Jessica Harper “I’ve never ceased to be very nervous auditioning. I think the biggest challenge was when I auditioned for ‘Phantom of the Paradise.’ … My competition was Linda Ronstadt. I think I blacked out while I was doing it.”
Jessica Harper has a key role in the Luca Guadagnino-directed “Suspiria,” which opens Nov. 2. It’s a nod to her work in Dario Argento’s 1977 original, just one of the many cult films she’s starred in. The list also includes “Shock Treatment” (the sequel to “Rocky Horror Picture Show”), Brian De Palma’s rock musical “Phantom of the Paradise,”“my Favorite Year” with Peter O’toole and “Pennies From Heaven” with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters. Harper’s first professional job came as she joined the Broadway cast of “Hair” in 1969, and her first mention in Variety was Jan. 6, 1971, in a story about NBC’S “Super Plastic Elastic Goggles.” This November, Harper will release “Winnetka,” a 10-episode podcast charting her life from infancy until “Hair.” Harper and her husband, Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman, have two daughters.