Greer Garson


Actor
Greer Garson

About

Also Known As
Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson Fogelson
Birth Place
County Down, Northern Ireland, GB
Born
September 29, 1904
Died
April 06, 1996
Cause of Death
Heart Failure

Biography

A strikingly attractive, red-haired former stage actress of Anglo-Irish descent, Greer Garson appeared in films from 1939, mostly with MGM. Her relatively brief but affecting debut performance as Mrs. Chipping in the touching "Goodbye Mr. Chips" (1939) won her the first of seven Oscar nominations as Best Actress and made her an immediate star. After a lovely turn as the intelligent, play...

Photos & Videos

Mrs. Parkington - Greer Garson Publicity Stills
Pride and Prejudice - Scene Stills
Pride and Prejudice - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Edward A Snelson
Husband
Married in 1933; divorced in 1941.
Richard Ney
Husband
Actor. Second of three husbands, married in 1943; divorced in 1947; played Garson's son in "Mrs. Miniver" (1942).
Elijah E Fogelson
Husband
Businessman. Married from 1949 until his death in 1987.

Bibliography

"A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson"
Michael Troyan, University of Kentucky Press (1998)

Notes

Various sources gave her year of birth as 1903, 1906 and 1908. It was revealed after her death that she was born in 1903.

Popular mythology has gently chided Greer Garson for supposedly giving the longest Academy Award acceptance speech in the history of the Oscars; actually, her speech was somewhat more in the ballpark of six minutes. It was, however, given at the end of a long evening, and Garson herself has recalled that she not only felt she had many people to thank, but also that she sincerely thought the moment an appropriate one to raise some issues about the award and the potential of the Academy itself.

Biography

A strikingly attractive, red-haired former stage actress of Anglo-Irish descent, Greer Garson appeared in films from 1939, mostly with MGM. Her relatively brief but affecting debut performance as Mrs. Chipping in the touching "Goodbye Mr. Chips" (1939) won her the first of seven Oscar nominations as Best Actress and made her an immediate star. After a lovely turn as the intelligent, playful Elizabeth in the comic "Pride and Prejudice" (1940), Garson inherited from Norma Shearer the mantle of Metro's resident prestige actress, suffering with genteel dignity through a series of A-budget soap operas.

Garson regularly appeared on boxoffice polls of the top ten stars during the WWII years; indeed, Betty Grable was the only female star who surpassed Garson in popularity during this time. Garson formed an attractive romantic partnership with the stalwart and gentlemanly Walter Pidgeon, with whom she co-starred eight times. Their finest pairings came with "Madame Curie" (1943) and "That Forsyte Woman" (1949), though popular memory regularly casts them as Mr. and "Mrs. Miniver" (1942), a then-acclaimed but rather overrated tribute to the stiff-upper-lip spirit of the British in WWII, for which she earned an Oscar. Garson also played quite well opposite popular matinee idols Ronald Colman in the delicate, sentimental romance, "Random Harvest" (1942) and Gregory Peck in the lavish family saga, "The Valley of Decision" (1945).

Garson's popularity began to ebb during the late 40s, the regal and dignified stoicism she embodied for the war years seeming less suitable in the face of postwar angst and malaise. Some of the attempts to vary Garson's image and type of roles, such as in the zany farce "Julia Misbehaves" (1948), were not particularly successful, but she continued on into the middle of the following decade with such smaller-scale vehicles as "Scandal at Scourie" (1953) and "Strange Lady in Town" (1954). She later made a comeback with her acclaimed performance as Eleanor Roosevelt opposite Ralph Bellamy in "Sunrise at Campobello" (1960) and also did periodic stage work. Her last feature acting role was in 1967's "The Happiest Millionaire" and her final film appearance was in the documentary "Directed by William Wyler" (1986). Garson, who had worked sporadically in TV since the 1950s, made one of her last acting appearances as Aunt March in the miniseries "Little Women" (NBC, 1978). After dabbling briefly in theater producing (notably the New York production of "On Golden Pond"), she retired in 1980 after suffering a heart attack. Eight years later, she underwent bypass surgery. Garson succumbed to heart failure at age 92 on April 6, 1996.

The actress was married three times. Her second husband (1943-47) was actor Richard Ney, who had played her son in "Mrs. Miniver."

