|Born||Beatrice Whitney Straight
August 2, 1914
Old Westbury, New York
|Died||April 7, 2001
Los Angeles, California
|Spouse(s)||Louis Dolivet (div. 1949)
Peter Cookson (1949-1990)
|Parent(s)||Willard Dickerman Straight
Dorothy Payne Whitney
Leonard Knight Elmhirst (step-father)
|Relatives||Whitney W. Straight (brother)
Michael W. Straight (brother)
Ruth Elmhirst (half-sister)
William Elmhirst (half-brother)
Beatrice Whitney Straight (August 2, 1914 – April 7, 2001) was an American theatre, film and television actress and a member of the prominent Whitney family. She was an Academy Award and Tony Award winner.
Straight made her Broadway debut in 1939 in The Possessed. Her other Broadway roles included Viola in Twelfth Night (1941), Catherine Sloper in The Heiress (1947) and Lady Macduff in Macbeth (1948). For her role as Elizabeth Proctor in the 1953 production of The Crucible, she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. For the 1976 film Network, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was on screen for five minutes and forty seconds, the shortest performance ever to win an Academy Award for acting. She also received an Emmy Award nomination for the 1978 miniseries The Dain Curse. Straight also appeared as Mother Christophe in The Nun's Story (1959) and Dr. Lesh in Poltergeist (1982).
Beatrice Whitney Straight was born in Old Westbury, New York, the daughter of Dorothy Payne Whitney, of the Whitney family, and Willard Dickerman Straight, an investment banker, diplomat, and career U.S. Army officer. Her maternal grandfather was political leader and financier William Collins Whitney. In 1918, when Straight was four years old, her father died in France of influenza during the great epidemic while serving with the US Army during World War I. Following her mother's remarriage to British agronomist Leonard K. Elmhirst in 1925, the family moved to Devon England. It was there that Straight was educated at Dartington Hall and began acting in amateur theater productions.
Straight returned to the United States and made her Broadway debut in 1939 in the play The Possessed. Most of her theater work was in the classics, including Twelfth Night (1941), Macbeth, and The Crucible (1953), for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
From its inception, Straight was a member of the Actors Studio, attending the class conducted three times weekly by founding member Robert Lewis; her classmates included Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Jerome Robbins, Sidney Lumet, and about 20 others.
Straight was active in the early days of television, appearing in anthology series such as Armstrong Circle Theatre, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Kraft Television Theatre, Studio One, Suspense, The United States Steel Hour, Playhouse 90, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents and dramatic series like Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey, The Defenders, Route 66, Mission: Impossible, and St. Elsewhere. Further television performances include the role of Hippolyta in the Wonder Woman series, and Marion Hillyard, the icy, controlling mother of Stephen Collins in The Promise.
Straight worked infrequently in film and is perhaps remembered best for her role as a devastated wife confronting husband William Holden's infidelity in Network (1976). She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance which, at five minutes and forty seconds, remains the shortest ever to win an Oscar. Her most widely seen film appearance after Network was the role of the paranormal investigator Dr. Martha Lesh in the 1982 horror film Poltergeist.
Straight was married twice, first to Frenchman Louis Dolivet, a left-wing activist who became editor of United Nations World magazine and later a film producer. They divorced in 1949, and she married film and Broadway actor/producer Peter Cookson, with whom she had two sons:
She also had two stepchildren from Peter's previous marriage:
Straight reportedly suffered from Alzheimer's disease in her last years. She died from pneumonia in Northridge, Los Angeles at age eighty-six. Her interment was at William Henry Lee Memorial Cemetery in New Marlborough, Massachusetts.
