Patty McCormack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Patty Mccormack)
Jump to: navigation, search
Patty McCormack
1962 Peter Fonda Patty McCormack New Breed.jpg
McCormack with Peter Fonda in the photo release of the television series The New Breed, 1962
Born Patricia Ellen Russo
(1945-08-21) August 21, 1945 (age 71)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1951–present
Spouse(s) Bob Catania (1967–1973)

Patricia "Patty" McCormack (born August 21, 1945) is an American actress with a career in theater, films, and television.

McCormack began her career as a child actress. She is perhaps best known for her performance as Rhoda Penmark in Maxwell Anderson's 1954 psychological drama The Bad Seed. She received critical acclaim for the role on Broadway and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Mervyn LeRoy's film adaptation of the same name in 1956.[1] Her acting career has continued with both starring and supporting roles in film and television, including Helen Keller in the original Playhouse 90 production of The Miracle Worker[2] and a more recent performance as Pat Nixon in Frost/Nixon (2008).[3]

Life and career[edit]

The cast of Peck's Bad Girl: From left: Wendell Corey, McCormack, Ray Farrell, Marsha Hunt

McCormack was born Patricia Ellen Russo in Brooklyn, New York, to Elizabeth (née McCormack), a professional roller skater, and Frank Russo, a fireman. She attended New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn[4] She is an aunt of fellow actor and New York City lawmaker Alfred Cerullo.[5]

She was a child model at the age of four, and began appearing on television at the age of seven. She made her motion-picture debut in Two Gals and a Guy (1951) and appeared in the television series Mama with Peggy Wood from 1953-56. Her Broadway debut was in Touchstone (1953), and the following year, she originated the role of Rhoda Penmark, an eight-year-old sociopath and fledgling serial killer, in the original stage version of Maxwell Anderson's The Bad Seed (1954)[6] with Nancy Kelly. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film version (1956). She originated the role of Helen Keller in the original 1957 Playhouse 90 production of William Gibson's The Miracle Worker opposite Teresa Wright.[7]

In 1957, she was cast by Orson Welles in his film adaptation of Don Quixote, but filming had to be abandoned for budgetary reasons, and was never fully completed. When a version was edited together in 1992, some years after Welles' death, it did not include any of McCormack's scenes, though they had been central to the framing of the plot. In 1959 she was in an episode of One Step Beyond called "Make Me Not a Witch". She had the role of a pampered child star in the 1958 comedy Kathy O and recorded the title song for Dot Records. McCormack briefly starred in her own series, Peck's Bad Girl, with Marsha Hunt and Wendell Corey in 1959, and had a leading role in MGM's remake of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with Eddie Hodges. In the early 1960s, she starred in a series of popular teenage delinquent films, including The Explosive Generation with William Shatner and The Young Runaways. In 1962, she portrayed Julie Cannon in the Rawhide episode "Episode of the Wolves"; she appeared on the show again the following year, playing Sarah Higgins in the episode "Incident at Paradise".

She married restaurateur Bob Catania in 1967, and they had two children before their marriage was dissolved. After a half-dozen teen roles during the 1960s, her film career declined, but she continued to work in television. In 1970, she played Linda Warren on the soap opera The Best of Everything.[8] She guest-starred on The Streets of San Francisco, season two, episode "Blockade". She also portrayed a San Francisco paramedic on the season-seven Emergency! series episodes "What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing...?" and "The Convention". She resumed her cinema career with Bug in 1975.

She had recurring roles in popular television series, including The Ropers, Dallas, Murder, She Wrote, and The Sopranos. When Kathryn Hays left the CBS soap opera As the World Turns for an extended period, McCormack took Hays' role until she returned. She starred as a psychotic mother in the cult thriller Mommy and its 1997 sequel Mommy 2: Mommy's Day. In 2008, McCormack played First Lady Pat Nixon in the feature film Frost/Nixon. McCormack continues to work regularly and she costarred in the 2012 series Have You Met Miss Jones?. A recent film appearance is in the 2014 release Chicanery[9] and she guest-starred in a 2013 episode of the series Hart of Dixie.[10] Her most notable recent work was in the Paul Thomas Anderson film The Master.


In addition to her Oscar nomination, McCormack received a Golden Globe nomination for The Bad Seed.[11] In 1956, she received the Milky Way "Gold Star Award" as the most outstanding juvenile performer.

Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6312 Hollywood Boulevard.[12]

McCormack was a guest for the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, where her films were screened, and she received an award during the closing ceremonies.

Selected filmography[edit]

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1956 Suspense The Doll[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Overview for Patty McCormack". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  2. ^ ""Playhouse 90" The Miracle Worker (TV Episode 1957)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "FILM NOIR FAVORITES: Before she played Pat Nixon, Patty McCormack was "THE BAD SEED."". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Patty McCormack profile,;; retrieved February 6, 2014.
  5. ^ Alfred Cerullo profile,; retrieved February 6, 2014.
  6. ^ "The Bad Seed - IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Profile, The Miracle Worker (1957 television production; accessed August 27, 2014.
  8. ^ TV Guide Guide to TV. Barnes and Noble. 2004. p. 63. ISBN 0-7607-5634-1. 
  9. ^ "Chicanery (2014)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  10. ^ ""Hart of Dixie" Miracles (TV Episode 2013)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Bad Seed". Eventful. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Patty McCormack". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 39 (1): 32–41. Winter 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Rigdon, Walter (ed.) The Biographical Encyclopedia of Who's Who of the American Theatre. New York: James H. Heineman, Inc. c1966.
  • Best, Marc. Those Endearing Young Charms: Child Performers of the Screen, South Brunswick and New York: Barnes & Co., 1971, pp. 171-175.
  • Dye, David. Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914-1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., pp. 138-139.
  • "Patty McCormack." Biography Resource Center. Thomson Gale. February 15, 2005.

External links[edit]