Hume Cronyn


Actor
Hume Cronyn

About

Birth Place
London, Ontario, CA
Born
July 18, 1911
Died
June 15, 2003
Cause of Death
Prostate Cancer

Biography

The son of a prominent Canadian politician, Hume Cronyn made his stage debut with the Montreal Repertory Theatre in 1930 while still a student at McGill University and reached Broadway in 1934, playing the Janitor in "Hipper's Holiday." Short and wiry, he gained a reputation for excellence onstage, adroitly portraying ordinary people, and would later prove his versatility by branching in...

Family & Companions

Emily Woodruff
Wife
Fellow student at American Academy; from Atlanta, Georgia; family owned majority share in Coca-Cola Company; told Cronyn they needed to keep the marriage a secret; never lived together; divorced; Woodruff later had a long-term relationship with Glesca Marshall.
Jessica Tandy
Wife
Actor. Married from September 27, 1942 until her death in 1994; met in 1940.
Susan Cooper
Wife
Playwright, screenwriter, author. Collaborated with Cronyn on "Firefox" and "The Dollmaker" (ABC); married in July 1996.

Bibliography

"A Terrible Liar"
Hume Cronyn, William Morrow (1991)

Notes

"To go on being an actor, you need sheer animal energy. If you can't restock your energy, you have to hide your lack of it." --Hume Cronyn ("The MGM Stock Company" 1972)

Lecturer at AADA (1938-39) and Actors' Lab in Los Angeles (1945-46)

Biography

The son of a prominent Canadian politician, Hume Cronyn made his stage debut with the Montreal Repertory Theatre in 1930 while still a student at McGill University and reached Broadway in 1934, playing the Janitor in "Hipper's Holiday." Short and wiry, he gained a reputation for excellence onstage, adroitly portraying ordinary people, and would later prove his versatility by branching into directing, producing and playwriting. An early appearance on the new medium of TV (a 1939 NBC presentation of "Her Master's Voice") preceded Cronyn's first feature role as the literal-minded, snooping, armchair detective-neighbor in Alfred Hitchcock's understated thriller "Shadow of a Doubt" (1943). He also collaborated on the screenplays for Hitchcock's "Rope" (1948, with Arthur Laurents) and "Under Capricorn" (1949, with James Birdie), as well as playing the ship's radio operator in the director's "Lifeboat" (1944).

Although Cronyn garnered a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination as the dull-witted friend who helps Spencer Tracy avoid the Gestapo in "The Seventh Cross" (1944, his first film with wife Jessica Tandy), roles like his Nazi collaborator in "The Cross of Lorraine" (1943) and the despicably ruthless prison guard captain in "Brute Force" (1947) marked him as a baddie. In an effort to escape such typecasting, he turned down the plum part of the sadistic killer played by Richard Widmark in "Kiss of Death" (also 1947) and successfully broke out of the villain mold to enjoy a varied film acting career, playing everything from a jealous physician in "People Will Talk" (1951) and Roosevelt's gruff counselor Louis Howe in "Sunrise at Campobello" (1960) to half of a bickering old homosexual couple in "There Was a Crooked Man" (1970) and Warren Beatty's editor in "The Parallax View" (1974). Cronyn's Tony-winning stage performance as Polonius opposite Richard Burton's "Hamlet" (1964) made it to the screen via a filmed record of the Broadway production directed by John Gielgud.

Cronyn's directing debut at the helm of Tennessee Williams' one-act play "Portrait of a Madonna" starred wife Tandy and led directly to her landing the role of Blanche in Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Broadway. The two first acted together on stage in Broadway's "The Fourposter" (1951), a play they would eventually perform more than 600 times over the years. Subsequent plays like Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance" in the 60s, "The Gin Game" in the 70s and "The Petition" in the 80s established them as the successors to Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne as the pre-eminent married acting couple of the American theater, culminating in a shared Special Lifetime Achievement Tony in 1993.

