Gina Gershon Biography (1962-)

Sultry, dark-eyed, brunette leading mixes a muscular toughness with her seductive femininity. Born the youngest of five children, raised in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Gershon gets her exotic looks from her French, Russian, and Dutch heritage. After high school, she decided she wanted a more sophisticated image than those usually attributed to Valley Girls like herself and so moved to the Big Apple, to earn a bachelor of arts degree at New York University. While in New York, she studied acting with such well-known teachers as Sandra Seacat, David Mamet, and Harold Guskin. She started out in theater and worked on both coasts.

Since the mid-’80s, Gershon has carved out a living as a reliable character actress on both the big and the small screens. Her most notable role on the tube was that of Nancy Sinatra, the famous wife of Old Blue Eyes himself, in the CBS miniseries Sinatra (1994). Gershon made her feature film debut playing a small role opposite Molly Ringwald in 1986’s Pretty in Pink, and graduated to the jucier role of of Coral opposite Tom Cruise in Cocktail (1988). Through the 1990s, Gershon vascillated between high-brow and low-brow fare, the former exemplified by her memorable turns in John Sayles’s City of Hope (1991), Robert Altman’s The Player (1992), and Michael Mann’s The Insider (1999); the latter, by her gleeful, scenery-chewing work in Best of the Best 3 and the infamous Showgirls (both 1995). Gershon’s signature role, however, was a synthesis of B-movie pulp and indie smarts, courtesy of the Wachowski brothers’ twisty 1996 neo-noir Bound. Cast as a woman falling in love with an abusive gangster’s moll, Gershon was able to radiate an intelligence, sexuality, and power not afforded her by previous scripts, and the lead part would go a long way in establishing her screen persona into the new millenium.

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