June 1, 2023
Michelle Pfeiffer turns 65.

Michelle Pfeiffer turns 65.


Michelle Pfeiffer did not receive a systematic acting education. It’s hard to believe, but the two-time Oscar nominee still has light complexes about this. “I learned how to work very quickly, I passed the skill exams in front of the whole world. And it always seemed to me that one day they would expose me, they would figure out that I was a swindler: I was pretending to be an actress, but I myself didn’t even know what I was doing!

She really is an instinctive actress (and you can also say – a natural one). He says that he seems to feel in his head the rhythm necessary for this or that heroine. This is extremely difficult to teach, and the owner of such a gift does not really need special educational institutions.

“At night I fell asleep in tears”

She was born in the most ordinary family: her mother is a housewife, her father was engaged in the supply of air conditioners. She has a lot of different genes mixed in: she is of Swedish-German-English-Welsh-French-Irish-Dutch-Italian descent. She grew up as a beauty, but at first she didn’t think about a career as a model or actress – in her youth she was a cashier in a supermarket, then she enrolled in courses for court stenographers. The beauty pageant changed everything: she was recognized as the most wonderful girl in Orange County, then she went to the Miss California pageant, and took sixth place there. Soon an agent appeared who began to look for roles in films for her.

First there were serials and advertising, then – episodes in now forgotten films. In 1982, Michelle starred in the film “Grease-2″, under the rubble of which her career was almost crushed: the picture turned out to be a huge box office and creative failure. (“I didn’t like myself there,” Pfeiffer recalled many years later, “but then again, I never like myself. The criticism crushed the film to smithereens, but I know that ME was criticized. One review said, that I whined my whole role. Then I stopped reading criticism altogether.”)

Film frame "Grease-2"

Frame from the film “Grease-2”

Worst of all, “Grease-2” was seen by director Brian De Palma, who was preparing for the filming of “Scarface”, and decided that he would never work with this actress. He wanted to give the main female role to Glenn Close, and Sigourney Weaver, Kim Basinger, Sharon Stone, Brooke Shields, Melanie Griffith were also predicted for her … But Pfeiffer got the role – producer Martin Bregman insisted on her candidacy. He broke the resistance not only of De Palma, but also of Al Pacino, who at first refused to play with a little-known and disliked girl.

Filming, which lasted six months, was extremely difficult for her. “I was horrified. Besides, there were only two women on the set – me and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. And so it was a club for boys. Such, by the way, were Tony Montana’s relationship with my heroine – he treated her with contempt and disdain … Sometimes at night I fell asleep in tears. But I’m very stubborn, I’m focused on survival, that’s my nature. And as a result, the role of Elvira, the cocaine-frozen wife of gangster Tony Montana, instantly made Pfeiffer famous.


However, at first, films with her participation did not become big hits (although “Lady Hawk” was and remains one of the cutest Hollywood fairy tales in history). Successful pictures went in the late 80s: “The Witches of Eastwick”, “Tequila Sunrise”, “Married to the Mafia”, “Dangerous Liaisons”, “Russian House” … The role of Catwoman in “Batman Returns” was her dream – when she found out that Tim Burton was starting to shoot, was in despair that he did not even invite her to audition. But she was lucky – almost approved for the role of Annette Bening inopportunely became pregnant. And Burton suddenly called Michelle. She agreed after reading halfway through the script, although she later said she would have said yes without reading it at all. At the same time, shooting became one of the most difficult for her in her career, primarily because of the costume. Every time she put it on, all the air was pumped out of it with a vacuum pump so that it was perfectly fitted. “You had to put it on in the morning, and live in it all day. We filmed, it seems, in the middle of summer [а действие разворачивается зимой. – Ред.], the site was cooled with air conditioners so that the vapor from the breath was visible. The cold was terrible. You go out into the street – the heat is over forty, you return to the site – people are wrapped in jackets. I don’t know how we all didn’t get sick there. I froze my tail in this thin rubber suit!” she said in an interview with Empire magazine.

Role of Catwoman in Batman Returns

Role of Catwoman in Batman Returns

Photo: film frame

She also starred in The Wonderful Baker Brothers, after which critics began to compare her with Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth (she received an Oscar nomination, and was considered a favorite, but lost to the elderly Jessica Tandy for “Driving Miss Daisy”).

There were many roles that she refused. In “Thelma and Louise”, in “The Silence of the Lambs”, in “Pretty Woman”, in “Basic Instinct” … But she says that she is not used to regretting such refusals. On the other hand, she dreamed of playing Evita Peron in the musical “Evita” – and then Madonna bypassed her.

Shot from the film

Shot from the film “The Wonderful Baker Brothers”


When Michelle was 20, she became involved with a dubious couple who preached the idea that perfectionists could go without food and water, living on air and sunlight alone. Despite the apparent insanity of the concept, Michelle got carried away. “I was brainwashed,” she recalled. “I gave them an incredible amount of money. They controlled me. I didn’t live with them, but I came to them all the time, and they insisted that we should pay them even more visits, and all this time I had to pay … “

She was pulled out of the sect by her first husband, actor Peter Horton. He starred in a film about the followers of the Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. Michelle helped him collect material about the cult of “Reverend Moon”, and “suddenly something clicked in my head: yes, I myself am in a sect!”

Film frame "Witches of Eastwick"

Shot from the film “Witches of Eastwick”

In marriage, they spent seven years with Horton, and then decided to leave. Perhaps this was influenced by the fact that Pfeiffer started an affair with John Malkovich, her partner in Dangerous Liaisons (he was also married at that moment). And in 1993, she married producer David Kelly, and has been happily married for three decades. Children – adopted daughter Claudia Rose and son John Henry Kelly II – are insanely dear and important to her (“you begin to look at the world through the eyes of children, and do everything to protect them”). In order to spend more time with them, she even left the cinema for several years: she did not act in film from 2003 to 2006. This was not the last time out: then she disappeared from the screens from 2014 to 2016. But each time she returned with great success; her last hits today are two films about Ant-Man, where she actually plays the mother-in-law of this very ant.

Michelle Pfeiffer in movie "Ant-Man"

Michelle Pfeiffer in “Ant-Man”

Photo: frame from the film.

Well, she prefers to age naturally and elegantly. Always chooses only environmentally friendly cosmetics. She said ten years ago that she doesn’t use Botox or fillers, but “aging is a difficult thing, so never say never.” But it seems that since then she has not said “yes” to cosmetic procedures. Yes, she doesn’t need it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *