Patricia Neal


Actor
Patricia Neal

About

Also Known As
Patsy Louise Neal
Birth Place
Packard, Kentucky, USA
Born
January 20, 1926
Died
August 08, 2010
Cause of Death
Lung Cancer

Biography

Though she initially found success on Broadway, actress Patricia Neal became a Hollywood star thanks to several memorable performances, only to see her career cut short due to a series of illnesses and personal tragedies from which she never fully recovered. Neal first gained notice on the stage with her Tony-winning performance in "Another Part of the Forest" (1947), which led to her v...

Photos & Videos

The Day the Earth Stood Still - Lobby Cards
A Face in the Crowd - Lobby Card Set
The Fountainhead - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Gary Cooper
Companion
Actor. Became involved with each other while making "The Fountainhead" (1949).
Roald Dahl
Husband
Novelist; short story writer; screenwriter. Married 1953; divorced 1983 after Neal learned he had been having an affair with one of her best friends; died 1990.

Bibliography

"As I Am"
Patricia Neal (with Richard Deneut) (1988)

Notes

President Johnson presented her with the Heart of the Year Award

Biography

Though she initially found success on Broadway, actress Patricia Neal became a Hollywood star thanks to several memorable performances, only to see her career cut short due to a series of illnesses and personal tragedies from which she never fully recovered. Neal first gained notice on the stage with her Tony-winning performance in "Another Part of the Forest" (1947), which led to her venturing out onto the silver screen. She made her presence known with an acclaimed turn in "The Fountainhead" (1949), particularly due to her highly publicized affair with co-star Gary Cooper, which allegedly resulted in a nervous breakdown a few years later. Meanwhile, she married writer Roald Dahl and continued making movies, albeit in roles ill-suited to her talents. Neal went back to triumph on Broadway, only to return to Hollywood with two of her best films, "Breakfast at Tiffany’s" (1961) and "Hud" (1963), the latter of which earned her an Academy Award. But just as her film career was finally taking shape, Neal suffered a debilitating series of strokes while pregnant that left her paralyzed and unable to speak. With help and encouragement from Dahl, she made a near-full recovery and returned to work, only to find film offers few and far between. She did have a critical triumph with "The Subject was Roses" (1968), but was consigned to just a few movies in the ensuing decades while suffering the death of her daughter from illness and the permanent brain damage of her son from an accident. Regardless of the numerous tragedies in her life, Neal remained a strong and resilient performer worthy of great respect.

Born on Jan. 20, 1926 in Packard, KY, Neal was raised in Knoxville by her father, William, who worked as a transportation manager for South Coal & Coke Co., and her mother, Eura. She first discovered her talent for performing by reciting monologues at her local church. When she was 12 years old, Neal began receiving dramatic coaching and later joined the Tennessee Valley Players. Neal left Knoxville High School before graduating in order to join the Barter Theatre in Abington, VA, where she served as an understudy and an assistant stage manager. Neal next studied at Northwestern University's drama department with Alvina Krause and joined Krause's theater company in Eagles Mere, PA, before making the trek to New York to find stardom on Broadway. In 1945, she was the understudy for Vivian Vance in John van Druten’s "The Voice of the Turtle," and eventually replaced the actress for two weeks during the play’s Chicago run. After being brought into the Theatre Guild by Eugene O’Neill, she was seen by Lillian Hellman, who cast the actress for the lead in "Another Part of the Forest" (1947), which earned her several major awards, including a Tony.

