Many now knows Jessica Lange as the leading lady in the anthology thriller television series American Horror Story and it seems as if the actress is being treated as a new Hollywood star even though she has done outstanding work in the acting field for quite a long time now. The rise to mainstream media happens for different performers at different stages in their career, it seems as if Lange is amongst the late bloomers in that aspect.
Lange broke into the business of Hollywood with 1976’s production of King Kong in which she played the leading role of Dwan. The actress continued to acquire a rather impressive and extensive résumé through the years including a principal role in the Bob Fosse film All That Jazz and playing the iconic roles of Blanche DuBois and Maggie Pollitt in TV movie adaptations of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, respectively.
In more recent years, Lange was seen in the Tim Burton-directed fantasy Big Fish in which she played the senior version of the film’s romantic interest, Sandra Bloom. The actress was also featured as Rita Thornton in 2012’s The Vow starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams.
One must wonder why Lange has this large body of work, but has not been considered a household name until the release of the aforementioned American Horror Story series. Before the release of the latest season of AHS, subtitled as Freakshow, the actress was seen on The Ellen Show discussing this very issue. The star began stating to the show’s host, Ellen DeGeneres, that she does not plan to work on American Horror Story after the fourth season. DeGeneres understood the actress’s choice being that the year-after-year production process can grow very tiresome and then continued to state that the show had to have opened up a brand new audience for her.
Lange furthered the conversation by informing DeGeneres that for the first time in her career, she would walk down the street and people would recognize her and begin to get star-struck. The talk show host stated she did not believe the fact due to the actress’s great amount of prior success, but Lange was adamant in stating that she was telling the truth.
Although the star may not have reached major limelight exposure until just recently, the critics have admired her success for quite some time now. Lange has won two Academy Awards in her career, the first being for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her part in 1982’s Tootsie and the second being for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her stunning performance in Blue Sky in 1994. The star has also won two out of the three Primetime Emmy Award nominations she received for her work in American Horror Story. Critics anticipate she will receive at least a nomination if not another win for her role in Freakshow.
Jessica Lange is the perfect example of a long-time actress who has become a new Hollywood star. This just goes to show that one does not have to be at a Brad Pitt or Britney Spears status to be majorly successful in the entertainment industry. If one stays true to their craft as Lange does, that status will come in due time, perhaps with that much more respect as well.
Opinion by Cody Collier