Home   >   Movie Stars   >   S   >   Maureen Stapleton
Maureen Stapleton

Maureen Stapleton

Maureen Stapleton was an American actress in film, theater and television who won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award and two Tony Awards and was elected to the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

Early life and career

Born in Troy, New York into a strict Irish American Catholic family with an alcoholic father, Stapleton began acting in theater after finishing high school and rapidly gained respect as both a dramatic and comedic actress.

She fled to New York City at the age of 18, and did some modelling to pay the bills. She once said that it was her infatuation with the actor Joel McCrea that led her into acting. She made her Broadway debut in Burgess Meredith's production of The Playboy of the Western World in 1946.

Stepping in because Anna Magnani refused the role due to her (Magnani's) limited English, Stapleton won a Tony Award for her role in Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo in 1951. Anna Magnani's English improved and she was able to play the role in the film version, and won an Oscar for it.

Stapleton played in other Williams' productions, including Twenty-Seven Wagons Full of Cotton and Orpheus Descending, as well as Lillian Hellman's Toys in the Attic. She won a second Tony Award for Neil Simon's The Gingerbread Lady, which was written especially for her, in 1971.

Her film career also brought her immediate success, with her debut in Lonelyhearts (1958) earning a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was nominated again for Airport (1970) and Interiors (1978) and won for Reds (1981), in which she portrayed Emma Goldman.

Her more recent appearances included Johnny Dangerously (1984), Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return (1985 and 1988).

She was not related to actress Jean Stapleton.

A heavy smoker, Maureen Stapleton died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at her home in Lenox, Massachusetts, aged 80.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2006.

Maureen Stapleton Facts

Birth NameLois Maureen Stapleton
BirthdayJune 21, 1925
BirthplaceTroy, New York, USA
Date of deathMarch 13, 2006 (age 80)
Height5' 5" (1m65)  How tall is Maureen Stapleton compared to you?
Awards1982 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (for Reds)
1971 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture (for Airport)

Selected Filmography

Hollywood Collection: Jack Lemmon: America's Everyman
Bye Bye Birdie
The Money Pit
Johnny Dangerously
The Tom Hanks Comedy Favorites Collection
Airport: The Complete Collection
Continue » Find more details on the Maureen Stapleton Movies page