"Honky Tonk Freeway" (1981) reunited them for the first time in features since 1946, and over the next 13 years, Tandy and Cronyn would act together in five more films, as Glenn Close's parents in "The World According to Garp" (1982), as a married couple in "Cocoon" (1985), its 1988 sequel and "*batteries not included" (1987) and their final onscreen appearance as former lovers in "Camilla" (1994), released after Tandy's death. In addition to televised version of their stage work, Cronyn and Tandy co-starred in the short-lived series "The Marriage" (NBC, 1954) and their final small screen collaboration was in the poignant CBS "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation "To Dance With the White Dog" (1993), for which he won one of this three Emmy Awards.

Cronyn began his association with Susan Cooper, co-writing "Foxfire," the 1980 Broadway play co-starring Tandy and him. Cronyn and Cooper continued their collaboration on "The Dollmaker" (ABC, 1984), starring Jane Fonda in her TV-movie debut, which earned the pair Writers Guild and Christopher Awards for their teleplay. It was at Cooper's urging that he wrote "A Terrible Liar," his 1991 autobiography chronicling the Cronyns' life together through 1966, and they expanded on their partnership (which also yielded the as yet produced screen adaptation of Anne Tyler's novel "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant") by marrying in July of 1996.

After taking some time off following Tandy's death, Cronyn resumed working, portraying the dying patriarch to Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep in "Marvin's Room" (1996), then acting on TV in the Showtime movies "12 Angry Men" and "Horton Foote's Alone" (both 1997) and the CBS miniseries "Seasons of Love" (1998). Home movies shot by Cronyn and Tandy on their journey to East Africa in 1966, augmented by footage from his return there in 1995, became "An African Love Story" (Disney Channel, 1996).

Cronin close out a long and enviable career before the cameras with appearences in several made-for-TV movies, including the heartwarming Christmas tale "Santa and Pete" (1999), in which he played St. Nicholas, and "Off Season" (2001), directed by his on-stage "Glass Menagerie" co-star Bruce Davison. Cronin passed away in 2003 at the age of 91.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Broadway: The Golden Age (2004)
Himself
A Separate Peace (2004)
Professor Carmichael
Off Season (2001)
Sam Clausner
Yesterday's Children (2000)
Sonny Sutton
Santa and Pete (1999)
Sea People (1999)
John Mcrae
12 Angry Men (1997)
Juror No 9
Angel Passing (1997)
Horton Foote's Alone (1997)
Marvin's Room (1996)
Camilla (1994)
Ewald
The Pelican Brief (1993)
To Dance With the White Dog (1993)
Neil Simon's Broadway Bound (1992)
Ben
Christmas on Division Street (1991)
Cleveland Meriwether
Day One (1989)
Age-Old Friends (1989)
Cocoon: the Return (1988)
Foxfire (1987)
Hector Nations
*batteries not included (1987)
Cocoon (1985)
Impulse (1984)
Brewster's Millions (1983)
The World According to Garp (1982)
Mr Fields
Honky Tonk Freeway (1981)
Rollover (1981)
Maxwell Emery
The Parallax View (1974)
Conrack (1974)
There Was a Crooked Man ... (1970)
Dudley Whinner
Gaily, Gaily (1969)
"Honest" Tim Grogan
The Arrangement (1969)
Arthur
Hamlet (1964)
Polonius
Cleopatra (1963)
Sosigenes
Sunrise at Campobello (1960)
Louis McHenry Howe
Crowded Paradise (1956)
George Heath
People Will Talk (1951)
Professor Rodney Elwell
Top O' the Morning (1949)
Hughie Devine
The Bride Goes Wild (1948)
John McGrath
The Beginning or the End (1947)
Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer
Brute Force (1947)
Captain Munsey
The Secret Heart (1946)
Man's voice
The Sailor Takes a Wife (1946)
Freddie [Potts]
A Letter for Evie (1946)
John Phineas McPherson
The Green Years (1946)
Papa Leckie
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Arthur Keats
Ziegfeld Follies (1946)
Monty Edelman in "The Sweepstakes Ticket"
Main Street After Dark (1945)
Keller
Blonde Fever (1945)
Diner at inn
Lifeboat (1944)
Stanley "Sparks" Garrett
The Cross of Lorraine (1944)
[Andre] Duval
The Seventh Cross (1944)
Paul Roeder
Phantom of the Opera (1943)
Gerard
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Herbie Hawkins

