Piper Laurie, Horror Icon Known for Carrie Role, Dies at 91

Actress Piper Laurie, best known for her Oscar-nominated performance as the fanatical Margaret White in the 1976 horror film Carrie, has passed away at the age of 91.

Laurie’s chilling portrayal of Carrie’s abusive, religiously extremist mother in the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel cemented her reputation as one of Hollywood’s most talented actresses in sinister roles. Her unhinged yet complex performance as the domineering Margaret White stole scenes opposite rising star Sissy Spacek as the tormented title character.

Despite having only a supporting part, Laurie lit up the screen with her intense and nuanced acting as the unbalanced Margaret. Her dramatic monologues and crazed behavior showed both the sinister side and underlying pain of the character. Movie critics praised Laurie for bringing such a dynamic range to the role of Margaret, making her both fearsome and pitiful.

The actress scored an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for embodying White’s intense presence. Her committed performance, alternating between quietly sinister and explosively violent, became an iconic touchstone in horror cinema. Though best known for this standout role in Carrie, Laurie had already established herself as a versatile talent in an acclaimed acting career spanning over 50 years in Hollywood. She continued to take on notable roles in various films both before and after her chilling turn in Carrie.

She appeared in a variety of films ranging from drama to comedy, including notable roles in The Hustler, Twin Peaks, and Children of a Lesser God. But it was Carrie that allowed Laurie to display the full force of her acting abilities and leave an indelible mark on movie history. She made Margaret White a layered, chilling villain that would influence frightening maternal figures in films for decades to come.

Laurie’s passing marks the loss of a versatile actress capable of projecting subtle grace or eager malevolence into her parts. But her legendary role as Carrie’s terrifying yet pitiful mother will continue to haunt and captivate audiences. Her contribution to one of cinema’s greatest horror films will not be forgotten.