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Jessica Tandy

Died when: 85 years 96 days
Star Sign: Gemini

 

Jessica Tandy Jessica Tandy (born Jessie Alice Tandy; 7 June 1909 – 11 September 1994) was an English-American actress. Tandy appeared in over 100 stage productions and had more than 60 roles in film and TV, receiving such accolades as an Academy Award, four Tony Awards, and a British Academy Film Award. Born in London to Jessie Helen Horspool and commercial traveller Harry Tandy, she was only 18 when she made her professional debut on the London stage in 1927. During the 1930s, she acted in many plays in London's West End, playing roles such as Ophelia (opposite John Gielgud's legendary Hamlet) and Katherine (opposite Laurence Olivier's Henry V). During this period, she also worked in a number of British films. Following the end of her marriage to the British actor Jack Hawkins, she moved to New York City in 1940, where she met Canadian actor Hume Cronyn. He became her second husband and frequent partner on stage and screen. She received the Tony Award for best performance by a Leading Actress in A Play for her performance as Blanche DuBois in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948. Tandy shared the prize with Katharine Cornell (who won for the female lead in Antony and Cleopatra) and Judith Anderson (for the latter's portrayal of Medea) in a three-way tie for the award. Over the following three decades, her career continued sporadically and included a supporting role in Alfred Hitchcock's horror film, The Birds (1963), and a Tony Award-winning performance in The Gin Game (1977, playing in the two-hander play opposite Hume Cronyn). Along with Cronyn, she was a member of the original acting company of the Guthrie Theater. In the mid-1980s she had a career revival. She appeared with Cronyn in the Broadway production of Foxfire in 1983 and its television adaptation four years later, winning both a Tony Award and an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Annie Nations. During these years, she appeared in films such as Cocoon (1985), also with Cronyn. She became the oldest actress to receive the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Driving Miss Daisy (1989), for which she also won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). At the height of her success, she was named as one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People". She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1990, and continued working until shortly before her death.
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