Happy birthday, Michelle Pfeiffer! To celebrate the star's 62nd birthday on April 29, 2020, Wonderwall.com is taking a stroll down memory lane and revisiting her life in photos. Keep reading to reminisce and look back at her illustrious Hollywood career…
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Michelle Pfeiffer grew up in California, graduating from high school in Orange County in 1976. She went on to attend Golden West College and joined the sorority Alpha Delta Pi, which would be good practice for her first television role on "Delta House." She landed the gig in 1979, starring as "The Bombshell" on the series — which was a TV adaptation of the movie "National Lampoon's Animal House" — that ran for one season.
After doing stints on shows like "CHiPs" and "Enos," Michelle Pfeiffer landed a recurring role in 1980 as Samantha "Sunshine" Jensen, an undercover police officer, on Aaron Spelling's "B.A.D. Cats" (the acronym was for Burglary Auto Detail, Commercial Auto Thefts). Unfortunately for the 21-year-old actress, the series was canceled after six episodes.
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Her big screen debut! In 1980, Michelle Pfeiffer landed her first film role in "The Hollywood Knights" opposite Tony Danza, who was also making his movie debut. The flick about teens in the '60s also starred Fran Drescher and Stuart Pankin.
In 1981, a 22-year-old Michelle Pfeiffer married 26-year-old actor Peter Horton, whom she'd met in an acting class. The newlyweds are seen here at a movie premiere the following year.
Michelle Pfeiffer and then-unknown actor Maxwell Caulfield won the coveted lead roles in the 1982 sequel "Grease 2." However, the film was considered a flop. While Michelle's career later took off, Maxwell's stalled big-time, though many will remember the actor — who's married to actress Juliet Mills — from the 1995 cult hit film "Empire Records," in which he played narcissistic pop star Rex Manning.
Talk about your auspicious breakthroughs! Director Brian De Palma was not impressed with Michelle Pfeiffer after he saw her in "Grease 2" but was eventually convinced to hire her to play lonely cocaine addict Elvira, who marries Al Pacino's Tony Montana, in the 1983 classic "Scarface."
Michelle Pfeiffer's next big box office hit came in 1987 when she played Sukie Ridgemont in "The Witches of Eastwick" opposite Jack Nicholson, Cher and Susan Sarandon.
It's over! "Thirtysomething" star Peter Horton and Michelle Pfeiffer announced their split in 1988, the same year this photo was taken at a movie premiere. The year before their divorce, they played an on-screen couple in "Amazon Women on the Moon." In a 2012 interview with Parade, the actress reflected on her first marriage, explaining, "I married Peter at a very young age. I'm not the same person I was then. I forget I was even married before."
In 1988, Michelle Pfeiffer was all over the big screen. She sported big brunette hair to play a long-suffering Mafia wife opposite Matthew Modine and Dean Stockwell in the Jonathan Demme comedy "Married to the Mob." She earned a Golden Globe nomination — her first of seven over the years — for her work in the film.
Michelle Pfeiffer then played a restaurant owner caught between a drug dealer trying to go straight (Mel Gibson) and his police detective friend (Kurt Russell) in Robert Towne's sexy 1988 crime thriller "Tequila Sunrise."
Michelle Pfeiffer closed out 1988 in the period drama "Dangerous Liaisons" starring opposite John Malkovich and Glenn Close. Michelle earned her first Oscar nomination for the performance. She and John made headlines when they embarked on a brief real-life romance, which was quite the scandal as he was married to actress Glenne Headly at the time.
1989 saw Michelle Pfeiffer take on the role of call girl-turned-lounge singer Susie Diamond in "The Fabulous Baker Boys" alongside Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges. The film earned her rave reviews and is the actress's most critically acclaimed performance to this day. She earned her second Oscar nomination for her work in the film.
Michelle Pfeiffer took home her first Golden Globe in January 1990 for her incredible performance in "The Fabulous Baker Boys."
