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Grace Zabriskie (born May 17, 1941) is an American actress. She has appeared in many popular American films and television series.

Life and career

Zabriskie was born in New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker. Her father founded Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop and Lafitte's in Exile, a cafe and bar on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and Zabriskie has said that her family was visited by Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote during her childhood. After making her major film debut in 1979's Norma Rae, Zabriskie went on to appear in dozens of other works, including the 1981 miniseries adaptation of John Steinbeck's East of Eden, 1989's Drugstore Cowboy, the 1991 film adaptation Fried Green Tomatoes and 1995's The Passion of Darkly Noon. She also appeared as Paula's mother in An Officer and A Gentleman.

Zabriskie is perhaps most familiar, however, for her television work. After appearing in 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 had previously 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. She was also chosen by David Lynch to appear as a sinister Polish neighbour in Inland Empire in 2006.

Zabriskie may best be remembered, albeit not by name, as Mrs. Ross, a recurring character on the sitcom Seinfeld. She played the mother of another doomed daughter, Susan RossGeorge Costanza's fiancee—who died after licking closed dozens of cheap envelopes (bought by the stingy Costanza) while mailing out her wedding invitations. Zabriskie's character's husband on the show, also a recurring role, was played by her former Twin Peaks co-star Warren Frost.

She also made a brief but memorable appearance on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens, as the emotionally disturbed and alcoholic mother of Spence Olchin (who was played by Patton Oswalt). While the character of Veronical Olchin would reappear throughout the series, Zabriskie would not portray her again, having been replaced by Anne Meara.

She has at times worked in radio, collaborating with radio dramatist/monologist Joe Frank several times. Zabriskie recently appeared in the American remake The Grudge, in which she played a senile grandmother sensitive to the paranormal occurrences in her home. She also stars as Lois Henrickson in Big Love, an HBO drama series that seriously explores the issue of polygamy. Grace also appeared in several episodes of Aaron Spelling's Series Charmed as The Crone.


  1. HBO: Grace Zabriskie as Lois Henrickson - Big Love
  2. HBO: Big Love - Interviews - Grace Zabriskie

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