Claire Bloom


Actor
Claire Bloom

About

Also Known As
Patricia Claire Blume
Birth Place
London, England, GB
Born
February 15, 1931

Biography

Described as exquisitely beautiful and radiant, Claire Bloom was already a star of the British stage when Charlie Chaplin introduced her delicate features to the world in "Limelight" (1952). Her sensitive performance as the ballet student Chaplin saves from a suicide attempt earned her the British Film Academy Award as Most Promising Newcomer, and the elegant, classically trained actress...

Photos & Videos

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold - Movie Poster
The Brothers Karamazov - Publicity Art
The Haunting - Claire Bloom Publicity Still

Family & Companions

Richard Burton
Companion
Actor. Acted with him and fell in love c. 1953, losing her virginity to him.
Laurence Olivier
Companion
Actor. Played Lady Anne to his Richard III in the 1955 film.
Yul Brynner
Companion
Actor. Acted with him in two 1958 films, "The Buccaneer" and "The Brothers Karamozov".
Rod Steiger
Husband
Actor. Married on September 19, 1959; divorced in January 1969; was four months pregnant with their daughter Anna when they wed.

Bibliography

"Leaving a Doll's House"
Claire Bloom, Little, Brown (1996)
"Limelight and After: The Education of an Actress"
Claire Bloom (1982)

Notes

Roth crossed the line when he gave the tearful, histrionic, actress wife of his novel "Deception" the name Claire. Threatened with a lawsuit, he changed the character's name but still called the husband Philip.

About her decision to write her brutally candid memoir of her marriage to Philip Roth: "I had a devestatingly dreadful end to what had been in many ways a wonderful marriage and thought it might help me to write about it and help other women. Philip always said, 'Be private in your life and shameless in your work.'" --Claire Bloom quoted in People, October 28, 1996.

Biography

Described as exquisitely beautiful and radiant, Claire Bloom was already a star of the British stage when Charlie Chaplin introduced her delicate features to the world in "Limelight" (1952). Her sensitive performance as the ballet student Chaplin saves from a suicide attempt earned her the British Film Academy Award as Most Promising Newcomer, and the elegant, classically trained actress has remained in demand ever since, splitting her time between theater, film and TV. She distinguished herself onstage opposite some of the finest Shakespearean actors of the day, playing Ophelia to two Hamlets (Paul Scofield and first love Richard Burton) and Cordelia to John Gielgud, as well as Lady Anne to Laurence Olivier's "Richard III" in the 1955 film. She also made a smooth transition from ingenue to strong leading lady with portrayals of Nora ("A Doll's House"), "Hedda Gabler," Mary Queen of Scots ("Vivat! Vivat! Regina") and Blanche DuBois ("A Streetcar Named Desire") during the 1970s.

Bloom credits Tony Richardson, who guided her opposite Burton in the film version of "Look Back in Anger," with giving her "the courage to experiment," and she reunited with the director many years later for the 1988 CBS miniseries "Beryl Markham" A Shadow in the Sun." She also acted with Burton in "Alexander the Great" (1956) and "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" (1965), saying in PEOPLE (October 28, 1996) that their relationship was "brilliant, unspoiled and pure" while admitting that "he went from a naive young boy from Wales to a rather practiced seducer." (Their romance finally ended when she caught him in the arms of Susan Strasberg.) Bloom has married only one actor, Rod Steiger (her co-star in Broadway's "Rashomon" 1959), with whom she starred in "Three Into Two Won't Go" and "The Illustrated Man" (both 1968). She also portrayed a young woman of decidedly unnatural instincts in Robert Wise's "The Haunting" (1963) and a sympathetic caseworker opposite Oscar-winner Cliff Robertson in "Charly" (1968), among her other films of the 60s.

Bloom made her American TV debut as Roxanne to Jose Ferrer's "Cyrano de Bergerac" for "Producer's Showcase" (NBC, 1955) and returned to that network in the title female roles of "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1956) and "Romeo and Juliet" (1957). Her small screen turns over the next 22 years were rare (e.g., Queen Anne in "Soldier in Love" 1967), but beginning with 1979 appearances in "Henry VIII" (PBS, as Queen Katherine) and "Backstairs at the White House" (NBC, as Edith Galt Wilson), she became a frequent TV presence. Particularly memorable in an Emmy-nominated turn as Lady Marchmain opposite Olivier in the acclaimed British miniseries "Brideshead Revisited" (PBS, 1982), she worked throughout the decade in quality projects like John Schlesinger's remake of "Separate Tables" (HBO, 1983), the "American Playhouse" (PBS) adaptation of third husband Philip Roth's "The Ghost Writer" (1984), the BBC's "Shadowlands" (1985, for which she won a BAFTA Award) and the highly-acclaimed ABC miniseries "Queenie" (1987), not to mention a return to the classics as Oedipus' wife-mother Jocasta in "Oedipus the King" ("The Theban Plays," PBS 1988).

