Teresa Wright


Actor
Teresa Wright

About

Also Known As
Muriel Teresa Wright
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
October 27, 1918
Died
March 06, 2005
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

Sweet and sensitive Teresa Wright made her Broadway debut as an understudy in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" and, after touring in that play, attracted the attention of Samuel Goldwyn while playing the ingenue in the original Broadway production of "Life with Father." She made a sensational transition to screen acting, earning a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for her film...

Photos & Videos

The Actress - Publicity Stills
The Little Foxes - Movie Poster
The Pride of the Yankees - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Niven Busch
Husband
Novelist, screenwriter. Married on May 23, 1942; separated in 1951; divorced on November 25, 1952.
Robert Anderson
Husband
Playwright. Married on December 11, 1959; divorced; remarried; divorced in 1978.
Carlos Pierre
Husband
Divorced.

Notes

Teresa Wright was the second actress to receive dual Academy Award moninations in the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress category in 1942. The first was Fay Bainter in 1938.

"Really, the response to ['The Rainmaker'] has been so lovely that it makes me think that people are in need of something they can respond to emotionally, but not feel they had to live through a hurricane or something to have that feeling ... "Francis [Coppola] likes to have a lot of rehearsal to get people relating to each other, which is so unusual these days. My first two films I worked with Willie Wyler and then with Hitchcock ['Shadow of a Doubt'] and they rehearsed a lot, and the difference from others that did not rehearse as much is quite obvious to me ... "I get an awful lot of scripts for television stuff and after you've played one woman in an old-age home you don't want to do another. There's no depth to those roles. It's not very rewarding." --Teresa Wright quoted in Los Angeles Times, December 28, 1997.

Biography

Sweet and sensitive Teresa Wright made her Broadway debut as an understudy in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" and, after touring in that play, attracted the attention of Samuel Goldwyn while playing the ingenue in the original Broadway production of "Life with Father." She made a sensational transition to screen acting, earning a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for her film debut as the seemingly fragile Southern belle Alexandra Giddens who more than holds her own with her scheming mother Regina (Bette Davis) in William Wyler's "The Little Foxes" (1941), based on the Lillian Hellman play. Wright avoided the sophomore slump with Oscar nominations for her next two movies, winning as Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Greer Garson's daughter-in-law in Wyler's "Mrs. Miniver" while falling short in the Best Actress category as the wife of Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper) in "Pride of the Yankees" (both 1942). Despite her formidable talent, she was just a little too plain to really flourish as a Hollywood starlet, though she beautifully captured the small-town adolescent who gradually comes to discover her beloved Uncle Charlie is a murderer in Alfred Hitchcock's "A Shadow of a Doubt" (1943) and reteamed with Wyler as the daughter of a returning veteran in the Oscar-winning "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946), her radiant smile lighting up the final scene with the seeming promise of good times ahead with Dana Andrews.

Wright starred opposite a debuting Marlon Brando in Fred Zinnemann's "The Men" (1950), her part and the picture recalling "The Best Years of Our Lives," but many of her subsequent roles were routine, her lack of glamour pushing her prematurely into matronly parts (e.g., as Jean Simmons' mother in George Cukor's "The Actress" 1953 at the age of 34). She retired from film in 1959 but continued acting for the small screen, picking up Emmy nominations as teacher Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker" (CBS, 1957) and in the title role as the famed photographer in "The Margaret Bourke-White Story" (NBC, 1960). Wright made guest appearances on many series throughout the 60s (i.e., "Bonanza," "The Defenders," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour") and, despite a return to features in 1969, has continued to act more frequently for TV than the big screen. Another Emmy nomination came her way for her guest spot on CBS' short-lived "Dolphin Cove" (1989), and she also turned up on two popular CBS series, "Murder, She Wrote" (in 1988) and "Picket Fences" (in 1996).

After more than a decade's absence from the stage, Wright returned first to regional theater in the early 50s in such vehicles as "The Country Wife" (Vancouver), "Bell, Book, and Candle" (Phoenix), "The Heiress" (Palm Springs) and "The Rainmaker" (La Jolla) before treading the Broadway boards again in William Inge's "Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1957). She was back on the Great White Way in "I Never Sang for My Father" (1968), written by then-husband Robert Anderson, and in 1975 appeared in two Broadway revivals, Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," as Linda Loman to George C Scott's Willy and Eugene O'Neill's "Ah, Wilderness!" as the stern aunt Lily. In the 80s, she triumphed once again as one of the sisters in the acclaimed revival of "Morning's at Seven" (1980-81) sharing a special Drama Desk Award with the ensemble that included Maureen O'Sullivan, Nancy Marchand and Gary Merrill.

