Kim Hunter

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Kim Hunter
Photograph showing the head and shoulders of a woman
1951 publicity photograph
Born Janet Cole
(1922-11-12)November 12, 1922
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died September 11, 2002(2002-09-11) (aged 79)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1943–2000
Spouse(s) William Baldwin (1944–46) (divorced) (1 child)
Robert Emmett (1951–2000) (his death) (1 child)
Children Kathryn Deirdre Baldwin (b. 1944)
Sean Robert Emmett (1954)[1]

Kim Hunter (born Janet Cole, November 12, 1922 – September 11, 2002) was an American film, theatre, and television actress. She won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, each as Best Supporting Actress, for her performance as Stella Kowalski in the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire. Decades later, she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her work on the long-running soap opera The Edge of Night.[2] She also portrayed the character of chimpanzee Zira in the first three installments of the original film adaptation Planet of the Apes.


Early life[edit]

Hunter was born in Detroit, Michigan, the daughter of Grace Lind, who was trained as a concert pianist, and Donald Cole, a refrigeration engineer.[3] She attended Miami Beach High School.


Hunter's first film role was in the 1943 film noir, The Seventh Victim, and her first starring role was in the 1946 British fantasy film A Matter of Life and Death. In 1947, she was Stella Kowalski on stage in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Recreating that role in the 1951 film version, Hunter won both the Academy and Golden Globe awards for Best Supporting Actress. In the interim, however, in 1948, she had already joined with Streetcar co-stars Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, and 47 others, to become one of the first members accepted by the newly created Actors Studio.[4]

In 1952, Hunter became Humphrey Bogart's leading lady in Deadline USA.

Hunter was blacklisted from film and television in the 1950s, amid suspicions of communism in Hollywood, during the era of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). She still appeared in an episode of CBS's anthology series Appointment with Adventure and NBC's Justice, based on case files of the New York Legal Aid Society.[5]

In 1956, with the HUAC's influence subsiding, she co-starred in Rod Serling's Peabody Award-winning teleplay on Playhouse 90, "Requiem for a Heavyweight". The telecast won multiple Emmy Awards, including Best Single Program of the Year. She appeared opposite Mickey Rooney in the 1957 live CBS-TV broadcast of The Comedian, another drama written by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer. In 1959, she appeared in Rawhide in "Incident of the Misplaced Indians" as Amelia Spaulding. In 1962, she appeared in the NBC medical drama The Eleventh Hour in the role of Virginia Hunter in the episode "Of Roses and Nightingales and Other Lovely Things". In 1963, Hunter appeared as Anita Anson on the ABC medical drama Breaking Point in the episode "Crack in an Image". In 1965, she appeared twice as Emily Field in the NBC TV medical series Dr. Kildare. In 1967, she appeared in the pilot episode of Mannix. On February 4, 1968, she appeared as Ada Halle in the NBC TV Western series Bonanza in the episode "The Price of Salt".

Her other major film roles include the love interest of David Niven's character in the film A Matter of Life and Death (1946), and Zira, the sympathetic chimpanzee scientist in the 1968 film Planet of the Apes and two sequels. She also appeared in several radio and TV soap operas, most notably as Hollywood actress Nola Madison in ABC's The Edge of Night, for which she received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1980.[2] In 1979, she appeared as First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson in the serial drama Backstairs at the White House.

Hunter starred in the controversial TV movie Born Innocent (1974) playing the mother of Linda Blair's character. She also starred in several episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater during the mid-1970s. In 1971, she appeared in an episode of Cannon. In the same year, she starred in a Columbo episode "Suitable for Framing". In 1973, she appeared twice on Lorne Greene's short-lived ABC crime drama Griff, including the episode "The Last Ballad", in which she portrayed Dr. Martha Reed, a physician held by police in the death of a patient. In 1974, she appeared on Raymond Burr's Ironside. In 1977, she appeared on the NBC Western series The Oregon Trail starring Rod Taylor, in the episode "The Waterhole", which also featured Lonny Chapman.

Hunter's last film role in a major motion picture was in the 1997 Clint Eastwood-directed movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In it, Hunter portrayed Betty Harty, legal secretary for real-life Savannah lawyer, Sonny Seiler.

Personal life[edit]

Hunter was married twice. Her first marriage was in 1944 to William Baldwin, a Marine Corps pilot. Before the marriage was dissolved in 1946, the couple had a daughter, Kathryn. Her second marriage was in 1951 to actor Robert Emmett; together, they had a son, Sean Robert. Hunter and Emmett would occasionally perform together in stage plays; he died in 2000.

Hunter died in New York City on September 11, 2002, of a heart attack at the age of 79. She was survived by both her daughter and son.[6][1][7] She was cremated and her ashes given to her daughter.[8]



Year Film Role Notes
1943 The Seventh Victim Mary Gibson
Tender Comrade Doris Dumbrowski
1944 A Canterbury Tale Johnson's Girl US release scenes shot in 1946
When Strangers Marry Millie Baxter
1945 You Came Along Frances Hotchkiss
1946 A Matter of Life and Death June
1951 A Streetcar Named Desire Stella Kowalski Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1952 Deadline - U.S.A. Nora Hutcheson
Anything Can Happen Helen Watson
1952 A Midsummer Daydream Elizabeth
1956 Bermuda Affair Fran West
Storm Center Martha Lockridge
1957 The Young Stranger Helen Ditmar
1959 Middle of the Night Betty Preisser
1959 Money, Women and Guns Mary Johnston Kingman
1964 Lilith Dr. Bea Brice
The Evil of Adelaide Winters Adelaide Winters The Alfred Hitchcock Hour TV Episode
1966 Lamp at Midnight Virginia Hallmark Hall of Fame television production
1968 Planet of the Apes Dr. Zira
The Swimmer Betty Graham
1970 Beneath the Planet of the Apes Dr. Zira
1971 Escape from the Planet of the Apes Dr. Zira
Jennifer on My Mind Walker's Mother (scenes deleted)
1974 Born Innocent Mrs. Parker
Bad Ronald Elaine Wilby
1976 Dark August Adrianna Putnam
1976 Once an Eagle Kitty Damon
1987 The Kindred Amanda Hollins
1990 Due occhi diabolici Mrs. Pym (segment "The Black Cat")
1993 The Black Cat Mrs. Pym Short release of segment in Due occhi diabolici
1994 Mad About You Millie Barton "Love Letters" episode
1997 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Betty Harty
1998 A Price Above Rubies Rebbitzn
1999 Abilene Emmeline Brown
Out of the Cold Elsa Lindepu
2000 The Hiding Place Muriel
Here's to Life! Nelly Ormond


  1. ^ a b Baxter, Brian (September 13, 2002). "Kim Hunter". The Guardian. 
  2. ^ a b "1980 Emmy Winners & Nominees". Soap Opera Digest. American Media, Inc. Archived from the original on August 18, 2004. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Dick Kleiner: "The Actors Studio: Making Stars Out of the Unknown," The Sarasota Journal (Friday, December 21, 1956), p. 26. "That first year, they interviewed around 700 actors and picked 50. In that first group were people like Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Tom Ewell, John Forsythe, Julie Harris, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, E.G. Marshall, Margaret Phillips, Maureen Stapleton, Kim Stanley, Jo Van Fleet, Eli Wallach, Ray Walston and David Wayne."
  5. ^ "Justice". The Classic TV Archive. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  6. ^ Kim Hunter obituary
  7. ^ Kim Hunter obituary
  8. ^
  9. ^ Kim Hunter – Awards at Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]