Sandy Dennis (1937 - 1992)

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Sandra Dale 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?
Sady Dennis
Dennis was born in Hastings, Nebraska, the daughter of Yvonne (née Hudson), 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.[4] 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.
She had an early break when cast as an understudy in the Broadway production of The Dark at the Top of the Stairs by William Inge directed by Elia Kazan. Kazan cast Dennis in her first feature film, Splendor in the Grass (1961), playing Kay.
The Complaisant Lover (1961–62) by Graham Greene was more successful, running for 101 performances; Michael Redgrave and Googie Withers were also in the cast.
Broadway stardom
Dennis achieved Broadway fame with her leading role in Herb Gardner's A Thousand Clowns (1962–63), for which she won a Tony award for her performance alongside Jason Robards. The show ran for 428 performances.
Around this time, she guest starred on episodes of the TV series Naked City ("Carrier", 1963), The Fugitive ("The Other Side of the Mountain", 1963), Arrest and Trial ("Somewhat Lower Than the Angels" 1964), and Mr. Broadway ("Don't Mention My Name in Sheboygan", 1964).
Dennis was the lead of the Broadway comedy Any Wednesday (1964–66), which was a sensation, running for 983 performances and winning Dennis a second Tony.
Dennis' second film role was as Honey, the fragile, neurotic young wife of George Segal's character, in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Directed by Mike Nichols, the film was a huge critical and commercial success and Dennis won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role.
Dennis' first lead role in a movie was in Up the Down Staircase (1967), directed by Robert Mulligan which was a box office success. So too was The Fox (1967), directed by Mark Rydell. In 1967 Dennis was voted the 18th biggest star in the US.[6]
The Out-of-Towners (1970), a Neil Simon comedy with Jack Lemmon, was a hit.
Let Me Hear You Smile (1973) on Broadway only lasted one performance, but Absurd Person Singular (1974–76) was a big hit, running 591 performances.
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.
She had a good part in Alan Alda's The Four Seasons (1981) and was in The Supporting Cast (1981) on Broadway for Gene Saks. She was in the stage production and film version of Robert Altman's Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982).
Dennis appeared on Young People's Specials ("The Trouble with Mother", 1985), The Love Boat ("Roommates/Heartbreaker/Out of the Blue", 1985), Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Arthur, or the Gigolo", 1985) and The Equalizer ("Out of the Past", 1986). She had a supporting role in The Execution (1985), Laughter in the Dark (1986), Woody Allen's Another Woman (1988), 976-EVIL (1989) and Parents (1989).
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"; Pauline Kael said that she "has made an acting style of 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."
Dennis lived with prominent jazz musician Gerry Mulligan from 1965 until they split up in 1974. She 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."
"I've never been married. And I'm not fussy about it. It's just the truth is, that I was never married. It isn't true that I was ever married, which means that I never got a divorce. The newspapers jumped to that conclusion. It's so hard to get to somebody and say...Oh, they're so funny about it."
Sandy Dennis died from ovarian cancer at her home in Westport, Connecticut, at age 54.

Sandy Dennis Biography & Family History

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Birth

at Hastings,, in Nebraska

Death

on at Westport, in Connecticut
Cause of death: Ovarian Cancer

Cause of death

Ovarian Cancer

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Westport, Fairfield County, Connecticut

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Female

Timeline

1937 - In the year that Sandy Dennis was born, on May 6th, the German zeppelin the Hindenburg caught fire and blew up. The Hindenburg was a passenger ship traveling to Frankfurt Germany. It tried to dock in New Jersey, one of the stops, and something went wrong - it blew up. Thirty-six people were killed out of the 97 on board - 13 passengers, 22 crewmen, and one ground worker. The reasons for the explosion are still disputed.

1964 - By the time she was 27 years old, in June, three young civil rights workers - Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi - were kidnapped and murdered in Mississippi. Working with "Freedom Summer", they were registering African-Americans to vote in the Southern states. Their bodies were found two months later. Although it was discovered that the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff's Office and the Philadelphia, Mississippi Police Department were involved, only 7 men were convicted and served less than six years.

1966 - Sandy was 29 years old when on July 1st, Medicare became available after President Johnson signed into law the Medicare Act in 1965. President Truman had received the first Medicare card since he had been the first to propose national healthcare law. insurance.

1982 - When she was 45 years old, on June 30th, time ran out on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The Amendment had only received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications. First sent to the states in 1972, the Amendment stated that "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex".

1992 - In the year of Sandy Dennis's passing, on April 29th, riots began in Los Angeles after the "Rodney King" verdict was issued. Four LAPD officers had been accused of using excessive force (assault) on African-American Rodney King, who had been stopped for drunk driving. The beating had been videotaped. Their acquittal sparked a 6 day riot in Los Angeles.