After her fine supporting work in "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid" (1987), Bloom upped her profile considerably as the loyal wife of Martin Landau in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989) and later appeared in the chorus of Allen's "Mighty Aphrodite" (1995). Her best exposure of the 90s, however, came not as an actress but as the writer of a 1996 tell-all memoir, "Leaving a Doll's House," which focused primarily on the disintegration of her marriage to novelist Philip Roth. Though she had sunk her teeth into the prototypical feminist role of Nora in Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" on several occasions during the 70s, the actress had been unable to overcome her own passivity within a male-dominated relationship, and the book registered her shock at being left by a man she both feared and loved after nearly 20 years together. Bloom made a rare TV appearance as the villainous Orlena Grimaldi on the CBS daytime drama "As the World Turns" in 1995 and appeared in features (i.e., "Daylight" 1996) and TV-movies ("What the Deaf Man Heard," CBS 1997), but her most powerful work at the end of the 20th Century came onstage as the vengeful matriarch Clytemnestra in David Leveaux's 1998 production of Sophocles' "Electra," which returned her to Broadway for the first time in 22 years and garnered her a Tony nomination.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

While We Were Here (2012)
The King¿s Speech (2010)
Ned Rorem: Word and Music (2008)
The Republic of Love (2005)
Onion
Imagining Argentina (2003)
Mrs. Sternberg
Criminal Instinct: Love & Murder (2000)
Nina Love
Wrestling With Alligators (1998)
What the Deaf Man Heard (1997)
A Village Affair (1997)
Daylight (1996)
Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
The Princess and the Goblin (1994)
Voice
It's Nothing Personal (1993)
Evelyn Whitloff
Mad Dogs and Englishmen (1993)
Vivien Leigh: Scarlett And Beyond (1990)
The Lady And The Highwayman (1989)
Crimes And Misdemeanors (1989)
Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987)
Liberty (1986)
Florence Nightingale (1985)
Fanny Nightingale
Promises To Keep (1985)
Sally
Deja Vu (1984)
Eleanor Harvey
Separate Tables (1983)
Miss Cooper
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Hera
Islands In The Stream (1977)
A Doll's House (1973)
Nora Helmer
Red Sky at Morning (1971)
Ann Arnold
A Severed Head (1971)
Honor Klein
The Illustrated Man (1969)
Felicia
3 Into 2 Won't Go (1969)
Frances Howard
Charly (1968)
Alice Kinian
High Infidelity (1965)
Laura
The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1965)
Nan Perry
The Outrage (1964)
Wife
The Haunting (1963)
Theodora
80,000 Suspects (1963)
The Chapman Report (1962)
Naomi Shields
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962)
Dorothea Grimm
Brainwashed (1961)
Irene Andreny
Look Back in Anger (1959)
Helena Charles
The Buccaneer (1959)
Bonnie Brown
The Brothers Karamazov (1958)
Katya
Alexander the Great (1956)
Barsine
Richard III (1955)
Lady Anne
Limelight (1953)
Thereza [Ambrose]
The Man Between (1953)
Susanne
Innocents in Paris (1953)
Susan

Cast (Special)

Chaplin Today: Limelight (2003)
Terry
On Cukor (2000)
Brush Up Your Shakespeare (1999)
Shakespeare's Women With Claire Bloom (1999)
Host
Charlie Chaplin: A Tramp's Life (1998)
Man-Eaters of India (1997)
Narration
Martha Graham: The Dancer Revealed (1994)
Narration
The Story of Anna Akhmatova (1991)
Voice Of Anna Akhmatova
The Theban Plays (1988)
Jocasta
Shadowlands (1986)
The Ghost Writer (1984)
Henry VIII (1979)
Caesar and Cleopatra (1956)
Cleopatra

