Patricia Clarkson (born December 29, 1959) is an American actress. Clarkson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Jackie (a locally prominent member of the City Council) and Buzz Clarkson. She studied drama at Fordham University, where she graduated summa cum laude, and earned her MFA at the Yale School of Drama before making her film debut in The Untouchables in 1987.
Clarkson starred in a series of high-profile films in her early career, including The Dead Pool, Rocket Gibraltar and Everybody's All-American.
She starred in the short-run television series Davis Rules, and in the miniseries Alex Haley's Queen. Other television appearances have included the role of "Aunt Sara" in Six Feet Under, for which she won an Emmy Award.
In 2000 she starred in The Green Mile, and in 2002 in Far from Heaven. In 2003 she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Pieces of April - in which she plays an acerbic mother dying of terminal cancer. Clarkson garnered critical acclaim for her work in The Station Agent (2003). Some film enthusiasts note her the talent as a character actor.
In an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live in December of 2004, comedienne Phyllis Diller announced that a biopic of her life is in the works. The screenplay about Diller's early years in show business is in preproduction and Clarkson, according to Hollywood columnist Marilyn Beck, is slated to play Diller, for a film due in 2006.