Oscar Actors: Snodgress, Carrie (Nominee)–Background, Career, Awards

Research in Progress (Jan 26, 2021)

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Caroline Louise Snodgress (October 27, 1945–April 1, 2004) is best remembered for her role in the film Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970), for which she was nominated for Oscar and BAFTA Award as well as winning two Golden Globes and two Laurel Awards.

Born in Barrington, Illinois, Snodgress attended Maine Township High School East in Park Ridge, then Northern Illinois University before leaving to pursue acting.

She trained for the stage at the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago (now at DePaul University).

After a number of minor TV appearances, her film debut was an uncredited appearance in Easy Rider in 1969 and a credited appearance in 1970 in Rabbit, Run.

Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970) earned her a nomination for the Best Actress Oscar and two Golden Globe wins.

She left acting soon after to live with musician Neil Young and care for their son Zeke, who was born with mild cerebral palsy.

She returned to acting in 1978 in The Fury.

According to Sylvester Stallone, The first choice for Adrian (in the movie Rocky) was a girl named Carrie Snodgress, who I wanted badly because, at the time, I wanted Adrian’s family to be Irish and Harvey Keitel would be the brother. She said there wasn’t enough money in it (we were getting paid $360 before taxes), so I said “I’ll give you my share, I truly want you.” She passed to do a part in Buffalo Bill and the Indians, which never happened for her.

Rocky director John G. Avildsen cast Snodgress in two of his later films: A Night in Heaven and 8 Seconds.

Neil Young’s song “A Man Needs a Maid” was inspired by Snodgress, featuring the lyric “I fell in love with the actress / she was playing a part that I could understand.” The song “Motion Pictures” from On the Beach is also inspired by their relationship.

She and Young split in 1974, and his song “Already One” bookends their relationship. Later she and musician and film score composer Jack Nitzsche became lovers.

Nitzsche had previously worked with Young on several albums. In 1979, Nitzsche was charged with threatening to kill her after he barged into her home and beat her with a handgun. He pleaded guilty to threatening her, was fined, and placed on three years’ probation.

Her Broadway debut came in 1981 with A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking.

She also appeared in All the Way Home, Oh! What a Lovely War!, Caesar and Cleopatra, Tartuffe, The Balcony and The Boor (all at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago); and Curse of the Starving Class at the Tiffany Theatre (in Los Angeles).

Other films include Murphy’s Law, White Man’s Burden, Pale Rider and Blue Sky. She also worked extensively in television.

While waiting for a liver transplant, Snodgress was hospitalized in Los Angeles, where she died of heart failure on April 1, 2004, at age 58.