Academy Award for Best Actress
The Academy Award for Best Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role while working within the film industry; the award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Actor winner. The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 with Janet Gaynor receiving the award for her roles in 7th Heaven, Street Angel, Sunrise. Nominees are determined by single transferable vote within the actors branch of AMPAS. In the first three years of the awards, actresses were nominated as the best in their categories. At that time, all of their work during the qualifying period was listed after the award. However, during the 3rd ceremony held in 1930, only one of those films was cited in each winner's final award though each of the acting winners had two films following their names on the ballots; the following year, this unwieldy and confusing system was replaced by the current system in which an actress is nominated for a specific performance in a single film.
Starting with the 9th ceremony held in 1937, the category was limited to five nominations per year. One actress has been nominated posthumously, Jeanne Eagels. Since its inception, the award has been given to 76 actresses. Katharine Hepburn has won the most awards with four Oscars. With 17 nominations, Meryl Streep is the most nominated in this category, resulting in two wins; as of the 2019 ceremony, Olivia Colman is the most recent winner in this category for her portrayal of Anne, Queen of Great Britain in The Favourite. In the following table, the years are listed as per Academy convention, correspond to the year of film release in Los Angeles County. For the first five ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned twelve months from August 1 to July 31. For the 6th ceremony held in 1934, the eligibility period lasted from August 1, 1932, to December 31, 1933. Since the 7th ceremony held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31. All Academy Award acting nominees Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role César Award for Best Actress Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Oscars.org The Academy Awards Database Oscar.com
Fredric March was an American actor, regarded as "one of Hollywood's most celebrated, versatile stars of the 1930s and'40s." He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Best Years of Our Lives, as well as the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for Years Ago and Long Day's Journey into Night. March is one of only two actors, the other being Helen Hayes, to have won both the Academy Award and the Tony Award twice. March was born in Racine, the son of Cora Brown Marcher, a schoolteacher from England, John F. Bickel, a devout Presbyterian Church elder who worked in the wholesale hardware business. March attended the Winslow Elementary School, Racine High School, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi, he was a member of an "interfraternity society composed of leading students" formed at the college in 1919 named Ku Klux Klan that "appears to have had no connection with the national Klan organization" but whose "choice of a name signals an identification—or at the least, no meaningful discomfort—with the known violent actions of the Reconstruction-era Klan..."
He began a career as a banker, but an emergency appendectomy caused him to re-evaluate his life, in 1920 he began working as an extra in movies made in New York City, using a shortened form of his mother's maiden name. He appeared on Broadway in 1926, by the end of the decade, signed a film contract with Paramount Pictures. March served in the United States Army during World War I as an artillery lieutenant. March received an Oscar nomination for the 4th Academy Awards in 1930 for The Royal Family of Broadway, in which he played a role modeled on John Barrymore, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 5th Academy Awards in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; this led to roles in a series of classic films based on stage hits and classic novels like Design for Living with Gary Cooper and Miriam Hopkins. March resisted signing long-term contracts with the studios, enabling him to play roles in films from a variety of studios, he returned to Broadway after a ten-year absence in 1937 with Yr.
Obedient Husband, but after the success of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth he focused as much on Broadway as on Hollywood. He won two Best Actor Tony Awards: in 1947 for the play Years Ago, written by Ruth Gordon, he had major successes in A Bell for Adano in 1944 and Gideon in 1961, played Ibsen's An Enemy of the People on Broadway in 1951. During this period he starred in films, including I Married a Witch and Another Part of the Forest, won his second Oscar in 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives. March branched out into television, winning Emmy nominations for his third attempt at The Royal Family for the series The Best of Broadway as well as for television performances as Samuel Dodsworth and Ebenezer Scrooge. On March 25, 1954, March co-hosted the 26th Annual Academy Awards ceremony from New York City, with co-host Donald O'Connor in Los Angeles. March's neighbor in Connecticut, playwright Arthur Miller, was thought to favor March to inaugurate the part of Willy Loman in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Death of a Salesman.
However, March read the play and turned down the role, whereupon director Elia Kazan cast Lee J. Cobb as Willy, Arthur Kennedy as one of Willy's sons, Biff Loman, two men that the director had worked with in the film Boomerang. March regretted turning down the role and played Willy Loman in Columbia Pictures's 1951 film version of the play, directed by Laslo Benedek, receiving his fifth and final Oscar nomination as well as a Golden Globe Award. March played one of two leads in The Desperate Hours with Humphrey Bogart. Bogart and Spencer Tracy had both insisted upon top billing and Tracy withdrew, leaving the part available for March. In 1957, March was awarded the George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for "distinguished contribution to the art of film."On February 12, 1959, March appeared before a joint session of the 86th United States Congress, reading the Gettysburg Address as part of a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. March co-starred with Spencer Tracy in the 1960 Stanley Kramer film Inherit the Wind, in which he played a dramatized version of famous orator and political figure William Jennings Bryan.
March's Bible-thumping character provided a rival for Tracy's Clarence Darrow-inspired character. In the 1960s, March's film career continued with a performance as President Jordan Lyman in the political thriller Seven Days in May in which he co-starred with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Edmond O'Brien. March made several spoken word recordings, including a version of Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant issued in 1945, in which he narrated and played the title role, The Sounds of History, a twelve volume LP set accompanying the twelve volume set of books The Life History of the United States, published by Time-Life; the recordings were narrated by Charles Collingwood, with March and his wife Florence Eldridge performing dramatic
Porter is a dark style of beer developed in London from well-hopped beers made from brown malt. The name was first recorded in the 18th century, is thought to come from its popularity with street and river porters, who carried objects for others; the history and development of stout and porter beer types are intertwined. The name "stout", used for a dark beer, is believed to have come about because strong porters were marketed under such names as "extra porter", "double porter", "stout porter"; the term stout porter would be shortened to just stout. For example, Guinness Extra Stout was called "Extra Superior Porter" and was only given the name "Extra Stout" in 1840. In 1802, John Feltham wrote a version of the history of porter, used as the basis for most writings on the topic. Little of Feltham's story is backed up by contemporary evidence. Feltham badly misinterpreted parts of the text due to his unfamiliarity with 18th-century brewing terminology. Feltham claimed that in 18th-century London a popular beverage called three threads was made consisting of a third of a pint each of ale and twopenny.
About 1730, Feltham said, a brewer called Harwood made a single beer called Entire or Entire butt, which recreated the flavour of "three threads" and became known as "porter". Porter is mentioned as early as 1721, but no writer before Feltham says it was made to replicate "three threads". Instead, it seems to be a more-aged development of the brown beers being made in London. Before 1700, London brewers sent out their beer young and any ageing was either performed by the publican or a dealer. Porter was the first beer to be aged at the brewery and dispatched in a condition fit to be drunk immediately, it was the first beer that could be made on any large scale, the London porter brewers, such as Whitbread, Truman and Thrale, achieved great success financially. Early London porters were strong beers by modern standards. Early trials with the hydrometer in the 1770s recorded porter as having an OG of 1.071 and 6.6% ABV. Increased taxation during the Napoleonic Wars pushed its gravity down to around 1.055, where it remained for the rest of the 19th century.
The popularity of the style prompted brewers to produce porters in a wide variety of strengths. These started with Single Stout Porter at around 1.066, Double Stout Porter at 1.072, Triple Stout Porter at 1.078 and Imperial Stout Porter at 1.095 and more. As the 19th century progressed the porter suffix was dropped; the large London porter breweries pioneered many technological advances, such as the use of the thermometer and the hydrometer. The use of the latter transformed the nature of porter; the first porters were brewed from 100% brown malt. Now brewers were able to measure the yield of the malt they used, noticed that brown malt, though cheaper than pale malt, only produced about two-thirds as much fermentable material; when the malt tax was increased to help pay for the Napoleonic War, brewers had an incentive to use less malt. Their solution was to add colouring to obtain the expected hue; when a law was passed in 1816 allowing only malt and hops to be used in the production of beer, they were left in a quandary.
