Ann Wedgeworth

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Ann Wedgeworth
BornElizabeth Ann Wedgeworth
(1934-01-21) January 21, 1934 (age 80)
Abilene, Texas, U.S.
Years active1958–1999, 2006
Spouse(s)Rip Torn (1956–1961, divorced)
Ernie Martin (1970–present)
ChildrenDanae Torn
Dianna Martin
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Ann Wedgeworth
BornElizabeth Ann Wedgeworth
(1934-01-21) January 21, 1934 (age 80)
Abilene, Texas, U.S.
Years active1958–1999, 2006
Spouse(s)Rip Torn (1956–1961, divorced)
Ernie Martin (1970–present)
ChildrenDanae Torn
Dianna Martin

Ann Wedgeworth (born January 21, 1934) is an American character actress. Wedgeworth won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Chapter Two (1978).

Early life[edit]

Elizabeth Ann Wedgeworth was born in Abilene, Texas. She graduated from Highland Park High School in University Park, Texas, where she was a childhood friend and high school classmate of Jayne Mansfield.[1] She dropped her first name after graduating from the University of Texas in 1957, and moved to New York City. After auditioning several times, she was admitted to The Actors Studio.[2][3]



Wedgeworth made her Broadway debut in the play Make a Million in 1958.[1] She later had many roles on Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, includingPeriod of Adjustment, Blues for Mister Charlie, The Last Analysis and Thieves.[4] In 1978, she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Chapter Two.[5]

Wedgeworth appeared off-Broadway at New York's Promenade Theatre from December 5, 1985 until June 1, 1986 in Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, co-starring Harvey Keitel and Geraldine Page; coincidentally Page, a decade Wedgeworth's senior, had married actor Rip Torn after his divorce from Wedgeworth. At the time Page and Torn were married, but were estranged at the time of Page's death in 1987. For her performance in A Lie of the Mind, Wedgeworth was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.[4]


Wedgeworth had supporting roles in many movies. She had the female leading role opposite Gene Hackman in the 1973 film, Scarecrow. She later co-starred in Bang the Drum Slowly, Law and Disorder, Dragonfly and Thieves. In 1977 she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Handle with Care. Wedgeworth received her second National Society of Film Critics Award for her performance as Patsy Cline's mother in Sweet Dreams starring Jessica Lange and Ed Harris in 1985.

Throughout the 1980s, Wedgworth had many supporting roles, often playing mothers, such as in No Small Affair, as Jon Cryer's mother, and in 1987's Made in Heaven as a mother unknowingly reunited with her dead son. In 1989 she portrayed Aunt Fern in Steel Magnolias. She appeared as Sissy Spacek' character mother in the 1991 film Hard Promises. She also appeared in the two films opposite Renée Zellweger; Love and a .45 and The Whole Wide World. Wedgworth had her final film role in The Hawk Is Dying, with Paul Giamatti, which opened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006.


In early years, Wedgeworth had main roles on the daytime soap operas. She played the roles of Angela 'Angie' Talbot on The Edge of Night from 1966 to 1967, and later joined the cast of Another World as Lahoma Vale Lucas. She played the role from 1967 to 1970, and from 1970 to 1973 appeared on its spinoff, Somerset.[6][1]

In 1979, Wedgeworth was cast as Lana Shields in the ABC sitcom Three's Company. According to the book Come and Knock on Our Door: A Hers and Hers and His Guide to Three's Company, the addition of Lana to the cast caused tension between John Ritter and the show's writers. Ritter believed it would be out of character for the sex-crazed Jack to inexplicably turn down the advances of a sexually voracious, attractive older woman. The writers reasoned that because Lana was older than Jack, he would be turned off. Ritter didn't believe that the middle-aged Lana, only meant to be in her forties (whereas Jack was in his late twenties/early thirties), would repel Jack. Wedgeworth claimed that she was asked to be released from her contract because of Lana's dwindling role in the show.[7]

In 1982, Wedgeworth worked with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason in her first comedy series, Filthy Rich, playing ditsy, good-natured Bootsie Westchester. The series was canceled after two seasons in 1983. In 1989, she guest starred as Audrey Conner, the emotionally fragile mother of Dan Conner (played by John Goodman) on the ABC sitcom, Roseanne. Her longest role was on the CBS sitcom Evening Shade as Merleen Eldridge. The series aired from 1990 to 1994. In 1994, Wedgeworth starred in the unsuccessful Evening Shade spinoff, Harleen and Merleen.

Personal life[edit]

Wedgeworth married Rip Torn in 1955. They have a daughter, actress Danae Torn. The couple divorced in 1961.[7] In 1970 she married acting teacher and director Ernie Martin, and they have a daughter, actress/acting teacher/writer Dianna Martin.[1]


1973Bang the Drum SlowlyKatie
1974The Catamount KillingKit Loring
1974Law and DisorderSally
1976Birch IntervalMarie
1977The War Between the TatesDanielle ZimmermanTelevision film
1977Handle with CareDallas AngelNational Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
1980BogieMayo Methot
1981Elvis and the Beauty QueenAunt BettyTelevision film
1981Soggy Bottom, U.S.A.Dusty Wheeler
1981KilljoyRosieTelevision film
1984No Small AffairJoan Cummings
1985Right to Kill?Eve WhitcombTelevision film
1985My Science ProjectDolores
1985Sweet DreamsHilda HensleyNational Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
1986The Men's ClubJo
1987A Stranger WaitsSusan Berger
1987A Tiger's TaleClaudine
1987Made in HeavenAnnette Shea
1988Far NorthAmy
1989Miss FirecrackerMiss Blue
1989Steel MagnoliasAunt Fern
1990Green CardParty Guest
1991Hard PromisesChris's Mom
1993CooperstownLila KunznickTelevision film
1994Love and a .45Thaylene Cheatham
1994A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell StoryMrs. O'FlahertyTelevision film
1995Fight for Justice: The Nancy Conn StoryMary HowellTelevision film
1996The Whole Wide WorldMrs. Howard
1999The Hunter's MoonBorlene
2006The Hawk Is DyingMa Gattling


  1. ^ a b c d "Ann Wedgeworth". TV Guide. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Peterson, James (1978-01-22). "Role Just Right for Ann". The Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  3. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co. Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  4. ^ a b The Broadway League. "Ann Wedgeworth - IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Ann Wedgeworth accepts Tony Award". Youtube. Youtube. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Kingman Daily Miner - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Sheff, David (1980-01-21). "Ann Wedgeworth Discovers That Three's Company the Hard Way—the Show Fires Her". People Magazine. Retrieved 2013-12-23. 

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