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Lady in Question (1999)
Imogen's Face (1999)
Barbara Taylor Bradford's "Remember" (1993)
Anne Devereaux
Miss Marple: The Mirror Crack'd (1993)
Shadow on the Sun (1988)
Lady Florence Delamere
Queenie (1987)
Intimate Contact (1987)
Ruth Gregory
Hold the Dream (1986)
Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986)
Ellis Island (1984)
Rebecca Weiler
Backstairs at the White House (1979)

Life Events

1940

Brought to the USA as a war evacuee during the London blitz and lived in Florida

1943

Returned to England

1946

Stage acting debut at age 15 with the Oxford Repertory Company

1947

London stage debut, "The White Devil"

1948

Feature film acting debut in "The Blind Goddess"

1948

Portrayed Ophelia opposite Paul Scofield's "Hamlet" at Stratford-on-Avon

1950

Performed in Peter Brook's staging of Jean Anouihl's "Ring Around the Moon" (also starring Scofield), which brought her to the attention of Charlie Chaplin

1952

Acted opposite Chaplin in "Limelight"

1952

Was member of the Old Vic Company; appeared in numerous Shakespearean roles including Juliet, Ophelia in "Hamlet" (opposite Richard Burton) and Cordelia in "King Lear"

1955

Played Lady Anne to Laurence Olivier's "Richard III"

1956

Broadway debut, "Romeo and Juliet"; appeared with Old Vic Company

1956

American TV debut, Roxanne opposite Jose Ferrer's "Cyrano de Bergerac" for "Producers Showcase" (NBC)

1956

First film with Burton, "Alexander the Great"

1959

Co-starred with soon-to-be husband Rod Steiger in Broadway's "Rashomon"

1959

Acted opposite Burton in Tony Richardson's film version of "Look Back in Anger"

1963

Exhibited lesbian tendencies and an extraordinary sense of ESP in Robert Wise's "The Haunting"

1965

Reteamed with Burton for Martin Ritt's "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold"

1968

Portrayed sympathetic caseworker who becomes attatched to "Charly" (Cliff Robertson), role earned Robertson the Best Actor Oscar

1969

Starred opposite husband Rod Steiger in two films, "Three Into Two Won't Go" and "The Illustrated Man"

1972

Returned to Broadway as Mary, Quenn of Scots in "Vivat! Vivat! Regina!"

1973

Essayed the role of Nora opposite Anthony Hopkins in stagy film of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House"; Bloom also played the role several times on stage

1974

Acted the part of Blanche DuBois in London revival of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire"

1976

Last Broadway appearance for 22 years, "The Innocents", an adaptation of Henry James' "Turn of the Screw" directed by Harold Pinter; a scathing review by Clive Barnes doomed it to a short run of 10 days

1981

Played Hera to Olivier's Zeus in "Clash of the Titans"

1982

Appeared as Lady Marchmain opposite Olivier in the British miniseries "Brideshead Revisited" (shown in the USA on PBS), garnered an Emmy nomination

1984

Acted in "American Playhouse" (PBS) adaptation of then-companion Philip Roth's "The Ghostwriter"

1985

Co-starred in British TV production of "Shadowlands" (shown in USA in 1986 on PBS and again in 1989 on A&E)

1988

Reteamed with director Tony Richardson for CBS miniseries "Beryl Markham: A Shadow in the Sun"

1989

First collaboration with Woody Allen, playing Miriam Rosenthal, wife of Judah (Martin Landau) in "Crimes and Misdemeanors"

1995

Appeared briefly as Orlena Grimaldi on the CBS daytime drama "As the World Turns"

1995

Portrayed chorus role in Allen's "Mighty Aphrodite"

1996

Played Mary Tyrone as an angry anything-but-a-victim in American Repertory Theatre presentation of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night"

1996

Acted the part of upper-class society doyenne Eleanor Trilling in "Daylight", starrring Sylvester Stallone

1997

Was underutilized as the agreeably disagreeable widow Tynan in CBS' "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation "What the Deaf Man Heard"

1998

Had stage triumph as Clytemnestra in a staging of Sophocles' "Electra", starring Zoe Wanamaker; garnered Tony nomination

1998

Portrayed a former silent movie star running a New Jersey rooming house in Laurie Weltz's "Wrestling With Alligators"

2000

Led the cast of "Conversations After a Burial", produced in London

Photo Collections

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold - Movie Poster
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold - Movie Poster
The Brothers Karamazov - Publicity Art
Here is a specialty drawing created by MGM for newspaper and magazine reproduction to publicize The Brothers Karamazov (1958), starring Yul Brynner, Claire Bloom, and Maria Schell.
The Haunting - Claire Bloom Publicity Still
Here is a photo of Claire Bloom taken to help publicize MGM's The Haunting (1963), directed by Robert Wise.
The Outrage - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from MGM's The Outrage (1964), directed by Martin Ritt and starring Paul Newman and Claire Bloom.
The Man Between - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Carol Reed's The Man Between (1953), starring James Mason and Claire Bloom. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Alexander the Great - Movie Poster
Here is a half-sheet movie poster for Alexander the Great (1956), starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, and Fredric March.

