Photo of Karen Black Karen Black

A versatile and prolific actress born July 1, 1939, in Park Ridge, Ill., Karen Black studied her craft at the Actors Studio before making her critically acclaimed Broadway debut in "The Playroom" (1965). The next year, she landed her first major film role in director Francis Ford Coppola's You're a Big Boy Now.

Black's star-making turn came three years later in the counterculture classic Easy Rider. That part led to her casting as a clingy small-town waitress in 1970's Five Easy Pieces, which netted Black an Oscar nod and a Golden Globe win. By the middle of the decade, she hit her stride with plum roles in The Great Gatsby (1974), Nashville (1975) and Burnt Offerings (1976)

When Black's Hollywood career waned in the early 1980s, she turned to indie films, specializing in horror movies that soon earned her a cult following. A dual role in the surreal thriller Firecracker (2005) is among the highlights of her later work. Black died Aug. 8, 2013.

Karen Black in Easy Rider

Easy Rider

1969 R

With cash from a cocaine sale, two freewheeling hippies hop on their motorcycles and ride across America toward New Orleans, clashing with rednecks and picking up a boozy lawyer along the way in this counterculture classic.

  • Karen Black in Five Easy Pieces Five Easy Pieces
  • Karen Black in Nashville Nashville
  • Karen Black in The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby
  • Karen Black in House of 1,000 Corpses House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Karen Black in Airport / Airport 1975 Airport / Airport 1975
  • Karen Black in Capricorn One Capricorn One
  • Karen Black in Family Plot Family Plot
  • Karen Black in Come Back to the Five and Dime Come Back to the Five and Dime
  • Karen Black in Burnt Offerings Burnt Offerings
  • Karen Black in Paris Paris
  • Karen Black in Miner's Massacre Miner's Massacre
  • Karen Black in Rhinoceros Rhinoceros
  • Karen Black in America Brown America Brown
  • Karen Black in Straun House Straun House
  • Karen Black in Drive, He Said Drive, He Said
  • Karen Black in Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?
  • Karen Black in Cut and Run Cut and Run
  • Karen Black in Savage Dawn Savage Dawn
  • Karen Black in Homer & Eddie Homer & Eddie
  • Karen Black in Club Fed Club Fed
  • Karen Black in Children of the Night Children of the Night
  • Karen Black in Crimetime Crimetime
  • Karen Black in Invisible Dad Invisible Dad
  • Karen Black in Dinosaur Valley Girls Dinosaur Valley Girls
  • Karen Black in Tons of Trouble Tons of Trouble
  • Karen Black in Dogtown Dogtown
  • Karen Black in Angel Blue Angel Blue
  • Karen Black in Fallen Arches Fallen Arches
  • Karen Black in Underground Comedy Movie Underground Comedy Movie
  • Karen Black in The Independent The Independent
  • Karen Black in Hard Luck Hard Luck
  • Karen Black in A Light in the Darkness A Light in the Darkness
  • Karen Black in Gypsy 83 Gypsy 83
  • Karen Black in Tuesday Never Comes Tuesday Never Comes
  • Karen Black in Wanderlust Wanderlust
  • Karen Black in Firecracker Firecracker
  • Karen Black in Ghost Writer Ghost Writer
  • Karen Black in Hollywood Dreams Hollywood Dreams
  • Karen Black in One Long Night One Long Night
  • Karen Black in The Blue Tooth Virgin The Blue Tooth Virgin
  • Karen Black in No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos
  • Karen Black in Irene in Time Irene in Time
  • Karen Black in Repo Chick Repo Chick
  • Karen Black in Stuck! Stuck!
  • Karen Black in Some Guy Who Kills People Some Guy Who Kills People