Joanna Cassidy is an award-winning actress with an abundance of talent, known for her easy, intoxicating laugh. As a seasoned actress, few have accomplished what this tall, gorgeous, Scottish-Irish siren has in both film and television. Her credits are a combination of subtle nuances and bold characters. The roles Joanna has played have taken her around the globe, creating a breadth of diversity as well as providing unique life experiences.
For a woman who envisioned a career in science and art, she has certainly embraced the twists of fate that have transformed her life. Born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, Joanna grew up in an artistic environment, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandfather, both artists. At an early age she was encouraged to develop her talents in painting and sculpture as an art major at Syracuse University in New York.
While in college, Joanna married a doctor in residency and with her modeling jobs helped fund his internship. The couple moved to San Francisco, where her husband set up a psychiatric practice and Joanna’s modeling career took off. Joanna gave little or no thought to acting while she was married. “Acting was not an option because quite honestly I never even gave it a thought even though there were theater and comedy venues nearby. At the time I was more into music and taking care of my children and home. I knew very little about life having been raised in a small town USA, and modeling was fast and furious. Not to mention I had not had one class in the technique of acting and standing in front of a still camera was an on the spot learning experience, just the setting was different.”
After her marriage ended, in a brave and bold move Joanna decided to take a chance and move to Los Angeles. Somewhat naïve to the industry process, Joanna phoned famed casting director Joyce Selznick and asked to audition for a role in The Laughing Policeman. Joanna was cast and her career was off and running. Joanna went on to star in The Outfit, followed by a comedic role in The Bank Shot, and then The Late Show.
Adding to her already impressive list of film credits, Joanna guest-starred in TV shows including Dallas, Trapper John, MD, Taxi, and The Devlin Connection. Stepping into new “shoes” she guest-starred as a psycho transvestite in Starsky & Hutch. She landed a recurring role on Falcon Crest and then starred as a series regular in 240 Robert and Roller Girls. She also had recurring roles in Diagnosis Murder, The District, Bones, and Boston Legal.
In 1983, Joanna not only won critical acclaim and an Emmy nomination but also the coveted Golden Globe for her role as JoJo White in the NBC series Buffalo Bill with Dabney Coleman. Critics called the show “brilliant” and said that it was “a rare view into the often overpowering fatuousness and insincerity that sometimes dominates the television industry.”
Joanna’s cult fan base is sustained by her most memorable and classic role as Zhora, the exotic snake dancer replicant in Blade Runner. Joanna also drew rave reviews, a National Society of Film Critics Award, and a Jordi (the Spanish Oscar) for her passionate portrayal of a radio journalist in 1983’s controversial political thriller about the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution, Under Fire.
Demonstrating her athletic prowess, Joanna performed her own stunts in the film Stunts. Calling on her artistic skills, Joanna’s drawing of director Frederick Forsythe was auctioned off for charity at the premiere of The Fourth Protocol in Ireland.
No one will forget Joanna in her role as Dolores opposite the affable Bob Hoskins in the groundbreaking live-action and animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.
Joanna has starred in many television mini-series and movies including Hollywood Wives, the Emmy award-winning Barbarians at the Gate, Live from Death Row, A Father’s Revenge, Sleep Baby Sleep, the highly-rated The Rockford Files: I Still Love L.A., and Martha Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart.
One of the most memorable co-starring roles was in the unique HBO series Six Feet Under. Joanna received an Emmy nomination for her role as Margaret Chenowith, the provocative psychiatrist and mother of troubled Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) and Billy (Jeremy Sisto). Joanna played the role of Dana Delaney’s mother and savvy judge in Body of Proof. She received two Genies, Canada’s equivalent to the Oscar and Emmy, for best comedic performance by an actress in a series for her role opposite Jason Priestly in Call Me Fitz.
Joanna’s recent work in TV and films includes Too Late with John Hawkes, Visions with Isla Fisher and Eva Longoria, Perception with Eric McCormack, and Joanna will be starting her third season of Odd Mom Out.
Outside of her demanding work schedule, Joanna remains involved with the visual arts, painting, sculpting and collecting. Over the years, Joanna has become an avid photographer. Transforming her talent in the visual arts, Joanna creates art, beauty and serenity for others with her new love of interior design. She loves to garden, and gets in her workouts taking barre and pilates classes. Much of Joanna’s charity work is with organizations that serve the needs of children, the elderly, and animals. She is currently working on her first book, her memoirs.