Jessica Tandy Biography (1909-1994)



Born June 7, 1909, in London, England; died of ovarian cancer, September 11,1994, in Easton, CT. Actress. Tandy first gained wide recognition with her Antoinette Perry Award-winning portrayal of Blanche Dubois in the 1947 Broadwaypremiere of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. She continued to star in stage, film, and television productions until her death. At the age ofeighty Tandy received an Academy Award for best actress for her portrayal ofDaisy Werthan in Driving Miss Daisy, becoming the oldest person ever to realize that distinction. Following her success in Driving Miss Daisy, Tandy wasagain nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role as Ninny Threadgoode in 1991's Fried Green Tomatoes. As a child, Tandy attended numerous plays and art exhibits with her family, and at the age of eighteen she completeda three-year period of study at the Ben Greet Academy of Acting in London. Tandy's stage debut was in 1927 in London, where she portrayed Sarah Mandersonin The Manderson Girls, and she went on to appear in numerous stage productions throughout the 1930s, including a run on Broadway in The Matriarch. Tandymaintained an interest in Shakespearean plays, and she portrayed Shakespearean heroines in several acclaimed productions, including Ophelia opposite JohnGielgud's Hamlet in 1934, Viola in Tyrone Guthrie's 1937 production of Twelfth Night, in which she twice appeared opposite Laurence Olivier, and Cordeliaopposite Gielgud's King Lear in 1940.

Tandy's early work in Hollywood during the 1940s consisted of bit parts in such films as The Seventh Cross, and Forever Amber, but in 1946 Tandy's husband, actor Hume Cronyn, helped her gain the attention of American critics when he secured a role for her in Tennessee Williams' play, Portrait of a Madonna.When Williams saw Tandy's acclaimed performance, he cast her in A Streetcar Named Desire. Following her success on Broadway, Tandy went on to star in stage, film, and television productions opposite Cronyn, and the pair were well-received in their endeavors. Tandy played Cronyn's wife in the films Honky Tonk Freeway, Cocoon, *batteries not included, and Cocoon: The Return, in addition to starring opposite him in numerous Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including The Fourposter, The Gin Game, The Petition, and Foxfire. Tandy received Antoinette Perry Awards for her roles in 1977's The Gin Game and 1982's Foxfire, and in 1989 she earned an Emmy Award for her role in the television adaptation of Foxfire, for which Cronyn served as cowriter. Tandy and Cronyn received the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement medal in 1986, the National Medal of Art from President George Bush in 1990, and in 1994 they were honored with a special Antoinette Perry Award commemorating their lifelong dedication to the theater. Tandy's other film credits include The Birds, The WorldAccording to Garp, The Bostonians, and Used People. She also appeared in television movies, including The Story Lady in 1991, and To Dance with the WhiteDog in 1993. Her last motion picture appearance was in the film Camilla, released in the same year as her death.

Nationality
American
Gender
Female
Birth Details
June 7, 1909
London, England
Death Details
September 11, 1994
Easton, Connecticut, United States

Further Reference

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