|Born||Sandra Dale Dennis
April 27, 1937
Hastings, Nebraska, U.S.
|Died||March 2, 1992
Westport, Connecticut, U.S.
Sandra Dale “Sandy” Dennis (April 27, 1937 – March 2, 1992) was an American theater and film actress. At the height of her career in the 1960s she won two Tony Awards, as well as an Oscar for her performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
Dennis was born in Hastings, Nebraska, the daughter of Yvonne, a secretary, and Jack Dennis, a postal clerk. She had a brother, Frank. Dennis grew up in Kenesaw, Nebraska and Lincoln, Nebraska, graduating from Lincoln High School (Lincoln, Nebraska) in 1955. She attended Nebraska Wesleyan University and the University of Nebraska, appearing in the Lincoln Community Theater Group before moving to New York City at the age of 19.
Dennis made her television debut in 1956 in The Guiding Light. In 1963, she appeared in the The Fugitive, which starred David Janssen, in the episode "The Other Side of the Mountain." In 1964, she appeared in the television episode "Don't Mention My Name in Sheboygan" of Craig Stevens's CBS drama, Mr. Broadway. Her film debut was the role of Kay in Splendor in the Grass (1961). However, she was more committed to following a career in the theater. She won consecutive Tony Awards for her performances in A Thousand Clowns (1963) and Any Wednesday (1964). She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Honey, the fragile, neurotic young wife of George Segal, in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). She followed this with well-received performances in Up the Down Staircase (1967), The Fox (1967), Sweet November (1968) and The Out-of-Towners (1970).
In 1963, she appeared in the "Naked City" episode "Carrier", as the bearer of a rare disease.
In 1974 she played Joan of Arc in the pilot of Witness to Yesterday, Canadian Patrick Watson's series of interviews with great figures out of the past.
In 1967 she was voted the 18th biggest star in the US.
A life member of The Actors Studio and an advocate of method acting, Dennis was often described as neurotic and mannered in her performances; her signature style included running words together and oddly stopping and starting sentences, suddenly going up and down octaves as she spoke, and fluttering her hands. Walter Kerr famously remarked that she treated sentences as "weak, injured things" that needed to be slowly helped "across the street"; John Simon said that she acted with "a postnasal drip." Nonetheless, William Goldman, in his book The Season, referred to her as a quintessential "critics' darling" who got rave reviews no matter how unusual her acting and questionable her choice of material. During her stint in Any Wednesday, Kerr said the following: "Let me tell you about Sandy Dennis. There should be one in every home."
Sandy Dennis, along with Anne Bancroft, Zoe Caldwell, Viola Davis, Colleen Dewhurst, Maureen Stapleton and Irene Worth are the only women who have won Tony Awards for both Best Actress in a Play and Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Her last significant film roles were in Alan Alda's The Four Seasons (1981) and Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982). In 1991, she played a leading role in the film The Indian Runner, which marked Sean Penn's debut as a film director.
Dennis lived with prominent jazz musician Gerry Mulligan from 1965 until they split up in 1974. Although Mulligan often referred to Dennis as his second wife, Dennis later revealed that they had never married. She also lived with actor Eric Roberts from 1980 to 1985.
In an interview with People magazine in 1989, Dennis revealed she and Gerry Mulligan had suffered a miscarriage in 1965 and went on to say, "if I'd been a mother, I would have loved the child, but I just didn't have any connection with it when I was pregnant ... I never, ever wanted children. It would have been like having an elephant." Christopher Dennis, one of the stars of Confessions of a Superhero, grew up in Los Angeles as an orphan, but claims to be her son. Sandy Dennis's family denies that she had any children.
|1961||Splendor in the Grass||Kay|
|1963||Naked City episode Carrier||Lorraine||"Carrier" aired on 4/24/1963. After living isolation on Welfare Island for over a decade, a woman carrying an infectious and often fatal disease escapes into Manhattan.|
|1963||The Fugitive episode The Other Side of the Mountain||Cassie||1 Oct 1963 Cassie has a crush on Kimble and wants to help him escape on the condition she can go with him, as the Sheriff and Lt. Gerard close in on them.|
|1966||Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?||Honey||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Laurel Award for Female Supporting Performance
Laurel Award for Female New Face
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
|1967||Up the Down Staircase||Sylvia Barrett||5th Moscow International Film Festival - Best Actress|
|1967||Fox, TheThe Fox||Jill Banford|
|1968||Sweet November||Sara Deever|
|1969||That Cold Day in the Park||Frances Austen|
|1969||Touch of Love, AA Touch of Love||Rosamund Stacey||Also known as Thank You All Very Much|
|1970||Out-of-Towners, TheThe Out-of-Towners||Gwen Kellerman||Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Laurel Award for Best Comedy Performance, Female
|1972||Something Evil||Marjorie Worden|
|1974||Mr. Sycamore||Jane Gwilt|
|1976||God Told Me To||Martha Nicholas|
|1977||Nasty Habits||Sister Winifred|
|1981||Animals Film, TheThe Animals Film||Herself|
|1981||Four Seasons, TheThe Four Seasons||Anne Callan|
|1982||Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean||Mona|
|1991||Indian Runner, TheThe Indian Runner||Mrs. Roberts|
- Sandy Dennis Biography (1937-1992)
- Sandy Dennis Foundation
- Lincoln High School (1955). The Links, vol. 39. Lincoln, NE: Lincoln High School. p. 38.
- Sandy Dennis. Yahoo Movies.
- 'Star Glitter Is Catching' By Richard L. Coe. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) [Washington, D.C] 07 Jan 1968: H1.
- Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
- Hutchings, David. "The Queen of Artfully Oddball Roles Finds Peace as a Cat-Crazed Recluse". People Magazine. Time, Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
- "5th Moscow International Film Festival (1967)". MIFF. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
- Sandy Dennis at the Internet Broadway Database
- Sandy Dennis at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Sandy Dennis at the Internet Movie Database
- Sandy Dennis Foundation
- Sandy Dennis at Find a Grave
- Sandy Dennis, Veteran Actress And Prize Winner, Is Dead at 54, New York Times, 5 March 1992