Kimila Ann "Kim" Basinger, born
December 8, 1953) is an American film actress and former fashion model.
Following her role as a Bond girl in Never Say Never Again (1983),
Basinger received a Golden Globe nomination for her work in The Natural
(1984). She won an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild
Award as best supporting actress for her performance in L.A. Confidential
(1997). Her film work includes major roles in Batman (1989) and 8 Mile
Basinger was born in Athens, Georgia. Her father, Don Basinger, was a big
band musician and loan manager who landed in Normandy on D-Day. Her
mother, Ann, was a model, actress, and swimmer who appeared in Esther
Williams films. The third of five children, she has two brothers, Mick and
Skip, and two sisters, Ashley and Barbara. Basinger has German, Swedish
and Cherokee ancestry and was raised Methodist.
When Basinger was sixteen, she started her modeling career by winning the
Athens Junior Miss contest. She followed that by winning the title “Junior
Miss Georgia”. Basinger then competed in the national Junior Miss pageant.
It was there that Basinger was offered a modeling contract with Ford
Modeling Agency. Initially turning down the offer in favor of singing and
acting, Basinger reconsidered and went to New York to become a Ford model.
Not long after penning the Ford deal, Basinger was on the cover of
numerous magazines. She appeared in hundreds of ads throughout the early
1970s, most notably appearing as the Breck Shampoo girl. In the meantime,
she alternated between modeling work and attending acting classes at the
prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse as well as performing in various
Greenwich Village clubs.
In 1976, after a five-year stint as a cover girl, Basinger decided to put
her modeling career on hold and move to Los Angeles to begin a career in
acting. After appearing in small parts on a few TV shows such as Starsky
and Hutch and Charlie's Angels, her first starring role was a made-for-TV
movie, Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold (1978) in which she played a small
town girl who goes to Hollywood to become an actress and winds up becoming
a famous centerfold for a men's magazine. She was then cast as a
prostitute in From Here to Eternity (1979), in which she starred alongside
Natalie Wood. Basinger played the same character in a 13-episode TV
spinoff. She made her feature film debut in Hard Country (1981) with Jan
Michael Vincent, followed by Mother Lode (1982) with Charlton Heston.
Basinger's breakout role was as a Bond girl, Domino Petachi in Never Say
Never Again (1983), starring opposite Sean Connery. She did a nude
pictorial for Playboy to promote her role in the Bond film in 1983.
Basinger said the Playboy appearance led to good opportunities, such as
Barry Levinson's The Natural (1984), co-starring Robert Redford, for which
she earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actress. She
starred opposite Mickey Rourke in the sexually provocative film 9˝ Weeks
(1986), which was a flop upon release. Oscar-winning writer-director
Robert Benton cast her in the title role for the film Nadine (1987) with
Basinger then played Vicki Vale in the blockbuster hit Batman (1989). Sean
Young was originally cast as Vicki, but dropped out due to an injury prior
to filming. Tim Burton recommended Michelle Pfeiffer to replace Young, but
Pfeiffer was doing The Fabulous Baker Boys at the time. (Pfeiffer would be
cast as Catwoman in Batman Returns.) After interviewing with Burton,
Basinger was accepted and cast.
Directors repeated her in their films, such as Blake Edwards for The Man
Who Loved Women (1983) and Blind Date (1987), as well as Robert Altman for
Fool for Love (1985) and Pręt-ŕ-Porter (1994). Other films made during
that period were the comedies My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988) and Wayne's
World 2 (1993).
In 1992, Basinger was the guest vocalist on a re-recorded version of Was
(Not Was)'s "Shake Your Head", which also featured Ozzy Osbourne on
vocals, and reached the UK Top 5. In the video for Tom Petty's 1993 song
"Mary Jane's Last Dance", Basinger played the role of a deceased woman
Petty brings home from the morgue for a dinner date, dressing her in a
wedding gown. Later, Petty is shown carrying her to a rocky shore and
throwing her into the sea. In a macabre ending, she is seen floating in
the water with her eyes open.
Basinger scaled back her work for most of the 1990s to take care of her
family. In 1997, she then starred as a sophisticated call girl alongside
Russell Crowe in the neo-noir drama L.A. Confidential. This performance
earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as the
Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild Award. The film's director, Curtis
Hanson, would cast her once more as Eminem's troubled mother in the hit
film 8 Mile (2002). More recently, she appeared mostly in television and
independent films, with the exceptions of the mainstream thrillers
Cellular (2004) and The Sentinel (2006). Basinger appeared in the 2008
film While She Was Out. Her 2009 film, The Informers, premiered at the
Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. Her next film, The Burning Plain,
was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2008
and at the Savannah Film Festival in October 2008. It is slated for wide
release in 2009.
On October 12, 1980, Basinger married makeup artist Ron Snyder-Britton,
whom she had met on the film Hard Country, but the marriage ended in
divorce in 1989. He would later write a memoir titled Longer than Forever,
published in 1998, about their time together and about her rumored affairs
with singer Prince and actor Richard Gere, with whom she starred in No
Mercy (1986) and Final Analysis (1992).
In 1990, she met her second husband, actor Alec Baldwin, when they played
lovers in the film The Marrying Man. They married on August 19, 1993 and
appeared in the remake of The Getaway (1994). They also played themselves
in a 1998 episode of The Simpsons (which also includes Ron Howard), where
Basinger corrects Homer Simpson on the pronunciation of her last name and
also polishes her Oscar statuette.
Basinger and Baldwin had a daughter, Ireland Eliesse "Addie" Baldwin (born
October 23, 1995). They filed for divorce in January 2001; it was
finalized in February 2002. Since then, the couple have been locked in a
contentious public custody battle. Alec Baldwin's book A Promise To
Ourselves chronicles the lengths Basinger has gone to deny Baldwin access
to their daughter since their separation.
Some of her family members recommended that Basinger buy the small town of
Braselton, Georgia in 1989 for $20 million, with the hopes of establishing
it as a tourist attraction with movie studios and a film festival, but she
met financial difficulties and sold it in 1993. The town is now owned by
developer Wayne Mason. In a 1998 interview with Barbara Walters, Basinger
admitted that "nothing good came out of it," because a rift resulted
within her family. Her financial difficulties were exacerbated when she
pulled out of the controversial film Boxing Helena, resulting in the
studio suing and winning an $8-million judgment against her. Basinger
filed for bankruptcy and also appealed the jury's decision to a higher
court, which sided with her. Eventually, she and the studio settled for a
While Basinger is close to her sister Ashley and father Don, she is
estranged from her brother Mick and her mother, Ann, who has been
sympathetic to ex-son-in-law Baldwin in the aftermath of the divorce. "Kim
has just written off the ones who don't agree with her", says a source
close to the family.
Basinger has devoted energy to animal rights issues, most notably by
posing for anti-fur advertisements with PETA. Most recently she has been
doing letter writing campaigns, asking fashion designers such as Yohji
Yamamoto to stop using fur in their designs.