Screen star returns to grace the Sussex stage

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The Independent Online
Screen actress Kathleen Turner yesterday swapped the glamour of America's west coast for England's south coast, when she opened in a new production of Somerset Maugham's play, Our Betters, at the Chichester Festival. It will be her second Chichester theatre stint, following her starring role in Tallulah! at the Chichester Festival Theatre last month.

Ms Turner, who was Hollywood's biggest-grossing female star of the 1980s, said she had been lured from the US by the challenge of the theatre. "I'm putting myself on the line because stage work is more rewarding and has that edge. In films you are given a safety net, but in the theatre no one is there to cover up your mistakes," she said.

Her salary will be far from movie-star standards; she will receive about pounds 500 a week. "This is not about how much money one is paid," she said earlier this year.

Ms Turner is familiar with England, having lived with her family in London as a teenager, while her father was consul at the American Embassy. At the age of 17, she had been about to enrol in a London drama school when he suffered a heart attack and died. The family returned to Springfield, Missouri, and she embarked on an acting career in America.

At the age of 25, she landed the role that was to change her career: the seductive Maddy Walker opposite William Hurt in the 1981 thriller Body Heat. She followed that with box office hits such as Prizzi's Honour, Crimes of Passion, Peggy Sue Got Married, Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile.

She lives in New York with her husband of 14 years, Jay Weiss and their six-year-old daughter, Rachel.

Ms Turner has not confined her talents to the stage; she has three films out before Christmas. Her recent work includes a comedy with Matthew Modine, Real Blondes, a singing voice-over for Lion King II and a comic fantasy in which she plays a fairy godmother.

Jojo Moyes