Michelle Marie Pfeiffer (pron.: //; born April 29, 1958) is an American actress. She made her film debut in 1980 in The Hollywood Knights, but first garnered mainstream attention with her performance in Scarface (1983). Pfeiffer received Academy Award nominations as Best Supporting Actress for Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and Best Actress in The Fabulous Baker Boys(1989) and Love Field (1992). She has had her greatest commercial successes with Batman Returns (1992), What Lies Beneath (2000), and Hairspray (2007). Her other films includeLadyhawke (1985), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Married to the Mob (1988), The Age of Innocence (1993), Wolf (1994), Dangerous Minds (1995), I Am Sam (2001).
Pfeiffer was born in Santa Ana, California, the second of four children of Richard Pfeiffer, a heating and air-conditioning contractor, and Donna (née Taverna), a housewife. She has one elder brother, Rick (born 1955), and two younger sisters, Dedee Pfeiffer, a television and film actress, and Lori Pfeiffer (born 1965). Her father was of German, Dutch, and Irish descent, and her mother was of Swiss-Italian and Swedish ancestry. The family moved to Midway City, where Pfeiffer spent her childhood. She attended Fountain Valley High School, graduating in 1975.She worked as a check-out girl at Vons supermarket, and attended Golden West College. After a short stint training to be a court stenographer, she decided upon an acting career. She won the Miss Orange County beauty pageant in 1978, and participated in Miss California the same year, finishing in sixth position.Following her participation in these pageants, she acquired an acting agent and began to audition for television and films.
While taking acting classes in Los Angeles, Pfeiffer was taken in by a friendly couple who ran a metaphysics and vegetarian cult. While they helped Pfeiffer to no longer drink, smoke, or do drugs, the couple took control of her entire life. Much of her money went to the group. "I was brainwashed... I gave them an enormous amount of money." Pfeiffer, insecure, felt that she could no longer live without them. At an acting class taught by Milton Katselas in Los Angeles, Pfeiffer met fellow budding actor, Peter Horton. Pfeiffer and Horton began dating. The actor took notice of the young actress' plight, and decided to try to help her. Horton was cast in a film called Split Image. His character in the film is enrolled in Peter Fonda's cult. He is then de-programmed byJames Woods. While doing research in San Francisco for the role, Horton took Pfeiffer along to meet real-life cult de-programmers. It was due to this experience that Pfeiffer finally felt strong enough to leave the couple.
Pfeiffer and Horton eventually married in Santa Monica in 1981, and it was on their honeymoon that she discovered she had won the lead role in Grease 2. Horton directed Pfeiffer in a 1985 ABC TV special, One Too Many, in which she played the high school girlfriend of an alcoholic student (Val Kilmer); and in 1987, the real-life couple played an on-screen couple in the 'Hospital' segment of John Landis's comedy skit compilation, Amazon Women on the Moon. However, they decided to separate in 1988, and were divorced two years later; Horton later blamed the split on their devotion to their work rather than their marriage.
After her marriage to Horton, Pfeiffer had a three-year relationship with actor/producer Fisher Stevens. They met when Pfeiffer was starring in the New York Shakespeare Festival production ofTwelfth Night, in which Stevens played the part of Sir Andrew Aguecheek.
In January 1993, Pfeiffer was set up on a blind date with television writer and producer David E. Kelley, who took her to the movies to see Bram Stoker's Dracula the following week, and they began dating seriously. They married on November 13, 1993. Since then, she has made an uncredited cameo appearance in one episode of Kelley's television series Picket Fences and played the title character in To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday, for which Kelley wrote the screenplay. Pfeiffer had entered into private adoption proceedings before she met Kelley. In March 1993, she adopted a newborn daughter, Claudia Rose, who was christened on Pfeiffer and Kelley's wedding day. In August 1994, Pfeiffer gave birth to a son, John Henry.
Having been a smoker for ten years and having a niece who suffered from leukemia for ten years, she decided to support the American Cancer Society. Her charity work also includes her support for the Humane Society. Pfeiffer is vegan.