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Obituary

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Sandy Dennis, Veteran Actress And Prize Winner, Is Dead at 54
By LEE A. DANIELS MARCH 5, 1992

March 5, 1992, Page 00014
The New York Times Archives
Sandy Dennis, who as a young actress in the 1960's entranced Broadway and Hollywood with performances that won her two Tony Awards and an Academy Award, died on Monday at her home in Westport, Conn. She was 54 years old.
Although the exact cause of her death was not known, Ms. Dennis had been fighting a long battle with cancer, said Doris Elliott, a longtime friend. Ms. Dennis's death was confirmed by a spokesman for the Lewis Funeral Home in Westport.
Ms. Dennis, born and raised in Nebraska and blessed with an aura of appealing fragility, came to New York at age 18. Within a decade she had fashioned a string of outstanding performances, and had earned the awards to prove it. Successive Tonys
After making her movie debut in 1961 in a supporting role in "Splendor in the Grass," she won a Tony Award in 1963 for her performance on Broadway, opposite Jason Robards, as a social worker in "A Thousand Clowns." A year later she won another Tony as the slightly offbeat mistress of a tycoon, played by Gene Hackman, in "Any Wednesday."
Then in 1966, she won an Academy Award as best supporting actress for her portrayal of Honey, the mousy, scared-of-her-own-shadow half of a young faculty couple alternately seduced and browbeaten by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Edward Albee's scalding "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf."
She also drew critical praise for her 1967 role as the idealistic schoolteacher in the film "Up the Down Staircase." Bosley Crowther, reviewing that film in The New York Times, praised her portrayal as "engagingly natural, sensitive, literate and thoroughly moving." He said that Ms. Dennis gave "a vivid performance of emotional range and depth," and added that she "sincerely acquaints us with a genuine loving person we can believe wants to find her pupils' wounds and, what's more, try to heal them, which she can't." Her performance won the Moscow Film Festival prize for best actress.
Ms. Dennis's success was extraordinary for any actor or actress, but she seemed to recognize that such oversize fame might be ephemeral. In one interview she remarked that acting "isn't like painting a picture or writing a book."
"When you finish an acting stint, there's nothing except money," she said. "You have to keep going, giving the best you've got to get something intangible."
In her later roles, Ms. Dennis was never able to match the dazzling successes of her earlier years in terms of either public acclaim or favorable reviews. Where critics had once been charmed by her freshness and girl-next-door innocence, many later seemed to detect a mannered nervous quality that drove them to distraction.

This affected even Walter Kerr, the longtime Broadway critic, who had praised Ms. Dennis's performance in "Any Wednesday" with the lines: "Let me tell you about Sandy Dennis. There should be one in every home."

But in 1967, Mr. Kerr wrote tolerantly but pointedly of Ms. Dennis's "habit" of speaking onstage as though sentences "were poor crippled things that couldn't cross a street without making three false starts from the curb." Still, she continued to work steadily in films and plays and in summer stock.

The New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael once complained that Ms. Dennis "has made an acting style of postnasal drip," an assessment Ms. Dennis herself said was correct and worked to change.

Mr. Burton once described her as "one of the most genuine eccentrics I know of."

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Sandra Dale 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?
Sady Dennis
Dennis was born in Hastings, Nebraska, the daughter of Yvonne (née Hudson), 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.[4] 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.
She had an early break when cast as an understudy in the Broadway production of The Dark at the Top of the Stairs by William Inge directed by Elia Kazan. Kazan cast Dennis in her first feature film, Splendor in the Grass (1961), playing Kay.
The Complaisant Lover (1961–62) by Graham Greene was more successful, running for 101 performances; Michael Redgrave and Googie Withers were also in the cast.
Broadway stardom
Dennis achieved Broadway fame with her leading role in Herb Gardner's A Thousand Clowns (1962–63), for which she won a Tony award for her performance alongside Jason Robards. The show ran for 428 performances.
Around this time, she guest starred on episodes of the TV series Naked City ("Carrier", 1963), The Fugitive ("The Other Side of the Mountain", 1963), Arrest and Trial ("Somewhat Lower Than the Angels" 1964), and Mr. Broadway ("Don't Mention My Name in Sheboygan", 1964).
Dennis was the lead of the Broadway comedy Any Wednesday (1964–66), which was a sensation, running for 983 performances and winning Dennis a second Tony.
Dennis' second film role was as Honey, the fragile, neurotic young wife of George Segal's character, in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Directed by Mike Nichols, the film was a huge critical and commercial success and Dennis won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role.
Dennis' first lead role in a movie was in Up the Down Staircase (1967), directed by Robert Mulligan which was a box office success. So too was The Fox (1967), directed by Mark Rydell. In 1967 Dennis was voted the 18th biggest star in the US.[6]
The Out-of-Towners (1970), a Neil Simon comedy with Jack Lemmon, was a hit.
Let Me Hear You Smile (1973) on Broadway only lasted one performance, but Absurd Person Singular (1974–76) was a big hit, running 591 performances.
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.
She had a good part in Alan Alda's The Four Seasons (1981) and was in The Supporting Cast (1981) on Broadway for Gene Saks. She was in the stage production and film version of Robert Altman's Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982).
Dennis appeared on Young People's Specials ("The Trouble with Mother", 1985), The Love Boat ("Roommates/Heartbreaker/Out of the Blue", 1985), Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Arthur, or the Gigolo", 1985) and The Equalizer ("Out of the Past", 1986). She had a supporting role in The Execution (1985), Laughter in the Dark (1986), Woody Allen's Another Woman (1988), 976-EVIL (1989) and Parents (1989).
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"; Pauline Kael said that she "has made an acting style of 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."
Dennis lived with prominent jazz musician Gerry Mulligan from 1965 until they split up in 1974. She 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."
"I've never been married. And I'm not fussy about it. It's just the truth is, that I was never married. It isn't true that I was ever married, which means that I never got a divorce. The newspapers jumped to that conclusion. It's so hard to get to somebody and say...Oh, they're so funny about it."
Sandy Dennis died from ovarian cancer at her home in Westport, Connecticut, at age 54.[15]
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