Susan Blakely first gained international recognition as an actress for her starring role in the famed mini-series "RICH MAN, POOR MAN,” for which she won The Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Actress. She was also nominated for two Emmys for her performance in the mini-series. A winner again, Blakely just recently won the Best Actress award from the California Independent Film Festival, for her starring role in the new movie, “HUNGRY HEARTS,” which is making the film festival circuit and will be released later this year.
“HUNGRY HEARTS,” written and produced by Glenn Benest and Timothy Wurtz recently premiered at the Hollywood Film Festival, the Palm Springs Film Festival of Festivals, the New York Film Festival, and swept the awards at the California Independent Film Festival, winning Best Picture, Best Actress (Blakely), Best Actor (Greg Gardner), and Best Director, Rolf Schrader. It has also been selected as one of the top films for the Houston Film Festival and the Ft. Myers Film Festival in Miami.
Blakely recently starred in the world premiere of “DIVA” at the La Jolla Playhouse, for playwright of Howard M. Gould. Blakely’s work in “DIVA!” won high praise in the San Diego Union Tribune which said, “Blakely’s performance never lets up. Her ‘Deanna’ is a force of nature…amoral, unstoppable...Blakely seduces us with her charm… Blakely’s elegant, arrogant ‘Deanna’ is the engine that drives the show.” Adding to the success of the San Diego/La Jolla opening, Blakely is set to star in the Broadway production of “DIVA” in 2005.
Blakely also recently completed starring in the indie films “LA TWISTER,” which is scheduled to be released this year, and “HATE CRIME”, which will begin the festival circuit in 2005.
The multi-talented actress, Blakely has a number of interests and has recently created a new line of jewelry, which she designed for her website which will be launched in May. SB Designs, consisting of semi-precious jewelry which has received widespread national media attention and will soon be available on www.SusanBlakelyDesigns.com.
Blakely, has starred in HBO’s “CHAIN OF COMMAND," with Roy Scheider, "GUT FEELING," "A MOTHER’S TESTIMONY,” and "THE PERFECT NANNY".
Blakely is currently set to star opposite French superstar Thierry Lhermitte ("The Dinner Game") next year in a comedy that takes place at Colorado ski resort. The film, which is entitled, "Dudes," was written by Patrick Read Johnson based on a story by Robert Hernreich, Billy Staobs and Annah Scully. Charlie Matthau is set to direct the snowboarding screwball comedy. It will be the first film produced under the UpStart Films banner, a screenplay development company in which she is a partner that was established by Stephen Jaffe and Daniel Howell.
Blakely, who Fred Silverman once called "one of television's all-time best actresses," starred in NBC's "RACE AGAINST FEAR," as the mother of an aspiring Olympic track star played by Ariana Richards ("Jurassic Park"). This is the third time Blakely has played Richards mother in a t.v. movie. The first two times were in the Emmy-Award-winning film (Best Picture), "THE INCIDENT" and the sequel, both of which also starred Walter Matthau and Harry Morgan. "RACE AGAINST FEAR" was produced by O'Hara - Horowitz as part of their "Moment of Truth" series for NBC Television.
Blakely also starred in '98 in the Lifetime Cable feature "COLOR ME PERFECT," a movie for written, produced, directed, and also starring the multi-talented Michele Lee.
Prior to that Blakely joined the international cast of "SEVEN SUNDAYS" for Academy-Award-winning director Jean-Charles Tachella ("Cousin, Cousine"), in a comedy about two Europeans who come to Florida to find their dream. It starred Blakely, Thierry Lhermitte, Italy's Maurizio Nichetti ("Icycle Thief"), Molly Ringwald, and Rod Steiger.
Blakely starred as the naive spy-lover opposite Barry Bostwick in "RUSSIAN ROULETTE," which also starred E.G. Marshall and Jeff Altman. She portrays a Kansas school teacher who's seen as a tourist who gets caught in a web if KGB-CIA intelligence. The film was shot entirely on location in St. Petersburg, Russia (formerly Leningrad). Greydon Clark directed the David Reskin script. Stephen Jaffe and Patricia Lynch produced "RUSSIAN ROULETTE," the first American-Russian co-production to be filmed in Russia since the historic collapse of Communism.
Blakely's feature film career began with starring roles in two classics, one from the Oscar-winning team of Merchant-Ivory, "SAVAGES," and the other "THE LORDS OF FLATBUSH," in which she starred with three other relative newcomers, Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler, and Perry King.
Blakely worked right along side of the New York "undercovers" (police) to prepare for a film which brought her strongest praise from critics for her solid performance, "REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER." After that role, the critics no-longer referred to her with the cliché, "model-turned actress."
Blakely appeared in three films with Stallone, including the role of his wife in "OVER THE TOP." She also gained international recognition in two very popular films "TOWERING INFERNO," which also starred Paul Newman, Steve Mc Queen, Fred Astaire, and William Holden, and "THE CONCORDE," where she played the network anchorwoman opposite Alain Delon and R.J. Wagner.
Before she became an actress, Susan Blakely was one of the world's top fashion models, gracing the covers of Vogue, Bazaar, Cosmopolitan Magazines. She was seen in hundreds of commercials, as one of the star-models of the Ford Agency. She was the only model to appear on the cover of TV Guide. During her busy schedule she would insist on taking time out from that lucrative career to study acting with the great teachers, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner and Warren Robertson.
Blakely is regarded, according to one entertainment writer as "one of the classy stars of many fine movies for television, including two with Walter Matthau , 'THE INCIDENT,' directed by Joe Sargent, 'INCIDENT IN BALTIMORE' directed by Academy Award Winner, Delbert Mann." Blakely also starred as Eva Braun opposite Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins, in his Emmy-Award-winning portrayal of Hitler, in George Schaefer's classic film, "THE BUNKER," written by John Gay.
Blakely's range is impressive as her roles go from leads in the highly rated movies for television and cable, such as "DEAD RECKONING" and "BLACKMAIL" (USA Cable,) two films of the "action-thriller-women-in-jeopardy-genre," to the popular screwball comedy, "MAKE ME AN OFFER," in which she played the hottest real estate agent in the nation's richest city, Beverly Hills. Credit was given her by critics across the nation for her ability to go from those films to the touching portrayal of a battered wife, in "WILDFLOWER", Diane Keaton's debut as a director.
Perhaps her most memorable performance, dubbed "Magnificent" by the New York Times, was her portrayal of the late 30's film star, Frances Farmer, in "WILL THERE REALLY BE A MORNING," (3 Hour Special on CBS) for which she was again nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Dramatic Actress.
Blakely's love of comedy has been rewarded twice with the highly successful movie spoof, "MY MOM'S A WEREWOLF," in which she starred in the title role. Blakely's bumbling "werewolf-mom" caught people off-guard, her nimble comic talent, something she had studied so hard to perfect, showed her in extreme contrast to the heavy dramatic roles for which she has been best known. Blakely also starred in ABC'S comedy pilot, "DAD'S A DOG," produced by Barry Kemp ("Coach"), "THE GEORGE CARLIN SHOW," and "STEP BY STEP."
Blakely grew up in cities all over the world as an "Army Brat," in Frankfurt (where she was born,) Seoul, Carlisle, Arlington, Honolulu, and many others. Her parents have lived in Honolulu where they are avid golfers. Her father, the late Col. Larry Blakely, retired from the Army to pursue his passion for golf. Blakely's mother, Weezie, a former art teacher, is an accomplished golfer, formerly of St. Joseph, Missouri.
Blakely is married to Stephen Jaffe, former television and film producer, who is now the chairman of Jaffe & Company, Strategic Media and “Crisis Management,” a national media consulting firm, specializing in legal, medical, crisis management and corporate public relations, reside in Beverly Hills with their dog "Sophie."