|This biographical article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (December 2008)|
|Born||Lois Arlene Humbert
November 3, 1930
Topeka, Kansas, U.S.
Lois Smith (born November 3, 1930) is an American actress whose career in theater, film, and television has spanned six decades.
Life and career
Smith was born as Lois Arlene Humbert in Topeka, Kansas, the daughter of Carrie Davis (née Gottshalk) and William Oren Humbert, who was a telephone company employee. She is a graduate of the University of Washington.
After two TV appearances, Smith made her film debut in East of Eden (1955). Other film credits include Five Easy Pieces, Up the Sandbox, Four Friends, Fatal Attraction, Fried Green Tomatoes, How to Make an American Quilt, Hard Promises, Dead Man Walking, Twister, Minority Report, Tumbleweeds, Hollywoodland, Killshot, and Please Give.
She has been active in television, appearing in early anthology series (Studio One, Robert Montgomery Presents), soap operas (Another World, Somerset, The Edge of Night, All My Children, One Life to Live), prime-time dramas (The Defenders, Dr. Kildare, Route 66, thirtysomething, The Practice, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Desperate Housewives, ER, Grey's Anatomy, Cold Case and True Blood), and sitcoms (Just Shoot Me! and Frasier). Smith balanced her theater career out by taking on regular daytime roles, most notably the psychotic Zoe Cannell on Somerset where her character was revealed to be a killer who disguised herself as "Jingles the Clown". After a more stable role as Eleanor Conrad on The Doctors, she had a series of minor soap roles including country bumpkin Ella Fitz on Another World (a friend of the deadly Alma Rudder's), troubled mother Mrs. Oakes on The Edge of Night and years later Rae Cumming's Aunt on All My Children and Dorian Lord's aunt on One Life to Live.
Smith made her Broadway debut in the 1952 comedy Time Out for Ginger. A member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, she appeared as "Ma Joad" in their production of The Grapes of Wrath in Chicago, La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, and London before bringing it to New York City, where her performance earned her a Tony Award nomination. In 2013, she appeared in the Off-Broadway play Old Friends, written by Horton Foote. In the 2015 film The Gettysburg Address, Smith portrays Elizabeth Crawford, an elderly woman recalling her childhood memories of young Abraham Lincoln.
Awards and nominations
- 1970: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (Five Easy Pieces, winner)
- 1990: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play (The Grapes of Wrath, nominee)
- 1996: Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play (Buried Child, nominee)
- 2006: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play (The Trip to Bountiful, winner)
- 2007: Induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame 
She was married to Wesley Dale Smith, a teacher, from November 5, 1948 until their divorce in 1970; they have one daughter.
- "Overview for Lois Smith - Turner Classic Movies - TCM". Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- "Lois Smith Pictures,Biography, Filmography, Box Office, Videos - Starpulse". Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- "Hall of Fame: theater veterans get a night in limelight". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- "Lois Smith profile - FilmReference.com". Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- Lois Smith at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Lois Smith at the Internet Broadway Database
- Lois Smith at the Internet Movie Database
- Lois Smith at the University of Wisconsin's Actors Studio audio collection
- Theatre in Chicago - 2008 interview
- ATW's Downstage Center - 2011 interview