Cummings in 1934
Constance Cummings Halverstadt|
15 May 1910
Seattle, Washington, United States
23 November 2005 (aged 95)|
Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
|Spouse(s)||Benn Levy (1933–1973; his death); 2 children|
Cummings was born in Seattle, Washington, the only daughter and younger child of Kate Logan (née Cummings), a concert soprano, and Dallas Vernon Halverstadt, a lawyer. After her parents separated when she was 10 years old, she never saw her father. She attended St. Nicholas Girls' School in Seattle.
The San Diego Stock Company gave Cummings her initial acting opportunity in a "walk-on part" playing a prostitute in a 1926 production of Seventh Heaven.
While appearing on Broadway, she was discovered by Samuel Goldwyn, who brought her to Hollywood in 1931. Between 1931 and 1934, Cummings appeared in more than 20 films, including the Harold Lloyd films Movie Crazy and American Madness, directed by Frank Capra.
She was married to the playwright and screenwriter Benn Levy from 3 July 1933 until his death in 1973. As Levy was from Britain, Cummings moved there and continued acting, both in films and on the stage, in Britain. Few of her films were hits in the US, although Blithe Spirit, adapted from the Noël Coward play, was popular. Levy went on to write and direct films for Cummings, such as The Jealous God (1939); he also served in the UK Parliament from 1945-50 as the Labour MP for Eton and Slough. They had a son and a daughter.
She played Mary Tyrone in the Royal National Theatre's production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night opposite Laurence Olivier, and later recreated the role for television. She also originated the role of Martha in Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf in its London debut.
In 1979, Cummings won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Emily Stilson in the drama Wings (1978–79) (written by Arthur Kopit), a play about a former aviator (Stilson) who has suffered a stroke, from which she struggles to recover. This role also brought her Obie and Drama Desk awards and an Olivier nomination. In 1982, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for her work in The Chalk Garden.
On 1 January 1974, Cummings, who resided in Britain for many decades until her death, was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her contributions to the British entertainment industry.
She was a committee member of the Royal Court Theatre and the Arts Council. She has a star in the Motion Pictures section on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6201 Hollywood Boulevard. It was dedicated on February 8, 1960.
- The Criminal Code (1931) as Mary Brady
- Traveling Husbands (1931) as Ellen Wilson
- The Guilty Generation (1931) as Maria Palmero
- Behind the Mask (1932) as Julie Arnold
- The Big Timer (1932) as Honey Baldwin
- Attorney for the Defense (1932) as Ruth Barry
- American Madness (1932) as Helen
- Movie Crazy (1932) as Mary Sears
- Washington Merry-Go-Round (1932) as Alice
- Night After Night (1932) as Miss Jerry Healy
- The Billion Dollar Scandal (1933) as Doris Masterson
- The Mind Reader (1933) as Sylvia
- Heads We Go (1933) as Betty Smith / Dorothy Kay
- Channel Crossing (1933) as Marion Slade
- Broadway Through a Keyhole (1933) as Joan Whelan
- Looking for Trouble (1934) as Ethel Greenwood
- Glamour (1934) as Linda Fayne
- This Man Is Mine (1934) as Francesca Harper
- Remember Last Night? (1935) as Carlotta Milburn
- Seven Sinners (1936) as Caryl Fenton
- Strangers on Honeymoon (1936) as October
- Busman's Honeymoon (1940) as Harriet Vane
- This England (1941) as Ann
- The Foreman Went to France (1942) as Anne Stafford, the American girl
- Blithe Spirit (1945) as Ruth Condomine
- Into the Blue (1950) as Mrs. Kate Fergusson
- John and Julie (1955) as Mrs. Davidson
- The Intimate Stranger (1956) as Kay Wallace
- The Battle of the Sexes (1960) as Angela Barrows
- Sammy Going South (1963) as Gloria van Imhoff
- In the Cool of the Day (1963) as Mrs. Nina Gellert
- American Playhouse: Wings (1983) won a Tony Award
- Love Song (1985) as Dame Philippa Hatchard
- Dead Man's Folly (1986) as Amy Folliat
|1926||Seventh Heaven||prostitute||Stage debut in Seattle, WA|
|1928||Treasure Girl||chorus ensemble||Musical comedy||Broadway debut|
|1930||June Moon||Miss Rixey||Tin Pan Alley comedy|||
|1930||This Man's Town||Carrie||Drama|
|1934||Sour Grapes||first appearance on London stage.|
|1934||Accent on Youth||Linda Brown||Comedy|
|1936||Young Madame Conti||Nella Conti||Melodrama|
|1937||Madame Bovary Revival||Emma Bovary||Restoration Comedy|
|1938||If I Were You||Nellie Blunt||Farce|
|1938||Goodbye, Mr Chips||Katherine||Drama|
|1939||The Jealous God|
|1939–1940||Romeo and Juliet||Juliet||Tragedy|
|1939–1940||Old Vic Theatre Season|
|1939||Joan of Arc||Joan||Drama|
|1939||The Good Natur'd Man||Miss Richland||Drama|
|22 April 1940||Shakespeare Birthday Festival|
|1943||The Petrified Forest||Gabby||Drama|
|1945||One Man Show||Racine Gardner||Drama|
|1948||Don't Listen Ladies||Farce|
|1949||Before the Party||Laura||Comedy|
|1950||Return to Tyassi|
|1957||The Rape of the Belt||Antiope||played at Piccadilly Theatre (1957), and then Martin Beck Theatre, NY (1960).<ref>"Obituary of Constance Cummings". 26 November 2006. Retrieved 1 June 2017.|
|1965||Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?||Martha|
|1966||Public and Confidential|
|1967||Fallen Angels||Jane Banbury||Comedy|
|1969||The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore||Mrs Flora Goforth||Tragedy|
|1970||The Visit||Claire Zachanassian||Tragi-comedy|
|1971||Amphitryon 38||Leda||Greek Drama|
|1971||Long Day's Journey into Night||Mary Tyrone|
|1971–1972||National Theatre, London, Repertoire Season||Classical drama|
|1972–1973||National Theatre, London, Repertoire Season|
|1973||The Cherry Orchard||Madame Ranevsky|
|1974||National Theatre, London, Repertoire Season|
|1979||Wings||Emily Stilson||Tony Award, Obie Award, Drama Desk Award|
|1979||National Theatre, London, Repertoire Season|
|1981||The Golden Age|
|1985||The Glass Menagerie|
|1986||Fanny Kemble at Home|
|1992||The Chalk Garden||Mrs St Maugham||Her last appearance on Broadway|
|1996–1999||Uncle Vanya||Maman||Her last stage appearance.|
- Room, Adrian (2012). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 127. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
- Goldman, Lawrence (7 March 2013). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2005-2008. OUP Oxford. pp. 274–76. ISBN 9780199671540.
- Profile, filmreference.com; accessed 30 April 2018.
- Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 163. ISBN 9781557835512. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
- "("Constance Cummings" search results)". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 29 December 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
- Shorter, Eric (25 November 2005). "Obituary: Constance Cummings". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- Willis, John; Hodges, Ben (2008-07-01). Theatre World 2005-2006: The Most Complete Record of the American Theatre. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 341. ISBN 9781557837080.
- Kennedy, Dennis (2003). Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. p. 338. ISBN 0-19-860672-9.
- "("Constance Cummings" search results)". Drama Desk. Archived from the original on 29 December 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
- Strachan, Alan (26 November 2005). "Constance Cummings". Independent. Archived from the original on 29 December 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
- "Constance Cummings". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 29 December 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
- "Obituary of Constance Cummings". 26 November 2006. Retrieved 1 June 2017.