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Mercedes McCambridge

Mercedes McCambridge

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Also Known As: Charlotte Mercedes Agnes Mccambridge Died: March 2, 2004
Born: March 17, 1918 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Joliet, Illinois, USA Profession: actor, voice actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A noted radio and stage performer, Mercedes McCambridge won an Oscar for her screen debut as the political hatchet woman in "All the King's Men" (1949) but subsequently made only occasional film appearances. An intense actress with piercing dark eyes and a strong, resonant voice, she specialized in forceful or domineering roles and was not afraid to play the unsympathetic role of Joan Crawford's insanely jealous and vindictive nemesis in Nicholas Ray's flamboyantly psychological Western, "Johnny Guitar" (1954). She earned a second Academy Award nomination as Rock Hudson's headstrong older sister in "Giant" (1956) and later played Elizabeth Taylor's mother in "Suddenly, Last Summer" (1959). McCambridge also provided the memorable voice-over for the demon-child in "The Exorcist" (1973). A recovered alcoholic, she has served as honorary chair of the Alcoholism Information Month and has appeared before the Senate committee on Alcoholism and Narcotics.

A noted radio and stage performer, Mercedes McCambridge won an Oscar for her screen debut as the political hatchet woman in "All the King's Men" (1949) but subsequently made only occasional film appearances. An intense actress with piercing dark eyes and a strong, resonant voice, she specialized in forceful or domineering roles and was not afraid to play the unsympathetic role of Joan Crawford's insanely jealous and vindictive nemesis in Nicholas Ray's flamboyantly psychological Western, "Johnny Guitar" (1954). She earned a second Academy Award nomination as Rock Hudson's headstrong older sister in "Giant" (1956) and later played Elizabeth Taylor's mother in "Suddenly, Last Summer" (1959). McCambridge also provided the memorable voice-over for the demon-child in "The Exorcist" (1973). A recovered alcoholic, she has served as honorary chair of the Alcoholism Information Month and has appeared before the Senate committee on Alcoholism and Narcotics.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Echoes (1983) Lilian Gerber
2.
3.
 Thieves (1977) Street Lady
4.
 Who Is the Black Dahlia? (1975) Grandmother
6.
 Girls of Huntington House, The (1973) Doris Mckenzie
7.
 President's Plane Is Missing, The (1973) Hester Madigan
8.
 The Exorcist (1973)
9.
 Two For the Money (1972) Mrs Castle
10.
 Killer By Night (1972) Sister Sarah
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Spent much of her childhood on family farm in Blackstone, IL
:
Began career on radio while still in college
1936:
Starred on radio series, "Big Sister"
:
Supplied all female voices for radio series, "I Love a Mystery"
:
Co-starred with Orson Welles on "Ford Theater" radio program for two years
1945:
Stage debut, "Hope for the Best"
1945:
Broadway debut, "A Place of Our Own"
1949:
Film debut, "All the King's Men"; won Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress
1950:
TV debut in "The Voice of the Cricket" on NBC's "Tele-Theatre"
1952:
Hosted own radio program
1952:
Traveled for Adlai Stevenson's presidential election campaign
1954:
Sparred onscreen and off with Joan Crawford in "Johnny Guitar"
1956:
Garnered second Oscar nomination for her performance as Rock Hudson's older sister in "Giant"
1956:
Again campaigned for Stevenson
1959:
Played Mrs. Holly, the mother of Catherine (Elizabeth Taylor) in "Suddenly, Last Summer"
1960:
Led the crowd that stormed the Los Angeles Democratic convention to draft Adlai Stevenson
1962:
Returned to Broadway as replacement in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
1972:
Earned a Tony nomination for her performance in "The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks"
1972:
TV-movie debut, "Killer by Night" (CBS)
1973:
Provided vocals used for the possessed Regan in "The Exorcist"
1979:
Portrayed the family matriarch in the NBC miniseries "The Sacketts"
1980:
Final film (to date) "Echoes"
:
Starred in national tours of "Agnes of God" (1983) and "'night, Mother" (1984)
1991:
Replaced Irene Worth as the grandmother in the Broadway production of Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers"; later toured in the role
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Mundelein College: Chicago , Illinois - 1937

Notes

When McCambridge was hailed as "the world's greatest living radio actress" by Orson Welles, she retorted "How can you be the world's greatest dead radio actress?" -From Daily News, January 22, 1970.

Awarded certificiate for her volunteer work for the National Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Washington (1971).

She received a special citiation from United Jewish Welfare and two awards from the "City of Hope" and the Gold Key Award (Kansas City in 1972).

She has been awarded seven honorary doctorate degrees.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
William Fifield. Married in 1939; divorced in 1946; son of a minister; father of McCambridge's son John.
husband:
Fletcher Markle. Producer, director. Married on February 19, 1950; divorced in 1962; died on May 22, 1991 of heart failure; adopted McCambridge's son.

Family close complete family listing

father:
John Patrick McCambridge.
mother:
Marie McCambridge.
son:
John L Markle. Brokerage executive. Born in 1941; father, William Fifield; nearly killed by thugs in 1961 and hospitalized c. 1961 again as a result of an auto accident; killed his wife and two daughters and committed suicide on November 16, 1987 within four days of being dismissed as vice president of Stephens Inc., a Little Rock (AR) brokerage company; left half of his estate (estimated $500,000) to McCambridge.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Two of Us"
"The Quality of Mercy" Berkley Books

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