Their problem was solved by Wheeler's invention of the black patent malt in 1817. It was now possible to brew porter from 95% pale malt and 5% patent malt, though most London brewers continued to use some brown malt for flavour; until about 1800, all London porter was matured in large vats holding several hundred barrels, for between six and eighteen months before being racked into smaller casks to be delivered to pubs. It was discovered. A small quantity of aged beer mixed with fresh or "mild" porter produced a flavour similar to that of aged beer, it was a cheaper method of producing porter. The normal blend was around two parts young beer to one part old. After 1860, as the popularity of porter and the aged taste began to wane, porter was sold "mild". In the final decades of the century, many breweries discontinued their porter, but continued to brew one or two stouts; those that persisted with porter, brewed it weaker and with fewer hops. Between 1860 and 1914, the gravity dropped from 1.058 to 1.050 and the hopping rate from two pounds to one pound per 36 gallon barrel.
During the First World War in Britain, shortages of grain led to restrictions on the strength of beer. Less strict rules were applied in Ireland, allowing Irish brewers such as Guinness to continue to brew beers closer to pre-war strengths. English breweries continued to brew a range of bottled, sometimes draught, stouts until the Second World War and beyond. During the Second World War, because of the Irish Free State's official policy of neutrality, this period was not technically considered wartime, however the country suffered similar resource scarcities and consequent rationing to the United Kingdom, thus this period was named The Emergency there, they were weaker than the pre-war versions and around the strength that porter had been in 1914. The drinking of porter, with its strength slot now occupied by single stout declined, production ceased in the early 1950s; the Anchor Brewing Company started brewing a Porter in 1972 and was bottled in 1974 that kickstarted the revival of the style which began in 1978, w
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device. Woolf was born into an affluent household in South Kensington, the seventh child in a blended family of eight, her mother, Julia Prinsep Jackson, celebrated as a Pre-Raphaelite artist's model, had three children from her first marriage, while Woolf's father, Leslie Stephen, a notable man of letters, had one previous daughter. The Stephens produced another four children, including the modernist painter Vanessa Bell. While the boys in the family received college educations, the girls were home-schooled in English classics and Victorian literature. An important influence in Virginia Woolf's early life was the summer home the family used in St Ives, where she first saw the Godrevy Lighthouse, to become iconic in her novel To the Lighthouse. Woolf's childhood came to an abrupt end in 1895 with the death of her mother and her first mental breakdown, followed two years by the death of her stepsister and surrogate mother, Stella Duckworth.
From 1897 to 1901, she attended the Ladies' Department of King's College London, where she studied classics and history and came into contact with early reformers of women's higher education and the women's rights movement. Other important influences were her Cambridge-educated brothers and unfettered access to her father's vast library. Encouraged by her father, Woolf began writing professionally in 1900, her father's death in 1905 caused another mental breakdown for Woolf. Following his death, the Stephen family moved from Kensington to the more bohemian Bloomsbury, where they adopted a free-spirited lifestyle, it was in Bloomsbury where, in conjunction with the brothers' intellectual friends, the Stephens formed the artistic and literary Bloomsbury Group. Following her 1912 marriage to Leonard Woolf, the couple founded the Hogarth Press in 1917, which published much of her work; the couple rented a home in Sussex and moved there permanently in 1940. Throughout her life, Woolf was troubled by bouts of mental illness.
