Shirley Knight (1936 - 2020)

Shirley Knight
1936 - 2020
updated May 09, 2020
Shirley Knight was born on July 5, 1936 in Goessel, Kansas. She died on April 22, 2020 at San Marcos, Texas at 83 years of age.

Shirley Knight
Biography
Showing all 21 items
Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (13) | Personal Quotes (1)
Overview (3)
Born July 5, 1936 in Goessel, Kansas, USA
Died April 22, 2020 in San Marcos, Texas, USA (natural causes)
Birth Name Shirley Enola Knight
Mini Bio (1)
Shirley Knight is an American actress who appeared in more than 50 feature films, television movies, television series, and Broadway productions in her career playing leading and character roles. She was a member of the Actors Studio. Knight was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress: for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962).

In 1976, Knight won a Tony Award for her performance in Kennedy's Children, a play by Robert Patrick. In later years, she played supporting roles in many films, including Endless Love (1981), As Good as It Gets (1997), Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002), and Grandma's Boy (2006). For her performances on television, Knight was nominated eight times for a Primetime Emmy Award (winning three), and she received a Golden Globe Award.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Peter-Patrick76

Spouse (2)
John Hopkins (1969 - 23 July 1998) ( his death) ( 1 child)
Eugene Persson (14 March 1959 - 1969) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Trade Mark (1)
Uniquely-shaped, pouty full-lips (in early roles)
Trivia (13)
Has two daughters: Kaitlin Hopkins and Sophie C. Hopkins.
Appeared in the L.A. stage and British film version of Dutchman (1966), a racial drama, which was produced by her then-husband Eugene Persson. She won the Venice Film Festival award for her cinematic performance.
Ex-mother-in-law of Daniel Passer.
Won Broadway's 1976 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for "Kennedy's Children". She was also nominated in 1997 as Best Actress (Play) for "The Young Man from Atlanta".
1959 Deb Star.
She was nominated for a 1977 Joseph Jefferson Award for Guest Artist for her performance in the play, "The Landscape of the Body", at the Academy Festival Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
The runaway story of her character Natalie Ravenna in The Rain People (1969) inspired the character Dolors (Montse Caminal) in the short film Silence (2007).
She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village, New York City.
She and her daughter Kaitlin Hopkins both made guest appearances on Law & Order (1990).
Was 6 months pregnant with her daughter Sophie C. Hopkins when she completed filming on The Rain People (1969).
Returned to work 4 months after giving birth to her daughter Kaitlin Hopkins to perform in the Broadway play "The Three Sisters".
Returned to work 4 months after giving birth to her daughter Sophie C. Hopkins to perform in the Broadway play "The Watering Place".
She received the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for her role in the British film Dutchman (1966).
Personal Quotes (1)
[on David Janssen, with whom she worked on three episodes of The Fugitive (1963)] I loved him. He was so sweet. I felt sorry for him toward the end. Now they have several people as leads in a show, they have these huge casts, but David was that show. He had those long, long, long hours, and a role where he was always doing physical things.
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Shirley Knight Biography

Vital facts & highlights of Shirley's life to share with the world.

Shirley Knight
Most commonly known name
Female
Gender
Shirley
First name
Unknown
Middle name
Unknown
Maiden name
Knight
Last name(s)
Unknown
Nickname(s) or aliases
Unknown. Did Shirley move a lot? Where was her last known location?
Last known residence
Shirley Knight was born on in Goessel, Kansas United States
Birth
Shirley Knight died on at San Marcos, in Texas United States
Death
Shirley Knight was born on in Goessel, Kansas United States
Shirley Knight died on at San Marcos, in Texas United States
Birth
Death
There is no cause of death listed for Shirley.
Cause of death
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Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

What is Shirley's ethnicity and where did her parents, grandparents & great-grandparents come from?

Nationality & Locations Lived

Unknown

Religion

Unknown. Was Shirley a religious woman?

Education

Shirley Enola Knight was born in Goessel, Kansas, growing up in Mitchell, Kansas, and later in Lyons, Kansas. She studied to be an opera singer starting at age 11, attended Phillips University in Oklahoma and Wichita State University, and earned a Doctor of Fine Arts from Lake Forest College.
Knight studied acting at the Pasadena Theatre School, and with Jeff Corey and Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.

