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Isabelle Huppert Isabelle Adjani
Kim Basinger - Goddesses of the Silver Screen
1239    Dibyendu Banerjee    20/12/2021

Born Kimila Ann Basinger in Athens, Georgia on 8 December 1946, Kim Basinger is an American model-turned-actress, whose both parents were attached to the entertainment world. While her father, Donald Wade Basinger, was a big-band musician, her mother, Ann Lee was a model, actress and swimmer, who had also performed water ballet in several movies by Esther Williams. According to her own confession, she was introvert and extremely shy during her childhood and young adulthood, even preferred to remain silent in school. However, her parents had Kim study ballet from an early age of three to her mid-teens, which miraculously helped her to overcome the problem and by her mid-teens, she became confident and successfully auditioned for the school cheerleading team.

kim basinger

Free from her inborn inhibitions and brimming with confidence,the once-shy Kim entered America's Junior Miss Scholarship Pageant, won at the city level and was crowned Athens Junior Miss. Although she did not win at the state level Junior Miss Georgia title, she competed at the state level for the Breck Scholarship and was prized with an offer of appearing in an advertisement for Breck in a joint portrait with her mother.

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By that time, Kim had blossomed to a 5' 7" tall blond beauty with deep blue eyes, sensuously pouting mouth and a graceful dancer’s body, which helped her to bag a contract with the Ford Modelling Agency. After the culmination of her deal with Ford Agency, she appeared on dozens of magazine covers and in hundreds of advertisements, most notably as the Breck Shampoo girl, throughout the early 1970s. However, despite earning around a thousand dollars per day as a top model, she never enjoyed modelling and alternated between working as a model and attending acting classes at the neighbourhood Playhouse, as well as performing as a part-time singer in Greenwich Village clubs.

kim basinger

After five years of modelling, Kim moved to Los Angelis with the hope of becoming an actress and got the opportunity to make guest appearances on several television series, which included Charlie’s Angels, McMillan & Wife, Dog and Cat and others.However, soon he played her first title character in the TV movie Katie: Portrait of a Centrefold in 1978, in which she played a small town girl who arrives Hollywood to become an actress, but quickly learns the realities of the business after attending an unethical modelling school and winds up becoming a famous centrefold for a men's magazine.

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After that, she played the role of Lorene Rogers, a prostitute, in the miniseries remake of From Here to Eternity in 1979/1980. Apart from posing nude for the men’s magazine Playboy in 1981, she also made her feature debut in the critically well-received Texas drama Hard Country (1981), followed by Mother Load (1982), directed by Charlton Heston.

kim basinger
In Never Say Never Again (1983) with Sean Connery

However, her breakthrough role as the Bond girl Domino Petachi in Never Say Never Again (1983), opposite Sean Connery, brought her light to public notice. Kim used her 1981 Playboy shoot, not published till then, to promote her seducing role in the film, which grossed $160 million. In their review, The Washington Post remarked that in the film, Kim Basinger looked like a curvaceous kinfolk of Liv Ullman and she certainly has something in her. Later, Kim confessed that her subsequent Playboy appearance led her to further opportunities, such as the role of the temptress and the romantic interest of a baseball team star in The Natural (1984), directed by Barry Levinson, opposite Robert Redford. For her performance in the film, Kim Basinger earned her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress and after that also won praise for her role in Robert Altman’s Fool for Love (1985).

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However, her most controversial appearance was in Adrian Lyne's controversial and sexually explicit erotic drama 9½ Weeks (1986) with Mickey Rourke, about a woman, acting as the responsible assistant of an art gallery, who impulsively got involved in an impersonal affair with a man whom she barely knows. Although Rourke and Basinger portrayed the characters and their relationship convincing and the film was praised by critics like Roger Ebert, it failed at the North American box office. However, it performed well in Europe, and quickly acquired a large American fan base on home video.

kim basinger
In 9½ Weeks (1986)

In the same year, Kim appearedin the thrilling crime drama No Mercy (1986), opposite Richard Gere and after that, starred with Bruce Willis in the romantic comedy Blind Date (1987), with Jeff Bridges in Nadine (1987), directed by Robert Bentonand with Dan Aykroyd in My Stepmother is an Alien (1988). While all these films helped to establish her as an actress, her best-known role was as the photojournalist Vicki Vale in Tim Burton’s blockbuster hit Batman (1989), in which she was the last-minute replacement for Sean Young. With over US$400 million in box office totals, the highest-grossing film of her career, it took her to a career high.

kim basinger
In The Batman (1984)

Following the mammoth success of Batman, Basinger played a glamorous singer in the comedy The Marrying Man (1991), opposite Alec Baldwin and also shared the screen with Richard Gere in the neo-noir Final Analysis (1992), playing the role of a woman married to a Greek mobster, who got romantically involved with her sister's psychiatrist. She also portrayed the role of Karen McCoy, a woman recently released from prison in the crime thriller The Real McCoy (1993), a woman named Honey Hornée in the comedy Wayne's World 2(1993), the wife of a former con in the thriller The Getaway (1994) and breathlessly dim-witted cable reporter in Robert Altman’s comedy Prêt-à-Porter (1994).

