Jessie Alice Tandy
7 June 1909
|Died||11 September 1994 85) (aged|
Easton, Connecticut, U.S.
(m. 1932;div. 1940)
Jessie Alice Tandy (7 June 1909 – 11 September 1994) was a British actress. Tandy appeared in over 100 stage productions and had more than 60 roles in film and TV, receiving an Academy Award, four Tony Awards, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award. She acted as Blanche DuBois in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948. Her films included Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and The Gin Game . At 80, she became the oldest actress to receive the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Driving Miss Daisy .
The youngest of three siblings, Tandy was born in Geldeston Road in Hackney, London to Harry Tandy and his wife, Jessie Helen Horspool.Her mother was from a large fenland family in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, and the head of a school for mentally handicapped children, and her father was a travelling salesman for a rope manufacturer. She was educated at Dame Alice Owen's School in Islington.
Her father died when she was 12, and her mother subsequently taught evening courses to earn an income. Her brother Edward was later a prisoner of war of the Japanese in the Far East.
Born in London, she was 18 when she made her professional debut on the London stage in 1927. During the 1930s, she acted in many plays in London's West End, playing Ophelia (opposite John Gielgud's legendary Hamlet) and Katherine (opposite Laurence Olivier's Henry V).
She entered films in Britain, but after her marriage to Jack Hawkins failed, she moved to the United States hoping to find better roles. During her time as a leading actress on the stage in London she often had to fight for roles over her two rivals, Peggy Ashcroft and Celia Johnson.In 1942, she married Hume Cronyn and over the following years played supporting roles in several Hollywood films. Tandy became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1952.
Like many stage actors, Tandy also worked in radio. Among other programs, she was a regular on Mandrake the Magician(as Princess Nada), and then with husband Hume Cronyn in The Marriage which ran on radio from 1953 to 1954, and then segued onto television.
She made her American film debut in The Seventh Cross (1944). She had supporting appearances in The Valley of Decision (1945), The Green Years (1946, as Cronyn's daughter), Dragonwyck (1946) starring Gene Tierney and Vincent Price and Forever Amber (1947). She appeared as the insomniac murderess in A Woman's Vengeance (1948), a film-noir adapted by Aldous Huxley from his short story "The Gioconda Smile".
Over the next three decades, her film career continued sporadically while she found better roles on the stage. Her roles during this time included The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951) opposite James Mason, The Light in the Forest (1958), and a role as a domineering mother in Alfred Hitchcock's film, The Birds (1963).
On Broadway, she won a Tony Award for her performance as Blanche Dubois in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948. After this (she lost the film role to actress Vivien Leigh), she concentrated on the stage. In 1976, she and Cronyn joined the acting company of the Stratford Festival, and returned in 1980 to debut Cronyn's play Foxfire.In 1977, she earned her second Tony Award, for her performance (with Cronyn) in The Gin Game and her third Tony in 1982 for her performance, again with Cronyn, in Foxfire.
The beginning of the 1980s saw a resurgence in her film career, with character roles in The World According to Garp , Best Friends , Still of the Night (all 1982) and The Bostonians (1984). She and Cronyn were now working together more regularly on stage and television, including the films Cocoon (1985), *batteries not included (1987) and Cocoon: The Return (1988) and the Emmy Award winning television film Foxfire (1987, recreating her Tony winning Broadway role).
However, it was her colourful performance in Driving Miss Daisy (1989), as an ageing, stubborn Southern-Jewish matron, that earned her an Oscar.
She received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in the grassroots hit Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and co-starred in The Story Lady (1991 TV film, with her daughter Tandy Cronyn), Used People (1992, as Shirley MacLaine's mother), television film To Dance with the White Dog (1993, with Cronyn), Camilla (1994, with Cronyn). Nobody's Fool (1994) proved to be her last performance, at the age of 84.
Tandy was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world in 1990.
In 1932 Tandy married English actor Jack Hawkins and together they had a daughter, Susan Hawkins.Susan became an actress and was the daughter-in-law of John Moynihan Tettemer, a former Passionist monk who authored I Was a Monk: The Autobiography of John Tettemer, and was cast in small roles in Lost Horizon and Meet John Doe . After Tandy and Hawkins divorced in 1940, she married her second husband, Canadian actor Hume Cronyn, in 1942. Prior to moving to Connecticut, she lived with Cronyn for many years in nearby Pound Ridge, New York, and they remained together until her death in 1994. They had two children, daughter Tandy Cronyn, an actress who would co-star with her mother in the TV film The Story Lady, and son Christopher Cronyn.
