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 Gene Tierney

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Gene Tierney

  • Birth 19 Nov 1920 Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
  • Death 6 Nov 1991 Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA
  • Burial Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA
  • Plot Sect. E-1, Lot 40.5
  • Memorial ID 2670

Actress. Brooklyn born Gene Eliza Tierney would survive several major tragedies in her life during a reign of stardom as a glamorous and talented Hollywood actress. Her role in the film version of the best-selling book "Leave Her to Heaven" earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. However, her most defining performance that made her a major star was in the Otto Preminger murder mystery movie "Laura." She had much success throughout the 1940's and 1950's..."The Razor's Edge" "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and "The Left Hand of God." Subsequently, weary of Hollywood and some thirty movie credits, she retired permanently from films. During her post Hollywood life, she made a few television appearance during her life in Houston which was mainly spent in extensive travel with her second husband and a major participant in civic and charitable causes. Her final career performance was in the TV miniseries "Scruples in 1980. Gene's father was Howard Sherwood Tierney an insurance broker and her mother Belle a former New England socialite and ex-school teacher. The family would number three with her the middle child. Privilege, a lavish childhood and finally very good looks would pave the way for an easy entry into the world of show business. Her parents first set her on a course for the life of a New England debutante with enrollment at a string of finishing schools from St. Margaret School in Waterbury, Connecticut to Unquowa School in Bridgeport and then the ultimate, Brillantmont in Lausanne, Switzerland. Upon returning home she completed her education at Farmington School culminating in a coming out party as a debutante. By 1939, Tierney began performing on Broadway after signing a contract with Columbia Pictures but the studio failed to find her work. She also was instrumental in gaining national recognition and exposure working as a model while her image appeared in Life, Harper's Bazaar and Collier's Weekly. In the early 1940's she left Broadway landing a contract with 20th Century Fox appearing in a number of early movies..."The Return of Frank James" "Belle Star" and "Heaven Can Wait." During World War II, she went to work for the war effort, giving speeches, selling bonds, and serving as entertainer to the military who frequented the Bette Davis Hollywood Canteen. Her early adult personal live was dismal. Married for several years to famed designer Oleg Cassini, it would end in divorce. A defining and tragic birth of a daughter with Cassini would affect Tierney and disrupt her career. The child would only have the permanent mentality of an infant and eventually be institutionalized. Gene would suffer psychologically. She left Hollywood suffering from severe depression. After self admittance to Harkness Pavilion in New York, a series of confinements followed at mental facilities around the country. Years of nightmarish treatment including shock treatments with attempts to flee and even a suicide attempt from a ledge lead to final incarceration at Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas an institution which restored her to normalcy. The last days at the clinic was spent in therapeutic work as a sales girl in a large department store. After recognition by a customer, her secret became national news in newspapers across the country. Happiness and good fortune returned in 1960 with her marriage to W. Howard Lee, a Houston oil executive which would last for thirty-one years until his death. She would return to Hollywood and make several more movies..."Advise and Consent" and "The Pleasure Seekers" were among the better in her career comeback. Her second marriage would result in another traumatic experience with a miscarriage. A long time smoker, Tierney died of emphysema in Houston, Texas and was interred beside her husband Lee in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston. Legacy...Her autobiography, "Self-Portrait" was published in 1979 and is a candid description of her life, career and mental illness. A belated book "Gene Tierney: A Biography" was written by Michelle Vogel and published in 2005. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. In a bit of tragic trivia...while entertaining members of the Armed Forces during World War II at the Hollywood Canteen while in the early stages of pregnancy, she contracted German Measles. The disease would cause her prematurely first born to have the mind of an infant and unable to speak. A year after the birth a stunned Gene Tierney would be approached by a woman at a Hollywood party who reiterated that they had met before. The women had been in the armed services inflicted with German Measles but had broken quarantine to go to the canteen for a night of frolicking, the very night when Gene was the guest entertainer.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2670
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gene Tierney (19 Nov 1920–6 Nov 1991), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2670, citing Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .