The Info List - Lynn Fontanne

Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
(/fɒnˈtæn/;[1] 6 December 1887 – 30 July 1983) was a British-born American-based actress for over 40 years. She teamed with her husband, Alfred Lunt. Lunt and Fontanne were given special Tony Awards
Tony Awards
in 1970. They both won Emmy Awards in 1965, and Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
was named for them. Fontanne is regarded as one of the American theater's great leading ladies of the 20th century.[2]


1 Early life 2 Career 3 Personal life 4 Pronunciation of surname 5 Death 6 Selected Broadway appearances 7 Radio performances 8 Sources 9 References 10 External links

Early life[edit] Born Lillie Louise Fontanne in Woodford, London, of French and Irish descent, her parents were Jules Fontanne and Frances Ellen Thornley. She had two sisters, one of whom later lived in England; the other lived in New Zealand.[3] Career[edit] She drew acclaim in 1921 playing the title role in the George S. Kaufman- Marc Connelly
Marc Connelly
farce, Dulcy. Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker
memorialized her performance in verse:

Dulcy, take our gratitude, All your words are gold ones. Mistress of the platitude, Queen of all the old ones. You, at last, are something new 'Neath the theatre's dome. I'd Mention to the cosmos, you Swing a wicked bromide. ...[4]

She soon became celebrated for her skill as an actress in high comedy, excelling in witty roles written for her by Noël Coward, S.N. Behrman, and Robert Sherwood. However, she enjoyed one of the greatest critical successes of her career as Nina Leeds, the desperate heroine of Eugene O'Neill's controversial nine-act drama Strange Interlude. From the late 1920s on, Fontanne acted exclusively in vehicles also starring her husband. Among their greatest theater triumphs were Design for Living
Design for Living
(1933), The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew
(1935–36), Idiot's Delight (1936), There Shall Be No Night (1940), and Quadrille (1952). Design for Living, which Coward wrote expressly for himself and the Lunts, was so risqué, with its theme of bisexuality and a ménage à trois, that Coward premiered it in New York, knowing it would not survive the censor in London. The duo remained active onstage until retiring from stage performances in 1958.[5] Fontanne was nominated for a Tony Award for one of her last stage roles, in The Visit (1959).[6] Fontanne and Lunt worked together in 27 productions.[7] Of her acting style with Lunt, British broadcasting personality Arthur Marshall - having seen her in Caprice St James's Theatre
St James's Theatre
(1929) - observed: "In the plays of the period, actors waited to speak until somebody else had finished; the Lunts turned all that upside down. They threw away lines, they trod on each others words, they gabbled, they spoke at the same time. They spoke, in fact, as people do in ordinary life."[8] Fontanne made only four films but nevertheless was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress
Academy Award for Best Actress
in 1931 for The Guardsman, losing to Helen Hayes. She also appeared in the silent films Second Youth (1924) and The Man Who Found Himself (1925). She and husband Alfred also were in Hollywood Canteen (1944) in which they had cameos as themselves. The Lunts starred in four television productions in the 1950s and 1960s with both Lunt and Fontanne winning Emmy Awards in 1965 for The Magnificent Yankee,[7] becoming the first married couple to win the award for playing a married couple.[citation needed] Fontanne narrated the 1960 television production of Peter Pan starring Mary Martin
Mary Martin
and received a second Emmy nomination for playing Grand Duchess Marie in the Hallmark Hall of Fame
Hallmark Hall of Fame
telecast of Anastasia in 1967, two of the few productions in which she appeared without her husband. The Lunts also starred in several radio dramas in the 1940s, notably on the Theatre Guild
Theatre Guild
programme. Many of these broadcasts still survive.[9] On 5 May 1958, the former Globe Theatre, at Broadway and 46th Street, originally opened in 1910 and later turned into a motion picture venue after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, was reopened after a massive gut renovation and renamed the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. On that day the Lunts opened their new house with, The Visit, by Dürrenmatt. After 189 performances, The Visit would be their last appearance on Broadway.[10] Twenty years later, on 5 May 1978, Lynn Fontanne, aged ninety, was honored at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater, during a revival performance of Hello, Dolly!, by its star Carol Channing.[11] A reminiscence of that evening, "An Evening with Lynn Fontanne", was published on-line by Martha Rofheart, a former protégée of Fontanne.[12][13] In 1964, Lunt and Fontanne were presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President Lyndon Johnson.[7] Like Lunt, Fontanne was a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame.[14] Fontanne was also a Kennedy Center
Kennedy Center
honoree in 1980. Some of her costumes are curated in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mount Mary University (formerly known as Mount Mary College) Historic Costume Collection.[15] Personal life[edit] Fontanne married Alfred Lunt
Alfred Lunt
in 1922. The union was childless.[16] The couple lived for many years at "Ten Chimneys" in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin. They were married for 55 years and were inseparable both on and off the stage.