|Phone Call from a Stranger||1952||Claire Fortness|
|Silken Affair, TheThe Silken Affair||1956||Theora|
|Nun's Story, TheThe Nun's Story||1959||Mother Christophe (Sanatorium)|
|Young Lovers, TheThe Young Lovers||1959||Mrs. Burns|
|Garden Party, TheThe Garden Party||1973|
|Network||1976||Louise Schumacher||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Promise, TheThe Promise||1979||Marion Hillyard|
|Formula, TheThe Formula||1980||Kay Neeley|
|Endless Love||1981||Rose Axelrod|
|Two of a Kind||1983||Ruth|
|Robert Kennedy & His Times||1985||Rose Kennedy|
|Title||Date of Production||Role||Notes|
|The Possessed||Oct. 24, 1939 - Nov. 4, 1939||Lisa|
|Twelfth Night||Dec. 2, 1941 - Dec. 13, 1941||Viola|
|Land of Fame||Sep. 21, 1943 - Sep. 25, 1943||Angela|
|The Wanhope Building||Feb. 9, 1947 - Feb. 16, 1947||Felina|
|The Heiress||Sep. 29, 1947 - Sep. 18, 1948||Catherine Sloper||Replacement|
|Eastward in Eden||Nov. 18, 1947 - Nov. 29, 1947||Emily Dickinson|
|Macbeth||Mar. 31, 1948 - Apr. 24, 1948||Lady Macduff|
|The Innocents||Feb. 1, 1950 - Jun. 3, 1950||Miss Giddens|
|The Grand Tour||Dec. 10, 1951 - Dec. 15, 1951||Nell Valentine|
|The Crucible||Jan. 22, 1953 - Jul. 11, 1953||Elizabeth Proctor||1953 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play|
|Everything in the Garden||Nov. 29, 1967 - Feb. 10, 1968||Mrs. Toothe|
|Somerset Maugham TV Theatre||Series||1951|
|Love of Life||Series||1951||Vinnie Phillips|
|Love Story||Movie||1952||Elizabeth Barrett|
|The Magnificent Failure||Movie||1952||Louisa May Alcott|
|Armstrong Circle Theatre||Series||1952|
|Suspense||Series||1952-1954||Mrs. de Spain / Claire Trent|
|You Are There||Series||1954-1955||Anne Boleyn|
|Studio One in Hollywood||Series||1951-1957||Pamela Baxter|
|The United States Steel Hour||Series||1955-1958||Katherine Grant / Daisy Jackson|
|Play of the Week||Series||1959||Mlle. de St. Euverte|
|Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Series||1959-1960||Ida Blythe / Cynthia Fortnam||Season 5, Episode 10 and Season 5, Episode 27|
|Diagnosis: Unknown||Series||1960||Rhoda Clarence|
|Dr. Kildare||Series||1961||Pamela Rainey|
|Naked City||Series||1962||Ann Johns|
|The Doctors and the Nurses||Series||1962||Ruth Martin|
|The Eleventh Hour||Series||1963||Veronica Filmore|
|Ben Casey||Series||1963||Edith Bauer|
|Route 66||Series||1961-1963||Elena De Amundo / Mother Teresa / Kitty Chamberlain|
|The Defenders||Series||1965||Mrs. Campbell|
|Mission: Impossible||Series||1966||Dr. Martha Richards Zubrovnik||Season 1, Episode 11|
|Felony Squad||Series||1967||Victoria Cahill|
|The Borrowers||Movie||1973||Mrs. Crampfurl|
|Beacon Hill||Series||1975||Mrs. Hacker|
|The Andros Targets||Series||1977||Mrs. Benderson|
|The World of Darkness||Movie||1977||Joanna Sanford|
|Killer on Board||Movie||1977||Beatrice Richmond|
|The Dain Curse||Mini-Series||1978||Alice Dain Leggett||Emmy Award for Guest Actress in a Comedy (nomination)|
|King's Crossing||Series||1982||Louisa Beauchamp|
|Faerie Tale Theatre||Series||1984||Queen Veronica / Woman in Museum|
|Robert Kennedy and His Times||Mini-Series||1985||Rose Kennedy|
|Under Siege||Movie||1986||Margaret Sloan|
|Jack and Mike||Series||1988||Mike's mother|
|St. Elsewhere||Series||1988||Marjorie Andrews|
|Run Til You Fall||Movie||1988||Margaret|
|People Like Us (TV movie)||Movie||1990||Maisie Verdurin|
- Mel Gussow (April 11, 2001). "Beatrice Straight, Versatile Star, Dies at 86". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-21.
Beatrice Straight, a graceful and versatile actress who won both an Oscar and a Tony Award, died on Saturday in North Ridge, Calif. She was 86 and lived in Beverly Hills, Calif., for most of the last 10 years. ...
- Robert Lewis (1996) . "Actors Studio, 1947". Slings and Arrows: Theater in My Life. New York: Applause Books. p. 183. ISBN 1-55783-244-7.
At the end of the summer, on Gadget's return from Hollywood, we settled the roster of actors for our two classes in what we called the Actors Studio - using the word 'studio' as we had when we named our workshop in the Group, the Group Theatre Studio... My group, meeting three times a week, consisted of Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Maureen Stapleton, Eli Wallach, Mildred Dunnock, Jerome Robbins, Herbert Berghof, Tom Ewell, John Forsythe, Anne Jackson, Sidney Lumet, Kevin McCarthy, Karl Malden, E.G. Marshall, Patricia Neal, Beatrice Straight, David Wayne, and - well, I don't want to drop names, so I'll stop there. In all, there were about fifty.
- Tim Dirks (20 May 2008). "Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor". filmsite.org. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "Beatrice Straight". imdb.com. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
- "Beatrice Straight". ibdb.com. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
- Beatrice Straight at the Internet Broadway Database
- Beatrice Straight at the Internet Movie Database
- Beatrice Straight at Find a Grave
- Beatrice Straight papers, 1922-1987, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts