Jennifer Jones
    Actress


    Date of birth: 2 March 1919
    Birth name: Phyllis Flora Isley
    Place of birth: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
    Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
    Date of death: 17 December 2009 (natural causes)
    Place of death: Malibu, California, USA

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        For a brief period she was one of Hollywood's brightest stars, thanks to careful grooming and career guidance from top producer David O. Selznick, to whom she was married for many years.


    It has been announced that Jennifer Jones has died at the age of 90. The spokesman of the Norton Simon Museum, Leslie Denk, stated that she died of natural causes at her home in Malibu.

    She was the widow of the museum's founder, wealthy industrialist Norton Simon, and served as chair of the museum's board of directors after his death.




Jennifer Jones
    19th Dec. 2009: Added a tribute page where you can leave you thoughts via e-mail on Jennifer. I won't include your e-mail address or surname on the page.

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    Born to vaudeville performers with whom she performed as a child, the dark-haired, soulful Phylis Isley always wanted to be an actress.

    She studied at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts (where she met and married Robert Walker, himself an aspiring actor) before winning a six-month contract from Republic Pictures; her father, by this time, owned a prominent theater chain upon which Republic depended, so studio brass proved more than willing to give his daughter a tryout.

    She assumed ingenue chores in 1939's New Frontier a B Western starring John Wayne, and Dick Tracy's G-Men a popular serial, before being dropped summarily.

    David Selznick spotted Phylis Isley in Hollywood shortly thereafter and reasoned that he could mold her, Pygmalion-like, into a star. He signed her to a personal contract, changed her name to Jennifer Jones, and saw to it that she was the recipient of intensive training as well as a big publicity buildup. Selznick canvassed the Hollywood studios for the right property in which to feature his discovery, and found it in The Song of Bernadette (1943), a 20th Century-Fox spectacular that cast her as a young French girl who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary in a vision. Jones won a well-deserved Oscar for her first big role, and Selznick rushed her into his own production, Since You Went Away (1944), a wartime domestic drama for which she was Oscar-nominated. She impressed moviegoers with her warm, touch ing portrayal of an average American girl coping with home-front hardships.

    Amazingly, Jones earned Academy Award nods for her next two performances as well, first as a fragile amnesiac in Love Letters (1945), then as a tempestuous half-breed in Selznick's elephantine, sexy Western, Duel in the Sun (1946). By this time she had blossomed into a beautiful, sensitive actress.

    Jones, whose relationship with Selznick had become personal as well as professional, divorced Walker and married the producer in 1949. Although he produced fewer films as the years went on, he still guided her career closely-and sent voluminous memos to producers and directors who hired her. She contributed consistently fine performances in the likes of Cluny Brown (1946), Portrait of Jennie (1948), Madame Bovary (1949), The Wild Heart (1950, aka Gone to Earth), Carrie (1952), Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (snagging another Oscar nomination for her work in this 1955 soaper), Good Morning, Miss Dove (also 1955), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), The Barretts of Wimpole Street, A Farewell to Arms (Selznick's swan song as producer, both 1957), and Tender Is the Night (1961).

    When Selznick died in 1965, she was left with much debt, their young daughter, a broken career, and the emotional wreckage that a great wind leaves behind. It did not all go well. Their daughter, Mary Jennifer, killed herself. Jones's film career turned to The Idol (66, Daniel Petrie); Angel, Angel, Down We Go (69, Robert Thom); and The Towering Inferno (74, John Guillermin and Irwin Allen). But she married again - to the millionaire art collector Norton Simon - and she became not just his attendant in a paralyzing illness, but a surrogate in his business affairs.

    Selznick's unquestioned adoration often meant that she was miscast: for her true range was narrow; her looks went quite early; and her own agonies, mixed with her husband's interference, lost her many good opportunities. But who else has survived such travails? Who knows how far she understood what was going on, or the effect she was having? She was an actress who caused a huge stir, on and off the screen. And she was such a creature of the 1940s, it seems odd in hindsight that her dark looks and her real experience as femme fatale and harassed woman never graced a film noir - though Laura was one of the projects Selznick deemed unworthy of her.

    Her son Robert Walker, Jr., is also an actor (and the very image of his father).



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laurence olivier


19th Dec. 2009:
Added a tribute page where you can
leave you thoughts via e-mail on Jennifer.
I won't include your e-mail address or surname on the page.


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Click here to buy posters!
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jennifer jones dvds



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jennifer jones

biog. | gallery | dvds | videos

laurence olivier | clark gable | vivien leigh | leslie howard | alfred hitchcock
robert montgomery | grace kelly | conrad veidt
olivia de havilland | humphrey bogart | howard hawks | frank capra | charlie chaplin
lauren bacall | fritz lang
jean harlow | greta garbo | ava gardner | audrey hepburn | edward g. robinson | john garfield
erich von stroheim | wim wenders | madeleine carroll | marlene dietrich | rita hayworth


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