Anne Baxter


Actor
Anne Baxter

About

Birth Place
Michigan City, Indiana, USA
Born
May 07, 1923
Died
December 12, 1985
Cause of Death
Stroke

Biography

A luminous screen presence best known for a handful of roles, Anne Baxter acted in three Broadway productions while still in her teens and was soon invited to Hollywood. Her early films were not of consistent quality, but the lovely, husky-voiced actress usually managed to make a positive impression and showed genuine ability in pictures as varied as Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambers...

Photos & Videos

Five Graves to Cairo - Publicity Stills
Cimarron (1960) - Publicity Art
The Sullivans - Movie Posters

Family & Companions

John Hodiak
Husband
Actor. Married in 1946; divorced in 1953.
Randolph Galt
Husband
Australian rancher. Married in 1960; divorced in 1968.
David Klee
Husband
Investment banker. Married from 1977 until his death in 1978.

Bibliography

"Intermission: A True Story"
Anne Baxter (1976)

Notes

"Bette [Davis] and I did not have a feud going on the set of 'All About Eve'. The studio tried to play that up all during the filming. But I liked her very much. She'd come on the set and go 'S-s-s-s-s-s-s' at me, but it was just a joke between us. That was one of the happiest companies I've ever been in in my life."Nevertheless, Miss Baxter insisted on running for Best Actress against Miss Davis at Academy Award time. "I had been billed as a star in 'All About Eve'. To be entered as a supporting actress meant I would have had to take a lower billing, and I felt I had worked too hard for all those years for that. One day a friend of mine called me from the Academy and told me the studio was still trying to enter me as a supporting actress against my wishes. She said, 'I know why they're doing it, because they're afraid you and Bette will cancel each other out.' And that's exactly what we did." --From Baxter's The New York Times obituary, December 13, 1985.

Biography

A luminous screen presence best known for a handful of roles, Anne Baxter acted in three Broadway productions while still in her teens and was soon invited to Hollywood. Her early films were not of consistent quality, but the lovely, husky-voiced actress usually managed to make a positive impression and showed genuine ability in pictures as varied as Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942), "Five Graves to Cairo" (1943) and "The Razor's Edge" (1946), winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the latter. However, she was best remembered for her indelible performances as a ruthless, success-driven young actress in "All About Eve" (1950) and the gorgeous and nefarious Nefretiri in Cecil B. DeMille's religious epic "The Ten Commandments" (1956). The movie assignments offered to Baxter in the wake of those triumphs were often not worthy of her skills, but she still managed to give consistent and laudable performances, particularly in projects that suitably challenged her. Principal among these was "Applause" (1972), a musical re-working of "All About Eve" for the stage in which the now older Baxter successfully assumed the role of the character she had deceived in the film. It was that sort of versatility and professionalism that allowed Baxter to earn numerous credits in three different mediums over a career spanning almost 50 years.

Born in Michigan City, IN on May 7, 1923, Anne Baxter was interested in acting from a young age; with her parents' encouragement, she attended the Theodora Irvine School of Theatre for two years. She also received instruction from famous character actress Maria Ouspenskaya, a devotee of Constantin Stanislavski's reality based "Method" style. At age 13, Baxter made her acting debut in the Broadway production "Seen But Not Heard" (1936) and returned to The Great White Way two years later in "There's Always a Breeze" (1938) and "Madame Capet" (1938). The granddaughter of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, she received the balance of her education in private schools and honed her acting skills by appearing in summer stock productions. She was invited to do a screen test for 20th Century Fox's production of "Rebecca" (1940). While the studio felt she was too young for that role, the higher-ups were impressed and Baxter was instead offered a seven-year contract. Her parents were initially against letting the still underage girl accept, but relented when family friend and veteran actor Nigel Bruce agreed to let her live with him and his wife.

Fox did not initially know what to do with Baxter, so she was sometimes loaned out to other studios. Following her first film, the forgettable MGM Western "20 Mule Team" (1940), Baxter had supporting roles in a handful of Fox productions and was criticized for her rather ripe performance in Jean Renoir's melodramatic "Swamp Water" (1941). However, she was dispatched to RKO for Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942) and did impressive work under his attentive direction. Unfortunately, the film was taken away from Welles and re-cut by the studio into an abbreviated version that greatly compromised the cinematic wunderkind's original vision for the film. Baxter went over to Paramount for Billy Wilder's impressive spy thriller "Five Graves to Cairo" (1943) and returned to RKO for "The North Star" (1943), a film designed to show America's wartime Russian allies in a good light, a political slant that would make the picture rather infamous only a decade later. Further ingénue roles came in "Crash Dive" (1943) and "The Fighting Sullivans" (1944), but parts with more substance were in Baxter's future. She enjoyed prime roles in the family outing "Smoky" (1946) and the fantasy comedy "Angel on My Shoulder" (1946), but really excelled in "The Razor's Edge" (1946) as a young woman who turns to alcohol in an attempt to cope with the tragic death of her husband and daughter. Baxter's powerful performance in the popular Somerset Maugham adaptation earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. That same year, she wed fellow performer John Hodiak, her co-star from "Sunday Dinner for a Soldier" (1944).

