Judith Anderson


Actor
Judith Anderson

About

Also Known As
Frances Margaret Anderson-Anderson, Dame Judith Anderson, Frances Anderson
Birth Place
Adelaide, South Australia, AU
Born
February 10, 1897
Died
January 03, 1992
Cause of Death
Pneumonia; Had Been Suffering From A Brain Tumor

Biography

A leading Broadway star from the 1920s through the '50s, Judith Anderson was perhaps most famous for her award-winning performance as "Medea" in 1947; as a formidable Lady Macbeth (opposite Laurence Olivier in London in 1937 and Maurice Evans on Broadway in 1941), and as an interpreter of the neurotic heroines of Eugene O'Neill (Nina in "Strange Interlude" in 1928 and Lavinia in "Mournin...

Family & Companions

Benjamin Harrison Lehman
Husband
Professor of English. Married on May 18, 1937; divorced on August 23, 1938; taught at University of California at Berkeley.
Luther Greene
Husband
Theatrical producer. Married on July 11, 1946; divorced in 1950.

Notes

"I like emotional roles because they permit unleashing of one's feelings." --Judith Anderson in THEATER MAGAZINE (1924), quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES obituary (January 4, 1992)

"We live, we breathe, we experience, we die, we love, we hate, we experience beauty and tragedy, and we find it in the parts we play. Whatever I do, I'm passionate about." --Judith Anderson discussing the actor's craft in 1984 (quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES obituary, January 4, 1992)

Biography

A leading Broadway star from the 1920s through the '50s, Judith Anderson was perhaps most famous for her award-winning performance as "Medea" in 1947; as a formidable Lady Macbeth (opposite Laurence Olivier in London in 1937 and Maurice Evans on Broadway in 1941), and as an interpreter of the neurotic heroines of Eugene O'Neill (Nina in "Strange Interlude" in 1928 and Lavinia in "Mourning Becomes Electra" in 1932). Anderson made her film debut in 1933 and played the sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers in Hitchcock's "Rebecca" seven years later. It was the first, and most memorable, in a series of malevolent character roles that made good use of her commanding presence. Cast against type, Anderson made an effective Big Mama in Richard Brooks' film adaptation of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1958). Late in her career she gained a new following as campy grande dame Minx Lockridge on the NBC soap opera "Santa Barbara."

Life Events

1915

Stage debut in "A Royal Divorce" at the Theater Royal in Sydney, Australia

1918

Went to Hollywood with a letter of introduction to Cecil B DeMille, who rejected her for the movies

1918

New York stage debut (Broadway stock) at the 14th Street Theatre

1924

Broadway debut in "The Cobra"

1933

Film debut, "Blood Money"

1937

London stage debut, "Macbeth" at the Old Vic

1947

Starred on Broadway in landmark production of "Medea" (which ran 214 performances), adapted specifically for Anderson from Euripides's drama by poet Robinson Jeffers; followed Broadway run with an eight-month coast to coast tour

1949

Returned to Broadway to star as "Medea" at the City Center

1954

Played Lady Macbeth on "Hallmark Hall of Fame"

1954

Appeared on TV's "Light's Diamond Jubilee"

1960

Again played Lady Macbeth on a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" broadcast

1971

Starred on stage in title role of "Hamlet" at Carnegie Hall in New York

1982

Played the nurse in a Broadway revival of "Medea"; production broadcast on PBS (1983)

1984

Former Lion Theater on West 42nd Street in New York (Theater Row) renamed the Judith Anderson Theater

1984

Featured in a regular role on TV soap opera, "Santa Barbara"

1986

Narrated feature, "Impure Thoughts"

1991

Hospitalized in Santa Barbara with a stroke (August)

Photo Collections

Laura - Lobby Card Set
Laura - Lobby Card Set
All Through the Night - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from Warner Bros' All Through the Night (1942), starring Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, and Jane Darwell.

