The Info List - Gale Sondergaard

Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard
(born Edith Holm Sondergaard; February 15, 1899 – August 14, 1985) was an American actress. Sondergaard began her acting career in theater, and progressed to films in 1936. She was the first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her film debut in Anthony Adverse
Anthony Adverse
(1936). She regularly played supporting roles in films during the late 1930s and 1940s, including The Cat and the Canary (1939), The Mark of Zorro (1940) and The Letter (1940). For her role in Anna and the King of Siam (1946), she was nominated for her second Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. After the late 1940s, her screen work came to an abrupt end for the next 20 years. Married to the director Herbert Biberman, Sondergaard supported him when he was accused of communism and named as one of the Hollywood Ten in the early 1950s. She moved with Biberman to New York City and worked in theatre, and acted in film and television occasionally from the late 1960s. She moved back to Los Angeles where she died from cerebrovascular thrombosis.


1 Early life 2 Stage and film career

2.1 Until the late-1940s 2.2 House Un-American Activities Committee 2.3 Later career

3 Personal life 4 Acting credits

4.1 Stage 4.2 Film and television

5 References 6 External links

Early life[edit] She was born Edith Holm Sondergaard on February 15, 1899 in Litchfield, Minnesota
Litchfield, Minnesota
to Danish-American parents, Hans and Christin (Holm) Sondergaard. Her father taught at University of Minnesota, where she was a drama student.[1] Stage and film career[edit] Until the late-1940s[edit] She studied acting at the Minneapolis School of Dramatic Arts before joining the John Keller Shakespeare Company. She later toured North America in productions of Hamlet, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, and Macbeth. After becoming a member of the Theatre Guild, she began performing on the New York stage.[2]

in the trailer for The Letter (1940)

Sondergaard made her first film appearance in Anthony Adverse
Anthony Adverse
(1936) as Faith Paleologue and became the first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.[1][3] Her career as an actress flourished during the 1930s, including a role with Paul Muni
Paul Muni
in The Life of Emile Zola
The Life of Emile Zola
(1937).[4] During pre-production of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's classic The Wizard of Oz (1939), an early idea was to have the Wicked Witch of the West portrayed as a slinky, glamorous villainess in a black, sequined costume, inspired by the Evil Queen in Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).[1] Sondergaard originally was cast as the witch and was photographed for two wardrobe tests, both of which survive. One was as a glamorous wicked witch, and another as a conventionally ugly wicked witch. After the decision was made to have an ugly wicked witch, Sondergaard, reluctant to wear the disfiguring makeup and fearing it could damage her career, withdrew from the role, and it went to veteran character actress Margaret Hamilton. Sondergaard was, however, cast as the sultry and slinky Tylette (a magically humanized but devious cat) in The Blue Bird (1940).[5] Around the same time, she played the role of the exotic, sinister wife in The Letter (also 1940), a film starring Bette Davis.[1] She featured in a supporting role in The Spider Woman
The Spider Woman
(aka Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman, 1943),[6] part of the Universal cycle, followed by the non-canonical The Spider Woman
The Spider Woman
Strikes Back (1946), also for Universal. She received a second Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role as the king's principal wife in Anna and the King of Siam (1946).[7] House Un-American Activities Committee[edit] Sondergaard's career suffered irreparable damage during the United States Congressional HUAC Red Scare of the early 1950s when her husband was accused of being a communist and named as one of the Hollywood Ten.[8] (In the 2000 movie One of the Hollywood Ten, Sondergaard was portrayed by actress Greta Scacchi
Greta Scacchi
while Jeff Goldblum was cast as Biberman.) With her career stalled, she supported her husband during the production of Salt of the Earth (1954).[9][10] One of the Hollywood Ten
Hollywood Ten
(2000) chronicled Sondergaard's relationship with Biberman and her role in the making of Salt of the Earth. The Bibermans sold their home in Hollywood shortly after they completed Salt of the Earth, and moved to New York where Sondergaard was able to work in theatre.[8] Later career[edit] In 1969, she appeared in an off-Broadway one-woman show entitled Woman. Sondergaard resumed her career in film and television around the same time.[6] Her revived career extended into the early 1980s. Personal life[edit] Her younger sister Hester Sondergaard was also an actress who featured in The Naked City
The Naked City
(1948) and Jigsaw (1949).[11] Sondergaard first married in 1922 to actor Neill O'Malley; they divorced in 1930. On May 15, 1930, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she married Herbert Biberman, a theater director then associated with the Theatre Guild
Theatre Guild
Acting Company; he became a film director and died in 1971.[12] They had two children, Daniel Hans Biberman and Mrs. Joan Campos.[1] Following several strokes, she died from cerebral vascular thrombosis in the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, in 1985, aged 86. She had been admitted to the hospital in 1982.[1][6] Acting credits[edit] Stage[edit]

