1. She has starred in many leading and supporting roles in films such as The Station Agent, The Pledge, The Green Mile, Far from Heaven, High Art, Dogville, Good Night, and Good Luck, Easy A, and Cairo Time.
2. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe for her performance in Pieces of April .
3. She twice won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her recurring role in Six Feet Under.
4. In 2015, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in The Elephant Man.
5. Clarkson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Jackie Clarkson , a New Orleans politician and councilwoman, and Arthur Clarkson, a school administrator who worked at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. She has four sisters.
6. Clarkson studied speech pathology at Louisiana State University, later transferring to Fordham University in New York City, where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in drama. before making her film debut in The Untouchables in 1987.
7. She had supporting roles in a series of high-profile films in her early career.
8. Her first movie role, at age 27, was as the wife of Eliot Ness in The Untouchables.
9. More often a character actor than a leading woman, she has also appeared in such major films as The Green Mile .
10. Her breakthrough role was in High Art where her portrayal of Greta, a German, drug-addicted lesbian former model, gained rave reviews.
11. She has said about acting, “I’m deeply invested in everything I do, and it’s a good thing, because acting is the only thing I know how to do.”
12. She went on to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series that year for her performance; she repeated for the same role in 2006.
13. In 2003, she gained critical acclaim and a Special Jury Prize for her work in four films that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival: All the Real Girls, The Baroness and the Pig, The Station Agent and Pieces of April. Later that same year, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Pieces of April, in which she played an acerbic mother dying of cancer.
14. In 2008, producer Gerald Peary approached Clarkson to do the voice-over for the documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism.
15. And she was so nice, and so cooperative, and so prepared, and so intelligent.
16. And one of the key reasons she wanted to do the movie was that she regularly reads criticism, and has a genuine respect for the critic profession.
17. Clarkson returned to New Orleans for the January 17, 2009, reopening of the Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the Performing Arts.
18. She served as master of ceremonies for a gala featuring Plácido Domingo in concert with the New Orleans Opera, conducted by Robert Lyall. She also made a cameo appearance in the Saturday Night Live Digital Short “Motherlover” on May 9, 2009.