Sondergaard, Gale

Lovely 1938 MGM Willinger Studio portrait of the recipient of the 1st Best Supporting Actress Oscar, 50's "Red Scare" victim

Price: $125.00

Description:
(1899-1985) American actress, began acting career in theater, and progressed to films in 1936. She was the 1st recipient of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her film debut in “Anthony Adverse” (1936). She regularly played supporting roles in the late 1930s and 40s, including “The Cat and the Canary” (1939), “The Mark of Zorro” (1940) and “The Letter” (1940). Married to director Herbert Biberman, she supported him during the early 1950s HUAC “Red Scare” when he was accused of communism and named as one of the “Hollywood Ten” and her career suffered irreparable damage. She moved with Biberman to New York City and worked in theatre, and acted in film and television occasionally from the late 60s. Her father taught at the University of Minnesota where she was a drama student. She studied acting at the Minneapolis School of Dramatic Arts before joining the John Keller Shakespeare Company. After becoming a member of the Theater Guild, she began performing on the New York stage. Sondergaard made her 1st film appearance in “Anthony Adverse” (1936) and became the 1st recipient of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance. Her career flourished during the 1930s, including a role with Paul Muni in “The Life of Emile Zola” (1937). During pre-production of MGM’s “The Wizard of Oz”, an early idea was to have the Wicked Witch of the West portrayed as a slinky, glamorous villainess in a black, sequined costume, inspired by the Evil Queen in Disney’s 1937 “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Sondergaard originally was cast as the witch. After the decision was made to have an ugly wicked witch, Sondergaard, reluctant to wear the disfiguring makeup and fearing it could damage her career, withdrew from the role, which went to Margaret Hamilton. She was, however, cast as the sultry and slinky Tylette (a magically humanized but devious cat) in “The Blue Bird” (1940). Also in 1940, she played the role of the exotic, sinister wife in “The Letter” with Bette Davis. She had a supporting role in “Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman” (1943), followed by “The Spider Woman Strikes Back” (1946), also for Universal. For her role in “Anna and the King of Siam” (1946) as the king's principal wife, she was nominated for her 2nd Best Supporting Actress Oscar. In 1969, she appeared in an off-Broadway one-woman show entitled “Woman”. Her revived career extended into the early 1980s. ISP, 10 x 8 b&w lovely flat finish ¾-length MGM publicity portrait signed and inscribed by the actress. On verso upside down is the MGM Willinger Photo stamp and a typed bio of Sondergaard noting her signing of a MGM term contract. Undated but ca. 1938.

Condition: Very good
Type:Photograph






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