During the same period, Wright appeared in occasional features. She was touching as the widow who comes alive on the dance floor in "Roseland" (1977) and was the contemporary secretary to an old actress in the cult romance "Somewhere in Time" (1980). In 1988. she and Ralph Bellamy lent their considerable talents to the roles of Diane Keaton's concerned grandparents taking sides in a custody battle in "The Good Mother." After nearly a decade away from the big screen, she delivered a fine turn as the flighty old landlady Miss Birdie in "John Grisham's 'The Rainmaker'" (1997), adapted and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, showing herself off as a fine senior citizen in the tradition of the late Lillian Gish, with whom Wright acted on Broadway in "I Never Sang for My Father."

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Red Coat (1998)
John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception (1990)
The Good Mother (1988)
Grandmother
Bill on His Own (1983)
Mae Driscoll
Somewhere In Time (1980)
Roseland (1977)
May ("The Waltz")
Flood! (1976)
Alice Cutler
The Elevator (1974)
Edith Reynolds
Crawlspace (1972)
Alice Graves
The Happy Ending (1969)
Mrs. Spencer
The Restless Years (1958)
Elizabeth Grant
Escapade in Japan (1957)
Mary Saunders
The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956)
Ruth Simmons
Track of the Cat (1954)
Grace Bridges
The Actress (1953)
Annie Jones
Count the Hours (1953)
Ellen Braden
California Conquest (1952)
Julia Lawrence
The Steel Trap (1952)
Laurie Osborne
Something to Live For (1952)
Edna Miller
The Capture (1950)
Ellen [Tevlin Vanner]
The Men (1950)
Ellen
Enchantment (1949)
Lark Ingoldsby
The Imperfect Lady (1947)
Millicent Hopkins
The Trouble with Women (1947)
Kate Farrell
Pursued (1947)
Thor [Callum]
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Peggy Stephenson
Casanova Brown (1944)
Isabel Drury
The Pride of the Yankees (1943)
Eleanor Gehrig
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Young Charlie [Newton]
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Carol Beldon
The Little Foxes (1941)
Alexandra Giddens

Cast (Special)

Goldwyn (2001)
The Making of Hitchcock's Favorite Film (2000)
Herself
Dial H For Hitchcock: The Genius Behind the Showman (1999)
Interviewee
Spencer Tracy: Triumph and Turmoil (1999)
The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998)
Performer
A Century of Women (1994)
Diamonds on the Silver Screen (1992)
Lethal Innocence (1991)
Myra Holcombe
The Fig Tree (1987)
The Desperate Hours (1967)
Eleanor Hilliard
Intermezzo (1961)
Margit Brandt
Miracle on 34th Street (1955)
Doris Walker

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Devil's Disciple (1955)
Judith

Life Events

1937

Served as an apprentice at the Wharf Theater in Provincetown, Massachusetts

1938

Broadway debut as understudy in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town"

1941

Recieved Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her film debut as the seemingly fragile daughter Alexandra in "The Little Foxes"; first of four films directed by William Wyler

1942

Appeared as the daughter-in-law to Greer Garson's "Mrs. Miniver", directed by Wyler; won Best Supporting Actress Academy Award

1942

Portrayed Elanor Gehrig opposite Gary Cooper's Lou Gehrig in "Pride of the Yankees"; received Oscar nomination as Best Actress

1943

Played Jospeh Cotten's namesake niece Charlie in Alfred Hitchcok's "Shadow of a Doubt", co-written by Thornton Wilder

1946

Played the daughter of Fredric March and Myrna Loy in Wyler's Oscar-winning Best Picture, "The Best Years of Our Lives"

1950

Proposed to and married a paraplegic Marlon Brando in Fred Zinnemann's "The Men"

1953

At age 34, moved into character roles, playing mother to 24-year-old Jean Simmons in "The Actress", directed by George Cukor

1953

Portrayed the mother in George Cukor's "The Actress", even though her 34 years were a mere 10 more than daughter Jean Simmons

1957

Returned on Broadway as Pat Hingle's wife in "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs"

1957

Received Emmy nomination as Best Actress in a Single Performance for her performance as teacher Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker"; premiere of William Gibson's work aired on CBS' "Playhouse 90"

1959

"Retired" from films following her work in "The Restless Years"

1960

Delivered an Emmy-nominated performance as the title character of "The Margaret Bourke-White Story" (NBC's "Breck Sunday Showcase")

1962

Toured US cities in the stage production "Mary, Mary"

1968

Portrayed Alice, one of the grown children, in the Broadway production of "I Never Sang for My Father", written by then-husband Robert Anderson; cast included Lillian Gish and Hal Holbrook

1969

Returned to feature films as a character actress, performing in "Hail, Hero!" and "The Happy Ending"; in the latter, once again playing Jean Simmons' mother

1975

On Broadway, played wife Linda opposite George C Scott's Willy Loman in revival of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" (directed by Scott) and also appeared with Geraldine Fitzgerald in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Ah, Wilderness!"