She was institutionalized attempted suicide at least twice. Her illness is considered to have been bipolar disorder, for which there was no effective intervention during her lifetime. At age 59, Woolf committed suicide in 1941 by putting rocks in her coat pockets and drowning herself in the River Ouse. During the interwar period, Woolf was an important part of London's artistic society. In 1915 she published her first novel, The Voyage Out, through her half-brother's publishing house, Gerald Duckworth and Company, her best-known works include the novels Mrs Dalloway, To the Orlando. She is known for her essays, including A Room of One's Own, in which she wrote the much-quoted dictum, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Woolf became one of the central subjects of the 1970s movement of feminist criticism and her works have since garnered much attention and widespread commentary for "inspiring feminism." Her works have been translated into more than 50 languages.
A large body of literature is dedicated to her life and work, she has been the subject of plays and films. Woolf is commemorated today by statues, societies dedicated to her work and a building at the University of London. Virginia Woolf was born Adeline Virginia Stephen on 25 January 1882 at 22 Hyde Park Gate in South Kensington, London to Julia and Leslie Stephen, historian, essayist and mountaineer. Julia Jackson was born in 1846 in Calcutta, British India to Dr. John Jackson and Maria "Mia" Theodosia Pattle, from two Anglo-Indian families. John Jackson FRCS was the third son of George Jackson and Mary Howard of Bengal, a physician who spent 25 years with the Bengal Medical Service and East India Company and a professor at the fledgling Calcutta Medical College. While John Jackson was an invisible presence, the Pattle family were famous beauties, moved in the upper circles of Bengali society; the seven Pattle sisters married into important families. Julia Margaret Cameron was a celebrated photographer, while Virginia married Earl Somers, their daughter, Julia Jackson's cousin, was Lady Henry Somerset, the temperance leader.
Julia moved to England with her mother at the age of two and spent much of her early life with another of her mother's sister, Sarah Monckton Pattle. Sarah and her husband Henry Thoby Prinsep, conducted an artistic and literary salon at Little Holland House where she came into contact with a number of Pre-Raphaelite painters such as Edward Burne-Jones, for whom she modelled. Julia was the youngest of three sisters and Adeline Virginia Stephen was named after her mother's eldest sister Adeline Maria Jackson and her mother's aunt Virginia Pattle; because of the tragedy of her aunt Adeline's death the previous year, the family never used Virginia's first name. The Jacksons were a well educated and artistic proconsular middle-class family. In 1867, Julia Jackson married Herbert Duckworth, a barrister, but within three years was left a widow with three infant children, she was devastated and entered a prolonged period of mourning, abandoning her faith and turning to nursing and philanthropy. Julia and Herbert Duckworth had three children.
The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957 film)
The Barretts of Wimpole Street is a 1957 Metrocolor CinemaScope film originating from the United Kingdom, was a re-make of the earlier 1934 version by the same director, Sidney Franklin. Both films are based on the play The Barretts of Wimpole Street by Rudolf Besier; the screenplay for the 1957 film is credited to John Dighton, although Franklin used the same script for the second movie as he did for the first. The film, set in the early 19th century, stars Jennifer Jones, John Gielgud, Bill Travers. Elizabeth Barrett is the disabled grown-up daughter of Edward Moulton-Barrett of Wimpole Street, has an intense interest in poetry. However, she lives under the obsessive rule of her father, this limits her ability to develop her love of rhyme amongst her peers. Edward in fact shows clear incestuous tendencies towards her, discourages close contact with any males; when the poet Robert Browning enters her life, matters are brought to a head, through the intervention of Browning. Edward finds that his control over Elizabeth, her younger sister Henrietta, is far from complete.
To lend the whole project an air of authenticity, producer Sam Zimbalist moved filming from the 1934 location in the United States to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in Borehamwood, England, using only "fine English actors" with the exception of American actress Jennifer Jones, as many correct locations as possible, including St Marylebone Parish Church in London. Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, though cast to play future in-laws in the film, were husband and wife in real life; the film was made in Metrocolor, with an aspect ratio of 2.35: 1 on 35 mm film. The 4-track stereo sound was supplied by Westrex. Although most of the names of the individuals involved are correct in the play and films, by definition motivations of individuals cannot be known; the numerous love letters that Robert and Elizabeth exchanged before their marriage, can give readers a great deal of information about this famous courtship in their own words. The correspondence was well underway before they met in person, he having admired the collection Poems that she published in 1844.
