One of three children (she has two brothers, Greg and Don), Dianne Wiest was born in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Her mother, Anne Stewart (Keddie), was a nurse from Auchtermuchty, Scotland, and her father, Bernard John Wiest, was a college dean and social worker who was born in Pennsylvania, of German and Croatian descent. Dianne's original ambition was to be a ballerina, but she was bitten by the acting bug after some stage work, most notably playing Desdemona to James Earl Jones' Othello on Broadway. She made her film debut in 1980, but did not make a name for herself until her performance as Emma, a prostitute during the 1930s Depression, in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). Allen was so impressed by Wiest's acting ability that he has directed her on four more occasions since. Under Allen's direction, Wiest won a well deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, for her brilliant performance as the neurotic, wannabe actress Holly in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). She followed her Academy Award success with performances in The Lost Boys (1987) and Bright Lights, Big City (1988) before stealing the show from the likes of Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Keanu Reeves and Martha Plimpton in Ron Howard's Parenthood (1989).
Playing Helen Buckman, the divorced mother of two difficult teenagers, Wiest was both touching and hilarious, and received her second Oscar nomination. Arguably her most beloved role came as Peg Boggs, the kindly Avon Lady who discovers the titular Edward Scissorhands (1990). Wiest returned to Woody Allen for Bullets Over Broadway (1994), a superb comedy film set in 1920s New York, winning her second Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her magnificent portrayal of Helen Sinclair, a boozy, glamorous and neurotic star of the stage, who could made the words "Don't speak!" the funniest sentence ever captured on film. Recently enjoying great success with witchy roles in the comedy film Practical Magic (1998) and the television miniseries The 10th Kingdom (2000), Dianne Wiest lives in New York City with her two adopted daughters, Emily and Lily.More