Carroll Baker

  • Born: (Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United States)

Carroll Baker (born: Karolina Piekarski) is a retired American actress of Polish origin of film, stage, and television. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Baker's range of roles from young ingénues to brash and flamboyant women established her as both a pin-up and serious dramatic actress. After studying under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, Baker began performing on Broadway in 1954. From there she was recruited by director Elia Kazan to play the lead in the adaptation of two Tennessee Williams plays. Her role in the film as a coquettish but sexually naïve Southern bride earned her BAFTA and Oscar nominations for Best Actress, as well as a Golden Globe award for Most Promising Newcomer that year.

In the mid-1960s, as a contract player for Paramount Pictures, Baker became a sex symbol. The film's producer, Joseph E. Levine, cast her in the potboiler Sylvia before giving her the role of Jean Harlow in the biopic Harlow (1965). Baker relocated to Italy in 1966 amid a legal dispute over her contract with Paramount and Levine's overseeing of her career. In Europe, she spent the next 10 years starring in hard-edged giallo and horror films.

Baker appeared in supporting roles in several acclaimed dramas in the 1980s. She formally retired from acting in 2002. In addition to acting, Baker is also the author of two autobiographies and a novel.

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