He opens his first letter to her,'I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett,' and a little in that first letter he says'I do, as I say, love these books with all my heart—and I love you too'. Several editions of these letters have been published, starting with one by their son in 1898. Flush by Virginia Woolf, a version of the courtship from the perspective of Elizabeth's dog, is an imaginative reconstruction, though more based on reading the letters. Both the play and film reflect popular concerns at the time Freudian analysis. Although Edward Barrett's behaviour in disinheriting the children who married seems bizarre, there is no evidence of his being sexually aggressive toward any family members. Reviews were positive, although several critics questioned the decision to remake the film at that time because of its lack of appeal to the rock and roll generation. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times praised the film as "another fine production of the old romance... It does one's heart good to visit once more that dramatic old house on Wimpole Street."
Variety wrote that the film had "a quality look picturing the era with museum fidelity and reflecting astuteness in all phases except the most important—choice of story for the current competitive market." The review thought that younger viewers would find the film "no more than a quaint, old-fashioned, boy-meets-girl drama, long and tedious." Harrison's Reports agreed, calling the film "a quality production" but "extremely slow-moving, the morals and manners of the period, as presented, may prove much too stately for today's mass audiences." Richard L. Coe of The Washington Post declared the film "an excellent remake of an old favorite" with a "chilling, memorable performance" by Gielgud. A positive review in The New Yorker by John McCarten called the script a "fair and literate adaptation" of the play and Mr. Barrett "an impressive figure" as played by Gielgud, "but I'm afraid I can't say as much for Jennifer Jones, who plays the invalid Elizabeth as if she'd just completed a lively hay ride, or for Bill Travers, whose Browning is unconscionably ebullient."
The Monthly Film Bulletin remarked that the decision to remake the film seemed "rather odd," given that to modern viewers it "must appear a little tame and lacking in spirit. In any case, the handling of Rudolf Besier's dramatic play reveals little flair or imagination. According to MGM records, it earned $330,000 in the US and Canada, $725,000 in other countries, resulting in a loss of $1,897,000. List of American films of 1957 The Barretts of Wimpole Street on IMDb The Barretts of Wimpole Street at the TCM Movie Database The Barretts of Wimpole Street at AllMovie The Barretts of Wimpole Street at the American Film Institute Catalog
Charles Laughton was an English-American stage and film actor. Laughton was trained in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and first appeared professionally on the stage in 1926. In 1927, he was cast in a play with his future wife Elsa Lanchester, with whom he lived and worked until his death, he played a wide range of classical and modern parts, making an impact in Shakespeare at the Old Vic. His film career took him to Broadway and Hollywood, but he collaborated with Alexander Korda on notable British films of the era, including The Private Life of Henry VIII, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the title character, he portrayed everything from misfits to kings. Among Laughton's biggest film hits were The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Mutiny on the Bounty, Ruggles of Red Gap, Jamaica Inn, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Big Clock. In his career, he took up stage directing, notably in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell, in which he starred.
He directed the thriller The Night of the Hunter. Daniel Day-Lewis cited Laughton as one of his inspirations, saying: "He was the greatest film actor who came from that period of time, he had something quite remarkable. His generosity as an actor, he fed himself into that work; as an actor, you cannot take your eyes off him." Laughton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, the son of Eliza and Robert Laughton, Yorkshire hotel keepers. A blue plaque marks his birthplace, his mother was a devout Roman Catholic of Irish descent, she sent him to attend a local boys' school, Scarborough College, before sending him to Stonyhurst College, the pre-eminent English Jesuit school. Laughton served in World War I, during which he was gassed, serving first with the 2/1st Battalion of the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, with the 7th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment, he started work in the family hotel, though participating in amateur theatricals in Scarborough. He was allowed by his family to become a drama student at RADA in 1925, where actor Claude Rains was one of his teachers.