In 1989, Michelle Pfeiffer embarked on a high-profile three-year romance with actor Fisher Stevens (they're seen here at the 1992 Golden Globe Awards). Some fans found it to be an odd pairing, and many were stunned after learning the "Short Circuit" star had cheated on Michelle with a high school senior working as an extra on his film "Super Mario Bros." ("We went for one walk, I kissed her once. It was a mistake. I didn't have sex with her," Fisher later told People magazine.) Michelle ended the relationship in 1992 and in 1993 adopted her first child, daughter Claudia Rose.
Tim Burton chose Michelle Pfeiffer to play the iconic role of Catwoman and her alter ego, the bespectacled and buttoned-up Selina Kyle, in 1992's "Batman Returns" opposite Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader. Fans later learned that she almost appeared as a different character in 1989's "Batman," but that Michael stepped in and blocked her from playing Vicki Vale after actress Sean Young had to drop out (the part went to Kim Basinger). "To put a little fly in the ointment, Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer had previously dated and broken up," actor Robert Wuhl told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. "At the time, Michael told me he was trying to get back with his ex-wife. Keaton was firmly, and underline firmly, against that casting of Pfeiffer and he and [producer] Jon Peters got into it." Michelle and Michael, who had killer chemistry in "Batman Returns" despite their past, went on to win the best kiss trophy at the MTV Movie Awards.
Though Michelle Pfeiffer filmed "Love Field" with Dennis Haysbert back in 1990, it wasn't released until 1992 due to studio troubles. But when the drama — an interracial love story set against the backdrop of President John F. Kennedy's assassination — finally hit theaters, it was just in time for Oscar consideration. Michelle scored a nomination — her third. She also was nominated for a Golden Globe but lost both the Oscar and Globe to "Howard's End" star Emma Thompson.
Michelle Pfeiffer met the love of her life, TV producer-writer David E. Kelley, on a blind date (they're seen here at the premiere of her film "Love Field" in December 1992 shortly after they started dating). They married in November 1993 on the same day Michelle had her daughter, Claudia Rose — whom she'd adopted earlier that year — christened. The actress and the "Picket Fences," Ally McBeal," "The Practice" and Big Little Lies" creator welcomed their second child, son John Henry, in August 1994.
Michelle Pfeiffer delivered another stellar performance in another period film when she played American heiress Countess Ellen Olenska in filmmaker Martin Scorsese's 1993 movie "The Age of Innocence," which is based on the novel by Edith Wharton. Her co-stars in the movie — which was critically praised and scored five Oscar nods despite being a box office failure — included Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder.
In February 1995, Michelle Pfeiffer was bestowed with a prize more elusive than an Emmy, a Golden Globe or an Oscar: She scored a Hasty Pudding Award after Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals society voted her woman of the year.
Despite receiving mostly negative reviews, Michelle Pfeiffer's true-story-based movie "Dangerous Minds," in which she played Marine-turned-teacher LouAnne Johnson, was a huge box office hit worldwide in the summer in 1995. Fun fact: Michelle appeared with Coolio in the music video for the soundtrack's lead single, "Gangsta's Paradise."
In 1996, Michelle Pfeiffer teamed up with George Clooney for the rom-com "One Fine Day." The film — which shows what happened when two single working parents go from adversarial to enamored after both their kids (played by Mae Whitman and Alex D. Linz) miss a school field trip — was considered a disappointment at the box office, earning just under $100 million despite its A-list headliners.
In 1999, Michelle Pfeiffer — seen here the same year — appeared on the cover of People magazine's annual "Most Beautiful People" issue for the second time that decade (she topped the list the first time when the weekly magazine launched the franchise in 1990). She was the first celebrity to claim the title twice, a feat that's since only been accomplished by actress Jennifer Aniston.
When Michelle Pfeiffer decided to voice the character Eris in "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas" in 2003, she was in very good company. Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones also lent their voices to the film, but Michelle reportedly struggled behind-the-scenes with her character's villainous tendencies and believed her to be "too sexual." After this project, Michelle took a four-year break from Hollywood in order to focus on her family.
After a four-year acting hiatus, Michelle Pfeiffer returned to the big screen in 2007 with two summer blockbusters — the romantic fantasy-adventure flick "Stardust" in an ensemble cast that included Claire Danes and Robert De Niro and a remake of the movie musical "Hairspray" (seen here) alongside John Travolta and Queen Latifah.
Michelle Pfeiffer is the oldest of four. but little sister Dedee Pfeiffer (seen here at the "Stardust" premiere) is the only one who followed her into acting. Over the years, Dedee's appeared with Michelle in movies including "Frankie and Johnny" and "Up Close & Personal" and on TV shows such as "Cybill," "The Dead Zone" and "For Your Love."
In August 2007, Michelle Pfeiffer received the 2,345th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her whole family — hubby David E. Kelley and their kids, Claudia and John –attended the event to celebrate the momentous occasion.
Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeiffer reunited after co-starring in 2007's "Hairspray" for Gary Marshall's 2011 holiday ensemble flick "New Year's Eve," which saw them lock lips! The movie appearance followed a few years in which Michelle chose to only appear in a few projects.
From 2011 to 2013, Michelle Pfeiffer only appeared in a handful of films. One of the most notable? 2012's "Dark Shadows," in which she starred alongside Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. The flick reunited her with her "Batman Returns" director, Tim Burton, and saw her playing Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the matriarch of the family in the gothic tale.
She's back! After a few acting hiatuses, which she's explained were due to a desire to spend more time with her family, Michelle Pfeiffer appeared in a ton of projects in 2017. First up? The independent drama "Where Is Kyra?" followed by the HBO TV movie "The Wizard of Lies," in which she played Ruth Madoff, the wife of disgraced investment adviser Bernie Madoff (she scored a Golden Globe nod for the performance). She also appeared in Darren Aronofsky's controversial film "mother!" alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem and wrapped up the year in Kenneth Branagh's "Murder on the Orient Express." (She's seen here at the London premiere of the latter in November 2017.) Michelle would see even more commercial success in the years to come…
Michelle Pfeiffer joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2018. She started with a small role in "Ant-Man and the Wasp" playing Janet van Dyne (aka Waspe) and critics heralded her performance and wanted more. That led to her reprising the character in "Avengers: Endgame" the following year.
In April 2019, Michelle Pfeiffer launched her own fragrance line, Henry Rose (her kids' middle names were the inspiration for its name). The genderless scents marked a milestone for the perfume industry as they're the first fine fragrances to be both EWG Verified and Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold. The non-toxic, ingredient-transparent brand quickly found fans at home and in the beauty and fashion industry: Vogue magazine praised the actress for "elevating the art of fragrance while committing to better health standards."
Michelle Pfeiffer and David E. Kelley's marriage is still going strong after more than 26 years. Just as he's long supported her career, she's supported his — they're seen here at the season 2 premiere of HBO's "Big Little Lies" (he created the HBO show, which is based on Liane Moriarty's novel, and wrote both seasons) in New York City in May 2019. Michelle told Parade in 2012 that in David, she met "the right person at exactly the right time." She added, "I never take him for granted. I've never met a person who has more integrity than my husband. I respect that. There's his humor and intelligence too, and he's really cute, all those things — but if you don't respect your partner, you'll get sick of him."
2019 saw Michelle Pfeiffer join another A-list franchise — Disney's "Maleficent." She starred in "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" alongside Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning as Queen Ingrith, a power-hungry royal who's the mother of Aurora's husband. The trio of actresses are seen here at the movie's Los Angeles premiere in September 2019.
Michelle Pfeiffer was on hand for the Golden Globes in January 2020, an appearance that kicked off what promises to be a successful year. Once Hollywood reopens in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, her latest film, the surreal comedy "French Exit," will be scheduled for release. Michelle's next project after that, the emotional thriller "Turn of Mind"co-starring Annette Bening, will follow.