Videos

Movie Clip

Look Back In Anger (1959) - I'm Her Landlord! Jimmy (Richard Burton) and Cliff (Gary Raymond) invade the rehearsal where Alison (Mary Ure) is trying to support Helena (Claire Bloom) in Tony Richardson's production of John Osborne's play Look Back In Anger, 1959.
Look Back In Anger (1959) - She Just Devours Me Whole! Having just made peace, Jimmy (Richard Burton) and wife Alison (Mary Ure) get playful until he learns she's invited guest Helena (Claire Bloom), in Tony Richardson's Look Back In Anger, 1959.
Look Back In Anger (1959) - Open, Jimmy A London jazz club is the setting, Jimmy (Richard Burton) wailing on his trumpet, in the opening of Tony Richardson's Look Back In Anger, 1959, co-starring Mary Ure and Claire Bloom, from John Osborne's play.
Outrage, The (1964) - I Kill To Live Already inside one flashback, this is the recollection by the accused, the bandit Carrasco (Paul Newman), of meeting the crime victims, (Laurence Harvey and Claire Bloom, not named), early in director Martin Ritt's remake of Kurosawa's Rashomon, The Outrage, 1964.
Chapman Report, The (1962) - You Live Here Alone? Veteran George Cukor directing this steamy modern vignette, the first scene for Claire Bloom (as tipsy "Naomi") and strapping young Chad Everett as the delivery man, early in The Chapman Report, 1962, from the novel inspired by the famous "Kinsey Report" on sexual behavior.
Haunting, The (1963) - It Knows My Name! Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson) and Luke (Russ Tamblyn), with highly-sensitive Theodora (Claire Bloom) and traumatized Eleanor (Julie Harris), who hears voices, as the house begins to pulse, in Robert Wise's The Haunting, 1963.
Limelight (1952) - A Ballerina And A Clown Following the credits, with his own Academy Award winning score, writer-producer-director-star Charles Chaplin is introduced, along with three of his children (Geraldine, Michael, Josephine) and co-star Claire Bloom, in Limelight, 1952
Limelight (1952) - All It Needs Is Courage Stricken dancer Thereza (Claire Bloom) recalling her story for her new confidante Calvero (writer, director and star Charles Chaplin), including her memory of the composer Neville (Chaplin's son Sydney), in Limelight, 1952.
Limelight (1952) - Ode To A Worm Snoozing clown Calvero (writer, director and star Charles Chaplin) dreams of performing with his neighbor and new friend, ballerina Thereza (Claire Bloom), in Limelight, 1952.
Brothers Karamazov, The (1958) - Nothing Can Be Immoral Director Richard Brooks brings in Dostoyevsky characters, Richard Basehart as Ivan, pestered by Smerdyakov (Albert Salmi) as he greets his brother's bride Katya (Claire Bloom), then Maria Schell as Grushenka, accompanying evil dad Fyodor (Lee J. Cobb), in The Brothers Karamazov, 1958.
Man Between, The (1953) - Eastern Sector It's really West Berlin made to look like the east, where Ivo (James Mason) seems to have been waiting for Bettina (Hildegarde Neff) and English visitor Susanne (Claire Bloom) in Carol Reed's The Man Between, 1953.
Man Between, The (1953) - Opening, Bettina Opening sequence from Carol Reed's cold-war thriller The Man Between, 1953, finds English Susanne flying into Berlin to meet her German sister-in-law Bettina (Hildegarde Neff).

