Geraldine Page


Actor
Geraldine Page

About

Also Known As
Geraldine Sue Page
Birth Place
Kirksville, Missouri, USA
Born
November 22, 1924
Died
June 13, 1987
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

Described by playwright Tennessee Williams, whose troubled heroines she often portrayed on stage and screen, as "the most disciplined and dedicated of actresses," Geraldine Page burst upon the NYC theatrical scene as the Southern spinster hoping for one last chance at love in a highly celebrated 1952 revival of Williams' "Summer and Smoke," which put both Page and off-Broadway on the map...

Photos & Videos

Sweet Bird of Youth - Publicity Stills
Sweet Bird of Youth - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Family & Companions

Alexander Schneider
Husband
Violinist. Married in 1954; divorced in 1957.
Rip Torn
Husband
Actor. Married from 1961 until her death.

Notes

On being told that her husband Rip Torn had become the father of a child by actress Amy Wright: "Of course Rip and I are still married. We've been married for years. We're staying maried. What's the big fuss?" --Geraldine Page, to gossip columnist Cindy Adams in June of 1983

Biography

Described by playwright Tennessee Williams, whose troubled heroines she often portrayed on stage and screen, as "the most disciplined and dedicated of actresses," Geraldine Page burst upon the NYC theatrical scene as the Southern spinster hoping for one last chance at love in a highly celebrated 1952 revival of Williams' "Summer and Smoke," which put both Page and off-Broadway on the map. On the strength of that performance, she secured roles in two movies released in 1953, "Taxi" and "Hondo," receiving her first of eight Oscar nominations for her supporting turn as an abandoned ranch wife who falls for John Wayne in the latter.

Despite this formidable introduction to movies, Page returned to her first love to make her Broadway debut in "Midsummer" in 1953. The following year, she appeared in Broadway productions of "The Immoralist" (with James Dean and Louis Jordan) and "The Rainmaker" (opposite Darren McGavin). No great beauty, Page displayed an unparalleled repertoire of tics and mannerisms that sometimes marred otherwise fine performances and other times enhanced them. After an eight-year absence from features, Page's highly-strung, eccentric persona finally broke through in the 1961 film version of her star-making "Summer and Smoke," which she followed by reprising her Broadway success as Williams' fading screen star Alexandra Del Lago in "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1962), earning back-to-back Best Actress Oscar nominations.

Offered the female lead in Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" on Broadway in the 60s, the Method-trained Page insisted that Lee Strasberg be present during the rehearsals, a demand which cost her the role and branded her with the reputation as somewhat difficult. Choosy about what parts she accepted, Page frequently turned down work that did not suit her taste. Her forte was sexually guarded and/or repressed women or women who just hadn't had a chance at the brass ring, and her ability to project the deep emotions of these characters guaranteed her standing as one of the best actresses of her generation. Brilliant as the spinster sister whose love for brother Dean Martin borders on the incestuous in "Toys in the Attic" (1963), she was a desperate wooer of Glenn Ford in "Dear Heart" (1965) before earning her fourth Oscar nomination (as Best Supporting Actress) as the doting mother (opposite husband Rip Torn) of Peter Kastner in Francis Ford Coppola's "You're a Big Boy Now" (1966). Memorable (and Oscar-nominated) for her no-holds barred, comic fight with friend Carol Burnett in "Pete 'n' Tillie (1972), she also contributed a performance of exquisite, enclosed self-pity to Woody Allen's first dramatic effort, the Bergmanesque "Interiors" (1978), earning her third Academy Award nomination as Best Actress.

Like many New York actors, Page was a regular performer during television's Golden Age in the 50s, but she became more selective regarding small screen roles after her movie career took off. She played Xantippe in NBC's "Hallmark Hall of Fame" adaptation of Maxwell Anderson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Barefoot in Athens" (1966), about the early days of Socrates, and a month later delivered an Emmy-winning performance as Aunt Sookie in ABC's "A Christmas Memory" (adapted from the story by Truman Capote), a role she would reprise for "A Thanksgiving Visitor" (ABC, 1968) earning a second Emmy Award. She appeared infrequently during the 70s (i.e., "Live Again, Die Again" ABC, 1974; "Something For Joey" CBS, 1977) but stepped up her output considerably during the 80s, acting in acclaimed vehicles like the miniseries "The Blue and the Gray" (CBS, 1982) and "The Dollmaker" (ABC, 1984). She also portrayed Sally Phelps in the "American Playhouse" presentation of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (PBS, 1986) and closed out her TV career impressively as a concentration camp survivor in "Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfield Story" (ABC, 1986).

Despite her screen success, Page never turned her back on the theater. She was a great proponent of off-Broadway and regional theater, appearing throughout her career with repertory companies like the Academy Festival Theatre (Lake Forest, Illinois), where she was able to play another choice Williams' role in 1974, that of Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire." She performed in two Actors Studio productions ("Strange Interlude" 1963 and "Three Sisters" 1964, which was filmed) and continued to appear on Broadway in such productions as "Black Comedy" (1967), "Absurd Person Singular" (1974) and "Agnes of God" (1982). She smoked like a chimney for her Oscar-nominated role as the mother of a slain policeman in "The Pope of Greenwich Village" (1984) and finally took home a Best Actress statue for "A Trip to Bountiful" (1985), luminously portraying an elderly woman who fulfills her fervent desire of visiting the small Texas town of her youth. Page capped her big screen career as the maid of the house in which Bigger Thomas goes to work in "Native Son" (1986) and was appearing on Broadway as the eccentric medium Madame Arcati in a revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" at the time of her death.

Life Events

1940

Stage debut in Chicago production of "Eat My Dust"

1947

Feature film debut in "Out of the Night"

1952

Made early TV appearance in episode of "Lux Video Theatre"

1952

Stage revival of Tennessee Williams' "Summer and Smoke" (directed by Jose Quintero) put both off-Broadway and Page on the map, securing for her a place among America's finest actors; received raves playing heroine Alma Winemuller

1953

Broadway debut in "Midsummer"

1953

Appeared in the feature films "Taxi" and "Hondo"; for her sensitive portrayal of an abandoned ranch wife who falls in love with John Wayne in the latter received first Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress

1954

Acted on Broadway in "The Immoralist", with James Dean and Louis Jordan

1954

Starred opposite Darren McGavin in Broadway production of "The Rainmaker"

1956

London debut, reprising role of Lizzie Curry in "The Rainmaker"

1959

Portrayed Alexandra Del Lago in Broadway production of Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth", acting with Paul Newman and future husband Rip Torn; all three reprised roles in the 1962 movie version directed by Richard Brooks

1961

Returned to films after nearly a decade in breakthrough turn reprising stage role of Alma in "Summer and Smoke"; earned first Oscar nomination as Best Actress

1962

Picked up another Best Actress Oscar nomination for "Sweet Bird of Youth"

1963

Reteamed with Quintero for NYC revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Strange Interlude"

1964

Acted in Actors Studio production of Anton Chekov's "The Three Sisters", first play directed by Lee Strasberg in 13 years; filmed and released theatrically

1966

Received first Emmy Award for leading role in ABC's "Stage 67" production of "A Christmas Memory", adapted from Truman Capote's short story; played Aunt Sookie

1968

Reprised role of Aunt Sookie in another Capote adaptation, "A Thanksgiving Visitor", snagging second Emmy Award

1973

Played Mary Todd Lincoln in short-lived Broadway production of "Look Away"

1974

Made TV-movie debut in "Live Again, Die Again" (ABC)

1978

Earned Best Actress Oscar nomination for her emotionally tormented mother in Woody Allen's Bergmanesque "Interiors"

1982

Played the Mother Superior in "Agnes of God" on Broadway

1984

Delivered an Oscar-nominated supporting performance in "The Pope of Greenwich Village", combining humor and pathos in a showy pair of scenes as the mother of a dead cop

1985

Acted Off-Broadway in the all-star production of Sam Shepard's "A Lie of the Mind", directed by the playwright

1985

Won Academy Award as Best Actress as a woman determined to return to her hometown for a final visit in "The Trip to Bountiful", written by Horton Foote and directed by Peter Masterson

1987

Was playing the eccentric spiritualist Madame Arcarti in a Broadway revival of "Blithe Spirit" at time of death

Photo Collections

Sweet Bird of Youth - Publicity Stills
Here are some publicity stills taken for Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), starring Paul Newman and Shirley Knight. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Sweet Bird of Youth - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are some photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), starring Paul Newman and Geraldine Page, and directed by Richard Brooks.

