Kim Basinger holds the distinction of being the only actress who has both won an Academy Award and posed nude for Playboy. Her career has been long and, for the most part, very successful. It’s been a while, though, since we’ve seen her on the big screen, so what has the award-winning actress been up to lately?
THE SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL KIM BASINGER
Even though thousands and thousands told Kim Basinger early on just how beautiful she was, it was never something she was comfortable with. Her early career consisted mainly of modeling as she finally accepted, after first turning them down, a job to model for the Ford Modeling Agency. Modeling, though, was never her forte.
“It was very hard to go from one booking to another and always have to deal with the way I looked,” Basinger explained in the James Robert Parish book, The Hollywood Book of Extravagance: The Totally Infamous, Mostly Disastrous, and Always Compelling Excesses of America’s Film and TV Idols. “I couldn’t stand it. I felt myself choking.”
While Kim Basinger struggled with the thought of her appearance, she became one of the top models throughout the early to mid-’70s, gaining her top status as a Breck Shampoo girl. The modeling finally became too much for her, so she quit the modeling gig in 1976, which is sort of ironic since she appeared in the buff a number of times in Playboy.
Acting was what Kim Basinger truly wanted to do with her life and her good looks opened the door for her. To walk through, though, she needed talent. Her first gigs revolved around either television series or television movies. She was seen on TV series such as Gemini Man, Charlie’s Angels, The Six Million Dollar Man, McMillan & Wife, and Dog and Cat. Her TV movie career began with The Ghost of Flight 401 and Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold. Basinger was also a big part of the mini-series remake of From Here to Eternity which also turned into a TV series.
For Kim Basinger, these early roles on television were simply her building blocks for her bigger goal – feature films. She got her first opportunity right after her From Here to Eternity TV series ended. Her first feature came in the 1981 movie Hard Country where she starred opposite Jan Michael Vincent. She then went on to star with screen legend Charlton Heston and Nick Mancuso in Mother Lode before making a big splash on the big screen opposite another screen legend Sean Connery.
Somehow, with all her self-proclaimed body issues, Kim Basinger posed for Playboy. Her shoot was in 1981 but was not published until 1983. She used this to promote her taking on the coveted role as Domino Petachi in Sean Connery’s return as James Bond in Never Say Never Again. Both her pictorial in Playboy and her performance in the James Bond movie were wild successes.
KIM BASINGER GETS MORE COMFORTABLE
With Playboy and Bond in her rearview, Kim Basinger became more and more comfortable in her skin as well as showing it off to all that would watch. First, though, she would use the notoriety that Playboy gave her to her advantage by grabbing roles in The Man Who Loved Women opposite Burt Reynolds and The Natural opposite Robert Redford. All this would lead Basinger to the most controversial role in her career, that playing the opposite to Mickey Rourke in the erotic film, 9 ½ Weeks. Think of this film as pre-50 Shades of Grey.
The pairing of Basinger and Rourke was, at first, an odd pairing. English director Adrian Lyne was responsible for bringing the two together, as well as being their biggest cheerleader when the two had to perform their sex scenes. The movie involved a bunch of S & M as well as a lot of food as foreplay.
The movie crossed many boundaries causing it to be heavily edited for U.S. audiences. It also bombed at the box office though over time Lyne has presented a recut version that has become somewhat of a cult classic.
KIM BASINGER’S FINANCIAL RUIN…
9 ½ Weeks did not derail Kim Basinger’s career. After that bomb, she continued to find starring roles. She was seen in No Mercy, Blind Date, Nadine, and My Stepmother is an Alien before landing a big role as Michael Keeton’s love interest, Vicki Vale, in Tim Burton’s Batman. That movie was a wild success and kept Basinger in the spotlight.
Throughout the early ‘90s, Kim Basinger would continue to make movies. But she would also make a bad decision or two that led to her financial ruin. The first came in 1989 when she was convinced by certain family members to purchase land in the small town of Braselton, Georgia in hopes of turning the area into a tourist attraction that included movie studios and film festivals. The investment cost her $20 million and was never seen to fruition.
Her second financial faux pas came in 1991 when, after signing the contract, she decided to pass on the movie Boxing Helena, a movie in which the title character has her arms and legs cut off by an obsessed doctor. The movie’s producers sued Basinger for breach of contract, awarding them $8.1 million. She eventually settled with the producers for $3.8 million, though she also filed for bankruptcy. Sherilyn Fenn eventually took the role.
…LEADS TO ACADEMY SUCCESS
The highlight, or one of the two which Kim Basinger called “the most pleasurable of her career” came in 1997 after Basinger had taken a couple of years away from the movie screen. L.A. Confidential was Basinger’s comeback film and man did she deliver. The film delivered as well, gaining critical praise for the entire cast, along with director Curtis Hanson and his co-writer Brian Helgeland.
The film was based on the James Ellroy novel of the same name and brought with it nine Academy Award nominations, taking home two. Kim Basinger won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Lynn Bracken, a high-class hooker who is made up to look like Hollywood starlet Veronica Lake. The movie also took home the Academy for Best Adapted Screenplay.
THE 2000S AND BEYOND
Kim Basinger continued to find work throughout the 2000s. Curtis Hanson brought her back for 8 Mile, playing the alcoholic mother of rapper wannabe Eminem. She would star in the underrated crime thriller Cellular opposite Chris Evans and then in another crime thriller The Sentinel.
As Kim Basinger entered the 2010’s, she took on fewer and fewer roles. Charlie St. Cloud brought her into the decade that also saw her in films such as Third Person, Grudge Match with Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, The 11th Hour, a small part in The Nice Guys which saw her return to the screen with her L.A. Confidential co-star Russell Crowe, and Fifty Shades Darker.
Kim Basinger’s last big-screen role came in as uncredited in the follow-up, Fifty Shades Freed. That was two years ago and since that time, Basinger has been quiet on the film front.
Two years ago was also the last time Kim Basinger was photographed at all. Here’s the last photo of herself she posted on her Instagram, back in 2019…
Throughout her career, Kim Basinger has always found a way to rise to the top. She leaned on her beauty early on to establish herself, then showed the world her true talent. Hopefully she will find her way back a few more times to the big screen but if not, she has definitely left a lasting impression.