Geraldine Page

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Geraldine Page
George C. Scott - Geraldine Page - 1959.JPG
George C. Scott and Page in 1959
Born (1924-11-22)November 22, 1924
Kirksville, Missouri, U.S.
Died June 13, 1987(1987-06-13) (aged 62)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Occupation Actress
Years active 1952–1987
Spouse(s) Alexander Schneider (1954–1957; divorced)
Rip Torn (1963–1987; her death)
Children Angelica Page
Tony Torn
Jon Torn

Geraldine Sue Page (November 22, 1924 – June 13, 1987) was an American actress best known for her work in the American theater. She was nominated for an Academy Award eight times before winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful (1985).

Youth and education[edit]

Page was born in Kirksville, Missouri, where her father, Leon Page, worked at Andrew Taylor Still College of Osteopathy and Surgery (combined with the American School of Osteopathy, eventually to form A.T. Still University). He was an author whose works included Practical Anatomy (1925), Osteopathic Fundamentals (1926), and The Old Doctor (1932). [1]

After graduating from Chicago's Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois, she attended the Goodman School of Drama (later renamed The Theatre School at DePaul University) in Chicago and later studied acting with Uta Hagen in New York City, New York.

Career[edit]

Stage[edit]

Page was a trained method actor and worked closely with Lee Strasberg. She began appearing in stock theatre at age 17.

Her appearance as Alma in the 1952 production of Summer and Smoke, written by Tennessee Williams and staged at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York City's Greenwich Village, was legendary. Page's performance (as the minister's daughter consumed with infinite longing) in the production, directed by José Quintero, gave the play a new life, and, according to common wisdom,[who?] it was that production (for its daring, for its fervor, for its being "downtown" rather than in the artistically "safe" realm of Broadway) which gave birth to the Off-Broadway movement in New York City theatre.

Her work continued on Broadway as the spinster in the 1954–1955 production of The Rainmaker, written by N. Richard Nash; and as the frustrated wife whose husband becomes romantically obsessed with a young Arab, played by James Dean, in the 1954 production of The Immoralist, written by Augustus Goetz and Ruth Goetz and based on the novel of the same name (1902) by André Gide.

She earned critical accolades for her performance in the 1959 production of Williams's Sweet Bird of Youth opposite Paul Newman. She originated the role of a larger-than-life, addicted, sexually voracious Hollywood legend trying to extinguish her fears about her career with a young hustler named Chance Wayne, played by Newman. For her performance, Page received her first nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, as well as the Sarah Siddons Award for her performance in Chicago.[2] She and Newman later starred in the film adaptation of the same name (1962) and Page earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for the film.

In 1964, she starred in a Broadway revival of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters playing eldest sister Olga to Kim Stanley's Masha with Shelley Winters as the interloper Natasha. Both Shirley Knight and Sandy Dennis played the youngest sister Irina at different stages in this production. It was directed by Lee Strasberg (and a version of it was preserved on film).

In 1967, Page starred in Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy/White Lies, a production which also included Michael Crawford and Lynn Redgrave who were making their Broadway debuts.

Page received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (her second Tony Award nomination) for the 1975 production of Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular with Sandy Dennis and Richard Kiley.

Page also starred as Zelda Fitzgerald in the last major Broadway production of a Williams play, Clothes for a Summer Hotel, which did not succeed financially on Broadway in 1980.

In 1973, she played Mary Todd Lincoln opposite Maya Angelou in the Broadway production of the two-character play Look Away, written by Jerome Kilty.

Page starred as the secretive nun Mother Miriam Ruth in the Broadway production of Agnes of God, which opened in 1982 and ran for 599 performances with Page performing in nearly all of them; for her role, she received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.

In 1983, Page was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[3]

After winning an Academy Award in 1986, Page returned to Broadway in a revival of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit in the role of the psychic medium Madame Arcati. The production, which also starred Richard Chamberlain, Blythe Danner and Judith Ivey, was Page's last. Page was again nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. She did not win, and several days after the awards ceremony, she died. The show lasted several weeks more, with co-star actress Patricia Conolly taking over Page's role.

