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Miriam Hopkins

Miriam Hopkins

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Also Known As: Ellen Miriam Hopkins Died: October 9, 1972
Born: October 18, 1902 Cause of Death: coronary attack
Birth Place: Bainbridge, Georgia, USA Profession: actor, chorus girl

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This highly talented blonde Broadway actress possessed an intriguing, husky voice and a brittle, sometimes twitchy yet sexy style. An off-beat combination of a vivacious Southern belle and an insecure yet superior modern woman, Hopkins signed as a leading lady with Paramount in 1930 and gained early stardom for her roles in productions including the delightful Ernst Lubitsch musical "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931) and Rouben Mamoulian's striking "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1932). In Lubitsch's masterpiece, "Trouble in Paradise" (1932), she displayed a sharp talent for sly, sophisticated banter, and she won an Oscar nomination in the title role of Mamoulian's "Becky Sharp" (1935). The feisty, intelligent Hopkins gave what is probably her finest dramatic performance in William Wyler's sterling if significantly altered adaptation of Lillian Hellman's play "The Children's Hour", "These Three" (1936). Known to be difficult on the set, Hopkins flitted from studio to studio. After her early tenure at Paramount, she was under contract to independent producer Samuel Goldwyn during the mid-30s and by the end of the decade had moved to Warner Brothers, where a rivalry with Bette Davis manifested itself in both...

This highly talented blonde Broadway actress possessed an intriguing, husky voice and a brittle, sometimes twitchy yet sexy style. An off-beat combination of a vivacious Southern belle and an insecure yet superior modern woman, Hopkins signed as a leading lady with Paramount in 1930 and gained early stardom for her roles in productions including the delightful Ernst Lubitsch musical "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931) and Rouben Mamoulian's striking "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1932). In Lubitsch's masterpiece, "Trouble in Paradise" (1932), she displayed a sharp talent for sly, sophisticated banter, and she won an Oscar nomination in the title role of Mamoulian's "Becky Sharp" (1935). The feisty, intelligent Hopkins gave what is probably her finest dramatic performance in William Wyler's sterling if significantly altered adaptation of Lillian Hellman's play "The Children's Hour", "These Three" (1936).

Known to be difficult on the set, Hopkins flitted from studio to studio. After her early tenure at Paramount, she was under contract to independent producer Samuel Goldwyn during the mid-30s and by the end of the decade had moved to Warner Brothers, where a rivalry with Bette Davis manifested itself in both the plotline and the actual filming of the touching soaper, "The Old Maid" (1939). Her stardom began to decline toward the end of the decade after several films ("The Woman I Love" 1937, "Lady with Red Hair" 1940) fizzled at the box office. For a time Hopkins had been a critics' darling; as her films became more routine and she became increasingly disenchanted with her opportunities in Hollywood, some of her performances became more mannered. After another competitive reteaming with Davis in the enjoyably catty "Old Acquaintance" (1943), which put her fidgety qualities to good use, Hopkins returned to Broadway and stage tours and bid farewell to Hollywood for six years.

Hopkins began playing occasional film character parts at the end of the 40s. She was especially good in her first major supporting role in films, that of the solicitous, romantic aunt in a fine reunion film with Wyler, "The Heiress" (1949). Hopkins made intermittent appearances through the mid-60s, including one in Wyler's 1962 remake, "The Children's Hour" (playing the aunt of the character she had played 26 years earlier). She also did occasional TV work, perhaps most memorably in an outlandish yet highly effective and even moving Norma Desmond-type turn as an overage flapper still living in her youthful past in "Don't Open Till Doomsday", an especially memorable installment of the cult classic anthology series, "The Outer Limits".

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 The Chase (1966) Mrs. Reeves
2.
 Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1965) Mrs. Maude Brown
3.
 The Children's Hour (1961) Mrs. Lily Mortar
4.
 Carrie (1952) Julia Hurstwood
5.
 The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1952) "Duchess" Shipton
6.
 The Mating Season (1951) Fran Carleton
7.
 The Heiress (1949) Lavinia Penniman
8.
 Old Acquaintance (1943) Millie Drake
9.
 A Gentleman After Dark (1942) Flo Melton
10.
 Virginia City (1940) Julia Hayne
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1921:
Debut as chorus girl in "The Music Box Revue"
1923:
Switched to acting
1930:
Signed with Paramount
1930:
Made film acting debut in a leading role in Paramount's "Fast and Loose"
1935:
Was affiliated with Samuel Goldwyn Productions for a number of films in the mid-1930s
1935:
Received Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of "Becky Sharp"
1936:
First film with director William Wyler, "These Three"
1939:
Joined Warner Bros.; made a film opposite rival Bette Davis, "The Old Maid"
1943:
Last film for six years, "Old Acquaintance", opposite Davis
:
Worked primarily on the stage during the 1940s, playing leading roles on Broadway, off-Broadway and on tour
1949:
Returned to film to play her first supporting role, in William Wyler's "The Heiress"
1962:
Last film with Wyler, "The Children's Hour", a remake of "These Three"
1966:
Last film, "The Chase"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Syracuse University: Syracuse , New York -
Goddard Seminary: Barre , Vermont -

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Brandon Peters. Actor. First husband.
husband:
Austin Parker. Playwright. Second husband.
husband:
Anatole Litvak. Director. Married in 1937; divorced in 1939; third husband; directed Hopkins in "The Woman I Love" (1937).
husband:
Raymond B Brock. Divorced in 1951; fourth marriage.
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Contributions

drednm ( 2006-06-19 )

Source: Internet Broadway Database

Miriam Hopkins originated the role of Julie in JEZEBEL on Broadway in 1933. The film role went to Bette Davis, who won her second Oscar for the part.

Falconlair ( 2007-09-14 )

Source: I am writing a biography of Miriam Hopkins and have interviewed her family.

Miriam Hopkins was actually born in Savannah, Georgia. She spent several years of her childhood in Bainbridge where her mother was born and her grandmother lived. For some reason she told early studio biographers that she was born in Bainbridge, perhaps to get the impression that she was a small town girl that made good.

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