Kim Basinger was the daughter of a big band musician father and a mother who had been a silver screen swimmer alongside movie star, Esther Williams, in those classic MGM Technicolor spectacles. Young Basinger studied dance to overcome her shyness, and by the time she was a teenager, she was entering local beauty pageants, which eventually led to a slot in the National Junior Miss Pageant and an offer to model with the acclaimed Ford Agency in New York City.
Basinger harbored hopes of being a singer or an actress, but accepted the offer and headed to New York with hopes that modeling might help her get her foot in other doors. Over the next five years, she found steady and lucrative work as a cover girl and in hundreds of ads, including a stint as the face (and hair) of Breck shampoo. She studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse during this time, and in 1976, finally decided to focus on acting with a move to Los Angeles.
Due in large part to her buxom body and unique look, Basinger's acting career began right away, with guest appearances on shows like "Starsky & Hutch" and "Charlie's Angels." She landed a regular series TV role as a cop in the short-lived ABC series "Dog and Cat" in 1977, and a title role in the TV movie "Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold," which helped establish her image as a model-turned-actress. The following year, she was cast as a prostitute in an Oscar-winning role originated on the big screen by Donna Reed in the 1979 miniseries remake of "From Here to Eternity" and its short-lived series spin-off the following year.
Her career gained momentum in 1983 after she appeared as Bond Girl, Domino Petachi, in Sean Connery's return to OO7 form in "Never Say Never Again." It did not hurt that she promoted the film with a nude layout in Playboy magazine, further raising her profile. After co-starring with Burt Reynolds in Blake Edwards' remake of "The Man Who Loved Women," Basinger upped the ante with a supporting role as the femme fatale who romances Robert Redford in "The Natural. In the first of several collaborations with director Robert Altman, she played Sam Shepard's half-sister in an adaptation of the playwright's Off-Broadway hit "Fool for Love."
The actress found a better showcase of her talents, balancing the va-voom with a sweet vulnerability, in her role as voluptuous Vicki Vale, love interest for Michael Keaton's "Batman."
After marrying Alec Baldwin in 1993, the newlyweds teamed up for a remake of Steve McQueen's "The Getaway." That same year, Basinger was quite good as a pushy fashion reporter in Robert Altman's "Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Porter)." The actress then took a much-needed three-year hiatus, which included giving birth to a daughter, Ireland. Back in the game, she triumphantly returned to films with "L.A. Confidential." Critics lauded the film and Basinger in particular, with the actress riding this acclaim all the way to a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 1998.
Basinger appeared in the HBO documentary "Panic: A Film About Coping," where she admitted that she suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia, which could cause her to hole up at home for up to six months at a time. With a bit of public sympathy in her corner following the admittance of her disorder, Basinger fought to bring attention back to her career, delivering a run of excellent onscreen performances. She re-teamed with director Hanson to star as Eminem's troubled mother in "8 Mile," a fictionalized telling of the hip-hop artist's rise from the streets of Detroit. She followed up with a role opposite Al Pacino in the PR-minded, scandal mongering "People I Know." In the John Irving adaptation "The Door in the Floor," Basinger co-starred with Jeff Bridges as a couple whose painful loss causes them to exist in a constant state of quiet emotional war. She then appeared opposite Chris Evans in "Cellular," and again in "The Mermaid Chair."
Basinger also starred in two higher profile projects, starting with "The Informers," based on the short stories of Bret Easton Ellis. She teamed up with Charlize Theron that same year to star in the family drama "The Burning Plain," the directorial debut of screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga.
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Please Note: All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Kim Basinger for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Kim Basinger speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.
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