1975

On Broadway, played wife Linda opposite George C. Scott's Willy Loman in revival of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman", directed by Scott; also appeared with Geraldine Fitzgerald in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Ah, Wilderness!"

1977

Starred in one segment of James Ivory's tryptich "Roseland"

1980

Returned to Broadway in revival of "Morning's at Seven"; cast included Nancy Marchand, Elizabeth Wilson, Maureen O'Sullivan and Gary Merrill

1980

Appeared as the secretary to an elderly actress in the cult romance "Somewhere in Time"

1986

Appeared in two episodes of short-lived CBS series "Morningstar/Eveningstar"

1988

Played Diane Keaton's grandmother in "The Good Mother"

1990

Acted in "Pery Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception" (NBC)

1996

Appeared in "My Romance" episode of "Picket Fences" (CBS)

1996

Appeared in "My Romance" episode of "Picket Fences" (CBS), playing long-lost love of Ray Walston's Judge Bone

1997

First feature role in almost a decade, the flighty old landlady Miss Birdie in "John Grisham's 'The Rainmaker'", directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Photo Collections

The Actress - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from MGM's The Actress (1953), starring Jean Simmons, Spencer Tracy, and Anthony Perkins. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Little Foxes - Movie Poster
The Little Foxes - Movie Poster
The Pride of the Yankees - Publicity Stills
The Pride of the Yankees - Publicity Stills
Shadow of a Doubt - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Shadow of a Doubt (1943), directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 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 Men - Lobby Card
Here is a lobby card from The Men (1950), starring Marlon Brando. 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.

Videos

Movie Clip

Best Years Of Our Lives, The (1946) - He's Home! Among the most famous, and probably best scenes Myrna Loy ever played, as Milly, wife of WWII veteran Al Stephenson (Fredric March), surprising her and the kids (Teresa Wright, Michael Hall) with his slightly-early return home, in William Wyler's The Best Years Of Our Lives, 1946.
Little Foxes, The (1941) - Good Names Are Always Useful Alexandra (Teresa Wright) arriving home from a ride, as we meet her aunt Birdie (Patricia Collinge), uncle Ben (Charles Dingle), mother Regina (Bette Davis), Birdie's husband and other uncle Oscar (Carl Benton Reid) and son Leo (Dan Duryea), early in William Wyler's The Little Foxes, 1941.
Pride Of The Yankees, The (1943) - Lou Lou Lou! Elaborate recreation of a real event from the 1928 World Series, Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper) hitting two home runs "for" ailing Billy (Gene Collins), family (Ludwig Stossel, Elsa Janssen) and spouse Eleanor (Teresa Wright) on the radio, in The Pride Of The Yankees, 1943.
Shadow Of A Doubt (1943) - Do You Believe In Telepathy? Director Alfred Hitchcock detailing the family (on location in Santa Rosa, California), Mom, Dad, sister and brother (Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers, Edna May Wonacott, Charles Bates) as restless Charlie (Teresa Wright) decides to send an unnecessary telegram, in Shadow Of A Doubt, 1943.
Shadow Of A Doubt (1943) - Not Interested In Money Preening teen Charlie (Teresa Wright) has no idea Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) is a criminal, visiting the Santa Rosa, California bank where her dad (Henry Travers) works, and he's less keen on the boss (Edwin Stanley) than a widow (Frances Carson), in Hitchcock's Shadow Of A Doubt, 1943.
Sergeant York (1941) - Old Time Religion Returned to drinking after being beaten in a land deal by a romantic rival, Tennesseean Alvin York (Gary Cooper, title character), who has made clear he feels religion ought to come to a man unbidden, ventures into a storm, then preacher Walter Brennan’s church, in Sergeant York, 1941.
Mrs. Miniver (1942) - The Most Beautiful Rose The third scene, England, 1939, Greer Garson (title character) arrives at the fictional Kentish village of Belham after shopping in London, where the station master Ballard (Henry Travers) has a query and a tribute, a key moment in William Wyler’s wartime morale booster Mrs. Miniver, 1942.
Mrs. Miniver (1942) - Orders From The Manor Young Vin (Richard Ney) is home from Oxford holding forth for mum and dad (Greer Garson, title character, and Walter Pidgeon) when Teresa Wright as Carol, born to the local nobility, introduces herself, worried about the flower show, a pre-war vignette from William Wyler’s Mrs. Miniver, 1942.
Mrs. Miniver (1942) - Our Country Is At War News of England’s entry into WWII during Sunday services, the Minivers (Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Richard Ney, Christopher Severn, Clare Sanders), pleased to see Carol (Teresa Wright) with Lady Beldon (Dame May Whitty), as the vicar (Henry Wilcoxon) speaks, in Mrs. Miniver, 1942.
Steel Trap, The (1952) - Brazil By Monday The clerk at the New Orleans airport (Joel Marston) isn't much help to banker-turned-thief Osborne (Joseph Cotten), whose un-knowing wife (Teresa Wright) doesn't realize he's desperate to reach Brazil before his bank opens Monday morning, in The Steel Trap, 1952.
Shadow Of A Doubt (1943) - I Know A Secret About You We know, without detail, that visiting Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) is a fugitive, as he diverts the younger kids (Edna May Wonacott, Charles Bates) from the newspaper, while swooning niece Charlie (Teresa Wright) continues to assume all is well, in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow Of A Doubt, 1943.
Best Years Of Our Lives, The (1946) - Among My Souvenirs Hoagy Carmichael as "Butch," bar owner, receiving the Stephensons (Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright), Fred (Dana Andrews) and Homer (Harold Russell), playing his own "Up A Lazy River," in The Best Years Of Our Lives, 1946.

