• Diane Ladd is a renowned actress with over 120 acting credits to her name.
• She was born in November 1935 in Laurel, Mississippi and raised as a Catholic.
• She was married to fellow actor Bruce Dern and they had two daughters, Laura and Diane Elizabeth.
• She is a cast member of “The Secret Storm”, a long-running CBS soap opera, and has been nominated for Academy and Golden Globe Awards multiple times.
• She is an author, and has a starring role in the drama series “Chesapeake Shores”, along with her daughter Laura and Bruce Dern.
Who is Diane Ladd?
Born in November 1935 in Laurel, Mississippi, USA, Diane Ladd is a renowned actress with over 120 acting credits to her name. She was born Rose Diane Ladner, and brought up as an only child by her parents, Mary Bernadette and Preston Paul Ladner. Mary was an actress and housewife, whereas Preston worked as a veterinarian who sold products for livestock and poultry. Although born in Laurel while the Ladners were visiting relatives for Thanksgiving, the family lived in the nearby town of Meridian.
Some of Diane’s famous relatives include the poet Sidney Lanier and the playwright Tennessee Williams. Honoring her mother’s wishes, the future star was brought up in the Catholic faith. From 1960 to 1969, Diane was married to fellow actor Bruce Dern. The couple birthed two daughters named Diane Elizabeth and Laura – the former tragically died when 18 months old, whereas Laura would follow in her parents’ footsteps and become an actress.
Together, Diane and Laura have co-starred in “Rambling Rose”, “Inland Empire”, “Wild at Heart”, “Citizen Ruth”, and “Enlightened”. They also appeared together in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” and “White Lightning” when Laura was a child. From this, we can surmise that Diane was eager to continue the family legacy with her only living child.
The cause of Diane and Bruce’s divorce remains unclear, but she eventually found love again in 1999, with her second husband, Robert Charles Hunter.
Diane was misdiagnosed with pneumonia in 2018 – doctors gave the actress just six to 12 months to live after she inhaled sprays from the neighboring farms around her home which constricted her esophagus. Laura transferred her mother to another hospital, where she made a full recovery, and soon returned to acting.
The “Chesapeake Shores” star has made it clear that she has no intentions of retiring anytime soon. In an interview with Closer Weekly, Diane said: “Not as long as God lets me breathe and walk. I will never retire until the curtain goes down on this play.” Laura has also spoken about the extra precautions the family took to protect Diane throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as the veteran actress was still considered a high-risk individual, despite her recovery.
In 1971, Diane became a cast member of “The Secret Storm”, a long-running CBS soap opera in which she played Kitty Styles. Three years later, she had a supporting role in Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown”. Her portrayal in 1974 of Flo in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and in 1992, Diane appeared in “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” alongside her mother Mary.
Diane was also nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her roles in “Rambling Rose” and “Wild at Heart” in the early ‘90s; Laura was also nominated for Best Actress for the former movie, making it the first time in Academy Award history that a mother and daughter duo were nominated at the same time. In the same year, Diane and Laura were also nominated for dual Golden Globe Awards.
Before becoming the soap opera powerhouse we know her as, Diane worked in theatre, making her Broadway debut in 1968 with “Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights”. Eight years later, she received a Drama Desk Award nomination for her starring role in “A Texas Trilogy: Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander”. Diane and her family made history once more in November 2010, when she, Laura, and Bruce received adjoining stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Diane is also an author who released her first book, “Spiraling Through The School of Life: A Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Discovery” in April 2006.
Based on Sherryl Woods’ novel series of the same name, “Chesapeake Shores” is a drama series produced by Borderline Distribution in association with Chesapeake Shores Productions Inc. The series premiere lasted two hours and aired on the Hallmark Channel in August 2016. The main stars of the show are Emilie Ullerup, Barbara Niven, Jesse Metcalfe, Andrew Francis, Brendan Penny, Meghan Ory, Treat Williams, Laci J. Mailey, and Diane Ladd who joined as a series regular in 2016.
As the showrunner and executive producer during seasons one and two, John Tinker was an integral part of the series’ development, before being replaced by Phoef Sutton. Jesse Metcalfe’s departure from the series was announced in March 2021, and his shoes were filled by the actor Robert Buckley, who played Abby’s new love interest. The sixth and final season of “Chesapeake Shores” concluded in October 2022.
The premise of the show sees Abby O’Brien Winters return to her hometown of Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, after years of leading a high-paced lifestyle in New York City – Abby’s younger sister, Jess, desperately calls Abby to seek her help in saving her inn from foreclosure. Once back in Chesapeake Shores, Abby – who is already juggling a divorce, motherhood, and demanding career – comes face-to-face with her first love, Trace Riley, whom she abruptly broke-up from over a decade and a half earlier.
Troubled family dynamics and seemingly impossible love stories play an important role in the storylines of “Chesapeake Shores”. At first, Abby views Trace as a nuisance and an obstacle, but they become allies further down the line. When Abby’s estranged mother unexpectedly returns to town after a years-long absence, the fractured O’Brien family is forced to confront various uncomfortable truths.
— Meghan Ory France (@OryMeghanCom) July 10, 2016
Abby O’Brien is Mick and Megan’s eldest daughter. Having left Chesapeake Shores during her adolescence, she found work as a financial analyst in a high-powered New York investment firm, and made a new life for herself in the Big Apple, never expecting to return to her sleepy hometown.
