Grace Zabriskie

Last updated

Grace Zabriskie
Grace Caplinger [1]

(1941-05-17) May 17, 1941 (age 80)
Years active1978–present

Grace Zabriskie ( née Caplinger; May 17, 1941) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Sarah Palmer in Twin Peaks (1990–1991; 2017) and its film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), Lois Henrickson in Big Love , as well as in cult films such as two of David Lynch's films: Juana Durango in Wild at Heart (1990) and Visitor #1 in Inland Empire (2006). Other film roles include Nickel Mountain (1984), Child's Play 2 (1990), and The Grudge (2004). She is also known for her recurring roles in Seinfeld and Charmed .


Early life

Zabriskie was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Marion Grace (née Zabriskie), of Wyckoff, New Jersey, and Roger Thomas "Tom" Caplinger. [2] Her mother had distant Polish and Dutch ancestry, [3] and was a relative of James Zabriskie, a 19th-century railroad industrialist and early pioneer of California. [4] Zabriskie has said that her family was visited by Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote during her childhood. [5] Her father owned the famous French quarter gay bar, Cafe Lafitte in Exile. [1]

In the early 1960s, Zabriskie was among a circle of Kerry Thornley's New Orleans friends. At one point, Thornley began work on a novel about her called Can Grace Come Out and Play? [1] Thornley later claimed to have had an "eight-year-long, off-again-on-again, affair/friendship/rivalry/ego-game/karmic unraveling" with her, though Zabriskie described it as "four and a half minutes in bed." [6]

Her sister, Lane Caplinger, worked as a typist in New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's office. Caplinger is reputed to have covertly produced all five copies of the first edition of the Principia Discordia in 1965. [7]


After making her major film debut in 1979's Norma Rae , Zabriskie went on to appear in dozens of other works, including the 1981 Roger Corman horror film Galaxy of Terror and the 1981 miniseries adaptation of John Steinbeck's East of Eden . She played the nanny in 1980's The Private Eyes , Debra Winger's mother in An Officer and a Gentleman , Heather Langenkamp's mother in Nickel Mountain , and Paul Le Mat's mother in 1984's The Burning Bed (starring Farrah Fawcett). She also had a small but crucial part in the fifth season finale of Knots Landing.

She appeared in 1989's Drugstore Cowboy and as the ill-fated orphanage owner Grace Poole in Child's Play 2 . Other movies include the 1991 film adaptation Fried Green Tomatoes and Philip Ridley's 1995 film The Passion of Darkly Noon .

Zabriskie is perhaps most familiar for her television work. After a recurring role on the soap opera Santa Barbara , she played a major role on the David Lynch series Twin Peaks and its spin-off film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me as Sarah Palmer, the eerily psychic mother of the doomed Laura Palmer. Zabriskie also appeared in Lynch's Wild at Heart — notably as the twin sister of a character played by Isabella Rossellini, an actress eleven years her junior. David Lynch later cast her as a sinister Polish neighbor in Inland Empire in 2006.

Zabriskie also played the role of the Crone in Season 5 of on the TV show, Charmed .

Zabriskie may best be remembered as Mrs. Ross, a recurring character on the sitcom Seinfeld . She played the mother of another doomed daughter, Susan RossGeorge Costanza's fiancée — who died after licking cheap envelope adhesive when mailing out her wedding invitations. Zabriskie's character's husband on the series, who also appeared in a recurring role, was played by her former Twin Peaks co-star, Warren Frost.

She also made a brief but memorable appearance in the episode "S'ain't Valentine's" on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens , as the emotionally disturbed and alcoholic mother of Spence Olchin (played by Patton Oswalt). While the character Veronica Olchin would reappear throughout the series, Zabriskie would not portray her again, having been replaced by Anne Meara. She also starred as Lois Henrickson in Big Love , an HBO drama series that seriously explored the issue of polygamy, [8] and appeared twice in Aaron Spelling's series Charmed as The Crone.

She has worked in radio, collaborating with radio dramatist/monologist Joe Frank several times. In one episode of Frank's show, "Home (Original)," she talks at length about her childhood in New Orleans, with a focus on her father.

Zabriskie appeared in the 2004 American remake of The Grudge , in which she played a senile elderly woman sensitive to the paranormal occurrences in her home.

In 2020, she starred in the music video for Grouplove's "Youth". [9] directed by Christopher Blauvelt.