Opening date Closing date Title Role Theatre Refs

Oct 08, 1928 Nov 1928 Faust The Witch Guild Theatre [13]

Nov 19, 1928 Jan 1929 Major Barbara Sarah Undershaft, Lady Britomart's daughter Guild Theatre [14]

Oct 7, 1929 Nov 1929 Karl and Anna Marie's sister Guild Theatre [15]

Dec 17, 1929 Feb 1930 Red Rust Nina Martin Beck Theatre [16]

May 11, 1931 May 23, 1931 Alison's House Elsa - Replacement Ritz Theatre [17]

Feb 21, 1933 March 1933 American Dream Lydia Kimball, The First Play, 1650 Guild Theatre [18]

May 17, 1934 Jul 1934 Invitation to a Murder Lorinda Channing Theatre Masque [19]

Nov 6, 1933 Nov 1933 Doctor Monica Anna Playhouse Theatre [20]

Dec 19, 1940 Dec 28, 1940 Cue for Passion Frances Chapman Royale Theatre [21]

Apr 02, 1980 April 26, 1980 Goodbye Fidel Prudencia Ambassador Theatre [22]

Film and television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Refs

1936 Anthony Adverse Faith Paleologus Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress [4]

1937 Maid of Salem Martha Harding


Seventh Heaven Nana, Diane's Sister


The Life of Emile Zola Lucie Dreyfus


1938 Lord Jeff Doris Clandon


Dramatic School Madame Therese Charlot


1939 Never Say Die Juno Marko


Juarez Empress Eugenie


Sons of Liberty Rachel Salomon


The Cat and the Canary Miss Lu


The Llano Kid Lora Travers


1940 The Blue Bird Tylette (the cat)


The Mark of Zorro Inez Quintero


The Letter Mrs. Hammond


1941 The Black Cat Abigail Doone


Paris Calling Colette


1942 My Favorite Blonde Madame Stephanie Runick


Enemy Agents Meet Ellery Queen Mrs. Van Dorn


1943 A Night to Remember Mrs. Devoe


Appointment in Berlin Gretta Van Leyden


Isle of Forgotten Sins Marge Willison


The Strange Death of Adolf Hitler Anna Huber


Crazy House uncredited cameo performance


1944 The Spider Woman Adrea Spedding aka, Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman [4]

Follow the Boys herself


Christmas Holiday Mrs. Monette


The Invisible Man's Revenge Lady Irene Herrick


Gypsy Wildcat Rhoda


The Climax Luise


Enter Arsène Lupin Bessie Seagrave


1946 The Spider Woman
The Spider Woman
Strikes Back Zenobia Dollard


Night in Paradise Queen Attossa


Anna and the King of Siam Lady Thiang nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress [4]

The Time of Their Lives Emily


1947 Pirates of Monterey Señorita De Sola


Road to Rio Catherine Vail


1949 East Side, West Side Nora Kernan


1969 Slaves New Orleans lady


It Takes a Thief Madame Olga Millard TV, episode "The Scorpio Drop"

1970 Get Smart Hester Van Hooten TV, episode "Rebecca of Funny-Folk Farm"

Savage Intruder Leslie




The Best of Everything Amanda Key TV

1971 Night Gallery Abigail Moore TV, episode "The Dark Boy" [25]

The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Mrs. Marley TV, episode "The Letter of the Law"

1973 The Cat Creature Hester Black TV [26]

1974 Medical Center Myra TV, episode "Adults Only"

Nakia Bert TV, episode "The Quarry"

Police Story Marge White TV, episode "A World Full of Hurt"

1976 Ryan's Hope Marguerite Beaulac TV, 6 episodes

The Return of a Man Called Horse Elk Woman


Hollywood on Trial herself documentary [4]

