March 14, 2005 by

Teresa Wright

6 comments

Categories: Actors

twright.jpgTeresa Wright, an Academy Award-winning actress who eschewed the glamorous trappings of celebrity, died on March 6 of a heart attack. She was 86.
Born Muriel Teresa Wright, the native New Yorker decided to become an actress after seeing Helen Hayes in the play “Victoria Regina.” At 19, she apprenticed at the Wharf Theatre in Provincetown, Mass., and served as the understudy to Martha Scott in the 1938 Broadway production of “Our Town.” A year later, Wright dropped her first name and originated the role of Mary Skinner in the long-running Broadway comedy, “Life With Father.”
Producer Samuel Goldwyn was so impressed with Wright’s performance that he signed her to a $5,000-a-week contract. She soon made her mark in Hollywood as the only actor to earn Academy Award nominations for her first three films: “The Little Foxes” (in which she played Bette Davis’ daughter), “The Pride of the Yankees” (as Lou Gehrig’s wife) and the wartime saga “Mrs. Miniver.” She won the Oscar for “Mrs. Miniver,” which also starred Greer Garson.
The independent actress preferred to showcase her talents rather than her beauty. She refused to take cheesecake photos or sit for press interviews with gossip magazines in order to promote her films. Frustrated by the starlet’s demands, Goldwyn fired her in 1948 for being “uncooperative.” Over the next decade, Wright made more than a dozen movies — but received much less money for her work. Her final film was the 1997 adaptation of the John Grisham novel, “The Rainmaker.”
Wright returned to Broadway in 1957 to play Pat Hingle’s wife in “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.” She later appeared in the 1968 production “I Never Sang for My Father,” which was written by her second husband Robert Anderson, the 1975 revival of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” and the 1980 revival of Paul Osborn’s “Morning’s at Seven.” Her marriages to Anderson and screenwriter Niven Busch both ended in divorce.
On television, Wright received Emmy nominations for her portrayal of Annie Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker,” as the famous photographer in “The Margaret Bourke-White Story” and for a guest appearance on the 1989 CBS series, “Dolphin Cove.” She was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1999, and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 1680 Vine St., and one for television at 6405 Hollywood Blvd.

6 Responses to Teresa Wright

  1. rebecca

    I thought Ms. Wright was a wonderful actress. I would give my eyeteeth for a copy of her in the play MORNING’S AT SEVEN, I watched that tape many times at my friend’s house but when she died her son threw all of her tapes away. If anyone knows where I can obtain a tape of that production please let me know. Ms. Wright was a gem of an actress.

  2. Katie Markum

    I loved her in The Best Years of Our Lives and Mrs.Miniver. The latter was on Channel 13 here inthe Dallas area last night so I decided to get on the web to see if she was still alive. I saw her in a movie several months ago where she discovered her uncle was The Merry Widow Killer. In the end he tried to shove her off a moving train into the path of another. She somehow faked him out and fell onto the path and was killed instead. I would liked to have written her at least one fan letter.

  3. DAVID AMUNDSON

    IM SAD…I WAS WATCHING SAG AWARDS (1/29)LAST NITE AND LEARNED ABOUT TERESA’S PASSING….I HAD
    SUCH A “CRUSH” ON HER OVER THE YEARS VIEWING
    ALL OF HER FILMS….SHE WAS SO CUTE AND I ENJOYED
    THE SOUND OF HER SPEAKING VOICE MY FAVORITE MOVIE
    WITH HER IN IT WAS ” THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES”…
    SHE WILL BE MISSED……

  4. Mike Percie

    Teresa Wright was also my favorite actress. She had a great film, television and stage career. She was both a greaty beauty and wonderful actress. She is still the only actor to be nominated for an academy award in his/her first three films.
    Her best work was in “The Pride of the Yankees” playing Mrs. Eleanor Gerhig.

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