1978 They Went That-A-Way & That-A-Way Lem's Wife
1979 Norma Rae Linette Odum
1980 The Private Eyes Nanny
1981 Galaxy of Terror Captain Trantor
1982 An Officer and a Gentleman Esther Pokrifki
1984 Nickel Mountain Ellie Wells
1984 Body Rock Chilly's Mother
1986 The Big Easy Mama
1987 Rampage Naomi Reece
1987 Leonard Part 6 Jefferson
1988 The Boost Sheryl
1989 Drugstore Cowboy Bob's Mother
1990 Megaville Mrs. Jessica Palinov
1990 Wild at Heart Juana Durango
1990 Child's Play 2 Grace Poole
1991 Ambition Mrs. Wendy Merrick
1991Servants of TwilightGrace Spivey
1991 My Own Private Idaho Alena
1991 Fried Green Tomatoes Eva Bates
1992 The Waterdance Pat
1992 FernGully: The Last Rainforest Narrator/Magi Lune (voice)
1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Sarah Palmer
1992 Chain of Desire Linda Bailey
1993Stone SoupOlympia
1993 Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Mrs. Maria Hankshaw
1994The Last LaughLouiseShort film
1994The CrewGloria Pierce
1994 Drop Zone Winona
1995Desert WindsJackie's Mother
1995 The Passion of Darkly Noon Roxy
1996 A Family Thing Ruby
1996 Bastard Out of Carolina Granny
1997SeedMother's VoiceShort film
1997Psycho SushiGreat Aunt
1997George B.The Mother
1997Dead Men Can't DanceBrig. Gen. Burke
1997Annie's GardenMrs. Felicity Barnes
1998 Armageddon Dottie
1998Dante's ViewGeraldine
1999TrashMrs. Wendy DeMarie
1999A Texas FuneralMurtis
1999Me and WillEdith
2000Home the Horror StoryGrace Parkinson
2000A Fate ForetoldOlgaShort film
2000Puppy LoveJeanette FoleyShort film
2000 Gone in 60 Seconds Helen Raines
2001They CrawlMrs. Gage
2002 R.S.V.P. Mary Franklin
2002 No Good Deed Mrs. Karen Quarre
2003The Wind EffectAllisonShort film
2004The Last LetterMrs. Stella Allison
2004 Chrystal Gladys
2004 The Grudge Emma
2004Sabine and the Two-Headed BabySabineShort film
2006 Inland Empire Visitor #1
2007 License to Wed Grandma Jones
2007Alternate EndingsMomShort film
2008The BrothelMadam
2009Bob FunkMrs. June Funk
2009 My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? Mrs. Joan McCullum
2013 Wrong Cops Donna
2013 Trancers: City of Lost Angels The WardenShort film
2014Blind MaliceNanna
2014 The Judge Mrs. Anita Blackwell
2014 The Makings of You MargaretA.k.a. Never My Love [10]
Also producer
2015Only ChildDelores
2019 Polaroid Lena Sable
2021 Cryptozoo Joan (voice)
1978The Million Dollar Dixie DeliveranceWidow CumminsTV movie
1979 Concrete Cowboys Mrs. Kate BarnabyEpisode: "Concrete Cowboys"
1979 Freedom Road Ruth LaitTV movie
1980 CBS Afternoon Playhouse Episode: "Lost in Death Valley"
1980Blinded by the LightTV movie
1981East of EdenMrs. Catherine AmesTV miniseries
1981 Hart to Hart EthylEpisode: "A Couple of Harts"
1982 The Executioner's Song Kathryne BakerTV movie
1983 Tales of the Gold Monkey Dr. ClouetEpisode: "Last Chance Louie"
1983M.A.D.D.: Mothers Against Drunk DriversSilvie Alice KohlerTV movie
1983 Cagney & Lacey AdeleEpisode: "Affirmative Action"
1984My Mother's Secret LifeMaggie RyanTV movie
1984 Knots Landing ChambermaidEpisode: "Negotiations"
1984 The Burning Bed Flossie HughesTV movie
1984 Paper Dolls CathyEpisode: "1.8"
1985 ABC Afterschool Special Mrs. LintonEpisode: "One Too Many"
1985 Santa Barbara Theda Bassett17 episodes
1985North Beach and RawhideHearings OfficerTV movie
