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Judith Anderson

Judith Anderson

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Also Known As: Frances Margaret Anderson-Anderson, Frances Anderson, Dame Judith Anderson Died: January 3, 1992
Born: February 10, 1898 Cause of Death: pneumonia; had been suffering from a brain tumor
Birth Place: Australia Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A leading Broadway star from the 1920s through the 50s, Judith Anderson was perhaps most famous for her savage, award-winning performance as "Medea" in 1947; as a formidable Lady Macbeth (opposite Laurence Olivier in London in 1937 and Maurice Evans on Broadway in 1941); and as an interpreter of the neurotic heroines of Eugene O'Neill (Nina in "Strange Interlude" in 1928 and Lavinia in "Mourning Becomes Electra" in 1932). Anderson made her film debut in 1933 and played the sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers in Hitchcock's "Rebecca" seven years later. It was the first, and most memorable, in a series of malevolent character roles that exploited her severe features and commanding presence. Cast against type, Anderson made an effective Big Mama in Richard Brooks' film adaptation of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1958). Late in her career she gained a new following as campy grande dame Minx Lockridge on the NBC TV soap opera, "Santa Barbara".

A leading Broadway star from the 1920s through the 50s, Judith Anderson was perhaps most famous for her savage, award-winning performance as "Medea" in 1947; as a formidable Lady Macbeth (opposite Laurence Olivier in London in 1937 and Maurice Evans on Broadway in 1941); and as an interpreter of the neurotic heroines of Eugene O'Neill (Nina in "Strange Interlude" in 1928 and Lavinia in "Mourning Becomes Electra" in 1932). Anderson made her film debut in 1933 and played the sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers in Hitchcock's "Rebecca" seven years later. It was the first, and most memorable, in a series of malevolent character roles that exploited her severe features and commanding presence. Cast against type, Anderson made an effective Big Mama in Richard Brooks' film adaptation of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1958). Late in her career she gained a new following as campy grande dame Minx Lockridge on the NBC TV soap opera, "Santa Barbara".

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Impure Thoughts (1986) Narration (Sister Of Purgatory)
2.
 Thrill of Genius, The (1986) Herself
3.
5.
 Inn of the Damned (1974) Caroline Straulle
6.
 Underground Man, The (1974) Mrs Snow
7.
 Borrowers, The (1973) Aunt Sophy
8.
 A Man Called Horse (1970) Buffalo Cow Head
9.
 Why Bother To Knock (1964) Maggie Shoemaker
10.
 Macbeth (1963) Lady Macbeth
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1915:
Stage debut in "A Royal Divorce" at the Theater Royal in Sydney, Australia
:
Toured Australia with an American stock company
1918:
Went to Hollywood with a letter of introduction to Cecil B DeMille, who rejected her for the movies
1918:
New York stage debut (Broadway stock) at the 14th Street Theatre
1924:
Broadway debut in "The Cobra"
1933:
Film debut, "Blood Money"
1937:
London stage debut, "Macbeth" at the Old Vic
:
Entertained US Armed Forces overseas during WWII
1947:
Starred on Broadway in landmark production of "Medea" (which ran 214 performances), adapted specifically for Anderson from Euripides's drama by poet Robinson Jeffers; followed Broadway run with an eight-month coast to coast tour
1949:
Returned to Broadway to star as "Medea" at the City Center
1954:
Appeared on TV's "Light's Diamond Jubilee"
1954:
Played Lady Macbeth on "Hallmark Hall of Fame"
1960:
Again played Lady Macbeth on a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" broadcast
1971:
Starred on stage in title role of "Hamlet" at Carnegie Hall in New York
1982:
Played the nurse in a Broadway revival of "Medea"; production broadcast on PBS (1983)
1984:
Featured in a regular role on TV soap opera, "Santa Barbara"
1984:
Former Lion Theater on West 42nd Street in New York (Theater Row) renamed the Judith Anderson Theater
1986:
Narrated feature, "Impure Thoughts"
1991:
Hospitalized in Santa Barbara with a stroke (August)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"I like emotional roles because they permit unleashing of one's feelings." --Judith Anderson in THEATER MAGAZINE (1924), quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES obituary (January 4, 1992)

"We live, we breathe, we experience, we die, we love, we hate, we experience beauty and tragedy, and we find it in the parts we play. Whatever I do, I'm passionate about." --Judith Anderson discussing the actor's craft in 1984 (quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES obituary, January 4, 1992)

Named Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1960 by Queen Elizabeth II for "distinguished contributions to the stage".

Received the Australian Commander Award given by Queen Elizabeth (1991).

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Benjamin Harrison Lehman. Professor of English. Married on May 18, 1937; divorced on August 23, 1938; taught at University of California at Berkeley.
husband:
Luther Greene. Theatrical producer. Married on July 11, 1946; divorced in 1950.

Family close complete family listing

father:
James Anderson-Anderson.
mother:
Jessie Margaret Anderson.

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