Jessica Phyllis Lange (born April 20, 1949) is an American stage and screen actress. With a career that has spanned thirty-five years and six Oscar nominations, she may be most notable for her performances in Frances, Tootsie, Sweet Dreams and Blue Sky.
Lange, the third of four children, was born in Cloquet, Minnesota, the daughter of Dorothy Florence (née Sahlman) and Albert John Lange, who was a teacher and salesman. Her maternal grandparents were of Finnish descent, while her paternal grandparents were German and Dutch. She studied art briefly at the University of Minnesota before going to Paris, France, where she studied mime with Étienne Decroux. She returned to New York City, New York in 1973 and took acting lessons while working as a waitress and a fashion model for the Wilhelmina Models agency.
In 1976, Dino De Laurentiis cast her in his motion picture remake of King Kong, which started and almost ended her career. Although the King Kong remake was a top moneymaker for Paramount Pictures, critics were not kind to the film and Lange did not appear in another film for three years, when Bob Fosse cast her as the glamorous figure of death in All That Jazz (1979). The unfavorable reviews were devastating but critics took notice with her impressive turn in Bob Rafelson's remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981).