Mildred Dunnock


Actor
Mildred Dunnock

About

Also Known As
Mildred Dorothy Dunnock
Birth Place
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Born
January 25, 1901
Died
July 05, 1991

Biography

When Mildred Dunnock quietly demanded that "Attention must be paid" to Willy Loman in the 1949 Broadway premiere of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" opposite Lee J. Cobb, her indelible performance as Linda Loman became the embodiment of Miller's idealized mother figure: loving, supportive mother and wife and the family's moral balast. She repeated her landmark performance in the dis...

Family & Companions

Keith Urmy
Husband
Married in 1933 until his death in 1991.

Biography

When Mildred Dunnock quietly demanded that "Attention must be paid" to Willy Loman in the 1949 Broadway premiere of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" opposite Lee J. Cobb, her indelible performance as Linda Loman became the embodiment of Miller's idealized mother figure: loving, supportive mother and wife and the family's moral balast. She repeated her landmark performance in the disappointing 1951 Laslo Benedek film opposite Fredric March (winning her first Oscar nomination) and again opposite Cobb in the brilliant 1966 TV adaptation (directed by Alex Segal) and for the Caedmon recording in the 1960s.

Formerly a schoolteacher, Dunnock made her stage debut in 1932 and won acclaim on Broadway in 1940 as a Welsh teacher in Emlyn Williams' autobiographical drama "The Corn Is Green," a role she reprised in her film debut in 1945. Although she is memorable in the brief role as the wheelchair bound victim whom Richard Widmark pushes down the stairs in "Kiss of Death" (1948), Dunnock gave her finest performances as seemingly genteel spinster types who display surprising inner strength and sympathy.

Dunnock studied acting with Actors Studio founders Lee Strasberg, Robert Lewis and Elia Kazan and after directing her in "Death of a Saleman," Kazan repeatedly cast her as a figure of quiet moral authority in such films as "Viva Zapata!" (1952) and as Aunt Rose Comfort in Tennessee Williams' "Baby Doll" (1956) for which she received her second supporting actress Oscar nomination. Evidently a favorite actress of Williams as well as Kazan, she continued her association with the playwright on Broadway, creating the role of Big Mama in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1955), appearing in "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" (1963) and starring in a 1966 regional revival of "The Glass Menagerie." She was also featured as Aunt Nonnie in Richard Brooks' 1962 film adaptation of "Sweet Bird of Youth."

Although she didn't begin acting professionally until she was in her 30s, Dunnock maintained an active career as a superb, understated character actress on stage, screen and TV. Her other notable films include Alfred Hitchcock's "The Trouble With Harry" (1955), "Love Me Tender" (1956), "Peyton Place" (1957), "Butterfield 8" (1960) and John Ford's last feature "Seven Women" (1966).

Life Events

1932

Broadway acting debut in "Life Begins"

1945

First film role in "The Corn Is Green"

1949

Created the role of Linda Loman in Broadway premiere of "Death of a Salesman"

1966

Reprised role of Linda in CBS TV adaptation of "Death of a Salesman"

1981

Played herself in the telepic, "The Patricia Neal Story"

1982

Was cast in George Englund's TV movie, "Dixie: Changing Habits" but Geraldine Fitzgerald replaced her in the role

1987

Appeared in last film role, "The Pick-Up Artist"

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.

