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Ronee Blakley (born August 24 1945) is an American actress, singer, songwriter, composer, producer, and director.

Early life

Ronee Blakley was born in Nampa, Idaho, daughter of civil engineer Ronald Blakley and his wife Carol.

Blakley’s early years were spent in the Pacific Northwest where she was selected as Idaho's representative to Girl's Nation while in high school.

She studied at Mills College, Stanford University, and went to New York to attend Juilliard for post-graduate work.


Ronee began in New York improvising vocally with Moog synthesizers in Carnegie Hall to music by Gershon Kingsley.

Blakley’s first soundtrack was composed was for the 20th Century Fox Film "Welcome Home Soldier Boys" and earned her a spot in "Who's Who in America."

In 1972, the folk-rock album "Ronee Blakley" debuted on Elektra Records. The album featured Blakley’s original songs, accompanied by her talent on the piano. Blakley also made the musical arrangements. The song “Bluebird” featured a duet with Linda Rondstat. Ronee's songs were published by her own company, Sawtooth Music.

Blakley’s second album, "Welcome" was released on Warner Bros. in 1975. It was produced by Jerry Wexler and recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studiomarker in Alabama. The Los Angeles Herald Examiner wrote it was a "near perfect album."

Blakley may be most widely known now for her performance as country superstar Barbara Jean in Robert Altman's 1975 film Nashville./["" target="_blank"> style='width:180px' alt="" />

The character Barbara Jean was purported to be modeled after country star Loretta Lynn.

In “Nashville” Blakley performs her own songs in character, including “Tapedeck In His Tractor,” "Dues" and "My Idaho Home."

In her famous review for The New Yorker, film critic Pauline Kael wrote:

“This is Ronee Blakley’s first movie, and she puts most movie hysteria to shame. She achieves her gifts so simply, I wasn’t surprised when somebody sitting beside me started to cry. Perhaps, for the first time on the screen, one gets the sense of an artist being destroyed by her gifts.”

Blakley was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Supporting Actress along with Lily Tomlin (who was also nominated in the same category). Blakley was also nominated for Grammy, Golden Globes and British Academy Awards, and won the National Board of Review award for Best Supporting Actress. Ronee was featured on the covers of Newsweek, American Cinematographer and Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine./["" target="_blank"> style='width:180px' alt="" />

Throughout her career, Blakley has worked with some of the top directors: Walter Hill in "The Driver, Wes Craven in "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and Bob Dylan in "Renaldo and Clara."

She performed a duet with Dylan on the epic "Hurricane" from his Desire album and toured with him on the Rolling Thunder Review, also featuring Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.[191169] She also recorded with Leonard Cohen and Hoyt Axton.

Blakley starred in several TV movies: "Desperate Women," "Ladies in Waiting," "Oklahoma City Dolls" and the "Ford 75th Anniversary Special" introduced by Tennessee Williams and co-starring John Ritter in "The Glass Menagerie."

Her guest starring roles include "Vegas," "The Love Boat," "Highway to Heaven," Trapper John," "Hotel," "The Runaways," "Beyond Westworld" and "Tales from the Darkside."

In 1977, she starred in the film "She Came to the Valley" with Dean Stockwell and Scott Glenn, and Freddie Fender.

In 1980, Ronee starred in "The Baltimore Bullet" with James Coburn, Omar Sharif and Bruce Boxleitner.

In 1982 Ronee set house records on Broadway in "Pump Boys and Dinettes" with Loudon Wainwright III and starred Off Broadway with Tammy Grimes in 1983. She starred in Somerset Maughm's "Rain" for the Indiana Repertory Theater.

In 1985, she produced, wrote, starred in, and directed her own feature music docudrama titled "I Played It for You" which debuted at the Venice Film Festival and has appeared at several other festivals worldwide, including a recent screening at the Silver Lake Film Festival. Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times called “I Played It For You” "passionate and brave, an absorbing work." FX Feeney of the LA Weekly called it "a valuable document." In 2008 Blakley released the film on DVD, bundled with the soundtrack on CD, and a new spoken word poetry album titled "Freespeak." All are available through her website. "Lightning Over Water," Ronee's soundtrack for the Wim Wenders/Nicholas Ray film in which she also appeared, is set for release in 2008 as is a new album, "Ronee Blakley Live at the Mint."

Personal life

Blakley was married to German filmmaker Wim Wenders from 1979 to 1981.

She has one child, a daughter Sarah born in 1988.

Throughout her career, Blakley has performed on behalf of several political and social causes with an emphasis on civil rights and equal rights for women.

During the 1976 presidential campaign, she toured performing before the speeches of Jerry Brown and later performed at the final Los Angeles rally of Walter Mondale with Kris Kristofferson.

She completed a master's degree at California State University in 2002.


  • "Ronee Blakley" (1972) - Elektra (re-released by Collector's Choice 2006)
  • "Nashville" Soundtrack - MCA
  • "Welcome" (1975) - Warner Bros. (re-released by Collector's Choice 2006)
  • "I Played It for You" (2007) - RBPI (
  • "Freespeak" (2008 - RBPI (
  • "Lightning Over Water" Soundtrack (2008) - RBPI (
  • "Ronee Blakley Live at the Mint" (2008) - RBPI



  • "Hotel" (1 episode, 1988) : Double Take (1988) TV episode
  • "ABC Afterschool Special" Sherman (1 episode, 1987) : Divorced Kids' Blues (1987)
  • "Tales from the Darkside" (1 episode, 1985) : The False Prophet (1985)
  • "Trapper John, M.D." (1 episode, 1985) : So Little, Gone (1985)
  • "Highway to Heaven" (1 episode, 1984) : Song of the Wild West (1984)
  • The Oklahoma City Dolls (1981)
  • "Beyond Westworld" (1 episode, 1980) : Sound of Terror (1980)
  • "The Love Boat" (1 episode, 1979) : Doc's Ex' Change/Gift, The/Making the Grade (1979)
  • Ladies in Waiting (1979)
  • "Vega$" (1 episode, 1978) : Second Stanza (1978)
  • Desperate Women (1978)

As composer

  • Docu Drama (1984)
  • Lightning Over Water (1980)
  • Nashville (1975)
  • Welcome Home, Soldier Boys (1972)


  • Renaldo and Clara (1978) (writer: "Need a New Sun Rising") (performer: "Need a New Sun Rising")
  • Nashville (1975) (writer: "Bluebird", "Tapedeck in His Tractor", "Dues", "My Idaho Home") (music: "Down to the River") (lyrics: "Down to the River") (performer: "Tapedeck in His Tractor", "Dues", "My Idaho Home", "One, I Love You", "Down to the River")

As director, writer & producer

  • Docu Drama (1984)

As herself

  • Never Sleep Again: The Making of 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (2006) (V)
  • Docu Drama (1984)
  • Lightning Over Water (1980)
  • A Salute to American Imagination (1978) (TV)

Archive footage

  • A Conversation with Robert Altman (2000) (V) (uncredited)

External links

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