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Thread: Dame Judith Anderson

  1. #1
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    Dame Judith Anderson

    Dame Judith Anderson, born Frances Margaret Anderson-Anderson, was an Australian Tony award and Emmy winning stage and film actress who was also nominated for a Grammy and an Oscar. She is generally regarded by theatre critics as the greatest classical actress produced by Australia.
    In Hollywood, her striking and not conventionally attractive features meant that her opportunities were limited to supporting character actress work. She naturally preferred the stage in any event. However, she did make a handful of significant films. In particular, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940). As the housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, Judith Anderson was required to mentally torment the young bride, the "second Mrs. de Winter" (Joan Fontaine), even encouraging her to commit suicide; and taunt her husband (Laurence Olivier), with the memory of his first wife, the never-seen "Rebecca" of the title. "Mrs. Danvers" as conceived by Judith Anderson is widely considered one of the screen's most memorable and sexually ambiguous female villains.
    This led to several film appearances during the 1940s in such films as Lady Scarface (1941), Kings Row (1942), Otto Preminger's Laura (1944) with Gene Tierney, René Clair's And Then There Were None (1945), Ben Hecht's Specter of the Rose (1946), and Jean Renoir's Diary of a Chambermaid (1946). She continued returning to the New York stage, playing the role of Lady Macbeth twice, and winning a Tony Award in 1948 for her historically acclaimed bravura performance in the title role of Medea. Anderson holds the unusual distinction of winning two separate Emmy Awards for playing the same role - Lady Macbeth - in two separate productions of Macbeth.
    Her stage and film work continued and by the 1950s she was also appearing in television productions. She played Herodias in Salome (1953), Memnet in Cecil B. de Mille's The Ten Commandments (1956), gave a memorable performance as Big Momma in the film of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Evil Stepmother in Cinderfella, and Buffalo Cow Head in A Man Called Horse (1970).
    Anderson also recorded many spoken word record albums for Caedmon Audio in the 1950s through the 1970s. She received a Grammy nomination for her work on the Wuthering Heights recording.
    In her later years she played two more prominent roles in productions that took her as far away from her Shakespearean origins as possible. In 1984 she appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock as the Vulcan High Priestess (at the age of 87), and the same year commenced a three-year stint as matriarch Minx Lockridge on the NBC serial Santa Barbara. She had professed to be a fan, but after signing the contract she bitterly complained about her lack of screen time. She was succeeded in the role by the American actress Janis Paige, who was a quarter of a century younger.
    Anderson loved the city of Santa Barbara, California and spent the remainder of her life there, dying of pneumonia in 1992, aged 94. Anderson was married and divorced twice; first to Benjamin Harrison Lehmann (from 1937 to 1939); and second to Luther Greene (from 1946 to 1951); neither marriage, both of which occurred after she turned 40, produced children, but she did serve as godmother for friends' children. Despite her marriages, Anderson was subject to speculation about her sexuality throughout her career; in his 2007 biography Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King, Foster Hirsch states matter-of-factly that Anderson was gay.

  2. #2
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    <<<<<Mrs. Danvers>>>>>

    She is firmly embedded in the darkest corners of my subconscious, what an amazing, AMAZING performance...



  3. #3
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    Never saw the movie, but loved the character she played in the original book "Rebecca". Hmmm...maybe I'll look for the flick.

  4. #4
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    She was great in the live televised version of MacBeth and I loved her in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Wonderful actress, she gave off a masculine vibe I wonder if she was bisexual or a lesbian?

  5. #5
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    No idea who decided to cast Judith as Rita Hayworth's mom in Salome, I mean they look SO much alike lol. Seriously, Judith was good in that role, manipulating Salome into believing the lies she told her. I've read that Bette Davis auditioned (and was turned-down) for the role of Memnet. Imagine that, Memnet was only in three (four ?) scenes then dies and Bette would've agreed to play that part.

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