Friday, December 18, 2009

Godspeed Jennifer Jones

Oscar winning actress Jennifer Jones passed yesterday at the age of 90. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in The Song of Bernadette and was nominated four other times.

Jennifer Jones was born Phylis Isley in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 2, 1919. Her parents operated and were stars of the Isley Stock Co., a tent show which travelled the Midwest. While still in school she became interested in acting. She attended Monte Cassino Junior College in Tulsa, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

As Phyllis Isley she appeared in the John Wayne B Western New Frontier in 1939, as well as Dick Tracy's G-Men. Achieving little success in Hollywood, she returned to New York City where she worked part time as a model for the Powers Agency. Eventually she tested for David O. Selznick, who groomed her for stardom and gave her a new name--"Jennifer Jones." She was cast in the lead role of Selznick's production The Song of Bernadette. Not only was she nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in the film, but she also won. From the Forties into the Fifties, Jennifer Jones was at the peak of her career. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for four more films: Since You Went Away, Love Letters, Duel in the Sun, and Love is a Many Splendoured Thing. She also made such films as Portrait of Jennie, Madame Bovary, Beat the Devil, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, and A Farewell to Arms. 

Sadly, it was in the Sixties that Jennifer Jones career went into decline. In the Sixties she made only three films. She made only one in the Seventies, her last film appearance in The Towering Inferno.

While Jennifer Jones did not make a huge number of movies when compared to other actors, Despite this, she had a career which many actors would envy. It was not simply that she was nominated for a total of eight Oscars, but she appeared in some truly classic films. The Song of Bernadette, Portrait of Jennie, and Beat the Devil, among other movies, will remembered for years. While her career may have been shorter than other actors, Jennifer Jones had talent far exceeding most other actors as well. She will not be forgotten.

1 comment:

Tom said...

This is a lovely tribute. I'm still saddened over her passing, and it was nice to read this. Alot of people forget that she was in "Dick Tracy's G Men". And in her last movie, she was nominated for a Golden Globe (for her performance in the Towering Inferno). She had quite a film career.