Lori Singer (born November 6, 1957) is an American actress and cellist. She is perhaps best known for her role as Ariel Moore, the female lead in the 1984 feature film Footloose, and as Julie Miller in the television series Fame.

Early life and musical career

Singer was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. She grew up in a musical family: her father, Jacques Singer, was a conductor and protégé of Leopold Stokowski, and her mother, Leslie, is a concert pianist. Her brother is the actor Marc Singer, and her cousin is noted director/writer/producer Bryan Singer. As a child, she was often around such luminaries as Leonard Bernstein. Singer is Jewish.

A Juilliard-trained cellist, she was a student of Leonard Rose. Singer made her debut as soloist at age thirteen with the Oregon Symphony. Singer has performed in public on such stages as the Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall. She plays the cello in Short Cuts, Fame, and also in Sarabande (1997), a short film by Atom Egoyan which is part of the Inspired by Bach series. Singer performed as soloist at Carnegie Hall in January 2008, premiering a hymn written by Karl Jenkins in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Film and television career

Singer first came to notice when she was cast as dancer and cellist Julie Miller, one of the high school students, during the Fame (1982-83) TV series' first two seasons. The part was created for her. After starring as Ariel Moore, the female lead in Footloose (1984), she starred in a number of other movies, including The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) directed by John Schlesinger and starring Sean Penn, and The Man with One Red Shoe (also 1985) with Tom Hanks. Her role in Trouble in Mind (1985) led to her nomination for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead.

Singer has also had roles in Equinox (1992), Summer Heat (1987), Warlock (1989), Sunset Grill (1993), F.T.W. (1984), and the Robert Altman film Short Cuts (1993). She was awarded a Golden Globe as an actor for "Best Ensemble" for Short Cuts.

The Short Cuts cast won awards for best ensemble at the 50th Venice International Film Festival and the 51st Golden Globe Awards. She also won Newcomer of the Year at ShoWest for her role in the TV movie Born Beautiful (1982). In 1995, she played Sydney Bloom, the lead character in the science fiction TV series VR.5. In addition to her acting, she produced Summer Heat and was involved in the creative conception of VR.5.

On May 4, 2011, Singer returned to television with a guest-starring role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

In 2013, Singer executive produced with Sheila Nevins, HBO and Jessica Kingdon the documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, directed by Alex Gibney. In 2012 the film won the Grierson Award at the London Film Festival, and it won the Chicago International Film Festival's award. In 2013, the film won the "Best Feature Documentary" category in the Irish Film and Television Awards. In the United States, the film was nominated for five prime-time Emmy awards; it won three: "Exceptional Merit in Documentary Film Making", "Outstanding Writing", and "Best Editor"—Sloane Klevin. The film was short-listed for the Academy Awards in 2013 and was nominated for a Writers Guild Award. In 2014 the documentary was awarded a Peabody Award.


YearFilmRoleOther notes
1982-1983FameJulie MillerNBC Television series
1983Born BeautifulJodi BelcherMade-for-TV movie, Won the Showest "Newcomer of the Year" Award
1984FootlooseAriel MooreWon the Showest "Breakthrough Performer of the Year" Award
1985The Falcon and the SnowmanLana
The Man with One Red ShoeMaddy
Trouble in MindGeorgia
1987HeartbeatFilmmaker's wifeMusic video
Made in U.S.A.Annie
Summer HeatRoxie
1990American PlayhouseThereseEpisode: "Sensibility and Sense"
Storm and SorrowMolly HigginsMade-for-TV movie
1992EquinoxSharon Ace
1993Sunset GrillLoren
Short CutsZoe Trainer
1994F.T.W.Scarlett Stuart
1995VR.5Sydney BloomTelevision series
1997Inspired by BachDr. Angela FranceEpisode: "Bach Cello Suite #4: Sarabande"
2005Little VictimTracyShort film
2011Law & Order: Special Victims UnitDede AstonTelevision Series (Season 12, Episode 22)
2015ExperimenterFlorence Asch