1985 Shadow Chasers Mary KomatarEpisode: "Shadow Chasers: Part 1"
1986 Hill Street Blues Terry SylvestriEpisode: "Das Blues"
Episode: "Scales of Justice"
1986 Cagney & Lacey Eva SikorskiEpisode: "Model Citizens"
1987 Falcon Crest Mabel BurtonEpisode: "When the Bough Breaks"
Episode: "The Cradle Will Fall"
1987 Mistress DeanieTV movie
1988 The Bronx Zoo Mrs. BarrisEpisode: "Ties That Bind"
1988My Father, My SonMouzaTV movie
1988ShooterSister MarieTV movie
1988 Empty Nest Eva BarrettEpisode: "Pilot"
1989 The Ryan White Story Gloria WhiteTV movie
1989 Unsub AlmaEpisode: "White Bone Demon"
1989A Deadly SilencePsychologistTV movie
1989 Moonlighting (uncredited)Episode: "In 'N Outlaws"
1990 Tales from the Crypt Mrs. ColbertEpisode: "The Secret"
1990Hometown Boy Makes GoodHelen GearyTV movie
1990–1991 Twin Peaks Sarah Palmer13 episodes
1991 Prison Stories: Women on the Inside GenevieveTV movie
1991 Blood Ties The WomanTV movie
1991Intimate StrangerDana P. AshleyTV movie
1992 Freshman Dorm Episode: "Pilot"
1992A House of Secrets and LiesRubyTV movie
1992 Seinfeld Mrs. RossEpisode: "The Cheever Letters"
1993Bonds of LoveEmmaTV movie
1993 Miracle Child Adeleine NewberryTV movie
1993 Black Widow Murders: The Blanche Taylor Moore Story EthelTV movie
1993Banner TimesMommaTV movie
1993Double DeceptionTV movie
1993 Sirens Female Store OwnerEpisode: "Keeping the Peace"
1993Angel FallsCuema1 episode
1994 Lifestories: Families in Crisis Sandy HenryEpisode: "A Body to Die For: The Aaron Henry Story"
1995Crazy for a KissPearl KinrossTV movie
1995 Children of the Dust RoseTV movie
1995 Under Suspicion Lily CassinsEpisode: "Hostage Standoff"
Episode: "Wrongful Shooting"
1995 Empty Nest ScarlettEpisode: "Life Goes On: Part 1"
Episode: "Life Goes On: Part 2"
1995 Fallen Angels VirnaEpisode: "The Black Bargain"
1995 NYPD Blue Wanda PadzikEpisode: "The Bookie and the Kooky Cookie"
1996A Promise to CarolynFrancie HarperTV movie
1996 Second Noah Mrs. ChevalEpisode: "Stormy Weather"
1996Murder at My DoorGrandmaTV movie
1996 The Burning Zone Retired CIA AgentEpisode: "Touch of the Dead"
1996-1998 Seinfeld Mrs. Ross4 episodes
1997 NYPD Blue Millie BanksEpisode: "A Remington Original"
1997 High Incident Episode: "Remote Control"
1997 Over the Top DollyEpisode: "The Southern Story"
1997 The Devil's Child Rose DeMarcoTV movie
1998 Dharma & Greg NaomiEpisode: "It Takes a Village"
1998 Houdini Mrs. WeissTV movie
1998 Profiler Mrs. BoudreauxEpisode: "The Sum of Her Parts"
1999 The King of Queens VeronicaEpisode: "S'ain't Valentine's"
2000 Jesse Grandma RoseEpisode: "Jesse Gives Birth"
2000 The West Wing IsobelEpisode: "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part II"
2002 The Guardian JudithEpisode: "The Dead"
2002The GlowSylvia GoodsteinTV movie
2002–2003 John Doe Yellow Teeth6 episodes
2003 Charmed The CroneEpisode: "Baby's First Demon"
Episode: "Sense and Sense Ability"
2005 Medium Connie BuckleyEpisode: "The Other Side of the Tracks"
2006–2011 Big Love Lois Henrickson52 episodes
2013 The Killing Mama Dips3 episodes
2015 Ray Donovan Miss Monassian6 episodes
2016 Outcast Mildred4 episodes
2017 Santa Clarita Diet Mrs. Baković2 episodes
2017 Twin Peaks Sarah Palmer6 episodes
2018The Alienist (TV series)Johns Grandmother4 episodes
2019 Hot Streets Senkah (voice)Episode: "Super Agent 2"
2019Ballers (TV series)Enid

