Karen Black, From 'Easy Rider' and 'Five Easy Pieces' To Cult Movie Siren

By Jacob Shelton
Karen Black and Kris Kristofferson in 'Cisco Pike,' 1971. (Photo by John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Fans of cult cinema from the 1960s to the ‘80s and beyond know Karen Black as the multi-talented, sensual actress who naturally fit into quirky films like Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, and Robert Altman’s Nashville just as well as she did horror gems like Trilogy of Terror and Burnt Offerings.

Black was a different kind of actress. She decided that she wanted to do something and went after it with a fervor that’s rarely seen in modern performers. With 194 credits to her name, Black’s icon status has been cemented through her roles as both an anti-hero and performer who plays off of anti-heroes. No matter what kind of character she played, she was willful and distinct. She was always Karen Black.