Writer (Feature Film)

Foxfire (1987)
Play As Source Material
The Dollmaker (1984)
Screenplay
Under Capricorn (1949)
Adaptation
Rope (1948)
Adaptation

Music (Feature Film)

Foxfire (1987)
Theme Lyrics

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Broadway: The Golden Age (2004)
Other
To Dance With the White Dog (1993)
Consultant

Cast (Special)

The John Garfield Story (2003)
Featuring
Richard Burton: Taylor-Made For Stardom (2002)
Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood (2001)
The Making of Hitchcock's Favorite Film (2000)
Himself
Intimate Portrait: Jessica Tandy (1999)
Grow Old Along With Me (1999)
Omnibus: Television's Golden Age (1999)
Narration
Alfred Hitchcock: The E! True Hollywood Story (1999)
Interviewee
The 50th Annual Tony Awards (1996)
Performer
An African Love Story (1996)
Narrator
An African Love Story (1996)
Himself
The 48th Annual Tony Awards (1994)
Performer
Night of 100 Stars III (1990)
Everybody's Doing It (1988)
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1987)
The 41st Annual Tony Awards (1987)
Performer
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1986)
The 40th Annual Tony Awards (1986)
Performer
The Gin Game (1984)
The Oath: 33 Hours in the Life of God (1976)
Dr Paul Jaffe
The Moon and Sixpence (1959)
A Doll's House (1959)
Nils Krogstad
The Four Poster (1955)
Husband

Producer (Special)

The Four Poster (1955)
Producer

Misc. Crew (Special)

An African Love Story (1996)
Other

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Seasons of Love (1999)
Lonzo Brewster
People: A Musical Celebration (1995)
Voice

Life Events

1930

Stage acting debut at Montreal Repertory Theatre (while at McGill)

1931

Professional stage debut, "Up Pops the Devil" with Cochran's Stock Company at the National Theatre, Washington, DC

1931

Immigrated to USA

1934

Broadway acting debut in "Hipper's Holiday"

1935

Breakthrough stage role as the the lead in the road company of George Abbott's Broadway success, "Three Men on a Horse"

1939

TV debut as Ned Farrar on "Her Master's Voice" (NBC)

1943

Screen acting debut in "Shadow of a Doubt", first of four feature collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock (two acting, two writing)

1944

Earned Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his turn in "The Seventh Cross"; wife Jessica Tandy's first appearance in an American film

1946

Stage directing debut, "Portrait of a Madonna" in Los Angeles, starring Tandy; this one-act play by Tennessee Williams led directly to her playing Blanche Du Bois in Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Broadway

1948

Wrote first screen adaptation, "Rope" (from Patrick Hamilton's play), directed by Hitchcock

1948

Debut as TV series producer (with Donald Davis) and director (with Fred Carr and Ralph Warren), "Actors Studio" (initially aired on ABC, later on CBS)

1949

Adapted "Under Capricorn" (from Helen Simpson's novel), directed by Hitchcock

1950

Broadway directing debut, "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep"

1951

First time acting on stage opposite Tandy in Broadway production of "The Fourposter", a play they would end up doing more than 600 times over the years

1951

First of three films directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz, "People Will Talk"

1953

Regular actor on radio series, "The Marriage"

1954

TV series debut as actor (with Tandy), "The Marriage" (NBC), also produced

1960

Portrayed Louis Howe in "Sunrise at Campobello"

1963

First time playing his favorite role (Harpagon) in Moliere's "The Miser" at Tyrone Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

1964

Played Polonius in "Hamlet" (on stage and film), directed by John Gielgud and starring Richard Burton in the title role; won Tony Award as Featured Actor in a Play

1966

Starred opposite Tandy in Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance" on Broadway

1969

Lost an eye to cancer (date approximate)

1970

Last film with Mankiewicz, "There Was a Crooked Man"