Lunt and Fontanne in 1950.

Fontanne went to great lengths to avoid divulging her true age. Her husband reportedly died believing she was five years younger than he (as she had told him).[17] She was, in fact, five years older, but continued to deny, long after Lunt's death, that she was born in 1887.[17] Pronunciation of surname[edit] Asked once how to pronounce her surname, she told the Literary Digest she preferred the French way, but "If the French is too difficult for American consumption, both syllables should be equally accented, and the a should be more or less broad": fon-tahn.[18] Death[edit] Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
died in 1983, aged 95, from pneumonia, at "Ten Chimneys" in Genesee Depot and was interred next to her husband at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[7] Selected Broadway appearances[edit]

Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
and Henry Travers
Henry Travers
in Pygmalion on Broadway (1926)

Mr Preedy and the Countess (1910) Happiness (1917) Dulcy (1921) The Guardsman (1924) Arms and the Man
Arms and the Man
(1925) Pygmalion (1926) The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
(1927) Strange Interlude
Strange Interlude
(1928) Elizabeth the Queen (1930) Meteor (1930) Design for Living
Design for Living
(1933) The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew
(1935) Idiot's Delight (1936) Amphitryon 38
Amphitryon 38
(1937) The Seagull
The Seagull
(1938) There Shall Be No Night (1940) Candle in the Wind (1941) The Pirate (1942) O Mistress Mine (1946) I Know My Love (1949) Quadrille (1954) The Great Sebastians (1956) The Visit (1958)

Radio performances[edit] Lunt and Fontanne made multiple performances on the 1940s and '50s radio anthology series Theater Guild on the Air
Theater Guild on the Air
(also known as "United States Steel Hour"). These programmes were hour-long adaptations of famous plays. The couple performed together eight times on the programme, and each appeared three times without the other. Recordings of most of these episodes still exist unless noted.[citation needed]

The Guardsman, 30 September 1945 - Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne Elizabeth the Queen, 2 December 1945 - Lunt, Fontanne Strange Interlude, (Part 1) 31 March 46 - Fontanne, Walter Abel, Alfred Shirley (presumed lost) Strange Interlude
Strange Interlude
(Part II), 7 April 1946 - Fontanne, Abel, Shirley Call it a Day, 2 June 1946 - Lunt, Fontanne The Great Adventure 5 January 1947 - Lunt, Fontanne O' Mistress Mine, 9 January 1949 - Lunt, Fontanne (presumed lost) The Great Adventure (second performance), 20 November 1949 - Lunt, Fontanne (presumed lost) There Shall Be No Night, 24 September 1950 - Lunt, Fontanne (presumed lost) Pygmalion, 21 October 1951 - Lunt, Fontanne The Old Lady Shows Her Medals, 3 February 1952 - Fontanne (presumed lost)


