The Last Seduction
“The thing that’s always bothered me is that, even if you have a strong female character, invariably in the third act she has to say something like, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you,’ or she has to become really vulnerable and wimpy and get her comeuppance. Even in something like Thelma and Louise, where you have these two very strong characters, they have to die in the end. What’s so special about The Last Seduction is that none of that happens. Had a Hollywood studio made that film instead of an independent, it would have been very different. She definitely wouldn't have gotten away with what she does get away with.” Linda Fiorentino
Italian-American actress Linda Fiorentino was launched to stardom with her noted and acclaimed performance, as the ruthless femme fatale Bridget Gregory in John Dahl’s low-budget sleeper The Last Seduction (1994), for which she was handed a London Critics Circle Film Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award, a Society of Texas Film Critics Award, an Independent Spirit Award, as well as a BAFTA nod. Initially coming to prominence with outstanding turns in films like Vision Quest (1985), Gotcha! (1985) and After Hours (1985), the attractive, raven-haired Linda gained even more popularity with the summer blockbuster Men in Black (1997, opposite Will Smith) and Kevin Smith’s Dogma (1999).
Off screen, one of Empire magazine’s “100 Sexiest Stars in film history” (1995), in 2000, Linda clearly showed off her political choice by donating $1,000 to the New York Senate Campaign for Democratic candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton. As for her love life, the husky voiced actress was formerly married to director John Byrum (divorced in 1993) and has been linked to professional basketball player Jayson Williams.
“Marriage is a financial contract. I have enough contracts already.” Linda Fiorentino
Childhood and Family:
Born Clorindo Fiorentino, on March 9, 1960, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Linda Fiorentino was raised by her Italian-American parents in Turnersville, New Jersey, in a steadfastly Catholic household. Growing up in a big family, along with her two older brothers and five sisters, young Linda was forced to compete for attention in outlandish ways like learning to rehearse the alphabet in under five seconds. She was so good that her uncle had her perform it in night clubs and parks.
An athlete as a teenager, Linda was actively involved in such sports as basketball and baseball while a student at Washington Township High School in Sewell, New Jersey, in which she was also a cheerleader. On a more negative note, this bothered girl was once banned from her senior prom for smoking at school. After graduation in 1976, she continued her study at Rosemont College in Pennsylvania, from which she earned a B.A in Political Science in 1980. She just about attended a law school, but a passion for acting led her to enroll in the Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York.
As for her marriage life, Linda was once married to director John Byrum, but they divorced in 1993. More personally, she describes herself as “very complicated, bewildered, and constantly changing,” though she has a bubbly sense of humor.
Pennsylvania-born, New Jersey-raised Linda Fiorentino relocated to New York after completing her education in 1980 to become an actress. A student at the Circle in the Square Theatre School, she spent many years waiting for her big break, while bartendering at the Kamikaze Club, along with a then-nameless Bruce Willis. It was finally paid off in 1985 when she won a female lead in her wide screen debut, the Harold Becker-directed drama Vision Quest, opposite Matthew Modine. Promisingly playing a one-time, love-struck artist named Carla, she got some needed-attention that gave the newcomer Linda a career boost. She continued capturing notice for her follow-up efforts such as the Cold War thriller Gotcha (1985), starring with Anthony Edwards as Russian spy Sasha, and in the Martin Scorsese-helmed fantastic comedy After Hours (1985), she memorably played supporting turn kinky sculptress (and dominatrix) Kiki Bridges, a performance that brought her mainstream stardom. Despite hectic film schedule, she also premiered herself on the small screen with a spot on an episode of the NBC “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” that same year.
Eschewing Hollywood mainstream, Linda turned down a part in the 1986 Top Gun in favor of little-seen independent fares and unremarkable vehicles like Zalman King’s Wildfire (1987), Alan Rudolph’s The Moderns (1988, showed her versatility by playing John Lone’s beat-up spouse Rachel), Strangers (1991), Queens Logic (1991), Shout (1991), Beyond the Law (1992) and Chain of Desire (1992). During the same periods, Linda made her TV film debut with The Neon Empire (1989), followed by a starring turn opposite C. Thomas Howell in another telefilm, the thriller-comedy Eyes of a Stranger (1993).
Linda’s biggest break arrived in 1994 when director John Dahl had her star as merciless femme fatale Bridget Gregory in the neo-noir The Last Seduction. For her virtuoso performance, she was garnered with a number of recognitions and picked up several awards such as a 1995 London Critics Circle Film for Actress of the Year, a New York Film Critics Circle, a Society of Texas Film Critics and an Independent Spirit for Best Actress (all in 1994), as well as earned a BAFTA nomination. However, she was barred for an Oscar nomination due to the film’s first TV release. The same year, she was seen with an unrewarding maid’s turn in Anthony Edwards’ directorial debut movie Charlie’s Ghost Story.
With the film’s success and her widely admired performance, Linda received many offers to reprise her man-eater persona, and in 1995, she took a similar part for William Friedkin’s critically-darned Jade, in which she was seen as a psychologist-prostitute suspected of slaughter named Trina Gavin. Next up for Linda, she starred opposite Daniel Baldwin in the thriller Bodily Harm (1995), and in Dahl’s sci-fi thriller Unforgettable (1996), the actress tried to break the stereotype by playing nerdy scientist Dr. Martha Briggs. However, unlike its predecessor, the film was a bomb and went strictly to a video release.
After other unmemorable fares Larger Than Life (1996, starred Bill Murray) and Kicked in the Head (1997), Linda proved she was back on the saddle again with her next major role, as Manhattan medical examiner Dr. Laurel Weaver/ Agent L, in the Will Smith vehicle Men in Black (1997). As the Barry Sonnenfeld-helmed film became a box office hit, Linda earned an even greater mainstream status. The role also brought her a Blockbuster Entertainment nomination for Favorite Supporting Actress in Sci-Fi film. The subsequent years saw her take part in the lackluster Body Count (1998) before scoring an acclaimed performance as the last descendant of Christ in the Kevin Smith controversial comedy Dogma (1999).
Entering the new millennium, Linda kept on battling against the typecasting by playing varied characters in movies like Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000, opposite Kevin Spacey), Mike Nichols’ What Planet Are You From? (2000, starred Garry Shandling) and Where the Money Is (2000, opposite the screen legend Paul Newman). After making an unctredited cameo as Bethany in the successful Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) and playing Liberty Wallace in director/writer Kari Skogland’s thriller Liberty Stands Still (2002), Linda took a break from the cinematic industry.
- London Critics Circle Film: Actress of the Year, The Last Seduction,1995
- New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actress, The Last Seduction, 1994
- Society of Texas Film Critics: Best Actress, The Last Seduction, 1994
- Independent Spirit: Best Actress, The Last Seduction, 1994