Laughton made his first professional appearance on 28 April 1926 at the Barnes Theatre, as Osip in the comedy The Government Inspector, which he appeared in at London's Gaiety Theatre in May. He impressed audiences with his talent and had classical roles in two Chekov plays, The Cherry Orchard and The Three Sisters. Laughton played the lead role as Harry Hegan in the world premiere of Seán O'Casey's The Silver Tassie in 1928 in London, he played the title roles in Arnold Bennett's Mr Prohack and as Samuel Pickwick in Mr Pickwick at the Theatre Royal in London. He played Tony Perelli in Edgar Wallace's On the William Marble in Payment Deferred, he took the last role across the Atlantic and made his United States debut on 24 September 1931, at the Lyceum Theatre. He returned to London for the 1933–34 Old Vic season and was engaged in four Shakespeare roles and as Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard, Canon Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest, Tattle in Love for Love. In 1936, he went to Paris and on 9 May appeared at the Comédie-Française as Sganarelle in the second act of Molière's Le Médecin malgré lui, the first English actor to appear at that theatre, where he acted the part in French and received an ovation.
Laughton commenced his film career in Britain. He took small roles in three short silent comedies starring his wife Elsa Lanchester, Blue Bottles and The Tonic, specially written for her by H. G. Wells and were directed by Ivor Montagu, he made a brief appearance as a disgruntled diner in another silent film Piccadilly with Anna May Wong in 1929. He appeared with Lanchester again in a "film revue", featuring assorted British variety acts, called Comets in which they sang a duet, "The Ballad of Frankie and Johnnie", he made two other early British talkies: Wolves with Dorothy Gish from a play set in a whaling camp in the frozen north, Down River, in which he played a drug-smuggling ship's captain. His New York stage debut in 1931 led to film offers and Laughton's first Hollywood film, The Old Dark House with Boris Karloff, in which he played a bluff Yorkshire businessman marooned during a storm with other travelers in a creepy remote Welsh manor, he played a demented submarine commander in Devil and the Deep with Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant, followed this with his best-remembered film role of that year as Nero in Cecil B.
DeMille's The Sign of the Cross. Laughton turned out other memorable performances during that first Hollywood trip, repeating his stage role as a murderer in Payment Deferred, playing H. G. Wells' mad vivisectionist Dr. Moreau in Island of Lost Souls, the meek raspberry-blowing clerk in the brief segment of If I Had A Million, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, he appeared in six Hollywood films in 1932. His association with director Alexander Korda began in 1933 with the hugely successful The Private Life of Henry VIII, for which Laughton won the Academy Award for Best Actor, he continued to act on stage, including a US production of The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht. Laughton soon gave up the stage for films and returned to Hollywood, where his next film was White Woman in which he co-starred with Carole Lombard as a Cockney river trader in the Malayan jungle. Came The Barretts of Wimpole Street as Norma Shearer
Katharine Cornell was an American stage actress, theater owner and producer. She was raised in Buffalo, New York. Dubbed "The First Lady of the Theatre" by critic Alexander Woollcott, Cornell was the first performer to receive the Drama League Award, for Romeo and Juliet in 1935. Cornell is noted for her major Broadway roles in serious dramas directed by her husband, Guthrie McClintic; the couple formed C. & M. C. Productions, Inc. a company that gave them complete artistic freedom in choosing and producing plays. Their production company gave first or prominent Broadway roles to some of the more notable actors of the 20th century, including many British Shakespearean actors. Cornell is regarded as one of the great actresses of the American theatre, her most famous role was that of English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the 1931 Broadway production of The Barretts of Wimpole Street. Other appearances on Broadway included in W. Somerset Maugham's The Letter, Sidney Howard's The Alien Corn, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Maxwell Anderson's The Wingless Victory, S. N. Behrman's No Time for Comedy, a Tony Award-winning Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, a revival of Maugham's The Constant Wife.
