JESSICA TANDY Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Jessica Tandy.                                                                       
Born: 7 June 1909 London, England, UK                                                       
Died: 11 September 1994 Easton,Connecticut, U.S.                                           
Jessie Alice Tandy (June 7, 1909 – September 11, 1994) was an Academy Award-winning       
British-born American stage and film actress.                                               
Tandy, the last of three children, was born in Geldeston Road in the London                 
Borough of Hackney to Jessie Helen Horspool, the head of a school for                       
mentally handicapped children, and Harry Tandy, a travelling salesman for a rope           
manufacturer. Her father died when Tandy was 12, and as a result her mother                 
taught evening courses to increase the family's income. Tandy was educated at               
the Dame Alice Owen's School in the London Borough of Islington.                           
After an acting career spanning some 65 years, Tandy found latter-day movie                 
stardom in major studio releases and intimate dramas alike. From a young age she           
was determined to be an actress, and first appeared on the London stage in 1926,           
playing, among others, Katherine opposite Laurence Olivier's Henry V, and                   
Cordelia opposite John Gielgud's "King Lear". She also worked in British films.             
Following the end of her first marriage (to Jack Hawkins), she moved to New York           
and met Canadian actor Hume Cronyn, who became her second husband and frequent             
partner on stage and screen. She made her American film debut in The Seventh               
Cross (1944). She also appeared in The Valley of Decision (1945), The Green                 
Years (1946, ironically enough as Cronyn's daughter!), Dragonwyck (1946)                   
starring Gene Tierney and Forever Amber (1947).                                             
After her Tony-winning performance as Blanche DuBois in the original Broadway               
production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, (she lost the film             
role to actress Vivien Leigh) she concentrated on the stage. She became a                   
naturalized citizen of the United States in 1952. For the next 30 years, she               
appeared sporadically in films such as The Light in the Forest (1958), The Birds           
(1963), The World According to Garp (1982, as Glenn Close's mother) and Cocoon (1985,       
the latter two opposite Cronyn).                                                           
Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy, 1989.                                                 
The beginning of the 1980s saw a resurgence in her film career, with character             
roles in The World According to Garp, Best Friends, Still of the Night (all 1982)           
and The Bostonians (1984), and the hit film Cocoon (1985), opposite Cronyn, with           
whom she reteamed for *batteries not included (1987) and Cocoon: The Return (1988).         
She and Cronyn had been working together more and more, on stage and television,           
to continued acclaim, notably in 1987's Foxfire which won her an Emmy Award (recreating     
her Tony winning Broadway role). However, it was her colorful performance in               
Driving Miss Daisy (1989), as an aging, stubborn Southern-Jewish matron, that               
made her a bona fide Hollywood star and earned her an Oscar. She was the oldest             
actor to ever win an Academy Award, beating out George Burns by less than a year.           
Tandy was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in               
the world in 1990. She earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work             
in the grassroots hit Fried Green Tomatoes (1992), and co-starred in The Story             
Lady (1991 telefilm, with daughter Tandy Cronyn), Used People (1992, as Shirley             
MacLaine's mother), To Dance with the White Dog (1993 telefilm, with husband               
Hume Cronyn), Nobody's Fool (1994), and Camilla (also 1994, with Cronyn).                   
Camilla was to be her last performance, and it was bold in one way that she, at             
the age of about 84 and knowing that she was dying, had a brief nude scene,                 
which could also be called "cheeky".