1977 Visions Ora Drummond TV, episode "Pleasantville" [27]

1978 Centennial Aunt Augusta TV mini series

1981 The Fall Guy Mrs. Jackson TV, episode "The Human Torch"

1983 Echoes Mrs. Edmunds



^ a b c d e f Axel Nissen (2007). Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 196–202. ISBN 978-0-7864-2746-8.  ^ "Gale Sondergaard". International Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Retrieved 2 August 2014.  ^ "The 9th Academy Awards". Oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao "Gale Sodergaard". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 1 August 2014.  ^ Peter Lev (15 March 2013). Twentieth Century-Fox: The Zanuck-Skouras Years, 1935–1965. University of Texas Press. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-0-292-74447-9.  ^ a b c Folkart, Burt A. (August 15, 1985). " Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard
Dies; Movies' 'Spider Woman'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 September 2017.  ^ "1946 19th Oscar nominees". Oscar.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ a b David J. Hogan (1 June 2014). The Wizard of Oz FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Life, According to Oz. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. pp. 113–115. ISBN 978-1-4803-9719-4.  ^ Daniel Eagan (26 November 2009). America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 483. ISBN 978-1-4411-1647-5.  ^ Ellen R. Baker (12 March 2007). On Strike and on Film: Mexican American Families and Blacklisted Filmmakers in Cold War America. UNC Press Books. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-4696-0654-5.  ^ "Hester Sodergaard". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved August 3, 2014.  ^ "A Theatre Guild
Theatre Guild
Wedding: Gale Sondergaard, Actress, Bride of H.J. Biberman, Executive", The New York Times, May 16, 1930. ^ "Faust". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ "MajorBarbara". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ "Karl and Anna". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ "Red Rust". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ "Alison's House". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ "American Dream". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ "Invitation to a Murder". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ "Doctor Monica". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ "Cue for Passion". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ "Goodbye Fidel". IBDB. The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ Deirdre Clancy Steer (2009). Colonial America. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-4381-2728-6.  ^ Jeff Lenburg; Joan Howard Maurer; Greg Lenburg (2012). The Three Stooges Scrapbook. Chicago Review Press. p. 353. ISBN 978-1-61374-085-9.  ^ Scott Skelton; Jim Benson (1999). Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After-hours Tour. Syracuse University Press. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-8156-2782-1.  ^ Michael McKenna (22 August 2013). The ABC Movie of the Week: Big Movies for the Small Screen. Scarecrow Press. pp. 117–118, 210. ISBN 978-0-8108-9157-9.  ^ Jerry Roberts (5 June 2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. pp. 345, 455. ISBN 978-0-8108-6378-1. 

External links[edit]

Biography portal

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gale Sondergaard.

Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard
on IMDb Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard
at the Internet Off-Broadway Database Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard
at Find a Grave

v t e

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress


Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard
(1936) Alice Brady
Alice Brady
(1937) Fay Bainter
Fay Bainter
(1938) Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel
(1939) Jane Darwell
Jane Darwell
(1940) Mary Astor
Mary Astor
(1941) Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
(1942) Katina Paxinou
Katina Paxinou
(1943) Ethel Barrymore
Ethel Barrymore
(1944) Anne Revere
Anne Revere
(1945) Anne Baxter
Anne Baxter
(1946) Celeste Holm
Celeste Holm
(1947) Claire Trevor
Claire Trevor
(1948) Mercedes McCambridge
Mercedes McCambridge
(1949) Josephine Hull (1950)


Kim Hunter
Kim Hunter
(1951) Gloria Grahame
Gloria Grahame
(1952) Donna Reed
Donna Reed
(1953) Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint
(1954) Jo Van Fleet
Jo Van Fleet
(1955) Dorothy Malone
Dorothy Malone
(1956) Miyoshi Umeki
Miyoshi Umeki
(1957) Wendy Hiller
Wendy Hiller
(1958) Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters
(1959) Shirley Jones
Shirley Jones
(1960) Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno
(1961) Patty Duke
Patty Duke
(1962) Margaret Rutherford
Margaret Rutherford
(1963) Lila Kedrova
Lila Kedrova
(1964) Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters
(1965) Sandy Dennis (1966) Estelle Parsons
Estelle Parsons
(1967) Ruth Gordon
Ruth Gordon
(1968) Goldie Hawn
Goldie Hawn
(1969) Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes
(1970) Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1971) Eileen Heckart (1972) Tatum O'Neal
Tatum O'Neal
(1973) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1974) Lee Grant
Lee Grant


Beatrice Straight (1976) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(1977) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1978) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(1979) Mary Steenburgen
Mary Steenburgen
(1980) Maureen Stapleton
Maureen Stapleton
(1981) Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
(1982) Linda Hunt
Linda Hunt
(1983) Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
(1984) Anjelica Huston
Anjelica Huston
(1985) Dianne Wiest
Dianne Wiest
(1986) Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis
(1987) Geena Davis
Geena Davis
(1988) Brenda Fricker
Brenda Fricker
(1989) Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg
(1990) Mercedes Ruehl
Mercedes Ruehl
(1991) Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei
(1992) Anna Paquin
Anna Paquin
(1993) Dianne Wiest
Dianne Wiest
(1994) Mira Sorvino
Mira Sorvino
(1995) Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche
(1996) Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger
(1997) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1998) Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie
(1999) Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden


Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly
(2001) Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones
(2002) Renée Zellweger
Renée Zellweger
(2003) Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
(2004) Rachel Weisz
Rachel Weisz
(2005) Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson
(2006) Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton
(2007) Penélope Cruz
Penélope Cruz
(2008) Mo'Nique
(2009) Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo
(2010) Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer
(2011) Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway
(2012) Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o
(2013) Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette
(2014) Alicia Vikander
Alicia Vikander
(2015) Viola Davis
Viola Davis
(2016) Allison Janney
Allison Janney

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 42035316 LCCN: n85378938 ISNI: 0000 0000 5943 5157 GND: 1062442164 BNF: cb139909772 (data) BNE: XX1736493 SN