Soon Hollywood came calling, leading to Neal’s film debut in "John Loves Mary" (1949). She then burst upon the scene in King Vidor's adaptation of Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" (1949) opposite Gary Cooper. Blonde, yet dark, and grownup beyond her years, Neal captivated the older Cooper, which resulted in an affair that generated unrelenting publicity, allegedly causing her a nervous breakdown and nearly wrecking his marriage to Veronica Balfe. Making matters worse was his insistence that she have an abortion after Neal became pregnant with his child. In the next few years, neither Warner Bros. nor Fox succeeded in making her a major star, despite able performances as the nice nurse who allowed Richard Todd to curl up in her lap in "The Hasty Heart" (1949) and as the wise-cracking blonde in "The Breaking Point" (1950). Leaving Hollywood behind, she returned to New York for a Broadway revival of "The Children's Hour" (1952), followed by an off-Broadway production of "The School for Scandal" (1953). After she married writer and former Royal Air Force pilot Roald Dahl in 1953, she relocated to Great Britain and began carefully selecting her roles.

Neal continued to chose Broadway over Hollywood, appearing in "A Roomful of Roses" (1955) and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1956). But she soon opened her second and richest cinematic phase with director Elia Kazan's acid portrait of political demagoguery, "A Face in the Crowd" (1957), in which her character turned the tables on Andy Griffith's power-crazed bumpkin. Meanwhile, she made her West End debut in "Suddenly Last Summer" (1958) and returned to Broadway for a supporting role in "The Miracle Worker" (1959). Neal was in top form in a supporting role as a wealthy woman who keeps a struggling writer (George Peppard) in her clutches in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961). She followed by delivering the most powerful performance of her career in "Hud" (1963), playing the likable housekeeper assaulted by Paul Newman’s cold-hearted and hard-drinking Texas rancher. She picked up several awards, including a Best Actress Oscar for her troubles, and appeared to reach the height of her profession. But after filming two more movies, "Psyche 59" (1964) and "In Harm's Way" (1965), Neal suffered a series of debilitating strokes during her fifth pregnancy that confined her to a wheelchair and interrupted her career.

With unrelenting support from husband Dahl, Neal overcame partial paralysis, severely impaired speech and memory loss in order to make a brilliant comeback in "The Subject was Roses" (1968). Though it earned her an Oscar nomination, her subsequent work remained intermittent and sadly of no great consequence. Perhaps her most notable later role was that of Olivia Walton in "The Homecoming – A Christmas Story" (CBS, 1971), the original movie pilot for the "The Waltons" (CBS, 1972-1981). Neal's courage had carried through other personal tragedies, like the death of her 13-year-old daughter Olivia from measles and the eight brain operations her son Theo required after being hit by a taxi as a baby. Meanwhile, she tried to mount a comeback by playing Richard Thomas’ mother in "All Quiet on the Western Front" (CBS, 1979), only to find Hollywood unwilling to take a chance on her. She was, however, the subject of her own made-for-television movie, "The Patricia Neal Story" (CBS, 1981), in which she was portrayed by Glenda Jackson. In 1988, Neal published her memoirs, As I Am, while taking roles when she could, including as Shelley Winters’ sister in "An Unremarkable Life" (1989) and the titular role in Robert Altman’s "Cookie’s Fortune" (1999). Ten years later, Neal made her final screen appearance opposite Billy Ray Cyrus and Heather Locklear in the made-for-cable movie, "Fly By" (Lifetime, 2009). Just a year later, on Aug. 8, 2010, Neal succumbed to lung cancer in her home of Edgartown, MA. She was 84.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Flying By (2009)
Bright Leaves (2003)
Herself
Cookie's Fortune (1999)
From Russia to Hollywood: The 100-Year Odyssey of Chekhov and Shdanoff (1999)
A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story (1992)
Caroline? (1990)
An Unremarkable Life (1989)
Shattered Vows (1984)
Ghost Story (1981)
The Passage (1979)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1979)
Paul'S Mother
A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story (1978)
Tail Gunner Joe (1977)
Widows' Nest (1977)
Lupe
Eric (1975)
Lois Swenson
Things in Their Season (1974)
Peg Gerlach
Happy Mother's Day... Love, George (1973)
Cara
Baxter! (1972)
Dr Clemm
The Night Digger (1971)
Maura [Prince]
The Homecoming (1971)
The Subject Was Roses (1968)
Nettie Cleary
In Harm's Way (1965)
Lieut. Maggie Haynes
Psyche 59 (1964)
Allison
Hud (1963)
Alma
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
"2E"
A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Marcia Jeffries
Stranger from Venus (1954)
Washington Story (1952)
Alice Kingsley
Diplomatic Courier (1952)
Joan Ross
Something for the Birds (1952)
Anne Richards
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Helen Benson
Weekend with Father (1951)
Jean Bowen
Raton Pass (1951)
Ann
Bright Leaf (1950)
Margaret Singleton
Three Secrets (1950)
Phyllis Horn
The Breaking Point (1950)
Leona Charles
The Hasty Heart (1950)
Sister Margaret Parker
It's a Great Feeling (1949)
Herself
The Fountainhead (1949)
Dominique Francon
John Loves Mary (1949)
Mary McKinley

