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Lee Grant

Lee Grant

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Also Known As: Lyova Haskell Rosenthal Died:
Born: October 31, 1925 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, dancer, artist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An attractive brunette with angular features, Lee Grant began her career as a child performer with NYC's Metropolitan Opera. By age 11, she had become a member of the American Ballet Theatre. After music studies at Juilliard, she won a scholarship to attend the Neighborhood Playhouse and switched her focus to acting. Grant understudied the role of Ado Annie in a touring production of "Oklahoma!" before landing her breakthrough stage role as a young shoplifter in Sidney Kingsley's "Detective Story" in 1949. Hollywood soon beckoned and she recreated the role in William Wyler's 1951 superb film version. Grant won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actress prize and earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for the role. Seemingly on the verge of a brilliant career, the actress found herself the victim of the blacklist when her husband, playwright Arnold Manoff was named before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Grant herself refused to testify and the film offers over the next decade were sporadic. Returning to Manhattan, Grant found work in TV (e.g., the daytime soap "Search for Tomorrow") and on stage (i.e., "A Hole in the Head" 1957; "Two for the Seesaw" 1959). After earning an OBIE...

An attractive brunette with angular features, Lee Grant began her career as a child performer with NYC's Metropolitan Opera. By age 11, she had become a member of the American Ballet Theatre. After music studies at Juilliard, she won a scholarship to attend the Neighborhood Playhouse and switched her focus to acting. Grant understudied the role of Ado Annie in a touring production of "Oklahoma!" before landing her breakthrough stage role as a young shoplifter in Sidney Kingsley's "Detective Story" in 1949. Hollywood soon beckoned and she recreated the role in William Wyler's 1951 superb film version. Grant won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actress prize and earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for the role. Seemingly on the verge of a brilliant career, the actress found herself the victim of the blacklist when her husband, playwright Arnold Manoff was named before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Grant herself refused to testify and the film offers over the next decade were sporadic.

Returning to Manhattan, Grant found work in TV (e.g., the daytime soap "Search for Tomorrow") and on stage (i.e., "A Hole in the Head" 1957; "Two for the Seesaw" 1959). After earning an OBIE Award for her work in Genet's "The Maids" in 1963, her small screen career began to pick up. In 1965, Grant joined the cast of the primetime soap "Peyton Place" as Stella Chernak and picked up an Emmy for her work. She earned a second statuette for her performance as a runaway wife and mother who ends up at a truck stop in California in "The Neon Ceiling" (NBC, 1971).

By the time she had earned her second Emmy, Grant's feature career had been rejuvenated with her stellar work as the widow of a murder victim in Norman Jewison's Oscar-winning "In the Heat of the Night" (1967). That same year, she essayed a neurotic in the campy "Valley of the Dolls." In "The Landlord" (1970), she was the society matron mother of Beau Bridges and her comic portrayal earned her a second Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress. Grant then played the mother of all Jewish mothers, Sophie Portnoy, in Ernest Lehman's film version of Philip Roth's novel "Portnoy's Complaint" (1972). Hal Ashby's "Shampoo" (1975) finally brought her a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award as a Beverly Hills matron having an affair with her hairdresser. The following year, Grant received a fourth nomination for her deeply moving portrayal of a Jewish refugee in "Voyage of the Damned."

Her subsequent screen roles have been of varying quality, although Grant always brings a professionalism and degree of excellence to even the smallest role. After striking out as a sitcom lead in the underrated "Fay" (NBC, 1975), she delivered a fine portrayal of First Lady Grace Coolidge in "Backstairs at the White House" (NBC, 1979), was the domineering mother of actress Frances Farmer in "Will There Really Be a Morning?" (CBS, 1983) and excelled as Dora Cohn, mother of "Roy Cohn" (HBO, 1992). On the big screen, Grant lent her substantial abilities to "Teachers" (1984) as a hard-nosed school superintendent, "Defending Your Life" (1991), as an elegant prosecutor sparring with adversary Rip Torn, and "It's My Party" (1996), as the mother of man suffering from complications from AIDS.

