Kathleen Quinlan
Birth Date:
November 19, 1954
Birth Place:
Pasadena, California, USA
5' 5" (1.65 m)
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Apollo 13


Academy Award-nominated actress Kathleen Quinlan, who made her film debut at age 19, got her first big break at age 22 while portraying schizophrenic Deborah in the film adaptation of Joanne Greenberg's autobiographical novel, "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden" (1977). Later, in the mid 1990s, she gained her biggest achievement in acting when she received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her solid performance as Marilyn Lovell, the wife to veteran astronaut Jim Lovell (played by Tom Hanks), in the Ron Howard-directed movie "Apollo 13" (1995).

Playing her first speaking role in "American Graffiti" (1973), Quinlan has starred in such films as "Lifeguard" (1976), "Airport '77" (1977), "The Promise" (1979), "Sunday Lovers" (1980), "Twilight Zone: The Movie" (1983), "Clara's Heart" (1988), "The Doors" (1991), "Perfect Alibi" (1995), "Zeus and Roxanne" (1997), "Breakdown" (1997), "A Civil Action" (1998), "The Hills Have Eyes" (2006), "Breach" (2007), and "Made of Honor" (2008). Next, she will star in the upcoming comedy movie, "The Dissection of Thanksgiving."

On the small screen, TV viewers could catch her starring as lawyer Lynn Holt in the CBS drama "Family Law" (1999-2002). She also appeared as a guest in such TV shows as "Emergency," "Police Woman," "Kojak," "The Waltons," "Tribeca," "Diagnosis Murder," "House M.D." and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

As for her stage work, Quinlan made her New York stage debut alongside Meryl Streep and Dixie Carter in "Taken in Marriage" (1979) at the New York Shakespeare Festival, which earned her a Theatre World Award. She also appeared in "Accent on Youth" (1983) at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven and "Les Liaisons dangereuses" at the Ahmanson Theater in L.A.

On a more personal front, the 5' 5" actress has been married to actor Bruce Abbott since 1994. They have two sons.

Accomplished Diver

Childhood and Family:

Born in Pasadena, California, on November 19, 1954, Kathleen Denise Quinlan grew up in Mill Valley, California. The only child born to Josephine Zachry, a military supply supervisor, and Robert Quinlan (died in the 1980s), a television sports director, Kathleen suffered from allergy-induced asthma as a child. She attended Tamalpais High School, in Mill Valley, California, where she was a gymnast and an accomplished diver.

Kathleen, who dated actor Al Pacino from 1979 to 1981, married her present husband, actor Bruce Abbott (born on July 28, 1954), on April 12, 1994. They have one son, Tyler Quinlan Abbott, born on October 17, 1990. Kathleen also has one stepson from Abbot's previous marriage with actress Linda Hamilton, Dalton Abbott (born on October 4, 1989), who appeared alongside his mother as infant John Connor in the film "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991).

A surfing enthusiast, Kathleen currently lives in Malibu with her family.

I Never Promised You A Rose Garden


Kathleen Quinlan first appeared in film with an unaccredited role in director Mel Stuart's drama, "One Is a Lonely Number" (1972). She soon received her break when George Lucas came to her high school to cast his movie, the comedy-drama set in 1962 Modesto, California, "American Graffiti" (1973; starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, and Harrison Ford). For the film, Kathleen received a one-line speaking role.

