Diana Scarwid and movies about terrible mothers, name a more iconic duo. You probably could, but since we’re talking about Diana keep them to yourself, because we’re here to find out about what happened to the Psycho 3 and Mommie Dearest actress after her time in the spotlight and where she is today.
Of course, we’re not diving in directly, you have to get the history lesson first to know what lead us here today. Born on Georgia’s own Tybee Island just off the coast of Savannah in 1955, Diana would have an upper-class upbringing before leaving the historic city at seventeen, bidding Tybee and the lost nuclear warhead off its coast goodbye as she made her way to New York City in a bid to become an actress.
Her early years were spent running guest roles in everything from Kojak to Starsky and Hutch before a small niche in darker dramas while continuing the television circuit.
In 1980 she gained even more acclaim for acting in a television movie about the still recent at the time Jonestown massacre. After further acclaim in Richard Donner’s Inside Moves, Diana would land the role that would make her a controversial figure in Hollywood- Mommy Dearest.
The film would (loosely) adapt Christina Crawford’s memoir about her mother Joan Crawford and their tumultuous relationship. Diana would land the role of Christina as an adult (Mara Hobel played Young Christina), and in turn, would be nominated for a Razzie for her performance.
This wasn’t necessarily her fault as the movie was a pretty obvious mess from Faye Dunaway’s overacting to the rebranding by Universal as a camp comedy after initial reviews were disgusted at best.
The film was also subsequently disowned by Christina, saying that it treated her mother awfully with the portrayal. Do you know how terrible it has to be for Christina to say it portrayed her mother in a bad light? The woman was abusive as hell and her victim STILL said she didn’t deserve that.
While Dunaway claims the film ruined her career, Diana proved it did no such thing for her (probably because everyone on set had horror stories about Dunaway) as she went on to roles over the next decade in Coppola’s Rumble Fish alongside Matt Dillon and landing a part in the surprisingly good threequel to an Alfred Hitchcock classic, Psycho.
Three Psychos? In this Economy?!
While most tend to forget Psycho had sequels, the second and third films actually take a nice twist on Norman Bates and follow him trying to reintegrate into society after he was institutionalized.
The films are close chronologically, with Diana Scarwid coming into the third entry as a suicidal nun on the run who ends up at the Bates Motel not long after a recent string of disappearances in the area. Without spoilers, check these out for a more introspective look at the character of Norman as well as some fun, twisty mysteries.
Acting was just the start of her busy schedule in the eighties though. After marrying her ex-husband in 1978 and the couple would welcome two children before divorcing in 1995.
Diana would take no time off through the coming decades though, working straight through the eighties and starting the 90s with a television remake of Night of the Hunter. The original is essential cinema, the remake is… best left forgotten.
What Ever Happened To Diana Scarwid?
Thankfully she would bounce back with a role in JFK: Reckless Youth, where she played Rose Kennedy alongside Claire Forlani. The miniseries served as a prequel to the president’s public service announcement about the hazards of convertible cars on 11/22/1963. Look, the Secret Service told him having the top down was a bad idea and he said he wanted to anyway. Rookie mistake.
Still, Diana would follow that up with freakin’ Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain alongside Anna Chlumsky and Christina Ricci. Bear Mountain is coming in clutch lately.
Closing out the decade and going into the new century with roles in Ruby Bridges and What Lies Beneath with Harrison Ford would be the lead-in to a more television-focused decade for Diana, guest starring in everything from Law and Order to Lost to Heroes and Pushing Daisies, the woman was everywhere.
Indie film roles came and went for her as well as she continued what looked to be an illustrious career until 2011 when she would take her last role to date with Another Happy Day by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson.
These days Diana has retired from acting and moved back to her hometown of Savannah, drawn back by the radiation of the Air Force’s lost nuclear bomb off the coast.
Just kidding, she’s not Godzilla, and she’s instead working with many non-profits and teaching acting classes throughout the historical city, helping to bring in a new generation of actors and artists from here in the Southeast.
Artists in the Southeast?!
That’s me! Writer here, and I’ve published my first book! It’s been called a swashbuckling, pulpy adventure that leaves you wanting more. Check out Between Sunless Seas to get a heap of adventure along with sky pirates, sword fights, and a very protective evil as you read about Ren’s fall from his airship above a layer of cloud and pollution called The Veil down to a flooded earth. As he falls in with a pirate crew with a scheme to free their own from a corporate labor camp, will he realize there’s more to this world than the spoon-fed life he’s lived?