While Grant has continued to act in features and on TV, she has concentrated more on her directing career since the 80s. After studying at the American Film Institute, she made the short "The Stronger" (1976) which eventually aired on Arts & Entertainment's "Shortstories" in 1988. Grant made her feature debut with "Tell Me a Riddle" (1980), an earnest, well-acted story of an elderly couple facing death. She has excelled in the documentary format, beginning with "The Wilmar 8" (1981), about strike by female bank employees in the Midwest. (Grant later directed a fictionalized account entitled "A Matter of Sex" for NBC in 1984). She steered Marlo Thomas to an Emmy in the fact-based "Nobody's Child" (CBS, 1986) and earned praise for helming "No Place Like Home" (CBS, 1989), a stark look at the effects of unemployment. A number of her documentaries have been screen as part of HBO's "America Undercover" series, including the Oscar-winning "Down and Out in America" (1985), about the unemployed, "What Sex Am I?" (1985), about transsexuals and transvestites, "Battered" (1989), about victims of domestic violence, and "Women on Trial" (1992), about mothers who turn to the courts to protect their children. In 1997, she produced, directed and hosted the well-received "Say It, Fight It, Cure It" (Lifetime) which focused on breast cancer survivors and their families.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
3.
  Following Her Heart (1994) Director
4.
  Reunion (1994) Director
5.
  Seasons of the Heart (1994) Director
6.
  No Place Like Home (1989) Director
7.
  Staying Together (1989) Director
8.
  Nobody's Child (1986) Director
9.
  Matter of Sex, A (1984) Director
10.
  Tell Me a Riddle (1980) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Mulholland Dr. (2001) Louise Bonner
2.
 Amati Girls, The (2001) Aunt Splendora
3.
 Dr. T and the Women (2000) Doctor Harper
4.
 Substance of Fire, The (1996) Cora Cahn
5.
 It's My Party (1996) Amalia Stark
7.
 Under Heat (1993) Jane
8.
 In My Daughter's Name (1992) Maureen Leeds
9.
 Citizen Cohn (1992) Dora Cohn
10.
 Fatal Love (1992) Carol Gertz
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