While some of her roles in the wake of "The Razor's Edge" had not proved very demanding or fruitful for Baxter, she soon scored her career-defining part in "All About Eve" (1950) as ingénue Eve Harrington, who becomes consumed by ambition and betrays her older mentor, Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Originally planned with Claudette Colbert and Jeanne Crain in mind, the film was distinguished by its sophisticated script and superb direction, but it was the remarkable work of the two leading ladies that made it one of the prime dramas of that decade and a perennial favorite with moviegoers of all stripes. Baxter and Davis each received Best Actress Oscar nominations and it was felt that their placement in the same category caused them both to lose. Baxter had refused to go along with the studio plan that she be put forward for the Supporting Actress prize and confessed in later years that this show of ego damaged her relationship with Fox.

With all of the praise "Eve" had garnered, Baxter was at no loss for work and following her departure from Fox, she starred with Montgomery Clift in Alfred Hitchcock's "I Confess" (1953). However, she was a very last minute replacement for original lead actress Anna Bjork in that troubled project and as a result, Baxter claimed that the director never warmed to her. She did stellar work in Fritz Lang's stylish film noir "The Blue Gardenia" (1953), which was mostly overlooked but grew considerably in critical stature in the years following its release. However, her marriage to Hodiak had eroded and come to an end, the result of what Baxter claimed at the time was "extreme cruelty." Following some lacklustre outings, she was cast as the self-absorbed Nefretiri in Cecil B. DeMille's mega-production of "The Ten Commandments" (1956). Although her campy, smouldering performance certainly stood out and the film was a major success, the career bump that followed proved brief and the offers were once again largely for mediocre fare.

Baxter was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. That same year, she married Australian rancher Randolph Galt and moved to his home country. Now living thousands of miles from Hollywood, Baxter's workload was reduced, but she did appear in movies like "Walk on the Wild Side" (1962), "The Tall Women" (1966), "The Busy Body" (1967), and a pair of early made-for-TV features. Baxter also kept busy on the small screen, gracing several episodes of "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68) as the campy villainesses Zelda the Great and Olga, Queen of the Cossacks. She guest starred on primetime perennials "The F.B.I." (ABC, 1965-1974), "Ironside" (NBC, 1967-1975), "Marcus Welby, M.D." (ABC, 1969-1976), and "The Name of the Game" (NBC, 1968-1971), garnering an Emmy nomination for the latter. Baxter and Galt had two children, and the rigors of being a working actress as well as a wife and mother on a remote cattle station ultimately took its toll. The couple divorced in 1968, with the actress again charging "extreme cruelty" as cause for the breakup.

With her movie options mostly reduced to little seen fare like "The Late Liz" (1971) and "Lapin 360" (1972), Baxter returned to Broadway in "Applause" (1972), a musical version of "All About Eve" with the twist that she played the Bette Davis role. Acting on stage in the same part for an extended period proved to be a challenge for Baxter, but critical response was favorable and she went on to co-star with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in "Noel Coward in Two Keys" (1974), where she performed in a pair of Coward's one-act plays, "A Song at Twilight" and "Come into the Garden Maud." Baxter published her autobiography, Intermission: A True Story, in 1976, but suffered a terrible personal tragedy the following year when her third husband, stockbroker David Klee, died only nine months into their marriage.

Aside from "Jane Austin in Manhattan" (1980), Baxter worked exclusively on television during the 1980s, including a four-episode stint on "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986) and a role in the miniseries remake of "East of Eden" (ABC, 1981). In yet another connection to her former "All About Eve" co-star, Baxter was called in to replace Davis when the elderly actress experienced health problems during shooting of the primetime drama "Hotel" (ABC, 1983-86). While her time on the program was originally meant to be temporary, Baxter stayed on for the remainder of its run when Davis was unable to return. Baxter had her final film role in "The Masks of Death" (1984), a British made-for-TV Sherlock Holmes mystery. While walking down Madison Avenue in December 1985, Baxter suffered a stroke. She never regained consciousness and died eight days later on Dec. 12th, 1985.