Related Research Articles

Discordianism Religion & parody religion

Discordianism is a religion and subsequent philosophy based on the veneration or worship of Eris, a.k.a. Discordia, the Goddess of chaos, or archetypes or ideals associated with her. It was founded after the 1963 publication of its holy book, the Principia Discordia, written by Greg Hill with Kerry Wendell Thornley, the two working under the pseudonyms Malaclypse the Younger and Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst.

Kyle MacLachlan American actor

Kyle Merritt MacLachlan is an American actor. He is best known for his role as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks and its film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), as well as roles in two of David Lynch's films: Paul Atreides in Dune (1984) and Jeffrey Beaumont in Blue Velvet (1986). MacLachlan's other film roles include Lloyd Gallagher in The Hidden (1987), Ray Manzarek in The Doors (1991), Cliff Vandercave in The Flintstones (1994), Zack Carey in Showgirls (1995), and the voice of Riley's father in Inside Out (2015).

Kerry Wendell Thornley

Kerry Wendell Thornley was an American author. He is known as the co-founder of Discordianism, in which context he is usually known as Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst or simply Lord Omar. He and Hill authored the religion's text Principia Discordia, Or, How I Found Goddess, And What I Did To Her When I Found Her. Thornley was also known for his 1962 manuscript, The Idle Warriors, which was based on the activities of his acquaintance, Lee Harvey Oswald, prior to the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Daveigh Chase American actress, singer, and model

Daveigh Elizabeth Chase is an American actress, singer, and model. She began her career appearing in minor television roles before being cast as Samantha Darko in Richard Kelly's cult film Donnie Darko. She would subsequently provide the voices of Chihiro Ogino in the English dub of the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away, and Lilo Pelekai in the Disney animated feature film Lilo & Stitch and its subsequent franchise, before appearing as Samara Morgan, the child antagonist in the 2002 horror film The Ring.

Molly Shannon American actress and comedian

Molly Helen Shannon is an American actress and comedian, who was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2001. In 2017 she won the Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film Other People.

Madeline Zima is an American actress. She portrayed Grace Sheffield on the CBS sitcom The Nanny (1993–1999), Mia Lewis on the Showtime comedy drama series Californication (2007–2011), and Gretchen Berg on the NBC series Heroes (2009–2010).

Mädchen Amick American actress

Mädchen Elaina Amick is an American actress. She is known for her starring role as Shelly Johnson on the cult television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991), its prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) and its revival television series Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). She was also a series regular on Central Park West (1995–1996), Freddie (2005–2006), and Witches of East End (2013–2014). In film, she had starring roles in Sleepwalkers (1992) and Dream Lover (1993). She currently portrays Alice Smith on The CW's drama television series Riverdale (2017–present).

Sheryl Lee American actress

Sheryl Lynn Lee is an American film, stage, and television actress. After studying acting in college, Lee relocated to Seattle, Washington to work in theater, where she was cast by David Lynch as Laura Palmer and Maddy Ferguson on the 1990 cult TV series Twin Peaks and in the 1992 spin-off film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. After completing Twin Peaks, she returned to theater, appearing in the title role of Salome on Broadway opposite Al Pacino.

Jeanne Tripplehorn American actress

Jeanne Marie Tripplehorn is an American actress. She began her career in theatre, acting in several plays throughout the early 1990s, including Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters on Broadway. Her film career began with the role of a police psychologist in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct (1992). Her other film roles include The Firm (1993), Waterworld (1995) and Sliding Doors (1998). On television, she starred as Barbara Henrickson on the HBO drama series Big Love (2006–11) and as Dr. Alex Blake on the CBS police drama Criminal Minds (2012–14), and she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her performance as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the 2009 HBO movie Grey Gardens.

Laura Palmer Fictional character from Twin Peaks

Laura Palmer is a fictional character in the Twin Peaks franchise. She is portrayed by Sheryl Lee and was created by the series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost. She first appears in the ABC original series Twin Peaks. A high school student whose death is the catalyst for the events of the series, Palmer is the protagonist in Lynch's prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), which depicts the final week of her life leading up to her murder. Laura also appears in the novels, Twin Peaks: The Return (2017), and a variety of merchandise based on the series.

