject of regular comment in her films but Jack Nicholson's Joker in Batman , gives us the most accurate, if sardonic appraisal of her eye-catching looks: "You're beautiful, in an oldfashioned kind of way." A Breck girl at the age of 16 and a Playboy model a year later, Kim Basinger, with her full lips, glowing skin, and wayward honeyed locks, was the most sultry but also the most conventional of the sex symbols of the eighties. Although capable of conveying sexual menace, her specialty has been to mimic the sexual availability and emotional vulnerability patented by Marilyn Monroe, whose breathy style she acknowledges as influencing her own in Cool World. Her first star turn in Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold already contained the home recipe for Basinger's trademark sexual confection—a melting Southern sweetness, a soft center, a girlish and confiding, often nervous laugh. Even when dressed in the height of fashion, Basinger hardly strikes the eye as modern, either in her looks or attitudes. She typically belongs to a society in which, as a character in No Mercy observes, it is pleasurable to be a man. Basinger is generally cast as the sexual trophy trying to escape from such a world, which is why flight and the chase figure so prominently in her films, sometimes to deliriously happy effect, as in the boisterous Nadine , in which she gives her most endearing comic performance, but more often as a dangerous game of erotic pursuit. Films such as No Mercy and the soft-pornographic 9 1/2 Weeks as well as the film she famously did not make— Boxing Helena —cast her in elaborate scenarios of sexual bondage. Even in the more elegantly appointed thrillers, such as Final Analysis , she inhabits what appear to be exhibition cases for human display. Her films often present her as handicapped for anything resembling self-reliant womanhood—twice by alcohol disorders, once by illiteracy, once (arguably more than once) by masochistic sex addiction.
Basinger has tried to maneuver within the narrow confines of her sexpot image by parodying her heartstopper reputation. Like Kathleen Turner, she enjoys lampooning the hypnotic power of her own sexuality, although her Holli Would in the nightmarish Cool World is the diabolic double of Turner's "good blond" in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Basinger's attempts at self-parody spoof rather than reinvent the Blond Bombshell: Honey Horne incarnates adolescent sex fantasies in Wayne's World 2 , itself a spoof on the icons of media culture; and her Celeste in My Stepmother Is an Alien is a woman so good-looking that sex with her is treated as a cosmic event. Still in that film and in more earthbound, but equally frenetic vehicles, such as the witless Blind Date , Basinger displays a goofiness and slapstick limberness deserving of better stunts. It remains to be seen whether Basinger can modernize her screen persona, which while glamorous, lacks the independence, drive, and determination that characterize the screen's most "modern" women from Bette Davis to Sharon Stone. Final Analysis suggests she might, with the right vehicle, shed the mannerisms that have kept her in relative subjection to men. In this unapologetic remake of Vertigo , Basinger brings a murderous resolve to her role as Heather Evans, a more sinister and cunning descendent of Kim Novak's compliant, zombified Madeleine. When she falls to her death from atop a lighthouse tower, it is after having rejected the new age masculinity offered to her by her hapless lover and dupe, Richard Gere. The man on the tower remains standing, in command of the scene, but the phallic structure supporting him is much in need of repairs.
The entire question of role choice ceased to be academic when Basinger was sued by Main Line Pictures for backing out of an oral agreement to star in Jennifer Lynch's Boxing Helena . The initial judgment against her sent Basinger into bankruptcy although it was later reversed by the California Court of Appeals. Despite the setback, Basinger is in top comic form in Robert Altman's Ready to Wear , enlivening the fairly drab and mean-spirited satire on the fashion industry as Kitty Potter, an undismayable commentator for FADTV. Altman's sly joke is to give this luminous beauty, defined by image culture all her professional life, the final clear-eyed pronouncement on the mystique of the female body beautiful.