Film[edit]

Her film debut was in Out of the Night (1947). Her role in Hondo, opposite John Wayne, garnered her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In all, despite her relatively small filmography, Page received eight Academy Award nominations. She finally won the Oscar in 1986 for her performance in The Trip to Bountiful, which was based on a play by Horton Foote. When she won (F. Murray Abraham, upon opening the envelope, exclaimed, "I consider this woman the greatest actress in the English language"), she received a standing ovation from the audience. She was surprised by her win (she openly talked about being a seven-time Oscar loser), and took a while to get to the stage to accept the award because she had taken off her shoes while sitting in the audience. She had not expected to win, and her feet were sore.[citation needed]

Her other notable screen roles included Academy Award-nominated performances in Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke, Sweet Bird of Youth, You're a Big Boy Now, Pete 'n' Tillie, Woody Allen's Interiors and The Pope of Greenwich Village.

In 1964, Page starred in Delbert Mann's Dear Heart as a self-sufficient but lonely postmistress visiting New York City for a convention, finding love with a greeting card salesman. She also appeared in such roles as a psychotic serial killer in What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?; a repressed schoolmistress in the Clint Eastwood film The Beguiled; a charismatic evangelist (modeled after Aimee Semple McPherson) in The Day of the Locust; a nun, Sister Walburga, in Nasty Habits; and as 'Aunt' Beverly in Harry's War.

Her final film was the 1987 Mary Stuart Masterson film My Little Girl, which featured the film debut of Jennifer Lopez.

She also was a voice actress and voiced the villainous Madame Medusa in the Disney animated film The Rescuers.

Television[edit]

She performed in various television shows in the 1950s through the 1980s, including movies and series, such as Hawaii Five-O, Kojak, and several episodes of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, including "The Sins of the Fathers" and "Something in the Woodwork".

In 1959, Page was a Best Single Performance by an Actress Emmy nominee for her role on an episode of Playhouse 90. Page later received two Emmy Awards for her work in adaptations of Truman Capote stories. In 1967, she won an Emmy for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama for her performance in A Christmas Memory on ABC Stage 67. In 1969, she received an Emmy for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in The Thanksgiving Visitor.[4][5]

Personal life[edit]

Page was married to violinist Alexander Schneider from 1954 to 1957. In 1963, she married actor Rip Torn, who was seven years her junior. They remained married until her death. Page and Torn had three children, a daughter (actress Angelica Page) and twin sons, actor Tony Torn, and Northern Arizona University professor Jon Torn.

Death[edit]

Page, who suffered from kidney disease, died of a heart attack in 1987 during a run on Broadway in Sir Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit at the Neil Simon Theatre. She did not arrive for either of the show's two June 13 performances; at the end of the evening performance, the play's producer announced that she had died at the age of 62.[6]

Five days after her death, "an overflow crowd of colleagues, friends and fans," including Sissy Spacek, James Earl Jones, Amanda Plummer and husband Rip Torn filled the Neil Simon Theatre to pay tribute.[7] Her achievements as a stage actress and teacher were highlighted; actress Anne Jackson stated at the tribute that "[Page] used a stage like no one else I'd ever seen. It was like playing tennis with someone who had 26 arms."[7] Torn called her "Mi corazon, mi alma, mi esposa" ("My heart, my soul, my wife") and said they, "Never stopped being lovers, and ... never will." [7] Page was cremated.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
Taxi 1953 Florence Albert Uncredited role
Hondo Angie Lowe Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Summer and Smoke 1961 Alma Winemiller Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
Venice Film Festival – New Cinema Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Sweet Bird of Youth 1962 Alexandra Del Lago David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Toys in the Attic 1963 Carrie Berniers Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Dear Heart 1964 Evie Jackson Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
The Three Sisters 1966 Olga
You're a Big Boy Now Margaret Chanticleer Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated – Laurel Award for Female Supporting Performance
Monday's Child 1967 Carol Richardson
The Happiest Millionaire Mrs. Duke
What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? 1969 Claire Marrable
Trilogy Sook Segment: "A Christmas Memory"
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
The Beguiled 1971 Martha
J.W. Coop 1972 Mama
Pete 'n' Tillie Gertrude Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Happy as the Grass Was Green 1973 Anna Witmer
The Day of the Locust 1975 Big Sister
Nasty Habits 1977 Sister Walburga
The Rescuers Madame Medusa Voice
Interiors 1978 Eve BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Harry's War 1981 'Aunt' Beverly Payne
Honky Tonk Freeway Sister Mary Clarise
I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can 1982 Jean Scott Martin
The Pope of Greenwich Village 1984 Mrs. Ritter Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
The Bride 1985 Mrs. Baumann
Walls of Glass Mama
White Nights Anne Wyatt
The Trip to Bountiful Mrs. Watts Academy Award for Best Actress
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
My Little Girl 1986 Molly
Native Son Peggy
Riders to the Sea 1987