The following year, the novice actress made her TV acting debut in the made-for-television movie "Where Have All the People Gone" (1974), and followed it up with roles in the television movies "Can Ellen Be Saved" (1974; with Leslie Nielsen and Katherine Cannon), ABC’s Movie Of The Week "The Missing Are Deadly" (1975), "The Abduction of Saint Anne" (1975; with Robert Wagner and E.G. Marshall), which was inspired by Thomas Patrick McMahon's novel, "The Turning Point of Jim Malloy" (1975; starring John Savage), and "Little Ladies of the Night" (1977; alongside David Soul and Louis Gossett Jr.). She was also spotted as a guest in the NBC medical drama "Emergency," ABC’s legal drama starring Arthur Hill, "Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law," NBC’s police drama starring Angie Dickinson, "Police Woman," CBS’ crime drama starring Telly Savalas, "Kojak," NBC’s high school drama "Lucas Tanner," NBC’s drama starring Raymond Burr, "Ironside," CBS’ detective series starring Robert Wagner and Eddie Albert, "Switch," and CBS’ drama "The Waltons," which was based on Earl Hamner, Jr.'s book "Spencer's Mountain" and a 1963 film of the same name. She continued to add to her resume appearances in the films "Lifeguard" (1976) and "Airport '77" (1977), an Oscar-nominated disaster film and second sequel in the "Airport" franchise in which she supported Jack Lemmon, Lee Grant, and James Stewart.

Quinlan's first breakthrough in acting came in 1977 when she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress – Drama for her lead role of Deborah, a disturbed, institutionalized 16-year-old girl struggling between fantasy and reality, in the feature "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden," Anthony Page's film adaptation of Joanne Greenberg's autobiographical novel. The role was previously intended for Natalie Wood, who had unrealized plans to both produce and star in that film. After starring in the film, Quinlan was listed as one of the twelve "Promising New Actors of 1977" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 29.

She then went on to star as Nancy McAllister, a college student whose face is destroyed in a car accident, in Gilbert Cates's romantic drama "The Promise" (1979), and co-starred with Dick Van Dyke in Stanley Kramer's human drama, "The Runner Stumbles" (1979). She also made her New York stage debut alongside Meryl Streep in "Taken in Marriage" (1979) at the New York Shakespeare Festival, which also marked her first collaboration with Dixie Carter and earned Quinlan a Theatre World Award. She also appeared in "Accent on Youth" (1983) at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven and "Les Liaisons dangereuses" at the Ahmanson Theater in L.A.

The 1980s saw Quinlan featured with Jamie Lee Curtis and Melanie Griffith in the busted ABC pilot "She's in the Army Now" (1981) and starring in the Lifetime drama movie "When She Says No" (1984). After winning a Best Actress Award at Mystfest for her performance in the TV movie "Blackout" (1985), she starred in the fact-based TV movie "Children of the Night" (1985). She also portrayed Sarah McAllister, a young widow mysteriously drawn to the home of her ancestors in the Scottish Highlands, in the TV movie version of Pamela Wallace's novel, "Dreams Lost, Dreams Found" (1987), and teamed up with husband Bruce Abbot in the television movie "Trapped" (1989).

Meanwhile, moviegoers could catch her in the romantic "Sunday Lovers" (1980; with Roger Moore and Lynn Redgrave), Sidney Poitier's comedy "Hanky Panky" (1982; starring Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner), and Robert Mandel's "Independence Day" (1983), in which she starred opposite David Keith. She was also seen in the Steven Spielberg-produced "Twilight Zone: The Movie" (1983), a theatrical version of the 1950s and 60s TV series created by Rod Serling, "The Last Winter" (1984), Riki Shelach Nissimoff's drama, and "Warning Sign" (1985), Hal Barwood's sci-fi drama in which she plays Sam Waterston's security guard wife trapped inside a secret laboratory.

Additionally, she starred in Mark Stouffer's independent drama "Man Outside" (1986; with Robert Logan and Bradford Dillman), Max Reid's thriller "Wild Thing" (1987), Blake Edwards' film set in Hollywood in the late 1920s based on Rod Amateau's novel, "Sunset" (1998; with Bruce Willis, James Garner, Malcolm McDowell, and Mariel Hemingway), and Robert Mulligan's film version of Joseph Olshan's novel, "Clara's Heart" (1988), in which she starred with Whoopi Goldberg.

