The actress Jessica Lange is one of UNICEF's latest celebrity recruits, becoming a Goodwill Ambassador on 2 June 2003. Lange's focus on human rights is not new, but this is the first time that she has been officially involved with a humanitarian organization. UNICEF is delighted to have her support. She has decided to focus on two UNICEF priority issues: HIV/AIDS and immunization.
Lange went on her first UNICEF mission, to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), from 7 to 10 August 2003. She visited the eastern part of DRC to help draw attention to the impact on children and women of the five-year long conflict and to denounce the endemic use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. She visited UNICEF supported-projects and met with victims of sexual violence, representatives from women’s organizations, HIV/AIDS peer educators, demobilized child soldiers, health workers, displaced children and families, local government authorities and humanitarian aid partners.Born and raised in Minnesota, USA, Lange studied mime and acting in Paris and New York. Her big break came when she was cast in the remake of King Kong (1976), but it was The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), in which she starred opposite Jack Nicholson, that brought her critical acclaim as an actress. Since then Lange has demonstrated her talent and versatility time and again, on stage as well as on film, winning two Academy Awards in the process: Best Supporting Actress for Tootsie, starring Dustin Hoffman and directed by Sydney Pollack, in 1983, and Best Actress for Tony Richardson's Blue Sky in 1995. Lange has received Academy Award nominations on six other occasions.