The actress Teresa Wright (1918-2005) lived a rich, complex, magnificent life against the backdrop of golden age Hollywood, Broadway and television. There was no indication, from her astonishingly difficult--indeed, horrifying--childhood, of the success that would follow, nor of the universal acclaim and admiration that accompanied her everywhere.Read more...
The actress Teresa Wright (1918-2005) lived a rich, complex, magnificent life against the backdrop of golden age Hollywood, Broadway and television. There was no indication, from her astonishingly difficult--indeed, horrifying--childhood, of the success that would follow, nor of the universal acclaim and admiration that accompanied her everywhere. Her two marriages--to the writers Niven Busch (The Postman Always Rings Twice; Duel in the Sun) and Robert Anderson (Tea and Sympathy; I Never Sang for My Father)--provide a good deal of the drama, warmth, poignancy and heartbreak of her life story.
"I never wanted to be a star," she told the noted biographer Donald Spoto at dinner in 1978. "I wanted only to be an actress." She began acting on the stage in summer stock and repertory at the age of eighteen. When Thornton Wilder and Jed Harris saw her in an ingenue role, she was chosen to understudy the part of Emily in the original production of Our Town (1938), which she then played in touring productions. Samuel Goldwyn saw her first starring role on Broadway--in the historic production of Life with Father--and at once he offered her a long contract.
She was the only actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for her first three pictures (The Little Foxes; The Pride of the Yankees; and Mrs. Miniver), and she won for the third film. Movie fans and scholars to this day admire her performance in the classics Shadow of a Doubt and The Best Years of Our Lives. The circumstances of her tenure at Goldwyn, and the drama of her breaking that contract, forever changed the treatment of stars.
Wright's family and heirs appointed Spoto as her authorized biographer and offered him exclusive access to her letters and papers. Major supporting players in this story include Robert Anderson, Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, Karl Malden, Elia Kazan, Jean Simmons, Dorothy McGuire, Bette Davis, George Cukor, Marlon Brando, George C. Scott, the artist Al Hirschfeld, Stella Adler, and more.
- ISBN-13: 9781628460452
- ISBN-10: 1628460458
- Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
- Publish Date: February 2016
- Page Count: 284
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Series: Hollywood Legends
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-12-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Prolific celebrity biographer Spoto (The Redgraves: A Family Epic) paints an engaging and intimate portrait of Oscar-winning actor Teresa Wright. Her notable film roles included Shadow of a Doubt, The Best Years of Our Lives, and The Pride of the Yankees, in which she improvised her famous line, A girls gotta breathe!, after receiving a lengthy on-screen kiss from costar Gary Cooper. Spoto developed a friendship with Wright while writing a book about Alfred Hitchcock, one of her directors; following the actresss death in 2005, he was granted exclusive access to her private papers and letters. Based on his research and personal experience, he depicts Wright as a unique and hardworking talent who shied away from the spotlight. As he describes her, she embodied the buoyant and determined spirit of mid-20th-century America, and her fresh-faced beauty was warmly embraced by contemporary audiences. Despite the authors evident affection for his subject, few stones are left unturned as Spoto delves into the actors difficult childhood and troubled marriages to novelist Niven Busch and playwright Robert Anderson. Fond remembrances from family and friends provide further insight into Wrights challenging personal and professional life. 43 b&w illus. (Mar.)