Professions

Award Winning Actress
Shirley Knight, who was twice Oscar-nominated for best supporting actress, for “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” (1960) and “Sweet Bird of Youth” (1962), and won a Tony and three Emmys, died on Wednesday of natural causes in San Marcos, Texas. She was 83.
Knight continued to work as she approached 80, reprising her role as Mom in “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” in 2015 after appearing in the 2009 original.
In 1997’s “As Good as It Gets,” starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, Knight played the mother of Hunt’s character; The New York Times called her performance “tenderly funny.”
Other film credits of recent vintage include Luis Mandoki’s “Angel Eyes” (2001), starring Jennifer Lopez; thriller “The Salton Sea” (2002); “Grandma’s Boy” (2006); Rebecca Miller’s “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” (2009), with Robin Wright; “Our Idiot Brother” (2011), toplined by Paul Rudd; and 2014 horror film “Mercy,” based on a story by Stephen King.
Shirley Knight appeared with Jesse James in 1997’s “As Good As It Gets.”
The eight-time Emmy nominee won for a guest appearance on “Thirtysomething” in 1988, and boasted dual wins in 1995: for supporting actress in a miniseries or special for “Indictment: The McMartin Trial” and for guest actress in a drama for an appearance on “NYPD Blue.” She was most recently nominated in 2006 for guesting on “Desperate Housewives” as Phyllis Van de Kamp, the mother of Steven Culp’s Rex Van de Kamp.
In recent years, she had guested on “Hot in Cleveland” in 2010 and “The Mob Doctor” in 2012.
The actress won her Tony, for featured actress in a play, in 1976, for her performance in Robert Patrick’s “Kennedy’s Children.” In 1997 she was nominated for best actress in a play for Horton Foote’s Pulitzer Prize winner “The Young Man From Atlanta.”
While the William Inge play “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” had to be censored to make it to the big screen in 1960, the Delbert Mann-directed film sported beautifully wrought performances from Robert Preston and Dorothy McGuire, as a couple in a sexless marriage, and of Knight as their daughter, earning the young actress her first Oscar nomination.
Knight with Lee Kinsolving in “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.”Everett Collection
In Richard Brooks’ adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth” (1962), she played the girl, Heavenly Finley, daughter of Boss Finley, for whom the Hollywood gigolo portrayed by Paul Newman comes back to his small Southern town (with some complications along the way). The actress thus earned her second Oscar nomination.
Also in 1962 Knight secured her first starring role, as the young innocent who must make do in the women’s prison picture “House of Women.”
In 1966 she starred with Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett and Elizabeth Hartman in the Sidney Lumet-directed adaptation of Mary McCarthy’s novel “The Group,” about several women who graduate from college amid the Depression and begin their lives. Paul Newman and Knight in 1962’s “Sweet Bird of Youth.”
The next year, Knight starred opposite Al Freeman Jr. in the Anthony Harvey-helmed “Dutchman,” an adaptation of LeRoi Jones’ racially and sexually explosive play that takes place in a single subway car in which a blonde woman makes explicit advances to a black man, her exact motivations initially unclear; her behavior leads to murder. Knight’s performance was widely lauded, with “Dutchman” a nominee for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
In Richard Lester’s ’60s classic “Petulia” (1968), also starring Julie Christie and George C. Scott, Knight played the ex-wife of Scott’s character.
In 1969 the actress starred, with James Caan and Robert Duvall, in Francis Ford Coppola’s early film “The Rain People,” in which she played a dissatisfied housewife who takes to the road and heads west, picking up the brain-damaged former football played portrayed by Caan along the way. Many critics compared the flawed film to “Easy Rider.”
Knight faces off with Robert Duvall in “The Rain People.”
Thus ended the decade that saw Knight’s most compelling performances on film. Later she appeared in movies including “Beyond the Poseidon Adventure”; 1981’s “Endless Love,” in which she played the mother of Brooke Shields’ character; Richard Rush’s 1994 psychological thriller “Color of Night,” in which she played the widow of a psychiatrist with a secret; “Stuart Saves His Family” (1995), starring Al Franken; and the 1996 remake of “Diabolique” that starred Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani.

She made her (uncredited) film debut with a minor role in the adaptation of Inge’s “Picnic” in 1955 and her credited big-screen debut in James Clavell’s war-adventure movie “Five Gates to Hell” (1959). By 1961 she had received her first Oscar nomination.
Knight in “Five Gates to Hell.”20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection
Despite her talent, she did not appear frequently on Broadway, making her debut in 1964 in a highly regarded revival of Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters” in which she played Irina. Two years later, she appeared in “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” which had a very brief run. In 1969 she appeared in the original play “The Watering Place,” which had an even briefer run — a single performance (excluding previews). She finally hit pay dirt in 1975 with Patrick’s “Kennedy’s Children,” picking up the Tony for best featured actress in a play.
After more than two decades away, Knight returned to Broadway in 1997 to star with Rip Torn in Horton Foote’s “The Young Man From Atlanta,” drawing a Tony nomination for best actress in a play.
Knight also worked steadily in television beginning in 1957. She guested on “Playhouse 90,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Hawaiian Eye” and, decades later, on “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “L.A. Law,” “NYPD Blue,” “Ally McBeal,” “House” and “ER.” The actress also appeared in many TV movies, including HBO’s “If These Walls Could Talk” (1996).

Personal Life & Organizations

Knight was married to actor Eugene Persson from 1959 until their divorce in 1969, and to British playwright John Hopkins from 1969 until his death in 1998.
She is survived by a daughter by Persson, actress Kaitlin Hopkins, and a daughter by Hopkins, writer Sophie C. Hopkins.

Military Service

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Average Age

Life Expectancy

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Shirley Knight Obituary

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Shirley Knight, who was twice Oscar-nominated for best supporting actress, for “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” (1960) and “Sweet Bird of Youth” (1962), and won a Tony and three Emmys, died on Wednesday of natural causes in San Marcos, Texas. She was 83.
Her daughter, actress Kaitlin Hopkins, paid tribute to Knight in a lengthy Facebook post.
Knight continued to work as she approached 80, reprising her role as Mom in “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” in 2015 after appearing in the 2009 original.
In 1997’s “As Good as It Gets,” starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, Knight played the mother of Hunt’s character; The New York Times called her performance “tenderly funny.”
Other film credits of recent vintage include Luis Mandoki’s “Angel Eyes” (2001), starring Jennifer Lopez; thriller “The Salton Sea” (2002); “Grandma’s Boy” (2006); Rebecca Miller’s “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” (2009), with Robin Wright; “Our Idiot Brother” (2011), toplined by Paul Rudd; and 2014 horror film “Mercy,” based on a story by Stephen King.
Shirley Knight appeared with Jesse James in 1997’s “As Good As It Gets.”
The eight-time Emmy nominee won for a guest appearance on “Thirtysomething” in 1988, and boasted dual wins in 1995: for supporting actress in a miniseries or special for “Indictment: The McMartin Trial” and for guest actress in a drama for an appearance on “NYPD Blue.” She was most recently nominated in 2006 for guesting on “Desperate Housewives” as Phyllis Van de Kamp, the mother of Steven Culp’s Rex Van de Kamp.
In recent years, she had guested on “Hot in Cleveland” in 2010 and “The Mob Doctor” in 2012.
The actress won her Tony, for featured actress in a play, in 1976, for her performance in Robert Patrick’s “Kennedy’s Children.” In 1997 she was nominated for best actress in a play for Horton Foote’s Pulitzer Prize winner “The Young Man From Atlanta.”
While the William Inge play “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” had to be censored to make it to the big screen in 1960, the Delbert Mann-directed film sported beautifully wrought performances from Robert Preston and Dorothy McGuire, as a couple in a sexless marriage, and of Knight as their daughter, earning the young actress her first Oscar nomination.
Knight with Lee Kinsolving in “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.”Everett Collection
In Richard Brooks’ adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth” (1962), she played the girl, Heavenly Finley, daughter of Boss Finley, for whom the Hollywood gigolo portrayed by Paul Newman comes back to his small Southern town (with some complications along the way). The actress thus earned her second Oscar nomination.
Also in 1962 Knight secured her first starring role, as the young innocent who must make do in the women’s prison picture “House of Women.”
In 1966 she starred with Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett and Elizabeth Hartman in the Sidney Lumet-directed adaptation of Mary McCarthy’s novel “The Group,” about several women who graduate from college amid the Depression and begin their lives.
Paul Newman and Knight in 1962’s “Sweet Bird of Youth.”
The next year, Knight starred opposite Al Freeman Jr. in the Anthony Harvey-helmed “Dutchman,” an adaptation of LeRoi Jones’ racially and sexually explosive play that takes place in a single subway car in which a blonde woman makes explicit advances to a black man, her exact motivations initially unclear; her behavior leads to murder. Knight’s performance was widely lauded, with “Dutchman” a nominee for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
In Richard Lester’s ’60s classic “Petulia” (1968), also starring Julie Christie and George C. Scott, Knight played the ex-wife of Scott’s character.
In 1969 the actress starred, with James Caan and Robert Duvall, in Francis Ford Coppola’s early film “The Rain People,” in which she played a dissatisfied housewife who takes to the road and heads west, picking up the brain-damaged former football played portrayed by Caan along the way. Many critics compared the flawed film to “Easy Rider.”
Knight faces off with Robert Duvall in “The Rain People.”
Thus ended the decade that saw Knight’s most compelling performances on film. Later she appeared in movies including “Beyond the Poseidon Adventure”; 1981’s “Endless Love,” in which she played the mother of Brooke Shields’ character; Richard Rush’s 1994 psychological thriller “Color of Night,” in which she played the widow of a psychiatrist with a secret; “Stuart Saves His Family” (1995), starring Al Franken; and the 1996 remake of “Diabolique” that starred Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani.
Shirley Enola Knight was born in Goessel, Kansas, growing up in Mitchell, Kansas, and later in Lyons, Kansas. She studied to be an opera singer starting at age 11, attended Phillips University in Oklahoma and Wichita State University, and earned a Doctor of Fine Arts from Lake Forest College.
Knight studied acting at the Pasadena Theatre School, and with Jeff Corey and Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.
She made her (uncredited) film debut with a minor role in the adaptation of Inge’s “Picnic” in 1955 and her credited big-screen debut in James Clavell’s war-adventure movie “Five Gates to Hell” (1959). By 1961 she had received her first Oscar nomination.
Knight in “Five Gates to Hell.”20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection
Despite her talent, she did not appear frequently on Broadway, making her debut in 1964 in a highly regarded revival of Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters” in which she played Irina. Two years later, she appeared in “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” which had a very brief run. In 1969 she appeared in the original play “The Watering Place,” which had an even briefer run — a single performance (excluding previews). She finally hit pay dirt in 1975 with Patrick’s “Kennedy’s Children,” picking up the Tony for best featured actress in a play.
After more than two decades away, Knight returned to Broadway in 1997 to star with Rip Torn in Horton Foote’s “The Young Man From Atlanta,” drawing a Tony nomination for best actress in a play.
Knight also worked steadily in television beginning in 1957. She guested on “Playhouse 90,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Hawaiian Eye” and, decades later, on “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “L.A. Law,” “NYPD Blue,” “Ally McBeal,” “House” and “ER.” The actress also appeared in many TV movies, including HBO’s “If These Walls Could Talk” (1996).
Knight was married to actor Eugene Persson from 1959 until their divorce in 1969, and to British playwright John Hopkins from 1969 until his death in 1998.
She is survived by a daughter by Persson, actress Kaitlin Hopkins, and a daughter by Hopkins, writer Sophie C. Hopkins.

Followers & Sources
Other Records of Shirley Knight

1936 - 2020 World Events

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In 1936, in the year that Shirley Knight was born, on November 2nd, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) debuted the world's first regular high-definition television service. The channel had a short schedule - Monday through Saturday, 3:00p to 4:00p and 9:00p to 10:00p. The first broadcast was "Opening of the BBC Television Service".

In 1948, she was just 12 years old when on January 30th, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi by a member of a Hindu nationalist party who thought that Gandhi was too accommodating to Muslims. The man, Nathuram Godse, shot Gandhi 3 times. He died immediately. The shooter was tried, convicted, and hung in November 1949.

In 1953, at the age of 17 years old, Shirley was alive when on January 20th, Dwight D. Eisenhower became the 34th President of the United States. Formerly the 1st Supreme Allied Commander Europe in World War II, Eisenhower had never previously held a political office.

In 1960, Shirley was 24 years old when on May 1st, an American CIA U-2 spy plane, piloted by Francis Gary Powers, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the Soviet Union. Powers ejected and survived but was captured. The U.S. claimed that the U-2 was a "weather plane" but Powers was convicted in the Soviet Union of espionage. He was released in 1962 after 1 year, 9 months and 10 days in prison.

In 1982, Shirley was 46 years old when 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".

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1975 - Unknown
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1940 - Mar 14, 1989
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1896 - Unknown
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1893 - 1943
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1919 - Unknown
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1912 - 1983
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Jun 12, 1889 - Nov 7, 1974
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Dec 15, 1847 - Mar 1, 1920
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1885 - Unknown
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1885 - Unknown
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