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Courtney Love’s 10 Most Unforgettable Acting Roles

NME looks back at the Hole frontwoman's finest film and TV appearances

Though best known as frontwoman of Hole and an on-off solo artist, Courtney Love has also enjoyed periods of success as an actress – she even has a Golden Globe nomination to her name. Here, we’ve taken a look back at her most memorable film and TV appearances to date.

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1Sid And Nancy (1986)

Sid And Nancy (1986)
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Sid And Nancy (1986)
NME's celebration of Courtney Love's best acting roles begins with Sid And Nancy, a biopic of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) and girlfriend Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb). Love auditioned to play Nancy and impressed director Alex Cox, but investors insisted on a more experienced actress and Love was cast as Nancy's friend Gretchen instead.

2Straight To Hell (1987)

Straight To Hell (1987)
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Straight To Hell (1987)
Sid And Nancy director Alex Cox was so impressed with Love that he wrote a part for her in his next film. Love plays Velma, a gun-toting blonde who goes on the run with three hitmen (Joe Strummer, Sy Richardson and Dick Rude) after helping them pull off a bank job. This comedy Western was panned at the time but has since gained a cult following.

3Basquiat (1996)

Basquiat (1996)
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Basquiat (1996)
Love resumed her acting career in 1996 after an eight-year hiatus by taking on a small role in Julian Schnabel's biopic of iconic New York artist American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. She plays Big Pink, a fictional character with whom Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright) enjoys a one-night stand. Among Love's co-stars is David Bowie, who co-stars as Andy Warhol.

4The People Vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

The People Vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
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The People Vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
Love silenced critics of her acting ability with a Golden Globe-nominated performance in this acclaimed biopic of controversial pornography publisher Larry Flynt. She gives a thrillingly vital performance as Althea Leasure, a charismatic stripper who eventually becomes Flynt's fourth wife and co-publisher.

5Man On The Moon (1999)

Man On The Moon (1999)
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Man On The Moon (1999)
Love gives another impressive performance in this R.E.M.-soundtracked biopic of eccentric entertainer Andy Kaufman, holding her own in a cast featuring A-listers Jim Carrey, Danny DeVito and Paul Giamatti. She brings warmth and relatability to Lynn Margulis, the woman Carrey's Kaufman falls in love with after he wrestles her on stage in a comedy skit.

6Julie Johnson (2001)

Julie Johnson (2001)
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Julie Johnson (2001)
Love won the Outstanding Actress prize at LGBT movie festival Outfest for her performance in this little-known indie drama. It follows bored housewife Julie (Lili Taylor) as she unexpectedly falls in love with longtime female friend Claire (Love), before tensions creep into their relationship when Julie makes a new, more sophisticated set of friends.

7Trapped (2002)

Trapped (2002)
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Trapped (2002)
Love plays a kidnapper whose motives aren't as clear-cut as they initially seem in this forgotten crime thriller. Despite a starry cast that includes Charlize Theron, Kevin Bacon and a young Dakota Fanning, Trapped flopped at the box office and it remains Love's last film acting role to date.

8Sons Of Anarchy (2014)

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Sons Of Anarchy (2014)
Love relaunched her acting career after a decade-long break with a guest role in hit US crime drama Sons Of Anarchy. She appears in four episodes of Season Seven as a pre-school teacher who takes a special interest in Abel, the son of Charlie Hunnam's lead character Jax. Remarkably, it was Love's first ever TV acting job.

9Empire (2015)

Empire (2015)
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Empire (2015)
Love continues her acting renaissance with a recurring role in Empire, the soapy hip-hop drama that's become a huge hit in the US this year. She plays the brilliantly-named Elle Dallas, a drug-addicted fallen rock star who's attempting to launch a comeback. We're holding our tongues...

10Revenge (2015)

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Revenge (2015)
Love has landed another juicy recurring role on another soapy US TV series, Revenge. She'll play a character called White Gold - yes, really - who's said to be a "jetsetter" summoned to the show's Hamptons setting by resident villain Margaux (Karine Vanasse). Love will make her first appearance in the episode that airs in the US this Sunday (March 29).
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