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Muriel Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
(October 27, 1918 – March 6, 2005) was an American actress. She was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress: in 1941 for her debut work in The Little Foxes and in 1942 for Mrs. Miniver, winning for the latter. That same year, she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Pride of the Yankees
The Pride of the Yankees
opposite Gary Cooper. She is also known for her performances in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives
The Best Years of Our Lives
(1946). Wright received three Emmy Award
Emmy Award
nominations for her performances in the Playhouse 90 original television version of The Miracle Worker (1957), in the Breck Sunday Showcase feature The Margaret Bourke-White Story, and in the CBS drama series Dolphin Cove (1989). She earned the acclaim of top film directors, including William Wyler, who called her the most promising actress he had directed,[1] and Alfred Hitchcock, who admired her thorough preparation and quiet professionalism.[2]

Contents

1 Early life 2 Acting career 3 Later life 4 Personal life 5 Filmography 6 References

6.1 Citations 6.2 Sources

7 External links

Early life[edit] Muriel Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
was born on October 27, 1918 in Harlem, New York City,[3] the daughter of Martha (née Espy) and Arthur Hendricksen Wright, an insurance agent.[4][5] Her parents separated when she was young. She grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey, where she attended Columbia High School.[3] After seeing Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes
star in Victoria Regina at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City
New York City
in 1936, Wright took an interest in acting and began playing leading roles in school plays.[6] She earned a scholarship to the Wharf Theater in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she was an apprentice for two summers.[3][6] Following her high school graduation in 1938, she went to New York, changed her name to "Teresa Wright", and was hired as understudy to Dorothy McGuire
Dorothy McGuire
and Martha Scott
Martha Scott
for the role of Emily in Thornton Wilder's stage production of Our Town
Our Town
at Henry Miller's Theatre.[4] She took over the role when Scott left for Hollywood to film the on-screen version of the play.[3] Acting career[edit] In autumn 1939, Wright began a two-year appearance in the stage play Life with Father, playing the role of Mary Skinner. It was there that she was discovered by Samuel Goldwyn, who came to see her in the show she had been appearing in for almost a year. Goldwyn would later recall his first encounter with her backstage:

Miss Wright was seated at her dressing table, and looked for all the world like a little girl experimenting with her mother's cosmetics. I had discovered in her from the first sight, you might say, an unaffected genuineness and appeal.[3]

Goldwyn immediately hired the young actress for the role of Bette Davis' daughter in the 1941 adaptation of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, signing her to a five-year Hollywood contract with the Goldwyn Studios. Asserting her seriousness as an actress, Wright insisted her contract contain unique clauses by Hollywood standards:

The aforementioned Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
shall not be required to pose for photographs in a bathing suit unless she is in the water. Neither may she be photographed running on the beach with her hair flying in the wind. Nor may she pose in any of the following situations: In shorts, playing with a cocker spaniel; digging in a garden; whipping up a meal; attired in firecrackers and holding skyrockets for the Fourth of July; looking insinuatingly at a turkey for Thanksgiving; wearing a bunny cap with long ears for Easter; twinkling on prop snow in a skiing outfit while a fan blows her scarf; assuming an athletic stance while pretending to hit something with a bow and arrow.[7]

Publicity portrait for Mrs. Miniver
Mrs. Miniver
(1942)

Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
and Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cotten
in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

In 1941, Wright was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her film début in The Little Foxes. The following year, she was nominated again, this time for Best Actress for The Pride of the Yankees, in which she played opposite Gary Cooper as the wife of Lou Gehrig. That same year, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as the daughter-in-law of Greer Garson's character in Mrs. Miniver. Wright is one of only nine players who have been nominated in both categories in the same year.[3] Her three Academy Award nominations and one Academy Award in her first three films is unique.[8] She remains the only performer to have received Academy Award nominations for her first three films.[9] In 1943, Wright appeared in the acclaimed Universal film Shadow of a Doubt, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, playing an innocent young woman who discovers her beloved uncle (played by Joseph Cotten) is a serial murderer. Hitchcock thought Wright was one of the most intelligent actors he had worked with, and through his direction brought out her vivacity, warmth, and youthful idealism—characteristics uncommon in Hitchcock's heroines.[7] In 1946, Wright delivered another notable performance in William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives, an award-winning film about the adjustments of servicemen returning home after World War II. Critic James Agee
James Agee
praised her performance in The Nation:

This new performance of hers, entirely lacking in big scenes, tricks, or obstreperousness—one can hardly think of it as acting—seems to me one of the wisest and most beautiful pieces of work I have seen in years. If the picture had none of the hundreds of other things it has to recommend it, I could watch it a dozen times over for that personality and its mastery alone.[10]

Four years later, she would appear in another story of war veterans, Fred Zinnemann's The Men (1950), which starred Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
in his film début.[7] In 1947, Wright appeared in the western Pursued opposite Robert Mitchum. The moody "Freudian western" was written by her first husband Niven Busch. The following year, she starred with David Niven, Farley Granger, and Evelyn Keyes in Enchantment, a story of two generations of lovers in parallel romances. Wright received glowing reviews for her performance. Newsweek commented, "Miss Wright, one of the screen's finest, glows as the Cinderella who captivated three men." And The New York Times
The New York Times
concluded, " Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
plays with that breathless, bright-eyed rapture which she so remarkably commands."[3] In December 1948, after rebelling against the studio system that brought her fame, Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
had a public falling out with Samuel Goldwyn, which resulted in the cancellation of Wright's contract with his studio. In a statement published in The New York Times, Goldwyn cited as reasons her refusal to publicize the film Enchantment, and her being "uncooperative" and refusing to "follow reasonable instructions".[10] In her written response, Wright denied Goldwyn's charges and expressed no regret over losing her $5,000 per week contract.

I would like to say that I never refused to perform the services required of me; I was unable to perform them because of ill health. I accept Mr. Goldwyn's termination of my contract without protest—in fact, with relief. The types of contracts standardized in the motion picture industry between players and producers are archaic in form and absurd in concept. I am determined never to set my name to another one ... I have worked for Mr. Goldwyn seven years because I consider him a great producer, and he has paid me well, but in the future I shall gladly work for less if by doing so I can retain my hold upon the common decencies without which the most glorified job becomes intolerable.[10][11]

Years later, in an interview with The New York Post, Wright recalled, "I was going to be Joan of Arc, and all I proved was that I was an actress who would work for less money." For her next film, The Men (1950), instead of the $125,000 she had once commanded, she received $20,000.[6]

Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
and Lew Ayres in The Capture (1950)