1973

Starred opposite Tandy on Broadway in "Noel Coward in Two Keys"

1974

Acted in first of three movies directed by Alan J Pakula, "The Parallax View"

1978

Co-produced (with Mike Nichols) and starred in "The Gin Game" opposite Tandy on Broadway and on tour

1980

With Susan Cooper, co-wrote play, "Foxfire"; co-starred with Tandy on Broadway

1981

First feature film with Tandy in 35 years, "Honky Tonk Freeway"

1984

Appeared opposite Tandy in PBS presentation of "The Gin Game"

1984

Co-wrote (with Cooper) award-winning teleplay, "The Dollmaker" (ABC), Jane Fonda's TV-movie debut; adapted from Harriette Arnow's novel

1985

Scored big success in Ron Howard's "Cocoon", featuring an all-star cast of oldsters including Don Ameche (who won a Supporting Actor Oscar), Maureen Stapleton and Tandy

1986

Last Broadway show to date, "The Petition", co-starring Tandy

1987

Starred opposite Tandy in "*batteries not included"

1987

With Tandy, reprised stage roles for a CBS "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "Foxfire"

1988

Appeared in sequel (with Tandy), "Cocoon: The Return"

1989

Teamed with Vincent Gardenia for the HBO movie "Age-Old Friends"; received first Emmy Award; daughter Tandy Cronyn co-starred

1992

Earned second Emmy as the grandfather in "Neil Simon's Broadway Bound" (ABC)

1993

Acted opposite Tandy in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" CBS TV-movie "To Dance With the White Dog"; earned an Emmy for his performance

1993

Last film with Pakula, "The Pelican Brief"

1994

Last screen appearance with Tandy, playing her former lover, in "Camilla"; released after her death

1996

Home movies shot by Cronyn and Tandy on their journey to East Africa in 1966, augmented by footage from his return there in 1995, became "An African Love Story" (Disney Channel)

1996

Had featured role in "Marvin's Room"

1997

Acted in Showtime movies "12 Angry Men" and "Horton Foote's Alone"

1998

Appeared in the CBS minseries, "Seasons of Love"

Photo Collections

Lifeboat - Movie Poster
Lifeboat - Movie Poster
Sunrise at Campobello - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from Warner Bros' Sunrise at Campobello (1960), starring Ralph Bellamy and Greer Garson as Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Videos