In 1990, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and she also suffered from angina and glaucoma. Despite her illnesses and age she continued working. On 11 September 1994 she died at home in Easton, Connecticut, at the age of 85.
|1930||The Matriarch||Toni Rakonitz|
|1930||The Last Enemy||Cynthia Perry|
|1938||Time and the Conways||Kay|
|1939||The White Steed||Nora Fintry|
|1940||Jupiter Laughs||Dr. Mary Murray|
|1941||Anne of England||Abigail Hill|
|1942||Yesterday's Magic||daughter Cattrin|
|1947||A Streetcar Named Desire||Blanche DuBois||Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play|
|1950||Hilda Crane||Hilda Crane|
|1951||Madam, Will You Walk||Mary Doyle|
|1955||The Man in the Dog Suit||Martha Walling|
|1959||Triple Play||In Bedtime Story: Angela Nightingale|
|1959||Five Finger Exercise||Louise Harrington|
|1964||The Physicists||Fraulein Doktor Mathilde von Zahnd|
|1966||A Delicate Balance||Agnes|
|1970||Camino Real||Marguerite Gautier|
|1971||All Over||The Wife|
|1972||Not I||Mouth||Obie Award for Best Actress|
|1974||Noël Coward in Two Keys||In A Song at Twilight : Hilde Latymer |
In Come Into the Garden, Maud : Anna Mary Conklin
|1977||The Gin Game||Fonsia Dorsey|| Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play |
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
|1981||Rose||Mother||Nominated—Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play |
Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
|1982||Foxfire||Annie Nations|| Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play |
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
|1983||The Glass Menagerie||Amanda Wingfield|
|1986||The Petition||Lady Elizabeth Milne||Nominated—Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play|
|1932||The Indiscretions of Eve||Maid|
|1938||Murder in the Family||Ann Osborne|
|1944||The Seventh Cross||Liesel Roeder|
|1944||Blonde Fever||Diner at Inn||Uncredited|
|1945||The Valley of Decision||Louise Kane|
|1946||The Green Years||Kate Leckie|
|1947||Forever Amber||Nan Britton|
|1948||A Woman's Vengeance||Janet Spence|
|1950||September Affair||Catherine Lawrence|
|1951||The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel||Frau Lucie Maria Rommel|
|1956||Producers' Showcase||Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie|
|1957||The Glass Eye||Julia Lester||Short film presented in "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"|
|1958||The Light in the Forest||Myra Butler|
|1962||Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man||Helen Adams||Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture|
|1963||The Birds||Lydia Brenner|
|1975||Bicentennial Minute for 31 August 1775, Destruction of Boston's Liberty Tree||Herself||CBS Television Network, 31 August 1975 - Sponsor: Royal Dutch Shell|
|1981||Honky Tonk Freeway||Carol|
|1982||The World According to Garp||Mrs. Fields|
|1982||Still of the Night||Grace Rice|
|1982||Best Friends||Eleanor McCullen|
|1984||The Bostonians||Miss Birdseye|
|1984||Terror in the Aisles||Herself||Archival footage|
|1985||Cocoon||Alma Finley||Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress|
|1987||Foxfire||Annie Nations||TV movie|
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
|1987||*batteries not included||Faye Riley||Saturn Award for Best Actress|
|1988||The House on Carroll Street||Miss Venable|
|1988||Cocoon: The Return||Alma Finley||Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress|
|1989||Driving Miss Daisy||Daisy Werthan|| Academy Award for Best Actress |
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Silver Bear for the Best Joint Performance (with Morgan Freeman)
Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
|1991||The Story Lady||Grace McQueen||TV movie|
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
|1991||Fried Green Tomatoes||Ninny Threadgoode||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress |
Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
|1993||To Dance with the White Dog||Cora Peek||Television movie|
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
|1994||A Century of Cinema||Herself||documentary|
|1994||Camilla||Camilla Cara||Released posthumously|
|1994||Nobody's Fool||Beryl Peoples||Released posthumously, (final film role)|
*Re-issued on DVD as The Christmas Story Lady
|1956||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Edwina Freel||Episode: "Toby"|
|1957||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Julia Lester||Episode: "The Glass Eye"|
|1958||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Laura Bowlby||Episode: "The Canary Sedan"|
|1994||ER||Mrs Backer||Episode: "Going Home"|
A Streetcar Named Desire is a play written by Tennessee Williams first performed on Broadway on December 3, 1947. The play dramatizes the experiences of Blanche DuBois, a former Southern belle who, after encountering a series of personal losses, leaves her privileged background to move into a shabby apartment in New Orleans rented by her younger sister and brother-in-law.
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