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Crown Matrimonial (1974)
Queen Mary
The Happiest Millionaire (1967)
Mrs. Cordelia Biddle
The Singing Nun (1965)
Mother Prioress
Pepe (1961)
Bidder at auction
Sunrise at Campobello (1960)
Eleanor Roosevelt
Strange Lady in Town (1955)
Dr. Julia Winslow Garth
Her Twelve Men (1954)
Jan Stewart
Julius Caesar (1953)
Calpurnia
Scandal at Scourie (1953)
Mrs. Patrick J. [Victoria] McChesney
The Law and the Lady (1951)
Jane Hoskins [also known as Lady Jane Loverly]
The Miniver Story (1950)
Kay Miniver
That Forsyte Woman (1949)
Irene Forsyte
Julia Misbehaves (1948)
Julia Packett
Desire Me (1947)
Marise Aubert
Adventure (1946)
Emily Sears
The Valley of Decision (1945)
Mary Rafferty
Madame Curie (1944)
Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie
Mrs. Parkington (1944)
Susie [Graham] Parkington
The Youngest Profession (1943)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Mrs. [Kay] Miniver
Random Harvest (1942)
Paula [Ridgeway, also known as Margaret Hanson]
When Ladies Meet (1941)
Clare Woodruf
Blossoms in the Dust (1941)
Edna Gladney
Pride and Prejudice (1940)
Elizabeth Bennet
Remember? (1939)
Linda Bronson
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
Katherine [Ellis]

Producer (Feature Film)

On Golden Pond (1981)
Producer

Cast (Special)

Directed By William Wyler (1986)
Herself
Perry Como's Christmas in New Mexico (1979)
Captain Brassbound's Conversion (1960)
Lady Cicely Waynflete
The Little Foxes (1956)
Regina Giddens
Reunion in Vienna (1955)
Elena Krug

Misc. Crew (Special)

Directed By William Wyler (1986)
Other

Cast (Short)

King & Queen Meet the Stars (1954)
Herself
Screen Actors (1950)
Herself
A Report from Miss Greer Garson (1944)
Herself
The Miracle of Sound (1940)
Herself
Greer Garson: Hair And Make-Up Tests For "Mr. Chips" (1939)
Herself

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Little Women (1978)
The Little Drummer Boy Book 2 (1976)
Narrator

Life Events

1932

Stage debut with Birmingham Repertory Theatre in "Street Scene"

1934

London stage debut Regent's Park Open Theatre

1935

First teaming with Laurence Olivier in stage production, "Golden Arrow"

1938

Signed contract with MGM

1939

Film debut, "Goodbye Mr. Chips"; earned first Oscar nomination

1940

Starred with Olivier in "Pride and Prejudice"

1941

First co-starring appearance opposite Walter Pidgeon, "Blossoms in the Dust"

1942

Starred as "Mrs. Miniver"; won Oscar as Best Actress

1942

First made the annual exhibitors poll of top ten boxoffice stars; placed 9th

1946

Last of five successive appearances on boxoffice poll; placed 7th

1953

Last co-starring vehicle opposite Walter Pidgeon, "Scandal at Scourie"

1954

Last starring film under MGM contract, "Strange Lady in Town"

1958

Made Broadway debut in title role of "Auntie Mame" (replacing Rosalind Russell)

1960

Returned to films after a six-year absence, as Eleanor Roosevelt in "Sunrise at Campobello"

1966

Acted in "The Singing Nun" after another six-year absence from the screen

1967

Final feature film acting role in "The Happiest Millionaire"

1978

Began producing stage plays with Arthur Cantor

1978

Final TV acting role, Aunt March in NBC miniseries "Little Women"

1979

Last theatrical production (as co-producer) "On Golden Pond"