Videos

Movie Clip

Interiors (1978) - As Direct As Possible Beginning with Renata (Diane Keaton) and her unseen analyst, we jump to father Arthur (E.G. Marshall) breaking big news to her sister Joey (Mary Beth Hurt) and their mother Eve (Geraldine Page) in Woody Allen's Bergman-influenced Interiros, 1978.
Interiors (1978) - An Enormous Abyss Coming from the opening credits, writer-director Woody Allen leaps into the existential void, with Arthur (E.G. Marshall) reflecting on his marriage, and daughters (Diane Keaton, Mary Beth Hurt), in Interiors, 1978.
Interiors (1978) - As Good As I've Seen You After their separation, Arthur (E.G. Marshall) visits Eve (Geraldine Page), who takes desperate action, leading to testy conversation with his daughter Renata (Diane Keaton) in Woody Allen's Interiors, 1978.
Summer And Smoke (1961) - It's A Civic Duty After a childhood prologue and credits, Mississippi spinster Alma (Geraldine Page) with her dotty mother (Una Merkel) and minister father (Malcolm Atterbury), sings a Spanish song (“La Golondria”) at holiday festivities while her dashing neighbor Johnny (Laurence Harvey) arrives home, in Summer And Smoke, 1961, from a Tennessee Williams play.
Summer And Smoke (1961) - Hello, Cavalier! Minding her needy mother (Una Merkel), Mississippian Alma (Academy Award-nominated Geraldine Page) finds cause to visit her dashing if reckless neighbor Johnny (Laurence Harvey), a young doctor home for the summer, finally managing an invitation, in Summer And Smoke, 1961.
Summer And Smoke (1961) - Come Watch The Birdie Motivated partly by guilt for standing her up days earlier, fun-loving Mississippi doctor Johnny (Laurence Harvey) brings his neighbor, patient and life-long admirer Alma (Geraldine Page) to the casino (run by Thomas Gomez), where his paramour Rosa (Rita Moreno) dances, in Summer And Smoke, 1961, from the Tennessee Williams play.
Summer And Smoke (1961) - Unless Maybe I Trap You! Hard-partying young Mississippi doctor Johnny (Laurence Harvey) has skipped an engagement with his neighbor (Geraldine Page as Alma), for a night at the casino, for gambling, cock-fighting and the owner’s fiery daughter Rosa (Rita Moreno), in Tennessee Williams’ Summer And Smoke, 1961.
Trip To Bountiful, The (1985) - When You Can't Sleep After a dreamlike opening, we meet John Heard as Ludie and Geraldine Page, in her Academy Award-winning performance as mother Carrie, neither able to sleep, in post-WWII Houston, in The Trip To Bountiful, 1985, directed by Peter Masterson (1934-2018), cousin of the playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote.
Trip To Bountiful, The (1985) - I Didn't Mean To Pout In post-WWII Houston, Geraldine Page as frail mother-in-law Carrie, tangling with her manipulative daughter-in-law Jessie Mae (Carlin Glynn), from whom she is in fact hiding her pension check, and suffering a genuine problem brought on by housework, in The Trip To Bountiful, 1985, from the play and screenplay by Horton Foote.
Trip To Bountiful, The (1985) - My People Are All Dead At a bus station in late 1940’s Houston, Geraldine Page as aging Carrie, who has scraped together money for a bus ticket toward her hometown, which she doesn’t realize is gone, meets Rebecca De Mornay as traveler Thelma, then hides when her son and daughter in law (John Heard, Carlin Glynn) come looking for her, in The Trip To Bountiful, 1985.
Dear Heart (1964) - Open, Sign It Bimbo Jones Joining director Delbert Mann’s neatly integrated credit sequence, Geraldine Fitzgerald as Evie from Ohio arrives at Grand Central for the postmaster’s convention, having made friends with everyone on the train, not quite meeting co-star Glenn Ford, in Dear Heart, 1964.
Dear Heart (1964) - Sometimes I Say Things Too Loud First proper scene between Geraldine Page as single Ohio postmaster Evie and Glenn Ford as engaged salesman Harry, both with some time to kill at their New York hotel, in Delbert Mann’s Dear Heart, 1964.

Trailer

Family

Leon Elwin Page
Father
Osteopathic physician and surgeon.
Edna Pearl Page
Mother
Angelica Torn
Daughter
Actor. Born in 1964; father, Rip Torn.
Tony Torn
Son
Actor, director. Twin; born in 1965; father, Rip Torn.
Jonathan Torn
Son
Twin of Anthony; born in 1965; father, Rip Torn.

Companions

Alexander Schneider
Husband
Violinist. Married in 1954; divorced in 1957.
Rip Torn
Husband
Actor. Married from 1961 until her death.

Bibliography

Notes

On being told that her husband Rip Torn had become the father of a child by actress Amy Wright: "Of course Rip and I are still married. We've been married for years. We're staying maried. What's the big fuss?" --Geraldine Page, to gossip columnist Cindy Adams in June of 1983