Coming from a broken home herself, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Abby’s marriage to Wes Winters, the father of her two daughters, didn’t work out. Upon briefly returning to Chesapeake Shores for a weekend visit and to help her younger sister Jess, Abby begins reflecting on her seemingly perfect life. In reality, she’s exhausted by the rat race and seriously considering moving closer to her family.
Abby discovers that the situation is much more complicated during an awkward first meeting with her former flame, Trace. She and her workaholic father aren’t on the best of terms either. However, the brunette beauty is determined to let bygones be bygones and rebuild her relationship with her family.
After spending a tranquil summer in Chesapeake Shores, Abby decides to move back to her hometown permanently, bringing her daughters Carrie and Caitlyn with her and transferring to her company’s Baltimore office.
Jess O’Brien is Megan and Mick’s fifth child and youngest daughter. A bubbly and energetic character who is always landing herself in hot water, Jess is known for frequently changing jobs and relying on Abby to bail her out of her numerous crises. When the show begins, Jess has just bought a dilapidated inn that she wishes to transform into a stunning bed and breakfast. Doing so, however, would plunge her into financial disaster, as Jess insists on spending money she doesn’t have on high-end fixtures and appliances.
Despite Abby’s guiding presence in Chesapeake Shores, Jess’s character must go through a long journey of personal growth if she wants the inn to be successful. She must also put the past behind her and forgive her parents for “abandoning” her during her childhood years, as they were both focused on their careers and had little time for her.
Bree O'Brien is passionate, creative, sensitive and beautiful. Tell us about someone you know who's like Bree.
Bree O’Brien is the middle sister, and Mick and Megan’s thirdborn. A walking contradiction, the exuberant blonde is as neurotic as she is charming, and battles with self-esteem and insecurity despite her outwards flamboyance.
As a playwright, Bree’s first work was critically acclaimed, but she suffered the sophomore slump with her latest project, and was unable to recreate her first success. With the label of “beginner’s luck” hanging over her like a bad cloud, Bree is dissatisfied with her professional and personal life, as her relationship with a theater director is a deeply unhappy one.
The anxious creative, who is also suffering from writer’s block, returns home upon receiving news of her grandmother’s illness. Bree must later decide if she wishes to stay in Chesapeake Shores for a much-needed mental recharge, and possible lifestyle change.
Despite enjoying a successful career as a developer and contractor, Mick O’Brien’s obsession with work led to his wife, Megan, walking out on him and their family many years ago. Even so, Mick is unrepentant and wouldn’t change the past, as he considers he was doing his job and providing for his family.
Unable to see how his emotional unavailability has affected his children in different ways, Mick is finally forced to face the truth after a tough conversation with Abby. At long last, the old-school patriarch realizes that it’s time to right his wrongs, and be there for his offspring before it’s too late.
Megan O’Brien is Mick’s ex-wife and the controversial matriarch who walked out on the clan when Abby was just 17 years old. When the show begins, she has made a new life for herself in Manhattan and is working at a museum. Despite having a relationship with some of her children, Megan is largely estranged from the O’Briens and the rest of the community at Chesapeake Shores, but that all changes when Mick summons her back.
It’s interesting to note that despite their differences, Megan and Abby are actually very similar characters, as both suddenly left Chesapeake Shores to pursue new beginnings in New York. The mother-daughter duo often butt heads, but will later realize just how alike they really are.
Trace Riley is Abby’s first love, who left Chesapeake Shores shortly after she did, and lived on the road as a musician. At the beginning of season one, Trace has settled down in his hometown again, and is working as a contractor while deciding his next move. His first interaction with Abby after so many years is awkward, but with time they realize that they are still attracted to each other.
Abby initially plans to return to New York after a few weeks, but when her plans are delayed, Trace makes her wonder if they could rekindle their relationship and go back to how things were. When he and Abby were 16 years old, they planned on buying a beach shack on Spirit Cove, and renovating it. Trace buys the house from Mick six years before season one, which surprises Abby, as she thought her father would never let go of the beach house.
Kevin O’Brien is Mick and Megan’s second-born and the eldest son, and was 15 years old when his parents split. Unlike the rest of the O’Brien siblings, Kevin wasn’t as outwardly affected by Megan leaving town, preferring to bottle his emotions up so as not to worry anyone.
After 9/11, Kevin packed a suitcase and offered to join Megan in New York, as he was worried about her. To date, he and Megan share a close relationship, which is a decidedly sore spot between himself and his younger brother Connor. Originally, Kevin planned on studying at med school, but later enlisted in the army, as he considered it a more noble cause. When the show begins, he has been deployed to Afghanistan three times, and is about to deploy for a fourth tour.
Connor O’Brien is Mick and Megan’s fourth child and the youngest son. His nickname since childhood has been “Duck”, as he was always scared of being hit by a ball, a long-time fear stemming from Connor being accidentally hit in the mouth by a baseball and losing his two front teeth when he was much younger. Ironically, Mick was the one throwing the baseball to show his son that he shouldn’t be afraid of getting hit.
As a child, Connor had many health issues such as ear infections, croup, tonsillitis, and impetigo. He is a neurotic individual who forged a strong bond with his grandmother thanks to his illnesses, as she was the one who took care of him while Megan tended to the other children. Megan is unconsciously jealous of the bond between Connor and his grandmother, whereas he often feels like the odd one out.