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Lisa Suzanne Blount (1957–2010)

Lisa Blount was an actress who appeared in numerous films and television shows, most notably as Lynette Pomeroy in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Along with her husband, actor Ray McKinnon, she received an Academy Award for the 2002 short film The Accountant.

Lisa Suzanne Blount was born on July 1, 1957, in Fayetteville (Washington County) to Glen Roscoe Blount and Louise Martin Blount, natives of Floral (Independence County); she had one brother, Greg. The family moved to Jacksonville (Pulaski County). Blount graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1975 and attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville, beginning classes there when she was sixteen; she left UA before graduating in order to pursue an acting career.

Blount’s movie career began in earnest at age nineteen when she was chosen to play a lead role in September 30, 1955, which was shot in Conway (Faulkner County) and released in 1977. Written and directed by James Bridges, it starred Richard Thomas, Dennis Quaid, and Thomas Hulce. Though surrounded by accomplished actors, Blount’s vivid portrayal of a James Dean–obsessed girl named Billie Jean stood out among her more well-known co-stars.

Blount married cinematographer actor Christopher Tufty on March 19, 1982; they later divorced. She married Ray McKinnon in 1998. She had no children.

Blount is best remembered for her 1982 role in An Officer and a Gentleman. The movie won two Academy Awards and was nominated for four others. Her screen character—the ambitious, cynical, and insecure Lynette Pomeroy—is the best friend of Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger). The two start dating U.S. Navy officer candidates. Lynette’s boyfriend, Sid Worley (David Keith), commits suicide; she had refused to marry him because he dropped out of the navy’s officer training program. As a result of her performance in An Officer and a Gentleman, Blount was voted “Favorite Female Newcomer” in 1983 by an US magazine readers’ poll.

Blount added television roles to her repertoire. She received critical plaudits for her appearance in the second season of Moonlighting in the episode “Sleep Talkin’ Guy” in 1986. She played a high-class call girl named Toby, whose client talked in his sleep, revealing details of planned murders. Another memorable role was that of Jim Profit’s outrageous stepmother Bobbi Stakowski in the short-lived but critically acclaimed Fox series Profit. She appeared in eight episodes in 1996 and 1997.

Blount was given a key role in director John Carpenter’s horror film Prince of Darkness in 1987, in which she appeared as the love interest to Jameson Parker. As a result of her appearance in this and a few other horror movies, she was sometimes referred to by the press as a “scream queen” star.

Blount and McKinnon received an Academy Award in 2002 for a live-action short film she produced and he directed titled The Accountant, which concerned the plight of American family farms. Many critics believe that Blount’s most poignant role was in the 2004 movie Chrystal, which was written, directed, and co-produced by McKinnon, who also played the character Snake in the film. The movie co-starred fellow Arkansan Billy Bob Thornton and was shot in the Eureka Springs (Carroll County) area.

Following the making of Chrystal in 2004, Blount and McKinnon moved back to her home state of Arkansas after several years of living in Los Angeles, California. This was in part due to Blount’s failing health. She continued to be active and was working on several projects. She shot a pilot for the FX television network series Outlaw Country with fellow Arkansan Mary Steenburgen, recorded demos for a music project on which she had been working, performed on stage with Eddie Vedder at a rally for the West Memphis Three, and continued the work of designing and remodeling her historic home in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Her last big-screen appearance was as Charlotte Pearson in Randy and the Mob (2007), her husband’s crime comedy shot in Atlanta, Georgia.

Blount died on October 25, 2010, at her home in Little Rock after spending seventeen years fighting a chronic illness called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). She is buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Floral. She had been inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame on September 9, 2010, shortly before her death.

For additional information:
“Lisa Blount.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, October 31, 2010, p. 8B.

“Lisa Blount.” Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0089408/?ref_=nv_sr_1 (accessed January 5, 2016).

Martin, Philip. “Ozark Gothic.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 8, 2005, pp. 1E, 8E.

Kenneth Rorie
Van Buren, Arkansas

Last Updated 12/16/2016

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