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Bright Leaves (2003)
Other

Cast (Special)

The Face: Jesus in Art (2001)
Narrator
The Lives of Lillian Hellman (1999)
John Wayne: American Legend (1998)
Gary Cooper: The Face of a Hero (1998)
Interviewee
The American Film Institute Salute to Robert Wise (1998)
Performer
The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998)
Performer
Andy Griffith: Hollywood's Homespun Hero (1997)
The 50th Annual Tony Awards (1996)
Performer
The 19th Annual American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Kirk Douglas (1991)
Performer
The Way They Were (1981)
The American Film Institute Salute to John Ford (1973)
Performer

Cast (Short)

Pat Neal Is Back (1968)
Herself

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Heidi (1993)
Love Leads the Way (1984)
Mrs Frank
The Bastard (1978)

Life Events

1942

Left high school; joined the Barter Theatre, Abingdon, VA, as understudy/assistant stage manager

1943

Enrolled at Northwestern University to study drama

1945

Left university; went to NYC; understudied Vivian Vance in John van Druten's "The Voice of the Turtle"; replaced Vance for two weeks during play's Chicago run; adopted stage name Patricia Neal

1946

Summer try-out in "Devil Takes a Whittler" led to New York stage debut, "Another Part of the Forest", on Broadway; also toured with show; won Tony Award

1947

Went to Holllywood; signed 7-year contract with Warner Bros.

1948

Made feature film acting debut, "John Loves Mary," actually released after "The Fountainhead"

1951

Dropped by Warners; inked 3-picture deal with Fox

1952

Returned to Broadway in revival of "The Children's Hour"

1952

Began making TV appearances

1953

Married Roald Dahl and became based in Great Britain

1955

Returned to Broadway in "A Roomful Of Roses"

1956

Replaced Barbara Bel Geddes in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on Broadway

1957

Starred opposite Andy Griffith in "A Face in the Crowd"

1959

Appeared in "The Miracle Worker" on Broadway

1961

Kept George Peppard as her toy-boy in Blake Edwards' "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

1962

Delivered Oscar-winning turn as a weary housekeeper opposite Paul Newman in "Hud"

1965

Suffered the first of a series of strokes four days into filming of John Ford's "7 Women"

1968

Returned to features after strokes with Oscar-nominated starring role in "The Subject Was Roses"

1971

Played Olivia Walton in "The Homecoming--A Christmas Story" (CBS)

1979

Played Richard Thomas's mother in TV-movie remake of "All Quiet on the Western Front" (CBS)

1981

Glenda Jackson portrayed Neal and Dirk Bogarde, Roald Dahl, in the CBS TV biopic "The Patricia Neal Story"

1988

Published autobiography "As I Am" (written with Richard Deneut)

1989

Portrayed Shelley Winter's sister in "An Unremarkable Life"

1993

Performed the role of Peter's Grandmother in the Disney Channel miniseries "Heidi"

1997

Appeared as interviewee in "Andy Griffith: Hollywood's Homespun Hero" for A&E's "Biography" series

1999

Portrayed the octogenarian Cookie in Robert Altman's comedy "Cookie's Fortune"

2000

Starred in the short film "For the Love of May"