kim basinger
In The Getaway (1994)

Although she took a break in the mid-1990s, Kim Basinger came back with a bang as the high-class hooker in Curtis Hanson’s neo-noir L.A Confidential (1997). Her brilliant performance in the film as Lynn Bracken, a Veronica Lake look-alike in a stable of prostitutes who have been surgically altered to resemble the top female stars of the early 1950s, earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, marking the distinction of the only actress who has both posed nude in Playboy and won an Academy Award.

kim basinger
In L.A Confidential (1997)

Following her Oscar win, Basinger portrayed writer and environmentalist Kuki Gallmann in I Dreamed of Africa (2000). Although budgeted at US$50 million and the film was shot on the personal ranch of Kuki and in South African game preserves, the film was both a commercial and critical failure. Her other films during the decade include, among others, 8 Mile (2002), in which she appeared as the alcoholic mother of an aspiring rapper, The Door in the Floor (2004), a drama with heavy sexual themes, Cellular (2004), a thriller, in which she played a wealthy high school biology teacher taken hostage in her home, The Sentinel (2006), a political thriller, portraying the First Lady of the United States, opposite Michael Douglas, and a mother having extramarital affairs in The Burning Plain (2008). Apart from that, Besinger produced and starred in While She Was Out (2008), in which she appeared as a suburban housewife who is forced to fend for herself when she becomes stranded in a bleak and remote forest with four murderous thugs. In her next film, The Informers (2009), featuring adventures laced with sex, drugs and violence and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, she starred as the chronically depressed wife of a jaded film executive.

kim basinger

Kim Basinger appeared in several important films during the next decade, which include the Nigerian drama Black November (2012) and a sports comedy Grudge Match (2012), starring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone. After playing Judith Kuttner in Shane Black’s neo-noir Nice Guys (2016), about the investigation of a missing girl and the mysterious death of a porn star, she appeared in Fifty Shades Darker (2017) and Fifty Shades Freed (2018), both based on E.L. James’s series of erotic novels.

kim basinger
With Musician Prince Rogers Nelson

Long before she flourished as a star, Kim Basinger dated with model Tim Saunders, photographer Dale Robinette and football player Joe Namath, before she married the makeup artist Ron Snyder-Britton on 12 October 1980, whom she met while filming Hard Country. However, after nine years of their marriage, the pair divorced just before Christmas 1989 and Kim had to pay him $9,000 monthly alimony for eight years. Later, in his memoir titled Longer than Forever, published in 1998, Britton maintained that during their conjugal life, Kim had an affair with her co-star Richard Gere. By that time, before the settlement of her divorce, Basinger was involved in romantic relationships with hairdresser/producer Jon Peters, as well as with musician Prince Rogers Nelson, who did the soundtrack album for Batman and also produced her unreleased 1989 album Hollywood Affair. After that, she was shortly involved with fitness trainer Phil Walsh and fashion designer Alexio Gandara.

kim basinger
With her second husband Alec Baldwin

She met her second husband, Alec Baldwin in 1990, while portraying a glamorous singer in The Marrying Man, in which they played lovers. They were married on 19 August 1993 in East Hampton, New York and starred together again in the 1994 remake of The Getaway. Despite their individual careers continued to thrive after the marriage, their marriage did not last long. The couple separated in 2000 and divorced in 2002, but their angry and bitter parting, particularly their long legal battle over the custody of their daughtercontinued to make headlines for years, It was reported that after her divorce, Basinger was romantically involved with Eminem, her co-star in 8 Mile, which was subsequently denied by the rapper in a 2002 interview. Nothing came to light about her any further relationship until 2014, when she began dating Mitch Stone, whom she met while doing her hair on a movie set. Since then, the couple wear matching gold bands and have moved in together.

kim basinger

Instigated by some of her family members, Kim purchased the bulk of the privately owned land in the small town of Braselton, Georgia, measuring 1,691 acres in 1989, for $20 million, intending to establish it as an interesting tourist attraction with movie studios and a film festival. However, faced with financial contingency, she started to sell parts of it off in 1995. Her financial difficulties were exacerbated when she pulled out of the controversial film Boxing Helena (1993), resulting in a legal suit by the studio against her, claiming US$ 8.1 million as compensation. When the judgment of the case went against her, she filed for bankruptcy and appealed the jury's decision to a higher court, which sided with her and the claim was settled for $3.8 million.

As a recognition for her contribution in the cinematic arts, with more than fifty credits in film and television productions, Kim Basinger has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of fame.

Isabelle Huppert Isabelle Adjani
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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