Artwork Originals Ten Chimneys
Ten Chimneys
Foundation; timeline


^ "Fontanne". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 14 July 2016.  ^ Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes
Remembrance ^ Great Stars of the American Stage Profile #94 c.1954 2nd. Edition by Daniel Blum ^ Parker, Dorothy. "Lynn Fontanne." Life. 24 November 1921. p. 3; Silverstein, Stuart Y., ed. (1996) [paperback 2001]. Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker. New York: Scribner. p. 100. ISBN 0-7432-1148-0. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ ""Lunt and Fontanne," Encyclopædia Britannica".  ^ Grange, William (2009). Historical Dictionary of Postwar German Literature. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 62. ISBN 0810867710.  ^ a b c d " Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
is Dead at 95; A Star with Lunt for 37 Years", The New York Times, 31 July 1983. Retrieved 17 April 2014. ^ Marshall, Arthur. Life's Rich Pageant, BBC Radio Collection, 1988. ^ Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
on IMDb ^ "The Lunt-Fontanne Theater". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014.  ^ Klemesrud, Judy (24 April 1978). "Lynn Fontanne, at 90, Talks of Love". New York Times. p. C17. Retrieved 15 January 2015. (subscription required) ^ Rofheart, Martha. "An Evening With Lynn Fontanne". Chorus Gypsy. Hodes. Retrieved 29 September 2017.  ^ Kuhn, Eric (June 21, 1990). "M Rofheart Obituary". The East Hampton Star. The East Hampton Star. Retrieved 29 September 2017.  ^ "Theater Hall of Fame members".  ^ " Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
'look' lives on." Milwaukee
Sentinel. 10 October 1983. Retrieved 27 October 2014. ^ Harbin, Billy J. (ed.) (2007). "LUNT, Alfred". The Gay & Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. pp. 260–264. ISBN 978-0-472-06858-6. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ a b Ware, Susan and Stacy Braukman (2005). Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, Volume 5: Completing the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-0674014886.  ^ Charles Earle Funk. What's the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.

External links[edit]

Biography portal

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lynn Fontanne.

Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
on IMDb Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
at the TCM Movie Database Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Alfred Lunt
Alfred Lunt
and Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
Papers at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
at AllMovie Ten Chimneys "Lynn Fontanne". Find a Grave. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 

Awards for Lynn Fontanne

v t e

Drama League's Distinguished Performance Award

Katharine Cornell
Katharine Cornell
(1935) Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes
(1936) Maurice Evans (1937) Cedric Hardwicke
Cedric Hardwicke
(1938) Raymond Massey
Raymond Massey
(1939) Paul Muni
Paul Muni
(1940) Paul Lukas
Paul Lukas
(1941) Judith Evelyn
Judith Evelyn
(1942) Alfred Lunt
Alfred Lunt
(1943) Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
(1944) Mady Christians
Mady Christians
(1945) Louis Calhern
Louis Calhern
(1946) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1947) Judith Anderson
Judith Anderson
(1948) Robert Morley
Robert Morley
(1949) Grace George
Grace George
(1950) Claude Rains
Claude Rains
(1951) Julie Harris (1952) Shirley Booth
Shirley Booth
(1953) Josephine Hull (1954) Viveca Lindfors
Viveca Lindfors
(1955) David Wayne
David Wayne
(1956) Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach
(1957) Ralph Bellamy
Ralph Bellamy
(1958) Cyril Ritchard
Cyril Ritchard
(1959) Jessica Tandy
Jessica Tandy
(1960) Hume Cronyn
Hume Cronyn
(1961) Paul Scofield
Paul Scofield
(1962) Charles Boyer
Charles Boyer
(1963) Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1964) John Gielgud
John Gielgud
(1965) Richard Kiley
Richard Kiley
(1966) Rosemary Harris
Rosemary Harris
(1967) Zoe Caldwell (1968) Alec McCowen
Alec McCowen
(1969) James Stewart
James Stewart
(1970) Anthony Quayle
Anthony Quayle
(1971) Eileen Atkins / Claire Bloom
Claire Bloom
(1972) Alan Bates
Alan Bates
(1973) Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
(1974) John Wood (1975) Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
(1976) Tom Courtenay
Tom Courtenay
(1977) Frank Langella
Frank Langella
(1978) Frances Sternhagen
Frances Sternhagen
(1979) Roy Scheider
Roy Scheider
(1980) Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(1981) Milo O'Shea
Milo O'Shea
(1982) Edward Herrmann
Edward Herrmann
/ Kate Nelligan (1983) Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
(1984) Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
(1985) Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters
(1986) James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones
(1987) John Lithgow
John Lithgow
(1988) Pauline Collins
Pauline Collins
(1989) Robert Morse
Robert Morse
(1990) Stockard Channing
Stockard Channing
(1991) Glenn Close
Glenn Close
(1992) Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea
(1993) Sam Waterston
Sam Waterston
(1994) Cherry Jones
Cherry Jones
(1995) Uta Hagen
Uta Hagen
(1996) Charles Durning
Charles Durning
/ Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth
(1997) Brian Stokes Mitchell
Brian Stokes Mitchell
(1998) Kathleen Chalfant (1999) Eileen Heckart (2000) Mary-Louise Parker
Mary-Louise Parker
/ Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise
(2001) Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson
(2002) Harvey Fierstein
Harvey Fierstein
(2003) Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
(2004) Norbert Leo Butz
Norbert Leo Butz
(2005) Christine Ebersole
Christine Ebersole
(2006) Liev Schreiber
Liev Schreiber
(2007) Patti LuPone
Patti LuPone
(2008) Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Rush
(2009) Alfred Molina
Alfred Molina
(2010) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(2011) Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald
(2012) Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
(2013) Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris
(2014) Chita Rivera
Chita Rivera
(2015) Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda
(2016) Ben Platt (2017)

