This is a beta version of NNDB
Search: for

Jessica Harper

Jessica HarperBorn: 10-Oct-1949
Birthplace: Chicago, IL

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor, Author, Musician

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Suspiria and My Favorite Year

Jessica Harper was a pretty, petite-faced actress who achieved some prominence as a movie star in the early 1980s, and has since faded to supporting and character roles. In her film career, she appeared in fewer than twenty pictures, yet several of Harper's movies are remembered as classics. Her first film was Brian De Palma early-career low-budget horror Phantom of the Paradise. Her second film was 1977's X-rated Inserts, an odd comedy (which would be rated PG or R today) about making pornography, co-starring Richard Dreyfuss and Bob Hoskins. She then had a short bit in Woody Allen's Love and Death, rattling off her long list of lovers.

In Dario Argento's Suspiria, Harper played the innocent American girl who goes to a European ballet school, built over a hellmouth of some sort. Suspiria is a masterpiece of horror, with brilliant cinematography, gaudy colors, and a brain-rattling rock and roll score. She also had prominent roles in Allen's Stardust Memories, and took Susan Sarandon's role as Janet in Shock Treatment, the ill-advised sequel to Rocky Horror Picture Show. She played Steve Martin's frigid wife in the overrated Pennies from Heaven, and her film career probably peaked when she played the object of Mark Linn-Baker's desire in the superb comedy My Favorite Year, with drunken swashbuckler Peter O'Toole.

With marriage, children, and middle age, Harper's film presence has diminished, although she still pops up in occasional character roles (most recently in Minority Report with Tom Cruise). She has also had success as an author of children's books, including I Like Where I Am, I Forgot My Shoes, and Lizzy's Ups And Downs. She has written and performed music for children, available on CD, and she was Parenting magazine's Mom of the Month in August 2004.

Harper has been married to Fox executive Tom Rothman since 1989, as he has advanced through the ranks to become studio head.

Husband: Tom Rothman (Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, m. 11-Mar-1989, two daughters)
Daughter: Nora (b. 1994)
Daughter: Elizabeth (b. 1992)
Sister: Lindsay Harper duPont (artist)

    University: Sarah Lawrence College

    Progressive Majority
    Risk Factors: Smoking

    Little Women Jo March (1979)
    It's Garry Shandling's Show Phoebe Bass (series 4)

    Suspiria (1-Sep-2018)
    Minority Report (17-Jun-2002) · Anne Lively
    On the Edge of Innocence (20-Apr-1997)
    Boys (10-May-1996)
    Safe (23-Jun-1995)
    Mr. Wonderful (15-Oct-1993) · Funny Face
    Big Man on Campus (1989)
    The Blue Iguana (22-Apr-1988)
    The Imagemaker (24-Jan-1986)
    My Favorite Year (1-Oct-1982) · K. C. Downing
    Pennies from Heaven (11-Dec-1981) · Joan
    Shock Treatment (31-Oct-1981)
    Stardust Memories (26-Sep-1980) · Daisy
    The Evictors (18-Apr-1979) · Ruth Watkin
    Suspiria (1-Feb-1977)
    Love and Death (10-Jun-1975) · Natasha
    Inserts (19-Feb-1975) · Cathy Cake
    Phantom of the Paradise (31-Oct-1974) · Phoenix

Official Website:

Create a map starting with Jessica Harper
Requires Flash 7+ and Javascript.

Do you know something we don't?
Submit a correction or make a comment about this profile

Copyright ©2019 Soylent Communications