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Why Meg From Twister Looks So Familiar

As far as '90s disaster movies go, Twister holds up surprisingly well. The effects don't seem too out of date, the actors' performances still pack a punch, and it's fun to look back on it and try and figure out who's who in the large ensemble cast.

When Twister first hit theaters in 1996, the top-billed actors, Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt, were obviously the main focus of the marketing campaign. In the years since, though, one of the movie's most recognizable faces has become Lois Smith. The actress played the quick-witted, good-humored Aunt Meg, who was more than happy to open her door to the movie's storm chasers and treat them to a home-cooked meal. North America may be home to the most tornados in the world, but at least it's also home to plenty of Aunt Megs.

While Lois Smith definitely isn't a household name, she's had a wide-ranging and prolific career in Hollywood. Born in 1930, the now-90-year-old actress has more than 140 credits to her name. She's been in everything from Oscar-winning films to cult classic TV shows.

Let's take a look at some of Lois Smith's most memorable roles, and why you've definitely seen her before.

Lois Smith has starred alongside Hollywood legends in award-winning films

Not many actors can claim that their Hollywood debut was opposite the iconic James Dean. Lois Smith can, though. In 1955, she appeared as Anne, Kate Ames' servant, in East of Eden. Elia Kazan's adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel is widely considered an essential part of American cinematic history, and the fact that it was Lois Smith's first movie role is pretty impressive.

James Dean isn't the only infamous actor that Lois Smith has shared the screen with, either. She co-starred with Jack Nicholson in 1970's Oscar-nominated Five Easy Pieces, playing his character Bobby's sister Partita. For her performance, she won the National Society for Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Over the years, she's appeared in several critically acclaimed and Oscar-winning films, including Midnight Run, Dead Man Walking, and Lady Bird, a film that blew everyone away at the box office. While she often takes on supporting roles, she earned her career-best reviews and numerous accolades for her starring role in the sci-fi drama Marjorie Prime. She played an Alzheimer's patient whose life becomes complicated after she's given a device that allows her to interact with holograms of deceased family members. Smith's performance won her the 2018 Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In addition to these incredible achievements as a film actress, Smith has spent much of her career focusing on television roles — some of which have been among her most beloved contributions.

In True Blood, Lois Smith played an unforgettable and tragic role

Lois Smith only appeared in nine episodes of HBO's cult horror hit series True Blood, but her contributions are still notable. As Adele Stackhouse, Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Jason's (Ryan Kwanten) beloved Gran, she brought a grounding sense of humanity to the series' first season — until she was brutally killed by Drew Marshall. The moment Sookie finds Gran on the ground in her kitchen, surrounded by blood, remains one of the most shocking moments in the entire series.

Because True Blood was the kind of show where any and everything could — and probably did — happen, we did get to spend more time with Gran, even after her untimely demise. She came back in spirit form to warn Sookie about the witch Marnie (Fiona Shaw). We also got to see her one last time in the final episode of the series, during a flashback that served as a reminder of what a sweetheart Gran always was. 

True Blood may be one of Lois Smith's most memorable TV roles in recent years, but given how hard she's worked and the range of series she's appeared on, it's only one of many.

Lois Smith is still doing impressive work in film and TV

While Lois Smith has taken breaks from the screen to cultivate an impressive career on the stage, she continues to make time for roles in movies and on TV — even in her 90s. She recently completed work in Wes Anderson's upcoming film The French Dispatch, for example, a sure sign that she has no plans of stopping any time soon.

Her most recent TV role was Terry's commune buddy Dolores, who she played in the final season of Ray Donovan. Before that, she made guest appearances on series like Mom and Grace and Frankie. Fans of Desperate Housewives might remember her from her brief stint playing Annette's (Felicity Huffman) mother-in-law.

Perhaps Lois Smith's most notable recent TV appearance, though, was her guest-starring role as Betty Turner in The Americans' third season. She received a Critics Choice Award nomination for her portrayal of the bookkeeper that Elizabeth (Kerri Russell) kills by forcing her to choke down too many pills, and whose death marks a pivotal moment for the KGB spy (via IMDb).

Lois Smith's career has been a phenomenal feat, and she's shown incredible range as an actress. There's something very impressive about someone who devotes most of their life to their craft — and it's safe to say Lois Smith falls into that category.