Cornell was noted for spurning screen roles, unlike other actresses of her day. She appeared in only one Hollywood film, the World War II morale booster Stage Door Canteen, in which she played herself, she did appear in television adaptations of The Barretts of Wimpole Street and Robert E. Sherwood's There Shall Be No Night, she narrated the documentary Helen Keller in Her Story, which won an Oscar. Regarded as a tragedienne, Cornell was admired for her refined, romantic presence. One reviewer observed, "Hers is not a robust romanticism, however, it tends toward dark but delicate tints, the emotion she conveys most aptly is that of an aspiring girlishness which has always been subject to theatrical influences of a special sort." Her appearances in comedy were infrequent, praised more for their warmth than their wit. When she played in The Constant Wife, critic Brooks Atkinson concluded that she had changed a "hard and metallic" comedy into a romantic drama. Cornell died on June 9, 1974, in Tisbury, aged 81, is buried at Tisbury Village Cemetery, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Cornell was born into New York society family. Her great-grandfather, Samuel Garretson Cornell, a descendant of pioneer ancestor Thomas Cornell, came to Buffalo in the 1850s, founded Cornell Lead Works. One of his grandsons, married Alice Gardner Plimpton; the young couple lived in Berlin. Their first child, was born there. Six months the family returned to Buffalo, where they lived at 174 Mariner Street; as a child, Katharine had a troubled relationship with her parents, due in part to her mother's alcoholism. She play-acted in her backyard with imaginary friends. Soon, she was performing in school pageants and plays, she would watch family productions in her grandfather's attic theater, still standing at 484 Delaware Avenue. Cornell played at the Buffalo Studio Club parlor theater, located at 508 Franklin Street, she loved athletics and was a runner-up for city championship at tennis, an amateur swimming champion. She attended the University of Buffalo.. In 1913, she joined The Garret Club, a woman's only private club in Buffalo, participated in club theatricals.
After Cornell had become famous, she would bring her productions to her native Buffalo. Although she never returned to Buffalo to live, her enthusiasm for the city and its inhabitants was well known. Biographer Tad Mosel wrote: "To show her affection for her hometown, she always walked when she left her hotel, turning her head to smile on everyone on the street, missing no one, so they could feel close to her and be able to say when they got home that night,'Katharine Cornell smiled directly at me.'" For the rest of her career, on opening Broadway nights, she would be greeted backstage by family and friends from Buffalo. Many of her productions were performed at the Erlanger Theater on Delaware Avenue, across from the Statler Hotel; the Erlanger was demolished in 2007. In 1915, Cornell's mother died; the young woman moved to New York City to pursue her acting career. There she joined the Washington Square Players and was hailed as one of the most promising actresses of the season. After just two seasons, she joined Jessie Bonstelle's company, a leading New York repertory company that divided its summers between Detroit and Buffalo.
Now aged 25, Cornell was receiving glowing reviews. Cornell joined various theater companies, including the Bonstelle, that toured around the East Coast. In 1919, she went with the Bonstelle company to London to play Jo March in Marian de Forest's stage adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women. Although the critics disparaged the play itself, they noted Cornell as the one bright spot of the evening; the paper The Englishwomen wrote of Cornell: "London is unanimous in its praise, London will flock to see her." Upon her return to New York, she met a young theater director. She made her Broadway debut in the play Nice People by Rachel Crothers, in a small part alongside Tallulah Bankhead. Cornell's first major Broadway role was that of Sydney Fairfield in A Bill of Divorcement; the New York Times wrote of her performance, " has the central and significant role of the play and... gives therein a perf