By John Charles

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Bette Davis: The Benevolent Volcano (1984)
The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (1983)
Narration
Jane Austen in Manhattan (1980)
Nero Wolfe (1979)
Rachel Bruner
Little Mo (1978)
Lisa, Bright and Dark (1973)
Margaret Schilling
The Catcher (1972)
Fools' Parade (1971)
Cleo
The Late Liz (1971)
Liz Addams Hatch
If Tomorrow Comes (1971)
The Busy Body (1967)
Margo Foster
The Tall Women (1967)
Mary Ann
The Family Jewels (1965)
Star of "Sustenance"
Walk on the Wild Side (1962)
Teresina Vidaverri
Season of Passion (1961)
Olive
Cimarron (1960)
Dixie Lee
Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958)
Kimberley [Prescott]
Circus of Love (1958)
Three Violent People (1957)
Lorna Hunter Saunders
The Come On (1956)
Rita Kendrick
The Ten Commandments (1956)
Nefretiri
The Spoilers (1956)
Cherry Malotte
One Desire (1955)
Tacey Cromwell
Bedevilled (1955)
Monica Johnson
Carnival Story (1954)
Willi Collini
The Blue Gardenia (1953)
Norah Larkin
I Confess (1953)
Ruth Grandfort
My Wife's Best Friend (1952)
Virginia Mason
The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1952)
Cal
O. Henry's Full House (1952)
Joanna Goodwin
Follow the Sun (1951)
Valerie Fox Hogan
A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950)
Kit Dodge, Jr.
All About Eve (1950)
Eve [Harrington]
You're My Everything (1949)
Hannah Adams
The Walls of Jericho (1948)
Julia Norman
Homecoming (1948)
Penny Johnson
Yellow Sky (1948)
Constance May, also known as Mike
The Luck of the Irish (1948)
Nora
Blaze of Noon (1947)
Lucille Stewart
Mother Wore Tights (1947)
Narrator, Mikie as an adult
The Razor's Edge (1946)
Sophie MacDonald
Angel on My Shoulder (1946)
Barbara Foster
Smoky (1946)
Julie Richards
A Royal Scandal (1945)
Countess Anna Jaschikoff
Guest in the House (1944)
Evelyn Heath
The Eve of St. Mark (1944)
Janet Feller
Sunday Dinner for a Soldier (1944)
Tessa Osborne
The Sullivans (1944)
Katherine Mary
The Purple Heart (1944)
Anne's voice
The North Star (1943)
Marina
Crash Dive (1943)
Jean Hewlitt
Five Graves to Cairo (1943)
Mouche
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Lucy [Morgan]
The Pied Piper (1942)
Nicole Rougeron
Charley's Aunt (1941)
Amy Spettigue
Swamp Water (1941)
Julie [Keefer]
20 Mule Team (1940)
Jean Johnson
The Great Profile (1940)
Mary Maxwell

Cast (Special)

The Night of 100 Stars II (1985)
Hollywood Stars' Screen Tests (1984)
The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast (1984)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" (1981)
Moneychangers (1976)

Life Events

1927

Moved to Bronxville, New York with family at age four (date approximate)

1934

Began studying acting with Maria Ouspenskaya

1936

Broadway acting debut at age 13 in "Seen But Not Heard"

1939

Moved to Hollywood

1940

Acted in the "The Great Profile", starring John Barrymore

1940

Film acting debut in "20 Mule Team"

1942

Breakthrough role as Joseph Cotten's daughter in Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons"

1943

Received top billing for first time on Lewis Milestone's "North Star"

1944

Acted opposite future husband John Hodiak in "Sunday Dinner for a Soldier"

1946

Had one of her best screen roles as a dipsomaniac Sophie MacDonald in "The Razor's Edge"; won Best Supporting Actress Oscar

1948

Second film with Hodiak, "Homecoming"

1950

Played best-known role of Eve Harrington, a scheming aspiring actress who worms her way into the life of an aging Broadway star (Bette Davis) in the classic "All About Eve"; nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award

1953

Co-starred with Montgomery Clift in Alfred Hitchcock's "I Confess"

1956

Played Nefretiri, the Egyptian queen, in Cecil B DeMille's remake of "The Ten Commandments"

1957

Made early TV appearance in episode of "G.E. Theatre" (CBS)

1957

Returned to Broadway after absence of nearly 20 years in "The Square Root of Wonderful"

1958

Made London stage debut in "The Joshua Tree"

1961

Moved to Australia after second marriage to Randolph Gant

1964

Returned to the USA (date approximate)

1967

TV-movie debut, "Stranger on the Run" (NBC)

