Judith Anderson

Dame Judith Anderson
Dame Judith Anderson

Judith Anderson was a commanding stage actress who acted on film on occasion.   She was born in 1898 in Adelaide, South Australia.   She made her stage debut at 15.   She made her Broadway debut in 1922 in “On the Stairs”.   Her best known work on celluloid is as Mrs Danvers, the housekeeper of Manderly in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Rebecca” in 1940.   Other films included “The Furies”, “Laura” with Gene Tierney, “The Ten Commandments” in 1956, “Cinderfella” as the stepmother of Jerry Lewis and “A Man Called Horse” with Richard Harris.   She died in Santa Barbbara at the age of 93 in 1992.

TCM Overview:
A leading Broadway star from the 1920s through the 50s, Judith Anderson was perhaps most famous for her savage, award-winning performance as “Medea” in 1947; as a formidable Lady Macbeth (opposite Laurence Olivier in London in 1937 and Maurice Evans on Broadway in 1941); and as an interpreter of the neurotic heroines of Eugene O’Neill (Nina in “Strange Interlude” in 1928 and Lavinia in “Mourning Becomes Electra” in 1932). Anderson made her film debut in 1933 and played the sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers in Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” seven years later. It was the first, and most memorable, in a series of malevolent character roles that exploited her severe features and commanding presence. Cast against type, Anderson made an effective Big Mama in Richard Brooks’ film adaptation of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958). Late in her career she gained a new following as campy grande dame Minx Lockridge on the NBC TV soap opera, “Santa Barbara”.

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