Ice Princess' Mom
"There are way more different character roles for men than there are for women. With women, it's usually you're the babe or you're the supportive friend, sort of brassy and obnoxious, cracking jokes. I'm not the babe." Joan Cusack.
Award winning actress Joan Cusack, sister of gifted actor John Cusack (Runaway Jury, Identity), received rave reviews for her acting in the films Working Girl (1989) and In & Out (1998). She also earned praise working in such films as Grosse Pointe Blank (1998), Runaway Bride (2000) and Toy Story 2 (2000). Recently, Cusack starred as Michelle Trachtenberg's mother, Joan Carlyle, in Tim Fywell's family-comedy Ice Princess.
Joan is currently busy working on 2 film projects. Moviegoers will hear her voice as The Ugly Duckling in Mark Dindal's animated movie, Chicken Little. She will also be seen in Nicole Holofcener's romance-comedy, Friends With Money (starring Jennifer Aniston).
Childhood and Family:
In New York City, Joan Cusack was born on October 11, 1962, to a family surrounded by acting skills. She is the daughter of actor and film director Richard Cusack (a.k.a. Dick Cusack, died in June 2003 from pancreatic cancer) and Nancy Cusack (ex math teacher). Her four siblings are also actors, sisters Susie Cusack (born in 1971) and Ann Cusack (born on May 22, 1961) as well as brothers John Cusack (born on June 28, 1966) and Bill Cusack (born in 1964).
Later Joan was raised in the small town of Evanston, Chicago, where she signed up at the Piven Theater Workshop. She also attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and graduated with a B.A degree in English in 1985.
In 1993 Joan met and fell in love with Richard Burke (lawyer; born in 1963). The couple decided to get married and now have two sons, Miles (born in 2000) and Dylan John Burke (born on June 17, 1997).
Working Girl In & Out
Having honed her acting skills with the Piven Theatre Workshop, young Joan Cusack landed her earliest film work in the early 1980s by playing the role of Shelley, (father Richard Cusack had a very small role), in the teen comedy My Bodyguard (1980) and with brother John Cusack (character Bryce) in the romance-comedy Sixteen Candles (1984, Joan played a small role of a geek girl). After appearing in such films as Cutting Loose (1980), Class (1983), and Grandview, U.S.A. (1984), Joan became a regular on the hit show Saturday Night Live for one season (1985-1986). Subsequently, Joan won more supporting roles in several films including The Allnighter (1987), Broadcast News (1987), Stars and Bars (1988), and Married to the Mob (1988).
Portraying Melanie Griffith's best friend Cyn in Mike Nichols' romance-comedy Working Girl (1988, also starring Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver) proved to be Joan's breakout role. The role earned her an American Comedy Award winner and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Joan gained more memorable roles including playing nurse Jody in the drama Men Don't Leave (1989, starring Jessica Lange).
After filming Steve Martin's comedy My Blue Heaven (1990), Joan decided to take a deserved break and spend more time with family. However, she soon returned to the screen with Addams Family Values (1993), Corrina, Corrina (1994), and Nine Months (1995). Joan added to her acting resume such films as The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez (1991), Hero (1992), Toys (1992), and Two Much (1995). She also can be seen in Mr. Wrong (1996), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), and A Smile Like Yours (1997).
"In & Out seems to play as well in the heartland as it does in big cities." Joan Cusack
In 1997 Joan made another breakthrough. Frank Oz cast her in the role of Kevin Kline's abandoned fiancée, Emily Montgomery, in his comedy film, In & Out. Her remarkable skills as an actor received critical acclaim and nabbed her a second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In the same year, she portrayed brother John Cusack's secretary, Marcella, in George Armitage's thriller-comedy Grosse Point Blank.
During the rest of the 90s Joan played roles in a string of films which included characters in A Smile Like Yours (1997, as Nancy Tellen), Toy Story 2 (1999, lent her voice to Jessie the Cowgirl), Runaway Bride (1999, as Julia Roberts' best friend), Cradle Will Rock (directed by Tim Robbins, costarred with her brother John Cusack), and Arlington Road (playing suburban wife Cheryl Lang).
Joan kept busy in films during the new millennium. Moviegoers can catch her in numerous films like High Fidelity (2000), Where the Heart Is (2000), The School of Rock (2003), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), and Raising Helen (2004). More recently, Joan was cast as Michelle Trachtenberg's supportive mother in Tim Fywell's family-comedy Ice Princess (2005, with Kim Catrall). Commenting about her role and the film Joan explained, "Skating is big in Chicago... There's a lot of hockey; a lot of the boys play hockey. And figure skating is big. I mean, I don't have girls, so I don't know that whole thing that much, whereas my son plays hockey. [But] we went one day because they were having this ice skating show of all of the girls and it was huge. It was like all of the dresses and the things and all of the outfits and the moms and all of the members and they were doing a big show; it was big."
Joan will soon grace the screen in her forthcoming films Friends with Money and the animated Chicken Little.