In the 1950s, Wright appeared in several unsuccessful films, including The Capture (1950), Something to Live For (1952), California Conquest (1952), The Steel Trap
The Steel Trap
(1952), Count the Hours
Count the Hours
(1953), The Actress (1953), and Track of the Cat
Track of the Cat
(1954) opposite Robert Mitchum
Robert Mitchum
again.[4] Despite the poor box-office showing of these films, Wright was usually praised for her performances.[3] Toward the end of the decade, Wright began to work more frequently in television and theatre. She received Emmy Award
Emmy Award
nominations for her performances in the Playhouse 90 original television version of The Miracle Worker
The Miracle Worker
(1957) and in the Breck Sunday Showcase feature The Margaret Bourke-White Story (1960).[4] In 1955 she played Doris Walker in The 20th Century-Fox Hour remake of the 1947 classic film, Miracle on 34th Street, opposite MacDonald Carey
MacDonald Carey
and Thomas Mitchell. On February 8, 1960, Wright was inducted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame with two stars: one for motion pictures at 1658 Vine Street and one for television at 6405 Hollywood Boulevard.[12] In the 1960s, Wright returned to the New York stage appearing in three plays: Mary, Mary (1962) at the Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes
Theatre in the role of Mary McKellaway, I Never Sang for My Father (1968) at the Longacre Theatre in the role of Alice, and Who's Happy Now? (1969) at the Village South Theatre in the role of Mary Hallen. During this period, she also toured throughout the United States in stage productions of Mary, Mary (1962), Tchin-Tchin (1963) in the role of Pamela Pew-Picket, and The Locksmith (1965) in the role of Katherine Butler Hathaway. In addition to her stage work, Wright made numerous television appearances throughout the decade, including episodes for The Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Hour (1964) on CBS, Bonanza
Bonanza
(1964) on NBC, The Defenders (1964, 1965) on CBS, and CBS Playhouse
CBS Playhouse
(1969).[4] In 1975, Wright appeared in the Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, and in 1980, appeared in the revival of Mornings at Seven, for which she won a Drama Desk Award as a member of the Outstanding Ensemble Performance. In 1989, she received her third Emmy Award nomination for her performance in the CBS drama series Dolphin Cove.[4] Later life[edit] Wright's later film appearances included a major role in Somewhere in Time (1980), the role of the grandmother in The Good Mother (1988) with Diane Keaton, and the role of Miss Birdie in John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997), directed by Francis Ford Coppola.[4] In her last decade, Wright lived quietly in her New England home in the town of Bridgewater, Connecticut, in Litchfield County, appearing occasionally at film festivals and forums and at events associated with the New York Yankees. In 1996, she reminisced about Alfred Hitchcock at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and in 2003, she appeared on the Academy Awards show in a segment honoring previous Oscar-winners.[3] Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
died on March 6, 2005, of a heart attack at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut at the age of 86.[1] She is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven.[13] Personal life[edit] Wright was married to writer Niven Busch from 1942 to 1952. They had two children: a son, Niven Terence Busch born December 2, 1944, and daughter, Mary-Kelly Busch born September 12, 1947.[4] She married playwright Robert Anderson in 1959. They were divorced in 1978, but maintained a close relationship until the end of her life. Her daughter, Mary-Kelly, is a “writer of books for children and young adults.”[14] Wright has two grandchildren, one of whom, Jonah Smith, helped produce Darren Aronofsky's films Pi (1998) and Requiem for a Dream (2000). In 1998, Smith accompanied his grandmother to Yankee Stadium when she was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch. It was her first visit to the stadium. Her appearance in Pride of the Yankees had sparked an interest in baseball and led her to become a Yankees fan. After Wright died in 2005, in honour of her heartfelt performance in that film, when the roll call of former Yankees who had passed on was announced at Old Timer's Day on July 5, 2005, her name was read out among all the ballplayers and other members of the Yankees family. A Girl's Got To Breathe: The Life of Teresa Wright, by Donald Spoto, was published in February 2016. The author, a close friend of Wright for over 30 years, was given exclusive access to Wright's papers and correspondence by her family. Publishers Weekly (Dec. 7, 2015) called the biography "an engaging and intimate portrait." Library Journal (Feb. 1, 2016) also praised the book as "an affectionate tribute to a shamefully neglected talent." Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Director Notes Ref

1941 Little Foxes, TheThe Little Foxes Alexandra Giddens William Wyler Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress [15]

1942 Mrs. Miniver Carol Beldon William Wyler Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress [15]

1942 Pride of the Yankees, TheThe Pride of the Yankees Eleanor Twitchell-Gehrig Sam Wood Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress [15]

1943 Shadow of a Doubt Charlotte "Charlie" Newton Alfred Hitchcock

[15]

1944 Casanova Brown Isabel Drury Sam Wood

[15]

1946 Best Years of Our Lives, TheThe Best Years of Our Lives Peggy Stephenson William Wyler

[15]

1947 Pursued Thorley Callum Raoul Walsh

[15]

1947 The Imperfect Lady Millicent Hopkins Lewis Allen

[15]

1947 The Trouble with Women Kate Farrell Sidney Lanfield

[15]

1948 Enchantment Lark Ingoldsby Irving Reis

[15]

1950 Capture, TheThe Capture Ellen Tevlin Vanner John Sturges

[15]

