In 1998, Venora played the leading female role in The Jackal with Richard Gere and Bruce Willis, portraying the determined Russian career officer, Major Valentina Koslova. Venora also starred in Baz Luhrmann's contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet as Lady Capulet, and co-starred with Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore in Merchant/Ivory's Surviving Picasso. She received critical acclaim for her first performance with Al Pacino as his long-suffering wife, Justine, in Michael Mann's Heat. She also appeared in Martha Coolidge's Three Wishes starring Patrick Swayze.
Prior to taking a hiatus to raise her daughter, Venora earned a Golden Globe Award nomination and won the New York Film Critics Award for her performance opposite Forest Whitaker in the 1988 Clint Eastwood feature, Bird.
For television, Venora starred in a recurring role on the acclaimed series Chicago Hope and also starred in the miniseries A.D. Anno Domini.
A native of Connecticut, Venora graduated from Juilliard and began working extensively in theater, including roles in The Country Wife directed by Norman Ayrton at the Harvard Loeb Drama Center and The Three Sisters with the Princeton Acting Ensemble.
This year, she starred in Tongue of a Bird at the Mark Taper Forum. Her other stage credits include performances in The Winter's Tale with Christopher Reeve and Mandy Patinkin, as well as A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by James Lapine and the title role in Hamlet, directed by Joseph Papp, both for the New York Shakespeare Festival. She also portrayed Ophelia opposite Kevin Kline as the melancholy Dane in another production of Hamlet for the New York Shakespeare Festival, which was filmed for PBS's Great Performances. Venora has appeared in Peer Gynt and School for Scandal at the Williamstown Theater Festival and in Messiah at the Manhattan Theater Club.
Later this year, Venora is set for the Miramax production of Hamlet playing Gertrude to Ethan Hawke's Hamlet. The film also stars Sam Shepard and Bill Murray. In addition, she just completed filming Heartbreak Hospital the comedy satire of soap opera life with John Shea. Diane is off to Montreal with Eric Roberts to co-star in the sci-fi TNT original movie Gabriel's Run.
Next she will begin rehearsals for the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Hamlet opening at the Public Theatre November 23. Under the direction of Andrei Serban, Venora will play Gertrude, with Liev Schreiber, thus becoming the first American actress to have performed at the Public Theatre as Hamlet, Ophelia and Gertrude.
Diane Venora Facts
|August 10, 1952 (71)
|Hartford, Connecticut, USA