Videos

Movie Clip

Kiss Of Death (1947) - Lyin' Old Hag! Horrible famous scene in which Tommy (Richard Widmark, in his first movie) executes Ma Rizzo (Mildred Dunnock, neither old nor a hag) for not giving up her son, Henry Hathaway directing, in Kiss Of Death, 1947.
Peyton Place (1957) - I've Made My Choice Rossi the new principal (Lee Philips) has graciously asked veteran teacher Miss Thornton (Mildred Dunnock) to lead Auld Lang Syne at the graduation dance, after which he thanks widow-parent Constance (Lana Turner) for acting as a chaperone, then continues, in Peyton Place, 1957, the scandalous box-office hit from producer Jerry Wald.
Corn Is Green, The (1945) - So This Is My House Miss Moffat (Bette Davis), with Watty (Rosalind Ivan), arrives at her inherited Welsh home, the squire (Nigel Bruce), Miss Ronberry (Mildred Dunnock) and Jones (Rhys Williams) surprised to discover she's a female, early in The Corn Is Green, 1945.
Corn Is Green, The (1945) - Did You Write This? Miss Moffatt (Bette Davis), with aide Ronberry (Mildred Dunnock), despairing over whether she'll ever start her Welsh school, then discovering miner Evans (John Dall) and his prodigious work, in The Corn Is Green, 1945.
Corn Is Green, The (1945) - Kill Two Birds Miss Moffat (Bette Davis) with miner and star student Evans (John Dall), who is taunted by devious Bessie (Joan Loring), who then gets into her own trouble, her mother (Rosalind Ivan) helping quell, in The Corn Is Green, 1945.
Bad For Each Other (1954) - Five Miles From Pittsburgh Opening with Charlton Heston as army doctor Tom narrating, exposition as he's greeted by Doc Scobee and druggist Upham (Rhys Williams, Earl Lee), then confronted by an old pal (Chris Alcaide) before visiting mom (Mildred Dunnock), in Bad For Each Other, 1954, also starring Lizabeth Scott.
Peyton Place (1957) - More Passionate Than Reason Janitor Lucas (Arthur Kennedy) commiserates with veteran teacher Miss Thornton (Mildred Dunnock), who had been favored to become the new principal, when board member Swain (Lloyd Nolan) brings in Rossi (Lee Philips), who got the job, in Peyton Place, 1957, from the Grace Metalious novel.
Nun's Story, The (1959) - A Living Rule Belgium, 1920's, Dr. Van der Mal (Dean Jagger) delivers daughter Gabrielle (Audrey Hepburn) to her chosen convent, received by Sisters William (Patricia Collinge) and Margharita (Mildred Dunnock), opening Fred Zinnemann's film, from the novel by Kathryn C. Hulme, The Nun's Story, 1959.
Nun's Story, The (1959) - I Accuse Myself Still a postulant at the convent, Gabrielle (Audrey Hepburn), daughter of a leading Belgian surgeon, receives general instructions about the order, specific counsel from Mother Emmanuel (Dame Edith Evans), and news of a difficult step from Sister Margharita (Patricia Collinge), in The Nun's Story, 1959.
Girl In White, The (1952) - She Needs A Real Doctor Thirty-something June Allyson, still expected to play a teen, in this case the subject of the bio-pic, pioneering New York doctor Emily Dunning Barringer, her mom falling ill, and Dr. Yeomans (Mildred Dunnock), loosely based on a real person, stepping up, opening The Girl In White, 1952.
Baby Doll (1956) - I Ain't Got You Yet! Much of the marital arrangement between Mississippi husband Archie (Karl Malden) and wife "Baby Doll" (Carroll Baker) is explained in this early scene from Elia Kazan's Baby Doll, 1956, from Tennessee Williams' original screenplay.
Jazz Singer, The (1953) - Temple Sinai Korean War vet Jerry (Danny Thomas) arrives at his Philadelphia temple for Rosh Hashanah, his father (Eduard Franz) officiating and mother (Mildred Dunnock) admiring, opening Warner Bros.' 1953 re-make of The Jazz Singer, directed by Michael Curtiz.

Trailer

Baby Doll - (Original Trailer) Carroll Baker stars as the child bride Baby Doll (1956) in the most notorious movie from a Tennessee Williams' play, directed by Elia Kazan.
Seven Women - (Original Trailer) Seven women staffing an isolated Chinese mission fight to survive a bandit attack in John Ford's last movie Seven Women (1966).
Viva Zapata! - (Original Trailer) Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (Marlon Brando) leads the peasants against a corrupt president in Viva Zapata! (1952).
Love Me Tender - (Original Trailer) Elvis Presley in his first movie as one of three brothers turned outlaws in Love Me Tender (1956).
Nun's Story, The - (Original Trailer) A headstrong girl (Audrey Hepburn) fights the strictures of the Catholic Church in Europe and the Belgian Congo in The Nun's Story (1959), directed by Fred Zinnemann and nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture.
BUtterfield 8 -- (Original Trailer) Elizabeth Taylor won her first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Butterfield 8 (1960).
Trouble With Harry, The - (Original Trailer) Shirley MacLaine stars in Alfred Hitchcock's comedy about death and a corpse that won't stay buried, The Trouble With Harry (1955).
Peyton Place - (Original Trailer) Lana Turner clashes with her daughter over a man in the movie version of the then-scandalous best seller Peyton Place (1957).
Corn is Green, The - (Original Trailer) A dedicated teacher (Bette Davis) sacrifices everything to send a young miner to Oxford in The Corn is Green (1945).
Youngblood Hawke - (Original Trailer) A novelist (James Franciscus) exercises a powerful spell over every woman he meets in Youngblood Hawke (1964).
Sweet Bird of Youth - (Original Trailer) A young gigolo returns to his Southern hometown in search of the lost love of his youth in Sweet Bird of Youth (1962) starring Paul Newman and Geraldine Page.

Family

Walther Dunnock
Father
Florence Dunnock
Mother
Linda McGuire
Daughter
Actor, teacher. Born in 1934.
Mary Urmy
Daughter
Born in 1935; deceased.
Patricia McGuire
Granddaughter
Actor.

Companions

Keith Urmy
Husband
Married in 1933 until his death in 1991.

Bibliography