Miriam Hopkins


Actor
Miriam Hopkins

About

Also Known As
Ellen Miriam Hopkins
Birth Place
Bainbridge, Georgia, USA
Born
October 18, 1902
Died
October 09, 1972
Cause of Death
Coronary Attack

Biography

This highly talented blonde Broadway actress possessed an intriguing, husky voice and a brittle, sometimes twitchy yet sexy style. An off-beat combination of a vivacious Southern belle and an insecure yet superior modern woman, Hopkins signed as a leading lady with Paramount in 1930 and gained early stardom for her roles in productions including the delightful Ernst Lubitsch musical "The...

Photos & Videos

Design for Living - Lobby Cards
The Story of Temple Drake - Lobby Card Set
The Old Maid - Miriam Hopkins Portrait Stills

Family & Companions

Brandon Peters
Husband
Actor. First husband.
Austin Parker
Husband
Playwright. Second husband.
Anatole Litvak
Husband
Director. Married in 1937; divorced in 1939; third husband; directed Hopkins in "The Woman I Love" (1937).
Raymond B Brock
Husband
Divorced in 1951; fourth marriage.

Biography

This highly talented blonde Broadway actress possessed an intriguing, husky voice and a brittle, sometimes twitchy yet sexy style. An off-beat combination of a vivacious Southern belle and an insecure yet superior modern woman, Hopkins signed as a leading lady with Paramount in 1930 and gained early stardom for her roles in productions including the delightful Ernst Lubitsch musical "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931) and Rouben Mamoulian's striking "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1932). In Lubitsch's masterpiece, "Trouble in Paradise" (1932), she displayed a sharp talent for sly, sophisticated banter, and she won an Oscar nomination in the title role of Mamoulian's "Becky Sharp" (1935). The feisty, intelligent Hopkins gave what is probably her finest dramatic performance in William Wyler's sterling if significantly altered adaptation of Lillian Hellman's play "The Children's Hour," "These Three" (1936).

Known to be difficult on the set, Hopkins flitted from studio to studio. After her early tenure at Paramount, she was under contract to independent producer Samuel Goldwyn during the mid-30s and by the end of the decade had moved to Warner Brothers, where a rivalry with Bette Davis manifested itself in both the plotline and the actual filming of the touching soaper, "The Old Maid" (1939). Her stardom began to decline toward the end of the decade after several films ("The Woman I Love" 1937, "Lady with Red Hair" 1940) fizzled at the box office. For a time Hopkins had been a critics' darling; as her films became more routine and she became increasingly disenchanted with her opportunities in Hollywood, some of her performances became more mannered. After another competitive reteaming with Davis in the enjoyably catty "Old Acquaintance" (1943), which put her fidgety qualities to good use, Hopkins returned to Broadway and stage tours and bid farewell to Hollywood for six years.

Hopkins began playing occasional film character parts at the end of the 40s. She was especially good in her first major supporting role in films, that of the solicitous, romantic aunt in a fine reunion film with Wyler, "The Heiress" (1949). Hopkins made intermittent appearances through the mid-60s, including one in Wyler's 1962 remake, "The Children's Hour" (playing the aunt of the character she had played 26 years earlier). She also did occasional TV work, perhaps most memorably in an outlandish yet highly effective and even moving Norma Desmond-type turn as an overage flapper still living in her youthful past in "Don't Open Till Doomsday," an especially memorable installment of the cult classic anthology series, "The Outer Limits."

Life Events

1921

Debut as chorus girl in "The Music Box Revue"

1923

Switched to acting

1930

Signed with Paramount

1930

Made film acting debut in a leading role in Paramount's "Fast and Loose"

1935

Was affiliated with Samuel Goldwyn Productions for a number of films in the mid-1930s

1935

Received Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of "Becky Sharp"

1936

First film with director William Wyler, "These Three"

1939

Joined Warner Bros.; made a film opposite rival Bette Davis, "The Old Maid"

1943

Last film for six years, "Old Acquaintance", opposite Davis

1949

Returned to film to play her first supporting role, in William Wyler's "The Heiress"

1962

Last film with Wyler, "The Children's Hour", a remake of "These Three"

1966

Last film, "The Chase"

Photo Collections

Design for Living - Lobby Cards
Here are some Lobby Cards from Design for Living (1932), directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, and Gary Cooper. 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 Story of Temple Drake - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Paramount's long-unseen The Story of Temple Drake (1933). 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 Old Maid - Miriam Hopkins Portrait Stills
Here are a few scene stills from Warner Bros' The Old Maid (1939), featuring portraits of Miriam Hopkins.
Trouble in Paradise - Movie Poster
Here is a Window Card movie poster for Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise (1932), starring Mirian Hopkins, Kay Francis, and Herbert Marshall.
Virginia City - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Warner Bros' Virginia City (1940), starring Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins, Randolph Scott, and Humphrey Bogart. 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.
Old Acquaintance - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from Warner Bros' Old Acquaintance (1943), starring Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, and Gig Young.
Lady with Red Hair - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from Warner Bros' Lady with Red Hair (1940), starring Miriam Hopkins and Claude Rains.

Videos

Movie Clip

Design for Living (1933) - Immorality May Be Fun George (Gary Cooper) romancing Gilda (Miriam Hopkins) in her Paris apartment then bumping into her chivalrous employer Plunkett (Edward Everett Horton), who delivers the same speech he just made to Cooper's roommate, who's also fallen for her, in Ernst Lubitsch's Design for Living, 1933.
Design for Living (1933) - Bonjour! Snoozing on a French train, George (Gary Cooper) and Tom (Fredric March) can be forgiven for assuming Gilda (Miriam Hopkins) is French, in the first scene from Ernst Lubitsch's Design for Living, 1933, from a Noel Coward play and Ben Hecht screenplay.
Design For Living (1933) - Artistic Bums! Max Plunkett (Edward Everett Horton), successful international ad agency executive and chivalrous employer but frustrated suitor of American Paris-based artist Gilda (Miriam Hopkins), visits after having told off her two new romantic interests, a painter (Gary Cooper) and playwright (Fredric March), in Ernst Lubitsch’s Design For Living, 1933.
Design For Living (1933) - No Woman Is Worth It! Broke Paris roommates, painter George (Gary Cooper) and playwright Tom (Fredric March) have decided they must end their friendship because they’re in love with the same girl (Miriam Hopkins) they met on the train, then changing their minds, Ernst Lubitsch directing from the Noel Coward play and Ben Hecht screenplay, in Design For Living, 1933.
Trouble In Paradise (1932) - Moon In The Champagne Director Ernst Lubitsch's fascinating opening sequence from the 1932 romantic comedy Trouble in Paradise, features Herbert Marshall as the thief Gaston Monescu, posing as a Baron.
Trouble In Paradise (1932) - You Are a Crook! The "Countess" (Miriam Hopkins) and the "Baron" (Herbert Marshall) discover each other's games over dinner in Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise, 1932.
Old Maid, The (1939) - Every Shot Will Make You Richer Civil War troop train leaving Philadelphia, Charlotte (Bette Davis) seeks Clem (George Brent), to the surprise of her cousin Delia (Miriam Hopkins), to whom he was once engaged, and who is now married to a munitions manufacturer, in The Old Maid, 1939, from an Edith Wharton novel.
Old Maid, The (1939) - Socially Important Opening the first of two famous pairings of formidable actors (see Old Acquaintance, 1943), Miriam Hopkins as pre-nuptial Delia, Bette Davis her cousin, de-facto sister, Charlotte, Cecilia Loftus their mutual grandmother, Donald Crisp the family doctor, in The Old Maid, 1939, from the Edith Wharton novel.
Children's Hour, The - Opening, Recital Opening title sequence and first scene from William Wyler's The Children's Hour, 1961, introduces the Wright-Dobie School and a musical performance led by Aunt Lily (Miriam Hopkins).
Old Acquaintance (1943) - My Fatal Beauty In New York, years later during which time Millie (Miriam Hopkins) also becomes a best-selling novelist, she scolds husband Preston (John Loder), who retreats with mentor, friend, rival and baby-sitter Kit (Bette Davis), dropping his own bombshell, in Vincent Sherman's Old Acuqaintance, 1943.
Old Maid, The (1939) - Since You Went Out West First scene after a history montage ending the Civil War and killing their former almost-mutual boyfriend, now-married Delia (Miriam Hopkins) visits the orphanage run by cousin Charlotte (Bette Davis), promoting her brother-in-law, Marlene Burnett the featured waif, in The Old Maid, 1939.
Heiress, The (1949) - The Joys of Love Apart from pretending to bugle (in From Here To Eternity), Montgomery Clift as suitor Morris, in maybe his only musical performance, charming Catherine (Olivia de Havilland, title character), offering an 18th century French love song in 19th century New York, in William Wyler's The Heiress, 1949.

Trailer

Mating Season, The - (Original Trailer) Thelma Ritter pretends to be a cleaning lady to get to know her son's high-society in-laws in The Mating Season, 1951, also starring Gene Tierney and John Lund, directed by Mitchell Leisen.
Chase, The - (Original Trailer) A convict's escape ignites passions in his hometown in The Chase (1966) starring Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford.
Barbary Coast - (Re-issue trailer) A vice king's girlfriend falls for a young miner in Howard Hawks' Barbary Coast (1935) starring Edward G. Robinson, Miriam Hopkins and Joel McCrea (Telluride Film Festival honoree 1982).
These Three - (Re-issue trailer) Scandal destroys the lives of two small-town schoolteachers in William Wyler's adaptation of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour, These Three (1936).
Old Maid, The - (Original Trailer) An unmarried mother gives her illegitimate child to her cousin in The Old Maid (1939) starring Bette Davis.
Old Acquaintance - (Original Trailer) Two writers, friends since childhood, fight over their books and lives in Old Acquaintance (1943) starring Bette Davis.
Virginia City - (Re-issue Trailer) A rebel spy poses as a Wild West dance hall girl in Virginia City (1940), directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins and Humphrey Bogart.
Lady With Red Hair - (Original Trailer) Miriam Hopkins plays theatrical star Mrs. Leslie Carter, the Lady With Red Hair (1940) with Claude Rains as David Belasco.
Heiress, The - (Original Trailer) Olivia de Havilland earned her second Academy Award playing The Heiress (1949) whose money attracts fortune hunter Montgomery Clift.

Companions

Brandon Peters
Husband
Actor. First husband.
Austin Parker
Husband
Playwright. Second husband.
Anatole Litvak
Husband
Director. Married in 1937; divorced in 1939; third husband; directed Hopkins in "The Woman I Love" (1937).
Raymond B Brock
Husband
Divorced in 1951; fourth marriage.

Bibliography