Television[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
Lux Video Theatre 1952 Neighbor Season 2, episode 24 "The Lesson"
Studio One Season 4, episode 51 "The Shadowy Third"
Robert Montgomery Presents Season 4, episode 7 "The Fall Guy"
The Philco Television Playhouse 1954 Season 6, episode 17 "Miss Look-Alike"
Omnibus 1955 Governess Season 3, episode 18 "The Turn of the Screw"
Windows The Woman Alcoholic Season 1, episode 2 "A Domestic Dilemma"
Matinee Theatre Miss Myrtle Season 1, episode 9 "An Apple for Miss Myrtle"
The United States Steel Hour Marian Season 3, episode 9 "Shoot It Again"
The United States Steel Hour 1957 Estelle Season 4, episode 16 "The Hill Wife"
Kraft Television Theatre Season 10, episode 38 "Fire and Ice"
General Electric Theatre 1958 Heddie Season 6, episode 26 "No Hiding Place"
Playhouse 90 Florry
Addie
-
Season 2, episode 25 "Portrait of a Murderer"
Season 3, episode 8 "Old Man"
Nominated – Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actress (for episode "The Old Man")
NBC Sunday Showcase 1959 Virginia Reed Season 1, episode 1 "People Kill People Sometimes"
The Long, Hot Summer 1966 Maribelle Kirkpatrick Season 1, episode 16 "Evil Angel"
ABC Stage 67 Woman Season 1, episode 13 "A Christmas Memory"
Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama
NBC Children's Theatre 1969 Narrator Episode: "Little Women"
The Name of the Game 1971 Sister Lucia Season 3, episode 15 "A Sister from Napoli"
Look Homeward, Angel 1972 Eliza Grant Television film
Medical Center Ellen Davis Season 4, episode 6 "Betrayed"
Ghost Story Hattie Season 1, episode 11 "Touch of Madness"
Rod Sterling's Night Gallery Frances Turchin
Mrs. Evans
Season 2, episode 19 - segment: "Stop Killing Me"
Season 2, episode 21 - segment: "The Sins of the Fathers"
Rod Sterling's Night Gallery 1973 Molly Wheatland Season 3, episode 11 "Something in the Woodwork"
The Snoop Sisters Olivia Cunningham Season 1, episode 1 "Corpse and Robbers"
Kojak 1976 Edna Morrison Season 4, episode 9 "A Shield for Murder - Part 1"
Season 4, episode 10 "A Shield for Murder - Part 2"
Hawaii 5-O 1977 Philomena Underwood Season 10, episode 5 "The Descent of the Torches"
The Blue and the Gray 1982 Mrs. Lovelace Television mini-series (all 3 episodes)
Loving 1983 Amelia Whitley Soap opera; season 1, episode 1
Deadly Nightmares 1985 Lynette 'Mama' Powers Season 3, episode 4 "W.G.O.D"
American Playhouse 1986 Sally Phelps Season 5, episode 4 "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Part I"

Television films[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
Barefoot in Athens 1966 Xantippe
The Thanksgiving Visitor 1967 Miss Sook Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Montserrat 1971 Felisa
Two by Chekhov 1972 Part of Hollywood Television Theatre
Look Homeward, Angel Eliza Gant
Live Again, Die Again 1974 Mrs. O'Neill
Something for Joey 1977 Ann Cappelletti
The Parade 1984 Sarah
The Dollmaker Mrs. Kendrick
Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story 1986 Itta Halaunbrenner Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film

Select Theatre Credits[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Walter, Georgia (1992). The First School of Osteopathic Medicine. Kirksville, Missouri: Thomas Jefferson University Press. p. 117.
  2. ^ Awardees Society Web site. Retrieved February 13, 2010.
  3. ^ "Geraldine Page Biography". 
  4. ^ Baker, Bob (June 14, 1987). "Geraldine Page, Winner of Oscar, 2 Emmys, Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  5. ^ Database (undated). "Geraldine Page: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  6. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (June 15, 1987). "Geraldine Page, 62, Dies; A Star of Stage and Film". The New York Times. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Gerard, Jeremy (June 18, 1987). "Tribute to Geraldine Page Fills Neil Simon Theater". The New York Times.

External links[edit]