1980

Suffered heart attack

1988

Underwent quadruple-bypass surgery

Photo Collections

Mrs. Parkington - Greer Garson Publicity Stills
Mrs. Parkington - Greer Garson Publicity Stills
Pride and Prejudice - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from MGM's Pride and Prejudice (1940), starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.
Pride and Prejudice - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to help publicize MGM's Pride and Prejudice (1940), starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from the 1939 version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips, starring Robert Donat and Greer Garson.
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.
That Forsyte Woman - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from MGM's That Forsyte Woman (1949), starring Greer Garson, Errol Flynn, and Robert Young.
The Miniver Story - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's The Miniver Story (1950), starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon.
Julius Caesar (1953) - Publicity Stills
Here are a number of photos taken to help publicize MGM's Julius Caesar (1953), starring Marlon Brando, Deborah Kerr, James Mason, and Greer Garson. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Madame Curie - Scene Still
Here is a scene still from MGM's biopic Madame Curie (1944), starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon.
Mrs. Miniver - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's Mrs. Miniver (1942), starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Random Harvest - Publicity Still Series
Here is a series of publicity stills taken for MGM's Random Harvest (1942), starring Ronald Colman and Greer Garson. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
When Ladies Meet - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's When Ladies Meet (1941), starring Joan Crawford, Robert Taylor and Greer Garson. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Blossoms in the Dust - Color Greer Garson Publicity Still
Here is a rare color still of Greer Garson, taken to publicize the MGM film Blossoms in the Dust (1941).
Mrs. Miniver - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release American movie posters from Mrs. Miniver (1942), starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon.
Pride and Prejudice - Movie Poster
Here is an American re-issue one-sheet movie poster for MGM's Pride and Prejudice (1940), starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Random Harvest - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several behind-the-scenes photos taken during production of MGM's Random Harvest (1942), starring Ronald Colman and Greer Garson, and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
Random Harvest - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for MGM's Random Harvest (1942). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release American movie posters for Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), starring Robert Donat and Greer Garson.
Greer Garson - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity photos of Greer Garson.

Videos

Movie Clip

Julius Caesar (1953) - I Never Stood On Ceremony Calpurnia (Greer Garson) speaks at least one everlasting Shakespeare phrase, pleading with husband Caesar (Louis Calhern) to not go to the senate today, Decius (the "other" Brutus, John Hoyt) intruding, in the Joseph L. Mankiewicz and MGM 1953 version of Julius Caesar.
Julius Caesar (1953) - Beware The Ides Of March Caesar (Louis Calhern) returns to Rome, checks in with wife Calpurnia (Greer Garson) and under-dressed Antony (Marlon Brando), then a blind soothsayer (Richard Hale) with famous words of warning, also getting a reading off Brutus (James Mason) in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, 1953.
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.
Sunrise At Campobello (1960) - Hard-Boiled Chicken Dig the vigor, as Franklin (Ralph Bellamy) and Eleanor (Greer Garson) manage their brood (Zina Bethune, Tim Considine et al) in writer-producer Dore Schary's hagiographic tale of the Roosevelt's, Sunrise At Campobello, 1960.
Adventure (1946) - Can You Imitate A Rooster? Pal-ing around now outside San Francisco with now less-uptight librarian Emily (Greer Garson), beached sea captain Harry (Clark Gable) is helping steal chickens from her crooked neighbors, leading to hijinks and action, her friend Joan Blondell welcoming their escape, in MGM’s Adventure, 1946.
Julia Misbehaves (1948) - Agamemnon Beating Circe Unveiling the affluent Packett household in France, Walter Pidgeon whom we surmise is the estranged but not unfriendly husband of the title character (Greer Garson, not seen here), Elizabeth Taylor the daughter, whose wedding she’s been unexpectedly invited to, Peter Lawford a hired artist, and Lucile Watson the grandmother, in MGM’s Julia Misbehaves, 1948.
Julia Misbehaves (1948) - I'm Your Mother Showgirl Julia (Greer Garson) at the French country home of her estranged husband, for the wedding of her daughter Susan (Elizabeth Taylor), whom she hasn't seen since infancy, in Julia Misbehaves, 1948.
Julia Misbehaves (1948) - My Wonderful One At the wedding rehearsal for Susan (Elizabeth Taylor), artist Ritchie (Peter Lawford) intruding, re-united parents Julia (Greer Garson)and William (Walter Pidgeon) remember their wedding with a song, in Julia Misbehaves, 1948.
Julia Misbehaves (1948) - Well Get Out Of The Nude! Opening and introducing Greer Garson as the London showgirl title character, craftily manipulating her manager Benjy (Reginald Owen) through her friend Louise (Veda Ann Borg), Jack Conway directing, from a Margery Sharp novel, co-starring Walter Pidgeon, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Lawford, in Julia Misbehaves, 1948.
Remember? (1939) - Ho-Hum, Silver! Jeff (Robert Taylor), best pal of the groom-to-be (Lew Ayres), though not to the manor born, is clicking with bride to-be Linda (Greer Garson), but not her father (Reginald Owen) or mother (Billie Burke), at the prenuptial fox hunt, in MGM's Remember?, 1939.
Strange Lady In Town (1955) - Look At That Red Hair! From the credits, a fitting line in this Western developed for Greer Garson, as lady doctor Julia, meeting cow-hand Wickstrom (Douglas Kennedy), Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez (his character, as it often was, a riff on his name) her aide, opening Strange Lady In Town, 1955, co-starring Dana Andrews.
Strange Lady In Town (1955) - They Call Him Billy Unpacking house in 1880's Santa Fe, Boston doctor Julia (Greer Garson) meets local "Spurs" (Lois Smith) who brings first patient Joe (Bob Foulk), accompanied by Nick Adams as one William Bonney, another generous Hollywood portrait of the murderous outlaw, early in Strange Lady In Town, 1955.