<i>Big Love</i> American television drama series

Big Love is an American television drama series that aired on HBO between March 2006 and March 2011. It stars Bill Paxton as the patriarch of a fundamentalist Mormon family in contemporary Utah that practices polygamy, with Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin portraying his wives. The series charts the family's life in and out of the public sphere in their Salt Lake City suburb, as well as their associations with a fundamentalist compound in the area. It features key supporting performances from Amanda Seyfried, Grace Zabriskie, Daveigh Chase, Matt Ross, Mary Kay Place, Bruce Dern, Melora Walters, and Harry Dean Stanton.

Laura Dern American actress, director, and producer

Laura Elizabeth Dern is an American actress and filmmaker. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and five Golden Globe Awards. Born to actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, Dern embarked on an acting career in the 1980s and rose to some prominence for her performances in Mask (1985) and David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) and Wild at Heart (1990). She received an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the titular orphan in the drama film Rambling Rose (1991) and achieved international recognition for her role in Steven Spielberg's adventure film Jurassic Park (1993), a role that she reprised in the 2001 sequel Jurassic Park III.

Warren Frost was an American actor. His work was mainly in theater, but he worked in films and television sporadically from 1958. He is known for television roles on Matlock, and Seinfeld, and particularly as Doctor Hayward on Twin Peaks, a series co-created by his son Mark Frost. He has also appeared in TV movies, such as Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990) and The Stand (1994).

Robyn Lively American actress

Robyn Elaine Lively is an American actress. She is known for her role in the film Teen Witch (1989), as well as for her roles in the TV shows Doogie Howser, M.D., Twin Peaks, Savannah, and Saving Grace.

Anne Dudek American actress

Anne Louise Dudek is an American actress. She is known for portraying Tiffany Wilson in the 2004 film White Chicks, Danielle Brookson in the USA Network television series Covert Affairs, Dr. Amber Volakis on the Fox series House, Lura Grant on the HBO series Big Love, and Francine Hanson on the AMC series Mad Men. She has also starred in the British television series The Book Group.

Shawn Doyle is a Canadian actor.

"Episode 4", also known as "The One-Armed Man", is the fifth episode of the first season of the American mystery television series Twin Peaks. The episode was written by Robert Engels, and directed by Tim Hunter. "Episode 4" features series regulars Kyle MacLachlan, Piper Laurie and Richard Beymer, and introduces series co-creator David Lynch in the role of Gordon Cole.

Nicole LaLiberté is an American actress. She has had recurring roles on the television series How to Make It in America (2011) and Dexter (2012–2013) and most notably played Darya in David Lynch's Twin Peaks: The Return.

<i>Twin Peaks</i> (season 3) season of television series

The third season of Twin Peaks, also known as Twin Peaks: The Return and Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, consists of 18 parts and premiered on Showtime on May 21, 2017. Developed and written by creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, the season is a continuation of the 1990–1991 ABC series. An ensemble of returning and new cast members appear, led by original star Kyle MacLachlan and directed by Lynch.

<i>Lauras Ghost</i> 2020 book written by Courtenay Stalling

Laura's Ghost: Women Speak about Twin Peaks is a 2020 book by Courtenay Stallings. The book explores the legacy of the fictional character Laura Palmer, whose death was the precipitating event in the television show Twin Peaks. Laura's Ghost features interviews with and essays from women involved with Twin Peaks including Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer, as well as actress Grace Zabriskie, and Jennifer Lynch, daughter of the series’ director David Lynch.


  1. 1 2 3 Gorightly, Adam (2003). The Prankster and the Conspiracy. New York: Paraview Press. p. 265. ISBN   1-931044-66-X.
  2. HBO. "New Orleans native Grace Zabriskie concludes a long goodbye to 'Big Love's' Lois". Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  4. Wanda Tomczykowska. The Silent Heroes: Polish Contributions to California. Polish Arts and Culture Foundation, 1994
  5. "HBO: Big Love - Interviews - Grace Zabriskie". Archived from the original on April 20, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2007.
  6. Gorightly, Adam (October 3, 2014). "Kerry Thornley's Paranoid Flash". Historia Discordia. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  7. Gorightly, Adam (2014). Historia Discordia The Origins of the Discordian Society. New York: RVP Press. p. 221. ISBN   978-1-61861-321-9.
  8. Sellers, John. "The Zabriskie Principle: Why the Big Love Finale Wasn't Really a Shocker." Los Angeles, California: The Wrap, March 21, 2011.
  9. "Grouplove Taps a 'Twin Peaks' Icon for New 'Youth' Video". PAPER. March 4, 2020.