1969

Received an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for "The Bobby Currier Story" episode of "The Name of the Game" (NBC)

1969

Had regular role as love interest for the title character during first season of "Marcus Welby, M.D." (ABC)

1971

Replaced Lauren Bacall in role of Margo Channing in the award-winning Broadway musical "Applause", based on "All About Eve"; Channing was Bette Davis' character in movie

1973

Played Margaret Schilling in "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "Lisa, Bright and Dark" (NBC)

1976

Published memoir of life in the Outback, "Intermission: A True Story"

1976

Starred in NBC miniseries "The Moneychangers"

1980

Made final feature, "Jane Austen in Manhattan", directed by James Ivory; cast included her daughter Katrina Hodiak

1981

Acted in the ABC miniseries remake of "East of Eden"

1983

Narrated the documentary "The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright"

1984

Co-starred in the British TV-movie "The Masks of Death/Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death", starring Peter Cushing

1985

Appeared as herself in "The Thrill of Genius", a feature documentary about Alfred Hitchcok

Photo Collections

Five Graves to Cairo - Publicity Stills
Five Graves to Cairo - Publicity Stills
Cimarron (1960) - Publicity Art
Here are some specialty drawings created by MGM for newspaper and magazine reproduction to publicize Cimarron (1960), starring Glenn Ford, Maria Schell, and Anne Baxter.
The Sullivans - Movie Posters
The Sullivans - Movie Posters
The North Star - Movie Poster
The North Star - Movie Poster
The Magnificent Ambersons - Norman Rockwell Art
RKO hired noted illustrator Norman Rockwell to paint portraits for the main ad art for The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). Here in black-and-white are some of those portraits and the poster art compiled using them.
Five Graves to Cairo - Lobby Cards
Here are some lobby cards from Five Graves to Cairo (1943), directed by Billy Wilder. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Five Graves to Cairo - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are some photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Paramount's Five Graves to Cairo (1943), directed by Billy Wilder.
Five Graves to Cairo - Movie Posters
Here are a variety of American and International movie posters for Paramount's Five Graves to Cairo (1943), directed by Billy Wilder.

Videos

Movie Clip

All About Eve (1950) - We Theater Folk At the party hosted by well-lit Margo (Bette Davis), her husband, director Bill (Gary Merrill) and critic Addison (George Sanders) hold court for the plucky Miss Casswell (Marilyn Monroe) and ambitious assistant Eve (Anne Baxter), et al, in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve, 1950.
All About Eve (1950) - Fasten Your Seat Belts Friend Karen (Celeste Holm), her playwright husband (Hugh Marlowe) and producer Max (Gregory Ratoff) stand back as actress-hostess Margo (Bette Davis) delivers her famous line in All About Eve, 1950, then joins critic DeWitt (George Sanders), Marilyn Monroe on his arm, and protegè Eve (Anne Baxter).
Chase A Crooked Shadow (1958) - Barcelona Opening scenes, introducing apparent high society criminals Richard Todd (who will pose as "Ward" Prescott), Faith Brook as his colleague "Elaine," Anne Baxter as their mark "Kimberly," Alexander Knox her kindly uncle, from Cast A Crooked Shadow, 1959.
Chase A Crooked Shadow (1958) - My Brother's Dead! Officer Vargas (Herbert Lom) on Spain's Costa Brava, taking a call from emotionally fragile South African heiress Kimberley (Anne Baxter), trying to deal with Richard Todd, just arrived, insisting he's her brother, early in Chase A Crooked Shadow, 1958.
Chase A Crooked Shadow (1958) - Our Swimming Drink Grieving heiress Kimberley (Anne Baxter) making a call from her Spanish villa, trying to convince somebody that Richard Todd is posing as her dead brother "Ward," in Chase A Crooked Shadow, 1958.
Razor's Edge, The (1946) - She Asked For Her Husband Having left our hero Tyrone Power on his spiritual quest in India, back to Chicago where Gray (John Payne) is summoned to a hospital where, we learn, Sophie (Anne Baxter), injured in a car crash, doesn’t know her husband and child were killed, Isabel (Gene Tierney) appearing briefly, in The Razor’s Edge, 1946.
Razor's Edge, The (1946) - Mr. Maugham Herbert Marshall narrating as author W. Somerset Maughan, a device from the novel, visiting Templeton (Clifton Webb), and meeting his sister (Lucile Watson), her daughter Isabel (Gene Tierney) and friend Sophie (Anne Baxter), much talk about the unseen principal, Larry (Tyrone Power), opening The Razor's Edge, 1946.
All About Eve (1950) - The Touchiest Thing In Show Business After a performance, Margo (Bette Davis) forgets professional etiquette in accommodating starstruck assistant Eve (Anne Baxter), alarming aide Birdie (Thelma Ritter) and leading to a revealing moment in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s box-office and critical sensation All About Eve, 1950.
All About Eve (1950) - When She Gets Like This Karen (Celeste Holm), wife of the playwright (Hugh Marlowe) and leader of the entourage of Broadway diva Margo (Bette Davis), exercises privilege, introducing the devoted fan and title character (Anne Baxter), Thelma Ritter as non-plussed Birdie, early in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve, 1950.
All About Eve (1950) - The Sarah Siddons Award Nothing beats a George Sanders opening narration, as critic Addison DeWitt, writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz introducing indirectly Hugh Marlowe and Garry Merrill, then Celeste Holm, Gregory Ratoff and Bette Davis, with reference to star Anne Baxter, in the celebrated showbiz melodrama, All About Eve, 1950.
I Confess (1953) - I Wanted To Run Quebecois Father Logan (Montgomery Clift) using a ruse to enter the crime scene, meets Inspector Larreu (Karl Malden), who then interviews murderer Keller (O.A. Hasse), his guilt known only to Logan, who then meets mysterious Ruth (Anne Baxter, her first scene) outside, in Hitchcock's I Confess, 1953.
I Confess (1953) - I'm Not That Good An arranged meeting on a Quebec City ferry, murder suspect Father Logan (Montgomery Clift) with married friend Ruth (Anne Baxter), who wants to go to the police with his legitimate alibi, in Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess, 1953.

Trailer

Cimarron (1960) - (Original Trailer) A pioneer couple plays a major role in the settling of Oklahoma in Cimarron (1960), directed by Anthony Mann and starring Glenn Ford & Maria Schell.
I Confess - (Original Trailer) Montgomery Clift plays a priest accused of murder who hears but cannot tell the confession of the actual murderer in Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess (1953).
Season of Passion - (Original Trailer) Ernest Borgnine and John Mills are sugar cane workers in Australia enjoying their Season of Passion (1961).
Five Graves to Cairo - (Original Trailer) A British corporal goes undercover to infiltrate Field Marshall Rommel's command in Billy Wilder's Five Graves to Cairo (1943).
Twenty Mule Team - (Original Trailer) A miner (Wallace Beery) fights his way across Death Valley to beat out the competition in Twenty Mule Team (1940).
O. Henry's Full House - (Original Trailer) Five stories reveal O. Henry's gift for the surprise ending with the help of five directors and a host of stars in O. Henry's Full House (1952).
Magnificent Ambersons, The - (Original Trailer) A possessive son's efforts to keep his mother from remarrying threaten to destroy his family in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).
Bedevilled - (Original Trailer) A novice priest offers sanctuary to Anne Baxter who is on the run from gangsters in Bedevilled (1955).
Carnival Story - (Re-issue Trailer) A German carnival is torn apart by a love triangle in Carnival Story (1954) starring Anne Baxter.
Homecoming - (Original Trailer) Clark Gable's wartime affair with Lana Turner spells trouble when peace comes and he returns to his wife in Homecoming (1948).

Family

Frank Lloyd Wright
Grandfather
Architect.
Kenneth Stuart Baxter
Father
Catherine Baxter
Mother
Katrina Vonditter
Daughter
Former actor. Appeared in "Jane Austen in Manhattan" with mother.
Melissa Galt
Daughter
Maginel Galt
Daughter

Companions

John Hodiak
Husband
Actor. Married in 1946; divorced in 1953.
Randolph Galt
Husband
Australian rancher. Married in 1960; divorced in 1968.
David Klee
Husband
Investment banker. Married from 1977 until his death in 1978.

Bibliography

"Intermission: A True Story"
Anne Baxter (1976)

Notes

"Bette [Davis] and I did not have a feud going on the set of 'All About Eve'. The studio tried to play that up all during the filming. But I liked her very much. She'd come on the set and go 'S-s-s-s-s-s-s' at me, but it was just a joke between us. That was one of the happiest companies I've ever been in in my life."Nevertheless, Miss Baxter insisted on running for Best Actress against Miss Davis at Academy Award time. "I had been billed as a star in 'All About Eve'. To be entered as a supporting actress meant I would have had to take a lower billing, and I felt I had worked too hard for all those years for that. One day a friend of mine called me from the Academy and told me the studio was still trying to enter me as a supporting actress against my wishes. She said, 'I know why they're doing it, because they're afraid you and Bette will cancel each other out.' And that's exactly what we did." --From Baxter's The New York Times obituary, December 13, 1985.