Trailer

Doll's House, A (1973) -- (Original Trailer) British trailer for the 1973 adaptation of the Henrik Ibsen play, by the well known English theater director Patrick Garland, starring Claire Bloom, Anthony Hopkins and Ralph Richardson, A Doll’s House.
Haunting, The - (Original Trailer) A team of psychic investigators moves into a haunted house that destroys all who live there in The Haunting (1963), directed by Robert Wise (Telluride Film Festival honoree 1979).
Buccaneer, The (1958) - (Original Trailer) French pirate Jean Lafitte (Yul Brynner) tries to redeem his name helping the U.S. in the War of 1812 in Anthony Quinn's The Buccaneer (1958).
Outrage, The - (Original Trailer) Paul Newman stars in Martin Ritt's 1964 Western remake of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950).
Crimes and Misdemeanors - (Original Trailer) In parallel stories, a wealthy doctor deals with a demanding mistress while a filmmaker shoots a documentary about a corrupt TV producer in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), directed by Woody Allen.
Clash of the Titans - (Original Trailer) A Greek hero fights a series of monsters, including the dreaded Gorgon, in Clash of the Titans (1981), with special effects by Ray Harryhausen.
Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, The - (Teaser Trailer) Laurence Harvey stars in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962), a film biography of the German storytellers.
Chapman Report, The - (Textless trailer) A research psychologist gets involved in the personal lives of four women in The Chapman Report (1962).
Look Back in Anger - (Original Trailer) Richard Burton is playwright John Osborne's original "angry young man" in Tony Richardson's film version of Look Back In Anger (1959).
Spy Who Came In From the Cold, The - (Original Trailer) A British agent infiltrates the enemy by allowing himself to be disgraced at home in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965) starring Richard Burton and Claire Bloom.

Family

Edward Max Blume
Father
Salesman. Changed family name from Blumenthal; Bloom later learned he was a compulsive gambler; died three days after she had snubbed him (on the arm of his new wife) after a performance of "Romeo and Juliet" at London's Old Vic in the early 1950s.
Elizabeth Blume
Mother
Her family changed name from Griewski.
Mary
Aunt
Actor. One of the two women (along with her mother) who profoundly influenced her.
John Blume
Brother
Film editor. Born c. 1936.
Anna-Justine Steiger
Daughter
Opera singer. Made New York City Opera debut in 1990.

Companions

Richard Burton
Companion
Actor. Acted with him and fell in love c. 1953, losing her virginity to him.
Laurence Olivier
Companion
Actor. Played Lady Anne to his Richard III in the 1955 film.
Yul Brynner
Companion
Actor. Acted with him in two 1958 films, "The Buccaneer" and "The Brothers Karamozov".
Rod Steiger
Husband
Actor. Married on September 19, 1959; divorced in January 1969; was four months pregnant with their daughter Anna when they wed.
Hillard Elkins
Husband
Stage producer, manager. Married on August 14, 1969; divorced in 1972.
Philip Roth
Husband
Novelist. Married on April 19, 1990 after living together since 1976; previously married to Margaret Martinson; separated c. 1994; divorced in 1995; dedicated his novels "The Professor of Desire" and "Operation Shylock" to her; had rather tempestuous marriage which he depicted in his fiction ("Deception") and she recounted in her nonfiction work "Leaving a Doll's House".

Bibliography

"Leaving a Doll's House"
Claire Bloom, Little, Brown (1996)
"Limelight and After: The Education of an Actress"
Claire Bloom (1982)

Notes

Roth crossed the line when he gave the tearful, histrionic, actress wife of his novel "Deception" the name Claire. Threatened with a lawsuit, he changed the character's name but still called the husband Philip.

About her decision to write her brutally candid memoir of her marriage to Philip Roth: "I had a devestatingly dreadful end to what had been in many ways a wonderful marriage and thought it might help me to write about it and help other women. Philip always said, 'Be private in your life and shameless in your work.'" --Claire Bloom quoted in People, October 28, 1996.

Early during their relationship, Roth insisted that Bloom's daughter Anna Steiger move out of her London home: "It wasn't about hatred for my daughter, though animosity may have been the catalyst--it was about control. Philip made character assessments the way surgeons make incisions. He knew I would make any compromise to support our relationship. If I was willing to jettison my daughter in this manner, what could I ever deny him? I know I was diminishing my own character with each successive act of capitulation. These confrontations left me debilitated and unsure, and were to shape many of my future decisions." --Excerpt from "Leaving a Doll's House" in Vanity Fair November 1996.

On feeling herself an outsider: "It's a particular type of temperment. I've spent my life pursuing excellence as an artist, which is what I always wanted to do anyhow. I don't enjoy the life of an actress, but I don't want to go into that. I am interested in the art. I'm a professional woman." --Bloom to David Finkle in InTheater, December 18, 1998.