Videos

Movie Clip

Salome (1953) -- (Movie Clip) You Will Die In Agony Herod (Charles Laughton) receives wife Herodias (Judith Anderson), alarmed about one John The Baptist, who might be the foretold Jewish messiah, Ezra (Maurice Schwartz) advising, early in Salome, 1953.
Laura (1944) -- (Movie Clip) Sharecroppers, No Doubt Columnist Waldo (Clifton Webb) spying on the murdered title character (Gene Tierney) in flashback, resuming narration for cop McPherson (Dana Andrews), moving on to her first meeting with Shelby (Vincent Price), facilitated by cook Louise (Kathleen Howard), in Otto Preminger's Laura, 1944.
Red House, The (1947) -- (Movie Clip) Did You Ever Run Away From A Scream? Nath (Lon McCalllister), inquisitive at dinner after his first afternoon working at the Morgan farm, hired at the urging of Meg (Allene Roberts), with her adoptive father Pete (Edward G. Robinson) and his sister (Judith Anderson), events taking a sudden dark turn, early in The Red House, 1947.
And Then There Were None (1945) -- (Movie Clip) The Place For Nursery Rhymes Director Rene Clair is still cycling through Agatha Christie's ten island guests, Walter Huston and Barry Fitzgerald, Mischa Auer on the piano, Richard Haydn playing the record, when the gimmick is revealed, to C. Aubrey Smith, Judith Anderson, June Duprez, Louis Hayward, Roland Young and Queenie Leonard, early in And Then There Were None, 1945.
And Then There Were None (1945) -- (Movie Clip) What A Quiet Place Director Rene Clair wastes not a word introducing Agatha Christie's characters, Louis Hayward, June Duprez, Walter Huston, Barry Fitzgerald, C. Aubrey Smith, Roland Young, Judith Anderson, Mischa Auer and Harry Thurston joining Queenie Leonard and Richard Haydn on the island, opening And Then There Were None, 1945.
Man Called Horse, A (1970) -- (Movie Clip) Open, I'd Be Shooting Grouse Something like a disclaimer, or a tease, relating to what became a notorious scene, then an evocative credit sequence and the introduction of Richard Harris in the title role, a wayward English nobleman, Dub Taylor a sidekick, in director Elliott Silverstein’s A Man Called Horse, 1970.
Man Called Horse, A (1970) -- (Movie Clip) You Horrible Old Hag! Spring has come, captured English Morgan (Richard Harris) doing better with his Sioux brethren, to the point that he propositions Running Deer (Corinna Tsopei) while picking flowers, gets counsel from fellow captive Batiste (Jean Gascon), then told off by Buffalo Cow Head (Judith Anderson), in A Man Called Horse, 1970.
Man Called Horse, A (1970) -- (Movie Clip) Buffalo Cow Head Sioux chief Yellow Hand (Manu Tupou) returning from a lengthy raid, observes Buffalo Cow Head (Judith Anderson), grieving over her son who was killed along the way, and offers her the captured Engilshman (Richard Harris), tribe members feuding all the while, in A Man Called Horse, 1970.
All Through The Night (1942) -- (Movie Clip) Napoleon Too! Now chasing a maybe-kidnapped singer (Kaaren Verne), Gloves (Humphrey Bogart) and Barney (Frank McHugh) enter a Manhattan auction house where Pepe (Peter Lorre) lurks and nazi-ish "Madame" (Judith Anderson) and Ebbing (Conrad Veidt) are in charge, in All Through The Night, 1942.
Kings Row (1942) -- (Movie Clip) He Says You're Wild Orphan Midwestern heir Drake (Ronald Reagan) picks up buddy Parris (Robert Cummings) who's been busy with medical studies, then visits girlfriend Louise (Nancy Coleman) with whose parents (Charles Coburn, Judith Anderson) he's having trouble, in Kings Row, 1942.
Lady Scarface (1941) -- (Movie Clip) His Yappin' Days Are Over Businesslike opening, Huntley Gordon as a banker likely up to no good on the phone when the cleaning lady (Judith Anderson, title character) and her gang (Arthur Shields, Harry Burns, Horace MacMahon, Marc Lawrence) turn the tables, in the RKO programmer Lady Scarface, 1941.
Lady Scarface (1941) -- (Movie Clip) Kennels Ain't Fit For A Dog! Eric Blore is a dog fancier, unaware he's answering the coded want ad for a gang meet-up, as the hotel dick (Andrew Tombes) greets cop Mason (Dennis O'Keefe), who tangles with reporter Ann (Frances Neal), while the mastermind (Judith Anderson) spots the message, in Lady Scarface, 1941.

Trailer

Family

James Anderson-Anderson
Father
Jessie Margaret Anderson
Mother

Companions

Benjamin Harrison Lehman
Husband
Professor of English. Married on May 18, 1937; divorced on August 23, 1938; taught at University of California at Berkeley.
Luther Greene
Husband
Theatrical producer. Married on July 11, 1946; divorced in 1950.

Bibliography

Notes

"I like emotional roles because they permit unleashing of one's feelings." --Judith Anderson in THEATER MAGAZINE (1924), quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES obituary (January 4, 1992)

"We live, we breathe, we experience, we die, we love, we hate, we experience beauty and tragedy, and we find it in the parts we play. Whatever I do, I'm passionate about." --Judith Anderson discussing the actor's craft in 1984 (quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES obituary, January 4, 1992)

Named Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1960 by Queen Elizabeth II for "distinguished contributions to the stage".

Received the Australian Commander Award given by Queen Elizabeth (1991).