Michelle Pfeiffer has always had the looks -- she was crowned Miss Orange County and Miss Los Angeles as a teen -- but it’s not merely a cliche to say that she’s more that just another pretty face. She’s an enduring pretty face who can be absolutely depended upon for high-quality performances. In other words, she’s one of the best.
Actresses who stay high atop movie executive wish lists into middle age (if you consider 42 middle-aged) are rare in Hollywood. Pfeiffer’s producer popularity comes, though, because she is a consummate professional adored by fans who will watch her in, literally, anything. They are rewarded every time, for she shines in even films of questionable quality -- “She’s good in bad movies,” critics sigh. Pfeiffer’s credits, good and bad, include several television movies and series appearances, beginning in 1979, when the actor was 21, with Fantasy Island. Her fame, though, and the accolades, come from the film career: Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981), Grease 2 (1982), Scarface (1983), Ladyhawke (1985), Into The Night (1985 -- her first starring role), Sweet Liberty (1986), Amazon Women On The Moon (1987), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Tequila Sunrise (1988), Dangerous Liaisons (1988 - for an Oscar nomination and a British Academy award), Married To The Mob (1988 - for a Golden Globe nomination), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989 - for a half dozen awards, including another Oscar nomination), The Russia House (1990 - for a Golden Globe nomination), Batman Returns (1992), Love Field (1993 - for an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe nomination and a Berlin International Film Festival win), The Age of Innocence (1993 - for a Golden Globe nomination), Wolf (1994), Dangerous Minds (1995), One Fine Day (1996 - Pfeiffer co-produced), To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday (1996), Up Close and Personal (1996), A Thousand Acres (1997), The Prince of Egypt (1998 - voice), The Deep End Of The Ocean (1999), William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999), and The Story of Us (1999). The actor has been awarded a Women in Film Crystal award for her work, and she has the “distinction” of having been three times one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People and listed among Playboy magazine’s 100 Sexiest Stars of the Century.
Off camera (when did she find the time to be off camera?), Pfeiffer married (1981) and divorced (1990) actor Peter Horton, and married (1993) producer David Kelley. She and Kelley have two children.
Rising from beauty queen to Hollywood heavyweight has taken years of movie making and solid acting, but statuettes aren’t the only rewards. Pfeiffer now develops her own projects and can even call her own hiatus time -- she intends to leave the glamour behind for a time to focus on family. Fans, though, need not fear, for the actor is reportedly looking at roles in the upcoming movies Hannibal, and What Lies Beneath. Whatever she plans to do, it will be done well. Pfeiffer, time after time, has proved that much.