2009

Made final acting appearance opposite Billy Ray Cyrus and Heather Locklear in the drama, "Flying By"

Photo Collections

The Day the Earth Stood Still - Lobby Cards
Here are some Lobby Cards from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). 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.
A Face in the Crowd - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from A Face in the Crowd (1957). 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.
The Fountainhead - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from The Fountainhead (1949). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Fountainhead - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from The Fountainhead (1949). 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.
The Hasty Heart - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Warner Bros' The Hasty Heart (1950), starring Patricia Neal, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Todd. 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.
Hud - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet Movie Poster for Hud (1963). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Breaking Point, The (1952) - Sporting Blood Fishing boat captain Harry (John Garfield), ducking hustler Duncan (Wallace Ford), finds first the girlfriend (Patricia Neal), then his fare (Ralph Dummke), in a Mexican bar, in The Breaking Point, 1952, from Hemingway's To Have And Have Not.
Subject Was Roses, The (1968) - Open, Who Knows Where The Time Goes? Judy Collins’ vocal on Sandy Denny’s then-unreleased composition, first heard as the B-side of Collins’ hit 1968 recording of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” later recorded by Denny and Fairport Convention, nearly overshadows director Ulu Grosbard’s opening, with Patricia Neal, briefly Martin Sheen, and Jack Albertson, in his Academy Award-winning performance, from The Subject Was Roses. 1968.
Subject Was Roses, The (1968) - This Is Where I Came In Jack Albertson as Bronxite John was just trying on the uniform coat brought home by his still-snoozing son, just returned from WWII, when he notices his wife Nettie (Patricia Neal) coming back from morning shopping, character sketching in their first scene together, adapted by Frank Gilroy from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, in The Subject Was Roses. 1968.
Subject Was Roses, The (1968) - Crazy About Waffles Dad (Jack Albertson) just departing the family Bronx apartment on business as his son (Martin Sheen as Timmy), the morning after his welcome-home from WWII party, converses with his mom (Patricia Neal as Nettie), raising her ire when he deploys one of the old man’s verbal devices, early in The Subject Was Roses. 1968, from the Frank D. Gilroy play.
Hud (1962) - Watch That Cigarette Ash Martin Ritt directs his first scene with two Academy Award winners, as grumpy Paul Newman (title character) and nephew Lonnie (Brandon De Wilde) join father Homer (Melvyn Douglas, Best Supporting Actor) and his housekeeper Alma (Patricia Neal, Best Actress), over an issue at the family cattle ranch, early in Hud, 1962.
Hud (1962) - How About Some Colored Beads And Wampum? Ever more cynical, Paul Newman as the title character, heir to his father's troubled Texas cattle ranch, has another candid conversation with his father’s housekeeper Alma (Patricia Neal, in her Best Actress Academy Award-winning role), Martin Ritt directing from the Larry McMurtry novel, in Hud, 1962.
Face In The Crowd, A (1957) - Vitajex! His new self-appointed manager Tony Franciosa helping with the pitch, crazed TV personality Lonesome Rhodes (Andy Griffith) performs and outlandish commercial, as imagined by screenwriter Budd Schulberg and director Elia Kazan, a famous scene from A Face In The Crowd, 1957.
Bright Leaf (1950) - You Can Let Go Now Aspiring cigarette entrepeneur Royle (Gary Cooper) returning to his North Carolina hometown circa 1894, catching the eye of Sonia (Lauren Bacall) then insulting Margaret (Patricia Neal) and her aunt (Elizabeth Patterson), in Bright Leaf, 1950, directed by Michael Curtiz.
Operation Pacific (1951) - The Entire Silent Service Opening with foreword, as John Wayne is Navy commander “Duke” Gifford, on shore rescuing children and nuns from a Pacific island, Martin Milner, Jack Pennick among his submarine crew, in Operation Pacific, 1951, co-starring Patricia Neal.
Operation Pacific (1951) - I've Been Numb For Four Years Now ashore at Pearl Harbor, John Wayne as submarine officer "Duke" Gifford is interrupted by head nurse Katherine Givney as he tries to visit a baby he helped rescue, then meets his ex-wife (Patricia Neal as Mary), now a nurse, with whom he lost a son before their divorce, in Operation Pacific, 1951.
Face in the Crowd, A (1957) - Lonesome Rhodes Small-time Arkansas radio hostess Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal) is doing her man-on-the-street show from the jail, where she meets prickly inmate Rhodes (Andy Griffith), and invents his name, early in Elia Kazan's A Face In The Crowd, 1957.
Operation Pacific (1951) - Creamed Rubber Gloves On board the submarine where they’ve rescued kids and nuns from a Pacific island, John Wayne (as officer “Duke” Gifford) and Jack Pennick are in charge of a plan to feed a baby, then he discusses personal matters with his superior (Ward Bond as Captain Perry) early in Operation Pacific, 1951.

