Birthdate: April 29, 1958
Birthplace: Santa Ana, California
Education: Attended Golden West College
Relations: Husband: David Kelley; kids: Claudia Rose, John Henry
Michelle Pfeiffer was born on April 29, 1958 in Santa Ana, CA. Her father, Dick, was a heating and air conditioning contractor, and her mother, Donna, a housewife. Michelle is the second of four children, and has an older brother, Rick and two younger sisters, Dedee and Lori.
As a child, she says she was the school bully, the one other kids would come to if they wanted someone beaten up. She never considered herself attractive, and said she was always the biggest girl in her class. Things began to change for Michelle in the fourth grade when she discovered the most popular boy in her class had a crush on her. She remembers, "I wasn't a terribly feminine little girl. I never thought I was attractive to boys; I remember when the first boy liked me, I couldn't believe it. All the little girls with ringlets and crinoline dresses were the ones the boys liked."
No one seemed to see her acting potential when she was young. She was a rebellious little girl, and by her own admissions, strong willed, stubborn and dramatic. She remembers how she used to mouth off to her mother all the time, although making sure to stay out of her father's earshot. Her mother would often write off her behavior with a remarkably suitable phrase, "Here's my little actress."
Although born in Santa Ana, the family soon moved to Midway City, where Michelle would graduate from Fountain Valley High School in 1976. Her life as a working girl began at the age of 14, when she lied about her age to get a job in a clothing store at the local mall. After high school she tried community college, hated it, and dropped out. She spent a year at Golden West College studying court reporting, and did a stint as a supermarket checker at Vons, a large Southern California grocery chain. It was while she was checking that she made a life altering decision. She asked herself if there was anything in the world that she could do, what would it be?
The answer was acting. She had heard that talent scouts were often judges at beauty pagents, so she promptly entered, and won, the Miss Orange County beauty pagent of 1978. She lost the Miss Los Angeles title, but won the agent she had been seeking. Her first role was a one line walk on for the tv show "Fantasy Island". TV commercials and more bit parts would follow. Upon leaving Orange County for Los Angeles, she began taking acting classes. One of her fellow classmates was actor/director Peter Horton. Her talent wasn't obvious at first, as Horton recalls when they first did a scene together. "I thought, this poor girl, she's not very good!" he recalls. But his opinion began to change the first time he directed her. He could see she was searching for the talent that lay within, although she wasn't sure exactly how to reach it, or how she would use it when she found it. "It was purely a gut instinct she followed. It was either that or court reporting!" Horton laughs. The two began dating, and in 1981 they were married.
The public at large first took notice of Michelle in the 1982 film GREASE II, sequel to the 1978 mega-blockbuster GREASE. But with a weak script and lack of big names, the film quickly bombed. Agent Ed Limato, now the vice-chairman of ICM met Pfeiffer through another agent when both were with the William Morris Agency. Their meeting was brief, as Limato was on the phone at the time, and the two did little more than wave to one another. The following week a casting director told Limato that she was looking for a fresh face to play Al Pacino's drug-addicted wife in Brian DePalma's SCARFACE. He didn't represent Pfeiffer, but told the casting director he had just the actress she was looking for.
For the next few years she worked steadily, but her marriage fell apart. After separating from Horton, her career really took off. She starred in the offbeat comedy MARRIED TO THE MOB and received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for the her portrayal of Madame De Tourvel in DANGEROUS LIAISONS. She followed that in 1989 with her second Oscar nomination, as best actress, for her work as lounge singer Suzie Diamond in THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS. (In 1992 she was nominated a third time for the little seen film LOVE FIELD.)
In the years following her divorce from Horton, Pfeiffer dated Michael Keaton and John Malkovich, and then had a serious three year relationship with actor Fisher Stevens. After they split Michelle decided it was time for another serious life decision. She wanted a family.
Two weeks after privately entering into adoption proceedings, Michelle was set up on a blind date with television producer David E. Kelley, the creator of PICKET FENCES and CHICAGO HOPE. Not comfortable with being alone with him, she turned the evening into a group bowling party. Both Pfeiffer and Kelley are quiet and shy, and as a result, the two barely spoke to each other. But Kelley was interested, and the following week got up the courage to call her and ask her on a date to see BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA. It wasn't long before Pfeiffer herself was smitten. She told Kelley of the adoption, and he was very supportive.
In March of 1993 the baby arrived -- a little girl she named Claudia Rose. She had been born to a young mother having a hard time providing for the four children she already had. Pfeiffer calls her daughter "an angel" who turned her life around. In a way, she credits the child with bringing her and David together. She says it allowed them to see one another the way people often wonder about each other: how will the relationship change when children become involved, and what kind of a parent will he/she be?
It was no surprise to friends and family when Michelle and David announced they were engaged, and said they would be married in the spring of 1994. In November Pfeiffer sent out invitations to attend Claudia Rose's christening, and then the day before called everyone up and said "Surprise, it's a wedding! Come if you can!" On Saturday November 13, 1993 Michelle Pfeiffer and David Kelley were married. Later that afternoon their daughter, wearing a crown of tiny pink roses, was christened Claudia Rose Kelley. Nine months later, on August 5, 1994, their first biological child, John Henry Kelley, was born.
Pfeiffer continues to balance her personal and private life, making family her number one priority. She was pregnant during the filming of DANGEROUS MINDS , and has taken her children on location during shoots of her next two projects, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, opposite Robert Redford, and her next film, ONE FINE DAY, with George Clooney. She also made an appearance in the film TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY, which was penned by her husband. Michelle Pfeiffer has come a long way since working the supermarket check out lines in El Toro, California. But those days are still clear in her mind. "When I was a boxgirl, all I wanted was to be a checker," she recalls dreamily. "When I became a checker, the only other move was to be a store manager."