Gene Tierney - Actors and Actresses

Nationality: American. Born: Gene Eliza Tierney in Brooklyn, New York, 19 November 1920. Education: Attended Chateau Brilliantmont, Switzerland; Miss Porter's School, Farmington, Connecticut. Family: Married 1) the designer Oleg Cassini, 1941 (divorced 1947; remarried, divorced 1952), two daughters; 2) W. Howard Lee, 1960. Career: 1939—Broadway debut in Mrs. O'Brien Entertains ; 1940—successful role in Broadway play The Male Animal ; contract with 20th Century-Fox: film debut in The Return of Frank James ; mid-1950s—voluntarily entered the Institute of Living for depression, and later at the Menninger Clinic; 1960s—made films and appeared on television; 1980—in TV mini-series Scruples . Died: 6 October 1991.

Films as Actress:


The Return of Frank James (Fritz Lang) (as Eleanor Stone); Hudson's Bay (Pichel) (as Barbara)


Tobacco Road (Ford) (as Ellie May); Belle Starr (Cummings) (title role); Sundown (Hathaway) (as Zia)


The Shanghai Gesture (von Sternberg) (as Poppy Charteris); Son of Fury (Cromwell) (as Eve); Rings on Her Fingers (Mamoulian) (as Susan Miller/Linda Worthington); Thunder Birds (Wellman) (as Kay Saunders); China Girl (Hathaway) (as Miss Young)


Heaven Can Wait (Lubitsch) (as Martha)


Laura (Preminger and Mamoulian) (title role)

Gene Tierney
Gene Tierney


A Bell for Adano (King) (as Tina); Leave Her to Heaven (Stahl) (as Ellen Berent)


Dragonwyck (Lubitsch and Mankiewicz) (as Miranda); The Razor's Edge (Goulding) (as Isabel Bradley)


The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Mankiewicz) (as Lucy)


The Iron Curtain (Wellman) (as Anna Gouzenko); That Wonderful Urge (Sinclair) (as Sara Farley)


Whirlpool (Preminger) (as Ann Sutton)


Night and the City (Dassin) (as Mary Bristol); Where the Sidewalk Ends (Preminger) (as Morgan Taylor)


The Mating Season (Leisen) (as Maggie Carleton); On the Riviera (Walter Lang) (as Lilli); The Secret of Convict Lake (Gordon) (as Marcia Stoddard); Close to My Heart (Keighley) (as Midge Sheridan)


Way of a Gaucho (Tourneur) (as Teresa); Plymouth Adventure (Brown) (as Dorothy Bradford)


Never Let Me Go (Daves) (as Marya Lamarkina)


Personal Affair (Pelissier) (as Kay Barlow); Black Widow (Johnson) (as Iris); The Egyptian (Curtiz) (as Baketamon)


The Left Hand of God (Dmytryk) (as Ann Scott)


Advise and Consent (Preminger) (as Dolly Harrison)


Toys in the Attic (Hill) (as Albertine Prine)


The Pleasure Seekers (Negulesco)


Daughter of the Mind (Grauman—for TV)


By TIERNEY: book—

Self-Portrait , with Mickey Herskowitz, New York, 1974.

On TIERNEY: books—

Devillers, Marcel, Gene Tierney , Paris, 1987.

Mérigeau, Pascal, Gene Tierney , Paris, 1987.

On TIERNEY: articles—

Shields, Jonathan, "Gene Tierney," in Films in Review (New York), November 1971.

Modiano, P., "Gene Tierney," in Lumière du Cinéma (Paris), Febru-ary 1977.

Eyquem, O., "Pour saluer Gene Tierney," in Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), 1 December 1979.

Legrand, G., in Positif (Paris), May 1984.

Mille, A., "Gene Tierney: star à posteriori," in Positif (Paris), June 1985.

Obituary in Variety (New York), 11 November 1991.

"Haunted Beauty," in People Weekly , 25 November 1991.

Legrand, Gérard, "Deux ou trois choses que je sais de l'absolu," in Positif (Paris), January 1992.

Lambert, Gavin, "Gene Tierney: Beverly Hills Backdrop for the Enigmatic Star of Laura ," in Architectural Digest (Los Angeles), April 1992.

Stars (Mariembourg), June 1992.

Campbell, V., and C. Oakley, "A Star is Born," in Movieline (Escondido), June 1996.

* * *

Gene Tierney's exquisitely modeled features graced more than 30 feature films over a period of 25 years. As a contract player for Twentieth Century-Fox she was best cast in roles that combined her qualities as a fresh-faced ingenue with elements that hinted at a more enigmatic, possibly sinister exoticism, as in Laura or Leave Her to Heaven . Tierney seemed least effective when saddled with parts that utilized only one of these traits; unfortunately, this was most often the case. She was fortunate enough to work with the finest directors Fox had under contract: Lang, Ford, Mamoulian, Wellman, Lubitsch, King, Stahl, Mankiewicz. Otto Preminger directed her in four films, including the role with which she is most often identified, Laura . In Laura Preminger contrasted her persona as an obscure object of desire in an emblematic painting with the radiantly beautiful, yet more conventional woman she proves to be in real life. Earlier, her country slattern in Ford's Tobacco Road , South Seas maiden in Son of Fury , and corrupted innocent in von Sternberg's The Shanghai Gesture (where she was cast as a Eurasian) displayed her more sultry elements, to her disadvantage.

John Stahl's refined melodrama Leave Her to Heaven gave Tierney her most complex role and she rose to the occasion, achieving the only Academy Award nomination of her career. As a jealous, possessive woman who destroys anything that comes between her and her husband's attentions, Tierney's placid beauty contrasts with the methodical working out of her psychosis, which involves drowning, miscarriage, and eventual suicide. Though she was touching in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and remarkably warm in Night and the City , her subsequent "starring" roles were often in support of the male leads, as in The Iron Curtain and Where the Sidewalk Ends . Only in Preminger's Whirlpool was her masklike calm used to best advantage. Her 1950s and 1960s work is negligible, but she registers as a sympathetic Washington matron in Advise and Consent .

—Lee Tsiantis

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

Other articles you might like:

Follow Founder
on our Forum or Twitter