Kim Basinger (born December 8, 1953) is an American film actress and
former fashion model.
Following her role as a Bond girl in Never Say Never Again, Kim went on to a Golden Globe-nominated role in The Natural and landed big parts in Batman and 8 Mile. She won best supporting actress awards for her role in the 1997 film L.A. Confidential, including an Academy Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award.
Kim was born in Athens, Georgia. Her father, Don Basinger, was a big band musician and loan manager who landed in Normandy on D-Day. Her mother, Ann, was a model, actress, and swimmer who appeared in Esther Williams films. The third of five children, she has two brothers, Mick and Skip, and two sisters, Ashley and Barbara. Kim has German, Swedish and Cherokee ancestry and was raised Methodist.
When Kim was sixteen, she started her modeling career by winning the Athens Junior Miss contest. She followed that by winning the title “Junior Miss Georgia”. Kim then competed in the national Junior Miss pageant. It was there that Kim was offered a modeling contract with Ford Modeling Agency. Initially turning down the offer in favor of singing and acting, Kim reconsidered and went to New York to become a Ford model.
Not long after penning the deal, Kim was on the cover of numerous magazines. She appeared in hundreds of ads throughout the early 1970s, most notably appearing as the Breck Shampoo girl. In the meantime, she alternated between modeling work and attending acting classes at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse as well as performing in various Greenwich Village clubs.
In 1976, after a five-year stint as a cover girl, Kim decided to put her modeling career on hold and move to Los Angeles to begin a career in acting. After appearing in small parts on a few TV shows such as Starsky and Hutch and Charlie's Angels, her first starring role was a made-for-TV movie, Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold (1978) in which she played a small town girl who goes to Hollywood to become an actress and winds up becoming a famous centerfold for a men's magazine. She was then cast as a prostitute in From Here to Eternity (1979), in which she starred alongside Natalie Wood. Kim played the same character in a 13-episode TV spinoff. She made her feature film debut in Hard Country (1981) with Jan Michael Vincent, followed by Mother Load (1982) with Charlton Heston.
Basinger's breakout role was as a Bond girl, Domino Petachi in Never Say Never Again (1983), in which she starred opposite Sean Connery. She did a nude pictorial for Playboy to promote her role in the Bond film in 1983. Kim said the Playboy appearance led to good opportunities, such as Barry Levinson's The Natural (1984), co-starring Robert Redford, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actress. She starred opposite Mickey Rourke in the sexually provocative film 9½ Weeks (1986), which was a flop upon release. Oscar-winning writer-director Robert Benton cast her in the title role for the film Nadine (1987) with Jeff Bridges. Kim then played Vicki Vale in the blockbuster hit Batman (1989). Directors repeated her in their films, such as Blake Edwards for The Man Who Loved Women (1983) and Blind Date (1987)), as well as Robert Altman for Fool for Love (1985) and Prêt-à-Porter (1994). Other films made during that period were the comedies My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988) and Wayne's World 2 (1993).
In 1992, Kim was the guest vocalist on a re-recorded version of Was (Not Was)'s "Shake Your Head," which also featured Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, and reached the UK Top 5. In the video for Tom Petty's 1993 song "Mary Jane's Last Dance", Kim played the role of a deceased woman Petty brings home from the morgue for a dinner date, clothing her in a wedding dress. Later, Petty is shown carrying her to a rocky shore and throwing her into the sea. In a macabre ending, she is seen floating in the water with her eyes open.
Kim scaled back her work for most of the 1990s to take care of her family. In 1997, she then starred as a sophisticated call girl alongside Russell Crowe in the neo-noir drama L.A. Confidential. This performance earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as the Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild Award. The film's director, Curtis Hanson, would cast her once more as Eminem's troubled mother in the hit film 8 Mile (2002). More recently, she appeared mostly in television and independent films, with the exceptions of the mainstream thrillers Cellular (2004) and The Sentinel (2006). Kim appeared in the 2008 films The Burning Plain and While She Was Out. A 2009 release, The Informers is scheduled.
Kim at the 1990 Academy AwardsOn October 12, 1980, Kim married makeup artist Ron Snyder-Britton, whom she had met on the film Hard Country, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1989. He would later write a memoir titled Longer than Forever, published in 1998, about their time together and about her rumored affairs with singer Prince and actor Richard Gere, with whom she starred in No Mercy (1986) and Final Analysis (1992).
In 1990, she met her second husband, actor Alec Baldwin, when they played lovers in the film The Marrying Man. They married on August 19, 1993 and appeared in the remake of The Getaway (1994). They also played themselves in a 1998 episode of The Simpsons (which also includes Ron Howard), where Kim corrects Homer Simpson on the pronunciation of her last name and also polishes her Oscar statuette.
Kim and Baldwin had a daughter, Ireland Eliesse "Addie" Baldwin (born October 23, 1995). They filed for divorce in January 2001; it was finalized in February 2002. Since then, the couple have been locked in a contentious public custody battle. Alec Baldwin's book A Promise To Ourselves chronicles the lengths Baldwin claims Kim has gone to deny Baldwin access to their daughter since their separation.
Some of her family members recommended that Kim buy the small town of Braselton, Georgia in 1989 for $20 million, with the hopes of establishing it as a tourist attraction with movie studios and a film festival, but she met financial difficulties and sold it in 1993. The town is now owned by developer Wayne Mason. In a 1998 interview with Barbara Walters, Kim admitted that "nothing good came out of it," because a rift resulted within her family. Her financial difficulties were exacerbated when she pulled out of the controversial film Boxing Helena, resulting in the studio suing and winning an $8-million judgment against her. Kim filed for bankruptcy and also appealed the jury's decision to a higher court, which sided with her. Eventually, she and the studio settled for a lesser amount.
While Kim is close to her sister Ashley and father Don, she is estranged from her brother Mick and her mother, Ann, who has been sympathetic to ex-son-in-law Baldwin in the aftermath of the divorce. "Kim has just written off the ones who don't agree with her", says a source close to the family.
This Kim Basinger Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub