Untrained in song and dance, she still impressed New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley, who wrote: "Ms.
Griffith is a sensational Roxie, possibly the most convincing I have seen" and "[the] vultures who were expecting to see Ms. She played Caan's mother again during 2014–16 in a recurring role on his television show Hawaii Five-0. In the interim, Griffith guest-starred on Nip/Tuck and Hot in Cleveland.
It led to her first starring role in Jonathan Demme's Something Wild (1986), which became a cult favorite.
Griffith also starred in the science fiction film Cherry 2000, which went straight to video in 1988 but has also become a cult favorite.
The couple divorced in 1989 after a long separation.
Griffith later admitted to having problems with cocaine and liquor after her split from Bauer.
She achieved mainstream success when Mike Nichols cast her as spunky secretary Tess Mc Gill in the box office hit Working Girl (1988), co-starring Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin and Joan Cusack.
After acting on stage in London, in 2003 she made her Broadway debut in a revival of the musical Chicago, receiving celebratory reviews that made it a box office success.
During the filming she was attacked by a lion and had 50 stitches to her face; it was feared she would lose an eye but in the end the wound was not disfiguring.
She then appeared in the made-for-television movie She's in the Army Now (1981) with Jamie Lee Curtis and Steven Bauer, whom she married shortly after the film premiered.
Griffith appeared in advertisements and briefly worked as a child model before abandoning the career, citing extreme shyness as the reason. This drew attention to her and typecast her as a nymphet in films such as Smile, The Drowning Pool (both also 1975), and One on One (1977).
She was cast as "Melanie", the daughter of her real life mother, Tippi Hedren, in the film Roar (1981), directed by then-stepfather Noel Marshall.