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Jessica Tandy
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Jessica Tandy

Jessica Tandy (June 7, 1909 - September 11, 1994) was a British-born American actress who was born in London. She is the mother of actress Tandy Cronyn, and was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world in 1990, the same year she was diagnosed with cancer. Jessica won a Tony Award in 1982 for Foxfire, in 1978 for The Gin Game, and in 1948 for A Streetcar Named Desire.

After an acting career spanning some 65 years, Tandy found latter-day movie stardom in big-budget, major-studio releases and intimate dramas alike. From a young age she was determined to be an actress, and first appeared on the London stage in 1927, playing, among others, Katherine opposite Laurence Olivier's Henry V and Cordelia opposite John Gielgud's King Lear. She also worked in British films. Following her first marriage to actor Jack Hawkins, she moved to New York and met actor Hume Cronyn, who became her second husband and frequent partner on stage and screen. She made her American film debut in The Seventh Cross (1944), and appeared in The Valley of Decision (1945), The Green Years (1946, as Cronyn's daughter!), and Forever Amber (1947). After her Tony-winning performance as Blanche DuBois in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, she concentrated on the stage and only appeared sporadically in films such as The Light in the Forest (1958) and The Birds (1963).

The beginning of the 1980s saw a resurgence in her film career, with character roles in The World According to Garp, Best Friends, Still of the Night (all 1982) and The Bostonians (1984), and the hit film Cocoon (1985), opposite Cronyn, with whom she reteamed for *Batteries not included (1987) and Cocoon: The Return (1988). She and Cronyn had been working together more and more, on stage and television, to continued acclaim (notably in 1987's Foxfire which won her an Emmy Award recreating her Tony-winning Broadway role), but it was her colorful performance in Driving Miss Daisy (1989), as an aging, stubborn Southern matron, that made her a bona fide Hollywood star and earned her a Best Actress Oscar. She subsequently earned a Supporting Actress nomination for her work in the grass-roots hit Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), and co-starred in The Story Lady (1991 telefilm, with daughter Tandy Cronyn), Used People (1992, as Shirley MacLaine's Jewish mother), To Dance With the White Dog (1993 telefilm, with Cronyn), Nobody's Fool (1994), and Camilla (also 1994, with Cronyn).

OTHER FILMS INCLUDE: 1932: Indiscretions of Eve 1938: Murder in the Family 1946: Dragonwyck 1947: A Woman's Vengeance 1950: September Affair 1951: The Desert Fox 1962: Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man 1974: Butley 1981: Honky Tonk Freeway 1988: The House on Carroll Street.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Jessica Tandy Facts

BirthdayJune 7, 1909
BirthplaceLondon, England, United Kingdom
Date of deathSeptember 11, 1994 (age 85)
Awards1991 BAFTA Awards: Actress in a Leading Role (for Driving Miss Daisy)
1990 Academy Awards: Best Actress (for Driving Miss Daisy)
1990 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (for Driving Miss Daisy)

Selected Filmography

Not available.