Lorring in 1946
|Born||Mary Magdalene Ellis
April 17, 1926
|Died||May 30, 2014
Sleepy Hollow, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Dr. Martin Sonenberg (-2011; his death)|
Joan Lorring (April 17, 1926 – May 30, 2014) was an actress and singer known for her work in film and theatre. For her role as Bessy Watty in The Corn is Green (1945), Lorring was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Lorring also originated the role of Marie Buckholder in Come Back, Little Sheba on Broadway in 1950, for which she won a Donaldson Award (an early version of the Tony Award).
Lorring was born Mary Magdalene Ellis in Hong Kong, the daughter of Ania Ellis (1904-1995), a Jewish-Russian immigrant. They fled Hong Kong in 1938 following the Japanese invasion in 1937 at the start of World War II, traveling by boat to Honolulu, and then landing in San Francisco. Soon after, they moved to Los Angeles, and Mary (known by her nickname "Dellie") began working as a child actress in radio and film. She then adopted Joan Lorring as her stage name.
She was married to doctor Martin Sonenberg (1920-2011). The couple had two daughters, Santha and Andrea.
Lorring made her Broadway debut in 1950, originating the role of Marie Buckholder opposite Shirley Booth in Come Back Little Sheba. Terry Moore would later play Marie in the 1952 film version. For this role Lorring won a Donaldson Award for Most Outstanding Female Debut in the 1949-1950 Broadway season. This success led to her performing in the 1951 Broadway production of the Lillian Hellman play The Autumn Garden. In 1954, she performed in the play Dead Pidgeons and her last Broadway appearance was in 1957, originating the role of The Young Woman, opposite Kim Stanley as The Woman, in A Clearing in the Woods by Arthur Laurents.
Film and television
For her third film role as Bessy Watty in 1945's The Corn is Green opposite Bette Davis as Miss Moffat, Lorring (at age 19), was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Thelma Schnee had originated the role of Bessy on Broadway opposite Ethel Barrymore in 1940.
Lorring next had supporting roles in the 1946 dramas Three Strangers, and The Verdict, in which she plays Lottie Rawson and performs the memorable song Give Me A Little Bit. In 1947, she appeared in The Other Love, a drama that stars Barbara Stanwyck, and in The Lost Moment which stars Susan Hayward. In 1948 she played a supporting role in Good Sam, which stars Gary Cooper as was directed by Leo McCarey.
In the early 50s, Lorring began appearing often on television. In 1955 she performed in thirteen episodes of the television series Norby as Helen Norby. The show lasted one season. Also in 1956, she reprised her award-winning role as Bessy in The Corn is Green on television opposite Eva Le Gallienne as Miss Moffat. She appeared on one episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, (The Older Sister, 1956) about Lizzie Borden, in which she portrayed her sister Emma.
Lorring performed infrequently in the 60s and 70s focusing on her family life. Her last film role came in 1974 with The Midnight Man and her last television roles were guest-starring for several episodes as Anna Pavel in Ryan's Hope and finally a 1980 episode of The Love Boat.
Retirement and death
Lorring enjoyed a quiet retirement through the 80s and 90s. She lived until May 30, 2014, when she died in Sleepy Hollow, New York at age 88 from natural causes.
|1944||Song of Russia||Sonia|
|The Bridge of San Luis Rey||Pepita|
|1945||The Corn Is Green||Bessie Watty||Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|1946||Three Strangers||Icey Crane|
|The Verdict||Lottie Rawson|
|1947||The Other Love||Celestine|
|The Lost Moment||Amelia|
|1948||Good Sam||Shirley Mae|
|1951||The Big Night||Marion Rostina|
|1952||Imbarco a mezzanotte||Angela||English title: Stranger on the Prowl|
|1974||The Midnight Man||Judy|
|1950–1956||Robert Montgomery Presents||5 episodes|
|1952||The Philco Television Playhouse||Episode: The Thin Air|
|The Doctor||Episode: No Story Assignment|
|1954||The Motorola Television Hour||Episode: A Dash of Bitters|
|Love Story||Episode: For All We Know|
|Danger||Episode: The Big Man|
|Suspense||Episode: The Last Stand|
|Center Stage||Terry Clayborn||Episode: The Day Before Atlanta|
|1953, 1955||Goodyear Television Playhouse||Episode: The Rumor
Episode: The Prizewinner
|1954–1955||Valiant Lady||Bonnie Withers #1|
|Westinghouse Studio One||Blair
|Episode: Castle in Spain
Episode: Millions of Georges
|The Elgin Hour||Maggie||Episode: Black Eagle Pass|
|Kraft Television Theatre||Episode: Coquette|
|Appointment with Adventure||Episode: Return of the Stranger|
|1956||Star Stage||Episode: Of Missing Persons|
|Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Emma Borden||Episode: The Older Sister|
|General Electric Theater||Episode: The Shunning|
|1965||The Nurses||Jean Bower||Episode: Act of Violence|
|For the People||Jean Bow||Episode: Act of Violence (2)|
|1966||The Star Wagon||Martha||PBS TV-Movie|
|1979–1980||Ryan's Hope||Anna Pavel|
|1980||The Love Boat||Mrs. Cummings||Episode: Tell Her She's Great...|
- https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JBYV-JW1 accessed 8/22/14
- http://www.leagle.com/decision/20001054184Misc2d870_1891 accessed 8/22/14
- https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9C6-LMY accessed 8/22/14
- https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-36724-27848-34?cc=2141044 accessed 8/22/14
- Joan Lorring profile, The New York Times; accessed March 11, 2014.
- http://www.playbillvault.com/Person/Detail/113260/Joan-Lorring accessed 8/22/14
- http://books.google.com/books?id=z6BRZmt7wb8C&pg=PA141&lpg=PA141&dq=joan+lorring+awake+and+sing!+1970&source=bl&ots=wmpb7NMq9y&sig=Q4BZlo_40B1s0s84lL3km3Cw1Qo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=N_P2U-GkJ9GqyASspoGwAg&ved=0CEsQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=joan%20lorring%20awake%20and%20sing!%201970&f=false accessed 8/22/14
- Obituary for Joan Lorring, variety.com; accessed July 16, 2014.
- Joan Lorring at the Internet Movie Database
- Joan Lorring at the Internet Broadway Database
- Joan Lorring at the Internet Off-Broadway Database