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Gale Sondergaard

Gale Sondergaard

Gale Sondergaard was a US film actress. Born Edith Holm Sondergaard in Litchfield, Minnesota to Danish parents, Sondergaard began her acting career in the theater. She made her first film appearance in Anthony Adverse (1936) and became the first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for this performance.

Her career as a supporting actress flourished during the 1930s.

Walt Disney Studios used her as the main inspiration for the Wicked Queen in the animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Originally cast as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz (1939, she was replaced by Margaret Hamilton when MGM decided to change the Wicked Witch from a glamorous character to an ugly one.

In 1940 she played a role which would become one of her most identifiable, as the exotic and sinister wife in The Letter. She received a second Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role in Anna and the King of Siam in 1946.

Married to the film director Herbert J. Biberman from 1930, her career suffered irreparable damage during the Red Scare of the early 1950s, when her husband was accused of being a communist and named as one of the Hollywood Ten. With her career stalled, she supported her husband during the production of Salt of the Earth (1954). Highly controversial when it was made, and not a commercial success, its artistic and cultural merit was recognised in 1992 when the National Film Preservation Board selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Biberman died in 1971, and Sondergaard made a few more film and television appearances, before dying from cerebral vascular thrombosis at Woodland Hills, California.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Gale Sondergaard Facts

Birth NameEdith Holm Sondergaard
BirthdayFebruary 15, 1899
BirthplaceLitchfield, Minnesota, USA
Date of deathAugust 14, 1985 (age 86)
Height5' 6" (1m68)  How tall is Gale Sondergaard compared to you?
Awards1937 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (for Anthony Adverse)

Selected Filmography

The Cat Creature
Bob Hope Classic Comedy Collection- Give Me a Sailor / Thanks for the Memory / Never Say Die / The Cat and the Canary / The Ghost Breakers / Caught in the Draft / Nothing But the Truth / My Favorite Blonde / The Paleface /Sorrowful Jones
The Letter
Return Of A Man Called Horse
The Mark of Zorro
Letter, The
The Boris Karloff Collection
The Life of Emile Zola
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