Harper, Tess 1950(?)–

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HARPER, Tess 1950(?)–


Original name, Tessie Jean Washam; born August 15, 1950 (some sources cite 1952), in Mammoth Spring, AR; married Ken Harper, 1971 (divorced, 1976). Education: Southwest Missouri State University, B.S.; also attended Arkansas State University.


Agent—Don Buchwald and Associates, 6500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2200, Los Angeles, CA 90048; Bauman, Redanty and Shaul, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 473, Los Angeles, CA 90036.


Actress. Performed in dinner theatre, children's theatre, and television commercials in Houston, TX, and Dallas, TX; performed at the theme parks Dogpatch USA in Jasper, AR, and Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, both 1960s.


Screen Actors Guild (vice president, beginning 2001), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Awards, Honors:

Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture, 1984, for Tender Mercies; Academy Award nomination, best actress in a supporting role, 1987, for Crimes of the Heart.


Film Appearances:

Linda Dawson, Silkwood, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1983.

Nancy Baxter, Amityville 3–D (also known as Amityville: The Demon and Amityville III: The Demon), Orion, 1983.

Rosa Lee Wadsworth, Tender Mercies, Universal, 1983.

Ellen, Flashpoint, TriStar, 1984.

Chick Boyle, Crimes of the Heart, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, 1986.

Willa, Ishtar, Columbia, 1987.

Rita, Far North, Alive Films, 1988.

Detective Stillwell, Criminal Law, TriStar, 1989.

Sally Blackwood, Her Alibi, Warner Bros., 1989.

Sara Lee, Daddy's Dyin' … Who's Got the Will?, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1990.

Abigail Trant, The Man in the Moon, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/Pathe, 1991.

Cheryl Hornby, My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, Samuel Goldwyn, 1991.

Pretty Hattie's Baby (also known as The Colors of Love), 1991.

Kimmy Hayes, My New Gun, IRS Releasing, 1992.

Martha Harnish, The Turning (also known as Home Fires Burning and Pocahontas, Virginia), Phaedra Cinema, 1992.

Beth Greene, Dirty Laundry, Hollywood Productions/Rogue Features/Artistic License Films, 1996.

The first lady, The Jackal (also known as The Day of the Jackal, Der Schakal, and Le chacal), Universal, 1997.

Dr. Amanda Giles, The In Crowd, Warner Bros., 2000.

Margaret, Morning, Down Home Entertainment/Incognito Entertainment, 2000.

Rebecca Hodge, The Rising Place, Warner Bros./Flatland Pictures, 2001.

Cindy's mom, No Prom for Cindy (short film), 2002.

Linda Little, Studio City (short film), Blind Mule Productions, 2003.

Liz O'Callahan, Jesus, Mary and Joey, Federal Hill Pictures, 2003.

Lonely Place, c. 2003.

Elizabeth, Loggerheads, Independent Dream Machine/Lasalle Holland, 2005.

Molly Czehowicz (some sources cite Dorothy Homolka), Karla (also known as Deadly), Quantum Entertainment, 2005.

Television Appearances; Series:

Fairlight Spencer, Christy (also known as Catherine Marshall's "Christy"), CBS, 1994–95.

Lois Hobson, Early Edition, CBS, 1998–2000.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Carrie Lee, Chiefs, CBS, 1983.

Susan French, Celebrity (also known as Tommy Thompson's "Celebrity"), NBC, 1984.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Janet Briggs, Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (also known as Starflight One), ABC, 1983.

Lorna Whateley, Kentucky Woman, CBS, 1983.

Gwen Palmer, Promises to Keep, CBS, 1985.

Jeannie Wyler, A Summer to Remember, CBS, 1985.

Meredith Craig, Reckless Disregard, Showtime, 1985.

Ann Burnette, Daddy, ABC, 1987.

Clara Brady, Little Girl Lost, ABC, 1988.

Betty McFall, Incident at Dark River (also known as Dark River—A Father's Revenge and The Smell of Money), TNT, 1989.

Mary Flowers, Unconquered (also known as Invictus), CBS, 1989.

Verna Heath, Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story (also known as Pom Pom Mom and Willing to Kill), ABC, 1992.

Vicky Singer, In the Line of Duty: Siege at Marion (also known as Children of Fury, In the Line of Duty: TheHostage Murders, In the Line of Duty: Standoff at Marion, and Siege at Marion), NBC, 1992.

Assistant district attorney Jerri Sims, Death in Small Doses, ABC, 1995.

Julia Archer, The Road to Galveston, USA Network, 1996.

Linda Grant, A Stranger to Love (also known as Journey Home), CBS, 1996.

Joanna Chandler, A Child's Wish (also known as A Fight for Justice), CBS, 1997.

Tina DeCapprio, The Secret (also known as The Killing Secret and Whatever Happened to Angel?), NBC, 1997.

Narrator and older Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, CBS, 2000.

Voice of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beyond the Prairie, Part 2: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, CBS, 2002.

Mrs. Tompkins, Angel in the Family, The Hallmark Channel, 2004.

Television Appearances; Specials:

NBC 60th Anniversary Celebration, NBC, 1986.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 59th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1987.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Sarah, "Welcome to Winfield," The Twilight Zone, CBS, 1985.

"The Smiths," George Burns Comedy Week, CBS, 1985.

Sarah, "Quarantine," The Twilight Zone, CBS, 1986.

Irene Rutledge, "Simon Says Color Me Dead," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1987.

Patricia Pittman, "Sparky Brackman, R.I.P.?–1987," L.A. Law, NBC, 1987.

Debra "Deb" Krieger, "Post–Op," thirtysomething, ABC, 1990.

Dede, "After the Crash," The Hidden Room, Lifetime, 1993.

Joan, "Matthew's Old Lady," Grace under Fire (also known as Grace under Pressure), ABC, 1997.

Katie Malloy, "Sons of Thunder," Walker, Texas Ranger, CBS, 1997.

Virginia, "Ricochet," Gun (also known as Robert Altman's "Gun"), ABC, 1997.

Betsy Baxter, "The Empty Chair," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 2000.

Julia Barrett, "Bully for You," CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (also known as CSI), CBS, 2001.

Polly Danko, "Oh Mother, Who Art Thou?," The Division (also known as Heart of the City), Lifetime, 2003.

Karen Carmichael, "An Innocent Man" (also known as "You're No Jack McCallister"), Jack & Bobby, The WB, 2004.

May Scott, "Crash Course in Polite Conversations," One Tree Hill, The WB, 2004.

Barbara Nissman, "Sorry I Missed You," Judging Amy, CBS, 2005.

Appeared as Leanne in an episode of Cracker (also known as Fitz), ABC and Arts and Entertainment.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Fairlight Spencer, Christy (also known as Catherine Marshall's "Christy"), CBS, 1994.

Karen Carmichael, Jack & Bobby, The WB, 2004.

Stage Appearances:

Macon Hill, Abundance, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York City, 1990.



Herself, Miracles & Mercies (short documentary), Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2002.



OzarksWatch, Volume IV, number 2, 1990.

Playboy, December, 1988, p. 202.