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Greer Garson

Greer Garson

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Also Known As: Died: April 6, 1996
Born: September 29, 1903 Cause of Death: heart failure
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: actor, producer, advertising

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A strikingly attractive, red-haired former stage actress of Anglo-Irish descent, Greer Garson appeared in films from 1939, mostly with MGM. Her relatively brief but affecting debut performance as Mrs. Chipping in the touching "Goodbye Mr. Chips" (1939) won her the first of seven Oscar nominations as Best Actress and made her an immediate star. After a lovely turn as the intelligent, playful Elizabeth in the comic "Pride and Prejudice" (1940), Garson inherited from Norma Shearer the mantle of Metro's resident prestige actress, suffering with genteel dignity through a series of A-budget soap operas. Garson regularly appeared on boxoffice polls of the top ten stars during the WWII years; indeed, Betty Grable was the only female star who surpassed Garson in popularity during this time. Garson formed an attractive romantic partnership with the stalwart and gentlemanly Walter Pidgeon, with whom she co-starred eight times. Their finest pairings came with "Madame Curie" (1943) and "That Forsyte Woman" (1949), though popular memory regularly casts them as Mr. and "Mrs. Miniver" (1942), a then-acclaimed but rather overrated tribute to the stiff-upper-lip spirit of the British in WWII, for which she earned an...

A strikingly attractive, red-haired former stage actress of Anglo-Irish descent, Greer Garson appeared in films from 1939, mostly with MGM. Her relatively brief but affecting debut performance as Mrs. Chipping in the touching "Goodbye Mr. Chips" (1939) won her the first of seven Oscar nominations as Best Actress and made her an immediate star. After a lovely turn as the intelligent, playful Elizabeth in the comic "Pride and Prejudice" (1940), Garson inherited from Norma Shearer the mantle of Metro's resident prestige actress, suffering with genteel dignity through a series of A-budget soap operas.

Garson regularly appeared on boxoffice polls of the top ten stars during the WWII years; indeed, Betty Grable was the only female star who surpassed Garson in popularity during this time. Garson formed an attractive romantic partnership with the stalwart and gentlemanly Walter Pidgeon, with whom she co-starred eight times. Their finest pairings came with "Madame Curie" (1943) and "That Forsyte Woman" (1949), though popular memory regularly casts them as Mr. and "Mrs. Miniver" (1942), a then-acclaimed but rather overrated tribute to the stiff-upper-lip spirit of the British in WWII, for which she earned an Oscar. Garson also played quite well opposite popular matinee idols Ronald Colman in the delicate, sentimental romance, "Random Harvest" (1942) and Gregory Peck in the lavish family saga, "The Valley of Decision" (1945).

Garson's popularity began to ebb during the late 40s, the regal and dignified stoicism she embodied for the war years seeming less suitable in the face of postwar angst and malaise. Some of the attempts to vary Garson's image and type of roles, such as in the zany farce "Julia Misbehaves" (1948), were not particularly successful, but she continued on into the middle of the following decade with such smaller-scale vehicles as "Scandal at Scourie" (1953) and "Strange Lady in Town" (1954). She later made a comeback with her acclaimed performance as Eleanor Roosevelt opposite Ralph Bellamy in "Sunrise at Campobello" (1960) and also did periodic stage work. Her last feature acting role was in 1967's "The Happiest Millionaire" and her final film appearance was in the documentary "Directed by William Wyler" (1986). Garson, who had worked sporadically in TV since the 1950s, made one of her last acting appearances as Aunt March in the miniseries "Little Women" (NBC, 1978). After dabbling briefly in theater producing (notably the New York production of "On Golden Pond"), she retired in 1980 after suffering a heart attack. Eight years later, she underwent bypass surgery. Garson succumbed to heart failure at age 92 on April 6, 1996.

The actress was married three times. Her second husband (1943-47) was actor Richard Ney, who had played her son in "Mrs. Miniver".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Crown Matrimonial (1974) Queen Mary
2.
 The Happiest Millionaire (1967) Mrs. Cordelia Biddle
3.
 The Singing Nun (1965) Mother Prioress
4.
 Pepe (1961) Bidder at auction
5.
 Sunrise at Campobello (1960) Eleanor Roosevelt
6.
 Strange Lady in Town (1955) Dr. Julia Winslow Garth
7.
 Her Twelve Men (1954) Jan Stewart
8.
 Julius Caesar (1953) Calpurnia
9.
 Scandal at Scourie (1953) Mrs. Patrick J. [Victoria] McChesney
10.
 The Law and the Lady (1951) Jane Hoskins [also known as Lady Jane Loverly]
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Moved to London at age one after death of father
1932:
Stage debut with Birmingham Repertory Theatre in "Street Scene"
1934:
London stage debut Regent's Park Open Theatre
1935:
First teaming with Laurence Olivier in stage production, "Golden Arrow"
1938:
Signed contract with MGM
1939:
Film debut, "Goodbye Mr. Chips"; earned first Oscar nomination
1940:
Starred with Olivier in "Pride and Prejudice"
1941:
First co-starring appearance opposite Walter Pidgeon, "Blossoms in the Dust"
1942:
Starred as "Mrs. Miniver"; won Oscar as Best Actress
1942:
First made the annual exhibitors poll of top ten boxoffice stars; placed 9th
1946:
Last of five successive appearances on boxoffice poll; placed 7th
1953:
Last co-starring vehicle opposite Walter Pidgeon, "Scandal at Scourie"
1954:
Last starring film under MGM contract, "Strange Lady in Town"
:
Began making appearances on TV in such productions as "Reunion in Vienna" and "The Little Foxes"
1958:
Made Broadway debut in title role of "Auntie Mame" (replacing Rosalind Russell)
1960:
Returned to films after a six-year absence, as Eleanor Roosevelt in "Sunrise at Campobello"
1966:
Acted in "The Singing Nun" after another six-year absence from the screen
1967:
Final feature film acting role in "The Happiest Millionaire"
1978:
Final TV acting role, Aunt March in NBC miniseries "Little Women"
1978:
Began producing stage plays with Arthur Cantor
1979:
Last theatrical production (as co-producer) "On Golden Pond"
1980:
Suffered heart attack
1988:
Underwent quadruple-bypass surgery
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of London: -
University of Grenoble: -

Notes

Various sources gave her year of birth as 1903, 1906 and 1908. It was revealed after her death that she was born in 1903.

Popular mythology has gently chided Greer Garson for supposedly giving the longest Academy Award acceptance speech in the history of the Oscars; actually, her speech was somewhat more in the ballpark of six minutes. It was, however, given at the end of a long evening, and Garson herself has recalled that she not only felt she had many people to thank, but also that she sincerely thought the moment an appropriate one to raise some issues about the award and the potential of the Academy itself.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Edward A Snelson. Married in 1933; divorced in 1941.
husband:
Richard Ney. Actor. Second of three husbands, married in 1943; divorced in 1947; played Garson's son in "Mrs. Miniver" (1942).
husband:
Elijah E Fogelson. Businessman. Married from 1949 until his death in 1987.

Family close complete family listing

father:
George Garson. Died when Garson was one year old.
mother:
Nina Sophia Garson.

Bibliography close complete biography

"A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson" University of Kentucky Press

Contributions

Lucia ( 2006-03-15 )

Source: biography:

Greer Garson was born in England in 1904
Strange Lady in Town was a Warner Bros. Film
Her last film for MGM was "Her Twelve Men"
--Information from her biography "A Rose for Mrs. Miniver"

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