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She is also a supporter of various charities and an activist for Down syndrome awareness.
Dern was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of actors Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern, and great-granddaughter of former Utah governor and Secretary of War, George Dern; Dern was conceived while her parents were filming The Wild Angels.
Dern also appeared in Joe Johnston's film October Sky.
Robert Altman called upon Dern's talents to play a Champagne-loving Aunt in his Texas-based comedy Dr. She co-starred in Within These Walls and Arthur Miller's Focus.
However, Laura Dern claims the emancipation was done solely for professional reasons and that both of her parents supported her in this.
The poet, writer, and Librarian of Congress Archibald Mac Leish was her great-great-uncle.
After her parents' divorce when she was two years old, Dern was largely brought up by her mother and grandmother.
She received international recognition with her role in the adventure film Jurassic Park (1993).
In 1997, Dern guest-starred in the "Puppy Episode" of the sitcom Ellen, in which Ellen De Generes publicly came out.