Entering the new decade, Quinlan portrayed Patricia Kennealy, the rock journalist and wife to deceased musician Jim Morrison (played by Val Kilmer), in Oliver Stone's historical drama film about the 1960s rock band, "The Doors" (1991). She was also cast with Joanne Whalley, Armand Assante, Gabriel Byrne, and William Hurt in Heywood Gould's thriller "Trial by Jury" (1994). On the small screen, TV viewers could watch her starring in the TV movies "The Operation" (1990) the horror "Strays" (1991), the post-war drama "An American Story" (1992; with Brad Johnson, Tom Sizemore, and Patricia Clarkson), the true story-based "Stolen Babies" (1993; opposite Mary Tyler Moore and Lea Thompson), and "Last Light" (1993), which was directed and starred in by Kiefer Sutherland. She also guest-starred in an episode of the dramatic anthology series "TriBeCa" and "The Hidden Room," as well as appeared in the Showtime television series "Picture Windows" (1994).

In 1995, Quinlan gained her biggest achievement in acting to date when she received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her solid performance as Marilyn Lovell, the wife to veteran astronaut Jim Lovell (played by Tom Hanks), in the Ron Howard-directed film about the ill-fated Apollo 13 lunar mission in 1970, "Apollo 13" (1995). The film also won a Screen Actors Guild for Best Cast - Motion Picture.

Kathleen subsequently starred as Alex McArthur's rich wife in Kevin Meyer's take on Rochelle Majer Krich's thriller novel, "Perfect Alibi" (1995), and as a marine biologist and single parent in George T. Miller's family movie, "Zeus and Roxanne" (1997). After winning Blockbuster Entertainment's Favorite Supporting Actress – Suspense for playing Kurt Russell's missing wife in writer/director Jonathan Mostow's surprise hit "Breakdown" (1997), she was cast in Steven Zaillian's Oscar-nominated film adaptation of Jonathan Harr's book, "A Civil Action" (1998; with John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Tony Shalhoub, and William H. Macy), and starred with Billy Crystal and basketball player Gherghe Muresan in Michael Lehmann's comedy "My Giant" (1998).

From 1999 to 2002, Quinlan starred alongside Dixie Carter, playing Lynn Holt, a divorced lawyer trying to start her own law firm, in the CBS drama "Family Law." The show was canceled after three seasons due to low ratings. Afterward, she returned to the big screen and starred in Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin's romantic comedy "The Battle of Shaker Heights" (2003; with Shia LaBeouf, Elden Henson, and Amy Smart), Damian Chapa's drama "Padrino, El" (2004), and Alexandre Aja's remake of Wes Craven's horror classic, "The Hills Have Eyes" (2006). On television, Quinlan was reunited with Mary Tyler Moore in a TV movie based on Anna Quindlen's novel, "Blessings" (2003), played Lori Heuring's match-maker mother in the romantic comedy "Perfect Romance" (2004), co-starred with Bruce Greenwood and Cary Elwes in the thriller "The Riverman" (2004), and became Anne Heche's future mother-in-law in the thriller "The Dead Will Tell" (2004). She also guest-starred in an episode of FOX's Emmy and Peabody Award-winning medical drama "House M.D." and the Emmy Award-winning CBS drama series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

2007 saw Quinlan star in Melanie Orr's thriller "Harm's Way," Chris Bowman's comedy "American Fork," with Hubbel Palmer, William Baldwin, and Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Billy Ray's fact-based drama "Breach," alongside Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, and Laura Linney.

Recently, she co-starred with Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan in Paul Weiland's comedy film, "Made of Honor," which was released by Columbia Pictures in North America on May 2, 2008. She will soon complete filming her upcoming project, "The Dissection of Thanksgiving," a comedy by director Rafael Monserrate.


  • Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actress - Suspense, "Breakdown," 1998

  • Screen Actors Guild: Best Cast - Motion Picture, "Apollo 13," 1995

  • Mystfest: Best Actress, "Blackout," 1985

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