Born January 11, 1899, in London, England; died of heart failure, June 3, 1991, in Weston, CT. Actress, producer, director, and writer.
One of the premiere celebrities of the American theater, Le Gallienne made her Broadway debut in 1915 and gained widespread recognition six years later for her performance as Julie in Liliom. "Considered by many the country's prime devotee of classical drama," wrote Burt A. Folkart in the LosAngeles Times, "she believed that plays, like books, should be plentifuland convenient." In 1926, Le Gallienne founded the Civic Repertory Theatre, conceived as a national theater to rival England's Old Vic; she directed thirty-two plays before the company folded in 1933. Later, with two other actresses, she created the short-lived American Repertory Company. She received an Academy Award nomination for her role in the film Resurrection and won an Emmy Award for a television production of The Royal Family, a play loosely based on the Barrymores. Her last stage appearance was as the White Queen in the 1982 Broadway revival of the stage musical Alice in Wonderland. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan awarded her the National Medal of Arts. Her writings include two volumes of memoirs, a children's book, a translation of Seven Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, and a biography of Eleanor Duse, The Mystic in the Theatre.