Trailer

Julius Caesar - (Re-issue Trailer) Marlon Brando heads an all-star cast in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (1953).
Her Twelve Men - (Original Trailer) A dedicated teacher turns around the troublesome students at a boy's school in Her Twelve Men (1954) starring Greer Garson.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) - (Original Trailer) A cold-hearted teacher becomes the school favorite when he falls for a beautiful young woman in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) with Robert Donat.
When Ladies Meet (1941) - (Original Trailer) A female novelist doesn't realize her new friend is the wife whose husband she's trying to steal in When Ladies Meet (1941).
Desire Me - (Original Trailer) A war widow falls in love with the man who informed her of her husband's death in Desire Me (1947) starring Greer Garson and Robert Mitchum.
Blossoms In The Dust - (Original Trailer) Greer Garson plays the real-life Texas heroine Edna Gladney in this MGM Technicolor drama.
Youngest Profession, The - (Original Trailer) A teenage autograph hound (Virginia Weidler) invades Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in The Youngest Profession (1943).
Pride and Prejudice - (Original Trailer) Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier star in Pride And Prejudice, 1940, Jane Austen's comic classic about five sisters out to nab husbands in 19th-century England.
Sunrise at Campobello - (Pan-and-scan trailer) After a bout with polio, future president Franklin Roosevelt fights to save his political career in the film biography, Sunrise at Campobello (1960), starring Ralph Bellamy and Greer Garson.
Singing Nun, The - (Original Trailer) Debbie Reynolds stars in the film biography of the Belgian nun who had a hit single in the sixties - The Singing Nun (1966), directed by Henry Koster.
That Forsyte Woman - (Original Trailer) Greer Garson and Errol Flynn team up for a Technicolor dip into the Forsyte Saga in That Forsyte Woman (1949).
Scandal at Scourie - (Original Trailer) Controversy erupts in a small Canadian town when a Protestant couple tries to adopt a Catholic child. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon's last co-starring movie.

Promo

Family

George Garson
Father
Died when Garson was one year old.
Nina Sophia Garson
Mother

Companions

Edward A Snelson
Husband
Married in 1933; divorced in 1941.
Richard Ney
Husband
Actor. Second of three husbands, married in 1943; divorced in 1947; played Garson's son in "Mrs. Miniver" (1942).
Elijah E Fogelson
Husband
Businessman. Married from 1949 until his death in 1987.

Bibliography

"A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson"
Michael Troyan, University of Kentucky Press (1998)

Notes

Various sources gave her year of birth as 1903, 1906 and 1908. It was revealed after her death that she was born in 1903.

Popular mythology has gently chided Greer Garson for supposedly giving the longest Academy Award acceptance speech in the history of the Oscars; actually, her speech was somewhat more in the ballpark of six minutes. It was, however, given at the end of a long evening, and Garson herself has recalled that she not only felt she had many people to thank, but also that she sincerely thought the moment an appropriate one to raise some issues about the award and the potential of the Academy itself.