That return to the profession came via 1976’s “Carrie,” Brian De Palma’s nightmare-inducing adaptation of a book by a newcomer on the horror fiction scene, Stephen King. King’s novel tells a story of a superpowered teen girl who eventually snaps after being shaped by the alienation of her peers and abuse at the hands of her mother. Laurie took on that terrifying mother role, and while retrospectives tend to focus on pigs blood-drenched Carrie, with Laurie’s performance Margaret White became — and remains — the scariest part of De Palma’s adaptation. Even now, Sissy Spacek still credits Laurie’s performance as the impetus for her own absorbing performance in the film.
Laurie’s career continued to flourish after “Carrie.” She appeared in memorable roles in the frightful fantasy film “Return to Oz,” grabbed another Oscar nomination for a turn in the 1986 drama “Children of a Lesser God” (her second was for “Carrie”), and played Magda Goebbels in the World War II era TV movie “The Bunker.” She popped up in Robert Rodriguez’s “The Faculty” and on the much-loved sitcom “Frasier,” and earned Emmy nods for her roles in “The Thorn Birds” and “St. Elsewhere” (she even won one for the 1986 TV movie “Promise”). One of her most enduring roles, though, came in 1990, when she was cast in David Lynch and Mark Frost’s surreal, influential mystery series “Twin Peaks.”