Movie Clip

Norman Lloyd: Live From The TCM Classic Film Festival (2016) - Open, Professional Ben Mankiewicz introduces Norman Lloyd before a live audience at the Montalban Theatre in Los Angeles, from the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival, in Norman Lloyd: Live From The TCM Classic Film Festival, 2016, produced by Gary Freedman for TCM.
Sunrise At Campobello (1960) - None Of Your Amiable Chatter Eleanor (Greer Garson) with local doctor (Frank Ferguson) and family confidante Louis (Hume Cronyn) before he rejoins the mysteriously stricken Franklin (Ralph Bellamy), in the Roosevelt family drama Sunrise At Campobello, 1960.
Postman Always Rings Twice, The (1946) - Get That Blonde Out Of My System The brief entire brilliant performance by Audrey Totter, herself usually the blonde, as Madge (the Anjelica Huston part in the 1982 Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange and Bob Rafelson remake), just the gal to distract John Garfield (as Frank) from wife Lana Turner (in her landmark performance as waitress, wife and murderous adulteress Cora), who’s left on the train to visit her ailing mother, Hume Cronyn their friendly lawyer, in The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1946.
Beginning Or The End, The (1947) - Atom Bomb Special A wholly fictional prologue, as the ceremony covered in this fake newsreel never took place, and all the identified historical figures are portrayed by actors (Brian Donlevy, Hume Cronyn prominent), in MGM’s government-approved story of the atom bomb, The Beginning Or The End, 1947.
Conrack (1974) - We're Mostly Black Taking his class afield in coastal South Carolina, 1969, Jon Voight as the author Pat Conroy in the film based on his memoir, mixing English poets and botany, surprised to meet Paul Winfield, as moonshiner Mad Billy, in director Martin Ritt’s Conrack, 1974.
Conrack (1974) - Milkin' The Rat More unorthodox teaching, by Jon Voight as the title character, from the memoir by Pat Conroy, getting the usual mixed results from his South Carolina island pupils, observed by Hume Cronyn as his superintendent, visiting from the mainland, in Martin Ritt’s Conrack, 1974.
Cocoon (1985) - Open, She's Really Slipping Director Ron Howard introduces his child lead (Barret Oliver) then puts Industrial Light & Magic and much of his his acclaimed veteran cast (Wilford Brimley, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford, Herta Ware) straight to work, opening Cocoon, 1985.
Cocoon (1985) - You Boys Still Trespassing? Florida retirement home pals Ben (Wilford Brimley) and Art (Don Ameche) observing daily business, then joining ailing Joe (Hume Cronyn) for mischief, early in director Ron Howard's hit Cocoon, 1985.
Cocoon (1985) - I'm In The Mood For Love Invigorated after their swim in the pool with the mystery ocean pods, Florida geezers Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn, in a hurry to see partners Jessica Tandy, Gwen Verdon and Maureen Stapleton, their Mahjong friend Herta Ware intrigued, early in Ron Howard's Cocoon, 1985.
People Will Talk (1951) - The Cadaver And I From the first scene for Dr. Praetorius (Cary Grant), filling in for tardy Professor Elwell (Hume Cronyn), who's busy plotting against him, student Deborah (Jeanne Crain) stealing the scene, early in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's People Will Talk, 1951.
Rope (1948) - Open, It's The Darkness The opening with the sole un-disguised edit in the picture, Alfred Hitchcock with his first Technicolor feature, the movie-with-no-cuts gimmick, stars John Dall and Farley Granger as New Yorkers Brandon and Philip finishing off their victim (Dick Hogan), in Rope, 1948, co-starring James Stewart.
Rope (1948) - Do You Deserve Justice? From another of director Alfred Hitchcock’s disguised edits, Constance Collier with pianist David (Farley Granger) who with roommate Brandon (John Dall) has hidden murder victim David in the trunk, James Stewart as their old prep school teacher finally arriving, meeting Cedric Hardwicke, Joan Chandler, Douglas Dick and Edith Evanson as the maid, in Rope, 1948.

Trailer

Green Years, The - (Original Trailer) An orphaned Irish boy is taken in by his mother's Scottish relations in The Green Years (1946) from the author of The Citadel and The Stars Look Down.
Top O' The Morning (1949) -- (Original Trailer) From Paramount and Bing Crosby Enterprises, with direct reference to their earlier hits Going My Way, 1944 and Welcome, Stranger!, 1947, the trailer for Top O’ The Morning, 1949, in which Bing plays a singing insurance investigator come to Ireland following the theft of the Blarney Stone, with Barry Fitzgerald as the local cop.
There Was A Crooked Man (1970) -- Original Trailer The bulky trailer for the ambitious Kirk Douglas comic Western by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, co-written by the Bonnie And Clyde team, David Newman and Robert Benton, with Henry Fonda, Hume Cronyn and Burgess Meredith, There Was A Crooked Man, 1970.
Letter For Evie, A - (Original Trailer) A timid soldier (Hume Cronyn) sends his buddy's picture to a romantic pen pal in Jules Dassin's A Letter For Evie (1946).
Gaily, Gaily - (Original Trailer) Beau Bridges plays a young man coming of age in corrupt 1910's Chicago in Gaily, Gaily (1969) based on a novel by Ben Hecht (The Front Page).
Bride Goes Wild, The -- (Re-issue Trailer) A womanizing author of children's books (Van Johnson) borrows a son to woo his illustrator in The Bride Goes Wild (1948).
Blonde Fever - (Original Trailer) A woman fights to save her husband after he gets Blonde Fever (1945) with a young Gloria Grahame as the Blonde.
Beginning or the End, The - (Original Trailer) Two years after the events, MGM recounts how the United States developed and dropped the atomic bomb in The Beginning or the End (1947).
Ziegfeld Follies - (Original Trailer) Legendary showman Flo Ziegfeld imagines the kind of Follies he could produce with MGM's musical stars in Ziegfeld Follies (1946) starring Judy Garland.
Parallax View, The - (Textless Trailer) A reporter (Warren Beatty) uncovers a corporation that manages political assassinations in The Parallax View (1974).
Arrangement, The - (Original Trailer) An advertising executive (Kirk Douglas) has a mid-life breakdown in Elia Kazan's The Arrangement (1969).
Cocoon - (Original Trailer) A group of elderly people are rejuvenated by aliens after swimming in a pool in Cocoon (1985).

