Actress. Born in Kirksville, Missouri, the daughter of a physician, she became an actress at the age of 17, winning critical reviews for her performance in 1952 of the off-Broadway production of Tennessee Williams play "Summer and Smoke." She was quickly invited to Hollywood, and her first movie role was opposite John Wayne in "Hondo" (1953). Considered too hot-tempered and selective about the roles she wanted to play, Hollywood refused to give her preferential star treatment, and she was allowed to return to Broadway plays, this time excelling in the Tennessee Williams play, "Sweet Bird of Youth." She was selected for the film versions of the roles she played in "Summer and Smoke" (1961) and "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1962), for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for both movies. She then earned two Emmy Awards for her roles in the television productions of "A Christmas Memory" (1967) and "The Thanksgiving Visitor" (1969). After seven Oscar nominations and losses, she finally won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the role of Mrs. Watts in "The Trip to Bountiful" (1985). In 1963, she married actor Rip Torn, and their country estate is named "Torn Page." She was appearing in the role of Madame Arcati in the Broadway version of Noel Coward's play "Blythe Spirit" when she suffered a heart attack and died in New York City. She was married to actor Rip Torn.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson