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Shirley Knight

Shirley Knight's extensive work in the cinema, theater and television has earned her numerous honors, including: a Tony Award and two nominations; three Emmy Awards and nine nominations; two Golden Globe awards and three nominations; two Academy Award nominations; the Venice Film Festival Best Actress award; the critics prize at the Cannes Film Festival (for producing the film Dutchman); the Joseph Jefferson Award; and two Drama Desk nominations.

Knight holds a Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Lake Forrest College. Her work as a political activist includes working on behalf of handgun control, the homeless, Parkinson's research and abused women. In the past, she also worked tirelessly for civil rights, peace in Vietnam and nuclear disarmament-for 18 months she toured the country in Eve Ensler's one-woman play The Depot, to help educate and organize people to deal with the nuclear threat. During the tour Knight, along with director Joanne Woodward and writer Ensler, spoke and answered questions after the play; the final performance took place at a nuclear test site in Nevada, where she, Woodward and Ensler were arrested.

Shirley Knight has starred in over 30 films for the cinema, including The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Sweet Bird of Youth, Petulia, The Group, Dutchman, The Rain People, Endless Love, Little Boy Blue, As Good As It Gets and Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.

She has appeared in more than 70 plays for the theater, including The Three Sisters, Losing Time, Landscape of the Body, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, Kennedy's Children, Economic Necessity, Absent Forever, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Cherry Orchard, Hamlet, The Glass Menagerie, Blithe Spirit, Necessary Targets, The Vagina Monologues, and The Importance of Being Earnest.

Knight has appeared in more than 250 television series and telefeatures, including Miss Julie, The Country Girl, The Lie, Playing for Time, thirtysomething, Indictment: The McMartin Trial and The Wedding.

Born and raised in Kansas, she is proud of her heritage and returns often to Independence, Kansas for the William Inge Festival-an annual event she helped to start that honors a playwright every year. In 2000, Ms. Knight was declared Kansan of the Year; then Governor Bill Graves and the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas brought her to Topeka, where she was given a citation and the key to the city by the legislature of Kansas.

After leaving her home state, Knight has spent most of her adult life in New York City, London and Los Angeles. She was married to renowned British writer John R. Hopkins until his death and has two children, Kaitlin Hopkins and Sophie C. Hopkins. She also has a stepdaughter, Justine Hopkins.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2006.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Shirley Knight Facts

Birth NameShirley Enola Knight
BirthdayJuly 5, 1936 (86)
BirthplaceGoessel, Kansas, USA
Awards1996 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Film (for Indictment: The McMartin Trial)

Selected Filmography

Not available.