v t e

Primetime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Judith Anderson
Judith Anderson
(1954) Mary Martin
Mary Martin
(1955) Claire Trevor
Claire Trevor
(1956) Polly Bergen
Polly Bergen
(1957) Julie Harris (1959) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1960) Judith Anderson
Judith Anderson
(1961) Julie Harris (1962) Kim Stanley
Kim Stanley
(1963) Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters
(1964) Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
(1965) Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret
(1966) Geraldine Page
Geraldine Page
(1967) Maureen Stapleton
Maureen Stapleton
(1968) Geraldine Page
Geraldine Page
(1969) Patty Duke
Patty Duke
(1970) Lee Grant
Lee Grant
(1971) Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
(1972) Susan Hampshire
Susan Hampshire
/ Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1973) Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson
/ Mildred Natwick
Mildred Natwick
(1974) Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn
/ Jessica Walter
Jessica Walter
(1975) Susan Clark
Susan Clark
/ Rosemary Harris
Rosemary Harris
(1976) Sally Field
Sally Field
/ Patty Duke
Patty Duke
(1977) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
/ Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(1978) Bette Davis
Bette Davis
(1979) Patty Duke
Patty Duke
(1980) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(1981) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1982) Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
(1983) Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
(1984) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
(1985) Marlo Thomas
Marlo Thomas
(1986) Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(1987) Jessica Tandy
Jessica Tandy
(1988) Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
(1989) Barbara Hershey
Barbara Hershey
(1990) Lynn Whitfield
Lynn Whitfield
(1991) Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(1992) Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
(1993) Kirstie Alley
Kirstie Alley
(1994) Glenn Close
Glenn Close
(1995) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(1996) Alfre Woodard
Alfre Woodard
(1997) Ellen Barkin
Ellen Barkin
(1998) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(1999) Halle Berry
Halle Berry
(2000) Judy Davis
Judy Davis
(2001) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2002) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(2003) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(2004) S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson
(2005) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2006) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2007) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2008) Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
(2009) Claire Danes
Claire Danes
(2010) Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
(2011) Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
(2012) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2013) Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
(2014) Frances McDormand
Frances McDormand
(2015) Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson
(2016) Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman

v t e

Kennedy Center
Kennedy Center
Honorees (1980s)


Leonard Bernstein James Cagney Agnes de Mille Lynn Fontanne Leontyne Price


Count Basie Cary Grant Helen Hayes Jerome Robbins Rudolf Serkin


George Abbott Lillian Gish Benny Goodman Gene Kelly Eugene Ormandy


Katherine Dunham Elia Kazan Frank Sinatra James Stewart Virgil Thomson


Lena Horne Danny Kaye Gian Carlo Menotti Arthur Miller Isaac Stern


Merce Cunningham Irene Dunne Bob Hope Alan Jay Lerner
Alan Jay Lerner
& Frederick Loewe Beverly Sills


Lucille Ball Hume Cronyn
Hume Cronyn
& Jessica Tandy Yehudi Menuhin Antony Tudor Ray Charles


Perry Como Bette Davis Sammy Davis Jr. Nathan Milstein Alwin Nikolais


Alvin Ailey George Burns Myrna Loy Alexander Schneider Roger L. Stevens


Harry Belafonte Claudette Colbert Alexandra Danilova Mary Martin William Schuman

Complete list 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 23603772 LCCN: n85369182 ISNI: 0000 0001 1439 626X GND: 128534575 SUDOC: 192786555 SN