Trailer

Enchantment - (Original Trailer) Handkerchiefs at the ready as a British general (David Niven) finds the adoption of a beautiful orphan (Teresa Wright) leads to Enchantment (1948).
Count The Hours - (Original Trailer) A lawyer (MacDonald Carey) defends a migrant worker in a sensational murder trial in Don Siegel's Count The Hours (1953).
California Conquest - (Original Trailer) A wealthy landowner (Cornel Wilde) leads the fight to leave Mexican rule and make California a state in California Conquest (1952).
Best Years Of Our Lives, The - (Re-issueTrailer) Seven Oscars including Best Picture went to this story of America immediately after World War II, The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946).
Track Of The Cat - (Original Trailer) A panther haunts a dysfunctional pioneer family in Track of the Cat (1954) starring Robert Mitchum.
Escapade in Japan - (Original Trailer) After his plane crashes in Tokyo, an American boy tries to find his way home in Escapade in Japan (1957) starring Cameron Mitchell and Clint Eastwood as Pilot "Dumbo."
Actress, The - (Original Trailer) Jean Simmons stars in The Actress (1953), the true story of Ruth Gordon's early struggles on the road to stage stardom.
Mrs. Miniver - (Original Trailer) A British family struggles to survive the first days of World War II in Mrs. Miniver (1942), directed by William Wyler and starring Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon and Teresa Wright.
Shadow Of A Doubt - (Re-issue Trailer) A long-lost uncle (Joseph Cotten) brings a terrifying secret to a small American town in this Alfred Hitchcock thriller.

Family

Arthur Wright
Father
Insurance agent.
Martha Wright
Mother
Niven Terrence Busch
Son
Born on December 2, 1944.
Mary Kelly Busch
Daughter
Born on September 12, 1947.

Companions

Niven Busch
Husband
Novelist, screenwriter. Married on May 23, 1942; separated in 1951; divorced on November 25, 1952.
Robert Anderson
Husband
Playwright. Married on December 11, 1959; divorced; remarried; divorced in 1978.
Carlos Pierre
Husband
Divorced.

Bibliography

Notes

Teresa Wright was the second actress to receive dual Academy Award moninations in the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress category in 1942. The first was Fay Bainter in 1938.

"Really, the response to ['The Rainmaker'] has been so lovely that it makes me think that people are in need of something they can respond to emotionally, but not feel they had to live through a hurricane or something to have that feeling ... "Francis [Coppola] likes to have a lot of rehearsal to get people relating to each other, which is so unusual these days. My first two films I worked with Willie Wyler and then with Hitchcock ['Shadow of a Doubt'] and they rehearsed a lot, and the difference from others that did not rehearse as much is quite obvious to me ... "I get an awful lot of scripts for television stuff and after you've played one woman in an old-age home you don't want to do another. There's no depth to those roles. It's not very rewarding." --Teresa Wright quoted in Los Angeles Times, December 28, 1997.

Inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1999.