Grant circa early 1970s
|Born||Lyova Haskell Rosenthal
October 31, 1926
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Arnold Manoff (1951-1960; divorced; 2 children)
Joseph Feury (né Fioretti; 1962-present)
|Children||Dinah Manoff and Tom Manoff|
Lee Grant (born October 31, 1926) is an American stage, film and television actress, and film director. She was blacklisted for 12 years from film work beginning in the mid-1950s, but worked in the theatre, and would eventually win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Felicia Karpf in Shampoo (1975).
Grant was born Lyova Haskell Rosenthal in New York City in 1926, the daughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants Witia (née Haskell), an actress and teacher, and Abraham W. Rosenthal, a realtor and educator. The family resided at 706 Riverside Drive in upper Manhattan.
Grant graduated high school at the age of fourteen, receiving a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, and studied under Sanford Meisner. She subsequently enrolled in Actors Studio in New York.
Grant established herself as a dramatic method actress on and off Broadway, earning praise for her role as a shoplifter in Detective Story, in 1949. She made her film debut two years later in the film version of the same name (Detective Story), receiving her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination, and winning the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. She was a regular on the CBS soap opera, Search For Tomorrow in the early 1950s.
She was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities to testify against her husband, the playwright Arnold Manoff, father of her two children, but refused to testify. She was blacklisted for twelve years, after which she resumed work in theater and film. Composer Burt Bacharach, who considered Grant "a brilliant actress," notes that "she suffered for her political beliefs for a long time because that was such a terrible period in the history of our country."
Her first major achievement after that period was in the 1960s television series Peyton Place, as Stella Chernak, for which she won an Emmy. In 1968, Grant appeared in an episode of Mission Impossible, portraying the wife of a U.S. diplomat who goes undercover to discredit a rogue diplomat.
She received subsequent Academy Award nominations for the dramas, The Landlord (1970) and Voyage of the Damned (1976). Her acting range extended into comedy equally well, notably in the role as an overbearing mother. In Plaza Suite (1971), she played the harassed mother of a bride, alongside Walter Matthau as the father. That film was followed by another comedy role as the mother in Portnoy's Complaint (1972).
She won an Oscar for the comedy Shampoo (1975), for Best Supporting Actress. The film was "Columbia's biggest hit in the studio's 50 year history." Actor Bruce Dern, who played alongside her in The Big Town (1987), recalls working with her, "Lee Grant is a fabulous actress. Anytime she works it's a blessing you have her in your movie."
Grant is the only Hollywood actress of her generation to successfully move into directing. She directed the stage play, The Stronger in 1976, written by August Strindberg. In 1980 she directed her first film, Tell Me a Riddle, a story about an aging Jewish couple. She also directed several documentary films, including Down and Out in America (1986) which won the Academy Award for Documentary Feature. That same year she directed Nobody's Child, a TV movie, starring Marlo Thomas, "in the performance of her career," about a woman confined to a mental institution for 20 years. For her direction, Grant became the first female director to win the Directors Guild of America Award.
In recent years she directed a series of Intimate Portrait episodes for Lifetime Television, that celebrated a diverse range of accomplished women. Admiring her directing and acting skill, actress Sissy Spacek agreed to act in Hard Promises "only to work with Grant," although she was later replaced as its director.
In 1971, Grant appeared in the Columbo episode "Ransom for a Dead Man"', for which she was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress - Miniseries or a Movie. Having been nominated for two performances in the same acting category, she received the award for her other Emmy-nominated performance in the television film, The Neon Ceiling. She had her own sitcom, Fay, which was canceled after only eight episodes. She made a guest appearance on Empty Nest, in which her daughter Dinah Manoff starred. In 1988, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.
In 1992, she played Dora Cohn, the mother of Roy Cohn, in the biographical made for TV film Citizen Cohn, which garnered her yet another Primetime Emmy Award nomination. In 2001, Lee Grant portrayed Louise Bonner in David Lynch's critically acclaimed Mullholland Drive. From 2004-2007, Carlin Glynn, Stephen Lang, and Grant served as co-artistic directors for the Actors Studio.
|1975||For the Use of the Hall||TV film|
|1976||The Stronger||short subject|
|1980||Tell Me a Riddle|
|1981||The Willmar 8||documentary|
|1984||A Matter of Sex||TV film|
|1985||What Sex Am I?||documentary|
|ABC Afterschool Special||Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale (TV episode)|
|1986||Nobody's Child||TV film - Won - DGA Award|
|Down and Out in America||documentary (also narrator)|
|No Place Like Home||TV film|
|1994||When Women Kill||documentary|
|Seasons of the Heart||TV film|
|Following Her Heart||TV film|
|1997||Say It, Fight It, Cure It||TV film|
|1999||Confronting the Crisis: Childcare in America||TV film|
|2000||American Masters||Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light|
|The Loretta Claiborne Story||TV film|
|2001||The Gun Deadlock||TV dilm|
|2000–2004||Intimate Portrait||43 episodes|
|2005||... A Father... A Son... Once Upon a Time in Hollywood||TV film|
- Unterburger, Amy L. ed. International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers - 3: Actors and Actresses 3rd ed., St. James Press (1997) pp. 498-499
- Lee Grant profile at FilmReference.com
- Gray, Spalding. Life Interrupted: The Unfinished Monologue, Random House (2005) p. 154
- Best Actress Award (Cannes Film Festival)
- Bacharach, Burt. Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music, HarperCollins (2013)
- Ford, Elizabeth. The Makeover in Movies: Before and After in Hollywood Films, 1941-2002, McFarland (2004) p. 198
- Dern, Bruce. Things I've Said, But Probably Shouldn't Have: An Unrepentant Memoir, Wiley (2007) p. 231
- Jarboe, Jan. "Sissy Spacek's Long Walk Home", Texas Monthly, Feb. 1991 p. 126
- Women in Film website
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lee Grant.|
- Lee Grant at the Internet Movie Database
- Lee Grant at the Internet Broadway Database
- Lee Grant at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Lee Grant at the University of Wisconsin's Actors Studio audio collection
|Artistic Director of the Actors Studio
With: Carlin Glynn
and Stephen Lang