Family

Hume Blake Cronyn
Father
Financier, politician. Member of Canadian Parliament.
Frances Cronyn
Mother
Susan Cronyn Tettemer
Step-Daughter
Jessica Tandy's daughter by first husband, actor Jack Hawkins; took Cronyn's name at the age of 12.
Christopher Cronyn
Son
Production manager, producer. Born in 1943.
Tandy Cronyn
Daughter
Actor. Born in 1945; acted with father in HBO Showcaase presentation of "Age-Old Friends" (1989), playing his daughter.
Robert Whitehead
Cousin
Broadway producer. Married to actor Zoe Caldwell.

Companions

Emily Woodruff
Wife
Fellow student at American Academy; from Atlanta, Georgia; family owned majority share in Coca-Cola Company; told Cronyn they needed to keep the marriage a secret; never lived together; divorced; Woodruff later had a long-term relationship with Glesca Marshall.
Jessica Tandy
Wife
Actor. Married from September 27, 1942 until her death in 1994; met in 1940.
Susan Cooper
Wife
Playwright, screenwriter, author. Collaborated with Cronyn on "Firefox" and "The Dollmaker" (ABC); married in July 1996.

Bibliography

"A Terrible Liar"
Hume Cronyn, William Morrow (1991)

Notes

"To go on being an actor, you need sheer animal energy. If you can't restock your energy, you have to hide your lack of it." --Hume Cronyn ("The MGM Stock Company" 1972)

Lecturer at AADA (1938-39) and Actors' Lab in Los Angeles (1945-46)

He received the Commedia Matinee Club Award for "The Fourposter" in 1952.

Given the Barter Theatre Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre in 1961

Presented with the Herald Theatre Award for "A Delicae All!" in 1972

Awarded Brandeis University's Creative Arts Award for Distinguished Achievement (1978)

Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1979

Received National Press Club Award in 1979

Given the Commonwealth Award for distinguished service in the Dramatic Arts (1983)

Awarded the Humanitas Prize from the Human Family Institute (1985)

Received Alley Theatre Award in recognition of Significant Contribution to the Theatre Arts (1987)

Received honorary LL.D from the University of Western Ontario in 1974

Awarded honorary LHD from Fordham University (1985)

Decorated with the Order of Canada

"Audrey Wood, Tennessee Williams' agent was a friend of mine. I said, 'I'm looking for something to produce, and if I find the right thing, I think I can find the money.'"She went into a back office and brought out a thin blue folder. She said: 'This isn't a play, it's three one-acts by somebody you never heard of named Tennessee Williams. He's got serious eye trouble and he's bicycling around the South, and I expect a telegram any day saying he's been killed. He needs money.'

"I read the plays, and they were magical, and I took an option on them. I only needed $11,000 for a Broadway production. Can you imagine that? And I couldn't raise the $11,000. 'Tennessee who? That's nobody's name. One-acts? Forget it.' I went back and told Audrey: 'Renew the option, and I'll throw in six more one-acts he's written.' I took them but never got them on. Eventually they were published as a book ... "I got [the Actors Lab Theater in L.A.] to do three of the plays; Jessie [Jessica Tandy] did 'Portrait of a Madonna'. I remember [Charlie] Chaplin coming backstage one night. Irene Selznick, who produced 'Streetcar', came to see it, and so did Elia Kazan, who directed 'Streetcar'. And that's how Jessie became Blanche Du Bois." -- Hume Cronyn to New York Newsday, July 9, 1995.