2000:
Appeared in the ensemble cast of Robert Altman's "Dr T and the Women"
1949:
Breakthrough stage role, "Detective Story"
1973:
Co-starred in the busted CBS pilot "The Ted Bessell Show"
1971:
Co-starred with Peter Falk on Broadway in Neil Simon's "The Prisoner of Second Avenue"
1976:
Directed the short film "The Stronger"
1976:
Earned fourth Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress as a mentally unstable Jewish refugee in "Voyage of the Damned"
1965:
Joined the cast of the primetime soap "Peyton Place" (ABC); played Stella Chernik; won Emmy Award
1951:
Made feature acting debut reprising her stage role in "Detective Story"; earned first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress
1938:
Made member of American Ballet
1992:
Played the mother of Roy Cohn (James Woods) in the HBO biopic "Citizen Cohn"
1997:
Produced, directed and hosted "Say It, Fight It, Cure It," a Lifetime documentary about breast cancer; included interviews with survivors and members of their families
1985:
Directed and narrated the documentary "Down and Out in America" (1985), the first pay-cable TV film to win an Academy Award; the film became eligible after a theatrical run in 1986
1980:
Feature film directing debut, "Tell Me a Riddle"
1933:
First stage performance at Metropolitan Opera
1981:
Narrated and directed the acclaimed documentary "The Wilmar 8"
1996:
Played Eric Roberts' mother in "It's My Party"
1972:
Played Mother Portnoy in Ernest Lehman's film adaptation of Philip Roth's novel "Portnoy's Complaint"
1953:
Played Rose Peabody on the CBS daytime drama "Search for Tomorrow"
1975:
Starred in the short-lived NBC sitcom "Fay"
1984:
Adapted her documentary "The Wilmar 8" as NBC TV-movie "A Matter of Sex"
:
Blacklisted when she refused to testify against her then-husband Arnold Manoff before the House Committee on Un-American Activities
2001:
Cast in David Lynch's noir drama "Mulholland Dr."
2005:
Co-starred with Victoria Foyt, Rob Morrow and Bruce Davison in "Going Shopping," directed by Henry Jaglom
1970:
Earned second Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination opposite Beau Bridges in "The Landlord"
1986:
First television collaboration with Marlo Thomas, the CBS biopic "Nobody's Child"; Thomas won an Emmy and Grant received the Directors Guild of America Award
1967:
Had prominent role as the wife of murder victim in "In the Heat of the Night"; role revitalized her film career
1984:
Narrated and directed the HBO documentary "When Women Kill"; aired as part of "America Undercover"
1959:
Played Gittle Mosca in the Broadway production "Two for the Seesaw"
1989:
Produced, directed and narrated "Battered" (HBO); aired on "America Undercover"
1944:
Professional stage debut as understudy for the character of Ado Annie in the touring production of "Oklahoma!" (date approximate)
1994:
Reteamed with Marlo Thomas for the CBS TV-movie "Reunion"
:
Returned to NYC; acted in productions at the Mount Kisco Playhouse
1948:
Broadway acting debut in "Joy to the World"
1982:
Co-starred opposite Jerry Orbach in the HBO adaptation of Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite"
:
Continued to act in occasional features despite her blacklisting, (e.g., "Middle of the Night" 1959; "The Balcony" 1963)
1989:
Helmed "No Place Like Home," starring Christine Lahti for CBS
1971:
Played one of the female leads in "Plaza Suite," adapted from Neil Simon's play
1973:
TV directing debut, "The Shape of Things" (CBS)
1963:
Won acclaim for her stage performance in the Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's "The Maids"
1975:
Won Best Supporting Actress Oscar as a Beverly Hills matron in "Shampoo"
1971:
Won second Emmy for her performance in the TV-movie "The Neon Ceiling" (NBC)
2005:
Directed the HBO documentary "... A Father... A Son... Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
2006:
Executive produced the HBO documentary "Baghdad ER"
1999:
Directed various episodes of the Lifetime biographical series "Intimate Portrait"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Directing Workshop for Women, American Film Institute: Los Angeles, California -
The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre: New York, New York -
Actors Studio: New York, New York -
Art Students League of New York: New York, New York -
The School of Performing Arts: New York, New York -
Metropolitan Opera Ballet School: New York, New York -
The Juilliard School: New York, New York -
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1974

Notes

"A long, long time ago I was kid, and I realized that you are what you do. It's a very sick thing because it means that when you're not working, you're not being; it's not a healthy way to live." --Lee Grant in VENICE, April 1996

She was interviewed for the American Movie Classics documentary "Blacklist: Hollywood on Trial" (1996).

When asked by Anthony Duignan-Cabrera of PEOPLE "What has been the most lasting effect of the HUAC ordeal for you?"

Grant replied: "The fear thet you could open your mouth and destroy somebody was so unbearable, I still get blocked on names. I'll see someone that I've known all my life, and I won't know the person's name. I have such a problem that when I'm in a play, I have to write characters' names on my hands so I can remember them." --PEOPLE, February 26, 1996

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Arnold Manoff. Playwright. Divorced in 1964; died in 1965; blacklisted in the 1950s.
husband:
Arnold Manoff. Has been married four times and divorced three times.
husband:
Joseph Feury. Producer, former dancer.
husband:
Joseph Feury. Was married three times.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
A W Rosenthal. Has a second son.
father:
A W Rosenthal. Realtor, educator.
mother:
Witia Rosenthal. Teacher.
mother:
Witia Rosenthal. Mother of Cheryl.
daughter:
Dinah Manoff. Had three sons; survived him.
daughter:
Dinah Manoff. Actor.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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