Trailer

Day The Earth Stood Still, The (1951) -- (Original Trailer) Original theatrical trailer for hit 195 real-world cold-war science fiction thriller The Day The Earth Stood Still, from Twentieth Century-Fox, starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.
Face in the Crowd, A - (Original Trailer) Television turns a folk-singing drifter (Andy Griffith) into a media celebrity in Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd (1957).
Psyche 59 - (Original Trailer) A wife (Patricia Neal) with psychosomatic blindness suspects her husband is involved with her younger sister in Psyche 59 (1964).
Weekend With Father - (Teaser trailer) Love blooms when two single parents (Van Heflin, Patricia Neal) send their children off to camp in Weekend with Father (1951).
Road Builder, The - (Original Trailer) Patricia Neal stars in a thriller adapted by her husband Roald Dahl, The Road Builder (1971) seen here under its U.S. title The Night Digger.
Hud - (Re-issue Trailer) Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas both won Academy Awards for their performances in Hud (1963) starring Paul Newman.
Breakfast at Tiffany's - (Original Trailer) Audrey Hepburn is Truman Capote's Holly Golightly, the New York sophisticate who spends Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).
It's a Great Feeling -- (Original Trailer) When nobody at Warner Bros. will work with him, movie star Jack Carson decides to turn an unknown into his co-star in It's a Great Feeling (1949).
John Loves Mary -- (Original Trailer) A World War II veteran (Ronald Reagan) makes a marriage of convenience that threatens his real wedding plans.
In Harm's Way - (Original Trailer) Director and Producer Otto Preminger plays showman in a cute and action-packed trailer for In Harm's Way, 1965, starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Patricia Neal.
Fountainhead, The - (Original Trailer) Ayn Rand adapted her own novel The Fountainhead (1949) for the screen starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, directed by King Vidor.
Subject Was Roses, The - (Original Trailer) A young veteran (Martin Sheen) returns home to deal with family conflicts in The Subject Was Roses (1968), co-starring Patricia Neal and Jack Albertson.

Promo

Family

William Burdette Neal
Father
Transportation manager. Worked for South Coal & Coke Co.
Eura Mildred Neal
Mother
Margaret Ann Neal
Sister
Older.
William Peter Neal
Brother
Olivia Dahl
Daughter
Died 1962 at age 13 of measles.
Tessa Sophia Dahl
Daughter
Actor; author.
Theo Mathew Roald Dahl
Son
Hit by a cab as a baby and survived eight brain operations.
Ophelia Magdalene Dahl
Daughter
Lucy Neal Dahl
Daughter
Sophie Dahl
Granddaughter
Model.

Companions

Gary Cooper
Companion
Actor. Became involved with each other while making "The Fountainhead" (1949).
Roald Dahl
Husband
Novelist; short story writer; screenwriter. Married 1953; divorced 1983 after Neal learned he had been having an affair with one of her best friends; died 1990.

Bibliography

"As I Am"
Patricia Neal (with Richard Deneut) (1988)

Notes

President Johnson presented her with the Heart of the Year Award