1950 Men, TheThe Men Ellen "Elly" Wilosek Fred Zinnemann

[15]

1952 Something to Live For Edna Miller George Stevens

[15]

1952 California Conquest Julie Lawrence Lew Landers

[15]

1952 Steel Trap, TheThe Steel Trap Laurie Osborne Andrew L. Stone

[15]

1953 Count the Hours Ellen Braden Don Siegel

[15]

1953 Actress, TheThe Actress Annie Jones George Cukor

[15]

1954 Track of the Cat Grace Bridges William A. Wellman

[15]

1956 The Search for Bridey Murphy Ruth Simmons Noel Langley

[15]

1957 Escapade in Japan Mary Saunders Arthur Lubin

[15]

1958 The Restless Years Elizabeth Grant Helmut Käutner

[15]

1964 The Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Hour: "Three Wives Too Many" Marion Brown Joseph Newman

[15]

1964 The Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Hour: "Lonely Place" Stella Harvey Hart

[15]

1969 Hail, Hero! Santha Dixon David Miller

[15]

1969 Happy Ending, TheThe Happy Ending Mrs. Spencer Richard Brooks

[15]

1972 Crawlspace Alice Graves John Newland Television film [15]

1974 The Elevator Edith Reynolds Jerry Jameson Television film [15]

1976 Flood! Alice Cutler Earl Bellamy Television film [15]

1977 Roseland May (The Waltz) James Ivory

[15]

1980 Somewhere in Time Laura Roberts Jeannot Szwarc

[15]

1983 Bill: On His Own Mae Driscoll Anthony Page Television film [15]

1987 Fig Tree, TheThe Fig Tree Miranda's Grandmother Calvin Skaggs Television film [15]

1988 Good Mother, TheThe Good Mother Grandmother Leonard Nimoy

[15]

1990 Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception Helene Berman Christian I. Nyby II Television film [15]

1993 Red Coat, TheThe Red Coat

Robin Swicord Short film [15]

1997 Rainmaker, TheThe Rainmaker Colleen "Miss Birdie" Birdsong Francis Ford Coppola

[15]

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ a b Bernstein, Adam (March 9, 2005). "Actress Teresa Wright, 86; Won Oscar in 'Mrs. Miniver'". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ Spoto 1983, p. 259. ^ a b c d e f g h i Vallance, Tom (March 31, 2005). "Teresa Wright: Actress of 'breathless, bright-eyed rapture'". Independent. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ a b c d e f g h " Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
Biography". Film Reference. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ Spoto 2016, pp. 12–15. ^ a b c Martin, Douglas (March 8, 2005). "Teresa Wright, Stage and Film Star, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ a b c Bergan, Ronald (March 8, 2005). "Teresa Wright: Hollywood star with a tenacious spirit, on and off the screen". The Guardian. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ Oliver, Myrna. "Teresa Wright, 86; Was Nominated for an Oscar in Each of 1st 3 Films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ Soares, Andre. "Teresa Wright". Reel Classics. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ a b c "Teresa Wright". Alt Film Guide. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ " Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ "Teresa Wright". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ "Teresa Wright". Find a Grave. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ "Mary-Kelly Busch". Retrieved February 7, 2018.  ^ 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 "Teresa Wright: Complete Filmography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 27, 2016. 

Sources[edit]

Spoto, Donald (1983). The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-31680-723-4.  Spoto, Donald (2016). A Girl's Got to Breathe: The Life of Teresa Wright. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-62846-045-2. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Teresa Wright.

Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
on IMDb Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
at the Internet Off-Broadway Database Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
at the TCM Movie Database Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
at AllMovie

v t e

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress

1936–1950

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)

1951–1975

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
(1975)

1976–2000

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
(2000)

2001–present

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
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
(2017)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 32194496 LCCN: n85151626 ISNI: 0000 0000 6301 9172 GND: 137194293 SUDOC: 052444635 BNF: cb14001754t (data) BNE: XX1070832 SN

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