Lee Grant

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Lee Grant
Lee Grant Fay 1975.jpg
Grant in Fay, 1975
BornLyova Haskell Rosenthal
(1926-10-31) October 31, 1926 (age 87)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress and director
Years active1949–2007, 2013
Spouse(s)Arnold Manoff (1951-1960; divorced; 2 children)
Joseph Feury (né Fioretti; 1962-present)
ChildrenDinah Manoff and Tom Manoff
 
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For other people named Lee Grant, see Lee Grant (disambiguation).
Lee Grant
Lee Grant Fay 1975.jpg
Grant in Fay, 1975
BornLyova Haskell Rosenthal
(1926-10-31) October 31, 1926 (age 87)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress and director
Years active1949–2007, 2013
Spouse(s)Arnold Manoff (1951-1960; divorced; 2 children)
Joseph Feury (né Fioretti; 1962-present)
ChildrenDinah Manoff and Tom Manoff

Lee Grant (born October 31, 1926) is an American stage, film and television actress, and film director. She was blacklisted for 12 years from film work beginning in the mid-1950s, but worked in the theatre, and would eventually win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Felicia Karpf in Shampoo (1975).

Early life[edit]

Lee Grant was born Lyova Haskell Rosenthal in New York City in 1926,[1] the daughter of Witia (née Haskell), an actress and teacher, and Abraham W. Rosenthal, a realtor and educator. Her father was born in New York, to Polish Jewish immigrants, and her mother was a Russian Jewish immigrant.[2] The family resided at 706 Riverside Drive in upper Manhattan.[3]

At the age of four, she debuted in a show at the Metropolitan Opera, and when she was eleven she joined the American Ballet.[4]

She attended Art Students League of New York, Juilliard School of Music, The High School of Music & Art, and George Washington High School all in New York City.

Grant graduated high school at the age of fourteen, receiving a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, and studied under Sanford Meisner. She subsequently enrolled in Actors Studio in New York.[1]

Career[edit]

Grant established herself as a dramatic method actress on and off Broadway, earning praise for her role as a shoplifter in Detective Story, in 1949. She made her film debut two years later in the film version (Detective Story), receiving her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination, and winning the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival.[5] She was a regular on the CBS soap opera, Search for Tomorrow in the early 1950s.

She was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities to testify against her husband, the playwright Arnold Manoff, father of her two children, but refused to testify; she also gave an impassioned eulogy at the memorial service for actor J. Edward Bromberg whose career (and some would say life) was cut short by the blacklist. She was subsequently blacklisted for twelve years, during which she found work in theater and teaching acting classes. Composer Burt Bacharach, who considered Grant "a brilliant actress," notes that "she suffered for her political beliefs for a long time because that was such a terrible period in the history of our country."[6]

Her first major achievement after that period was in the 1960s television series Peyton Place, as Stella Chernak, for which she won an Emmy. In 1967, Grant appeared in an episode of Mission Impossible, portraying the wife of a U.S. diplomat who goes undercover to discredit a rogue diplomat. That same year she played the distraught widow of the murder victim in the Oscar-winning In the Heat of the Night.

Grant in 1961

She received subsequent Academy Award nominations for the dramas The Landlord (1970) and Voyage of the Damned (1976). Her acting range extended into comedy equally well, notably in several roles as an overbearing mother. In Plaza Suite (1971), a comedy directed by Arthur Hiller and written by Neil Simon, she played the harassed mother of a bride, with Walter Matthau as the father. The film was followed by another comedy role as the mother in Portnoy's Complaint (1972).

She won an Oscar for the comedy Shampoo (1975), for Best Supporting Actress. The film received mixed reviews but was considered "Columbia's biggest hit in the studio's 50 year history."[7] Actor Bruce Dern, who played alongside her in The Big Town (1987), recalls working with her: "Lee Grant is a fabulous actress. Anytime she works it's a blessing you have her in your movie."[8]

Grant is the only Hollywood actress of her generation to successfully move into directing.[1] She directed the stage play, The Stronger in 1976, written by August Strindberg. In 1980 she directed her first film, Tell Me a Riddle, a story about an aging Jewish couple. She also directed several documentary films, including Down and Out in America (1986) which won the Academy Award for Documentary Feature. That same year she directed Nobody's Child, a TV movie, starring Marlo Thomas, "in the performance of her career,"[1] about a woman confined to a mental institution for 20 years. For her direction, Grant became the first female director to win the Directors Guild of America Award.[1]

In recent years she directed a series of Intimate Portrait episodes for Lifetime Television, that celebrated a diverse range of accomplished women. Admiring her directing and acting skill, actress Sissy Spacek agreed to act in Hard Promises "only to work with Grant," although she was later replaced as its director.[9]

In 1971, Grant appeared in the Columbo episode "Ransom for a Dead Man"', for which she was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress - Miniseries or a Movie. Having been nominated for two performances in the same acting category, she received the award for her other Emmy-nominated performance in the television film, The Neon Ceiling. The only other nominee was Colleen Dewhurst; in Grant's acceptance speech, she wryly noted "I must thank Colleen Dewhurst since it takes two of me to equal one of her."

She had her own sitcom, Fay, which was canceled after only eight episodes. She made a guest appearance on Empty Nest, in which her daughter Dinah Manoff co-starred. In 1988, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.[10]

In 1992, she played Dora Cohn, the mother of Roy Cohn, in the biographical made for TV film Citizen Cohn, which garnered her yet another Primetime Emmy Award nomination. In 2001, Lee Grant portrayed Louise Bonner in David Lynch's critically acclaimed Mullholland Drive. From 2004-2007, Carlin Glynn, Stephen Lang, and Grant served as co-artistic directors for the Actors Studio.

In 2013, she returned to the stage, after a nearly 30-year-absence, to star in The Gin Game, part of a benefit for improvement programs at Island Music Guild. Grant plays Fonsia Dorsey opposite Frank Buxton as Weller Martin and her daughter Dinah Manoff directs the production.[11]

Filmography[edit]

Actress[edit]

YearFilmRoleNotes
1951Detective StoryShoplifterBest Actress Award (Cannes Film Festival)
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1953-1954Search for TomorrowRose Peabody
1955Storm FearEdna Rogers
1959Middle of the NightMarilyn
The Blue Angeluncredited
1963The BalconyCarmen
An Affair of the SkinKatherine McCleod
1964Pie in the SkySuzy
The FugitiveMillie Hallopepisode-"Taps for a Dead War"
1965 -
1966
Peyton PlaceStella Chernakappeared in 71 episodes (8/19/1965–3/28/1966)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Drama
1967Divorce American StyleDede Murphy
In the Heat of the NightMrs. Leslie ColbertNominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Valley of the DollsMiriam
The Big ValleyRosie Williams
1968Buona Sera, Mrs. CampbellFritzie Braddock
Judd, for the DefenseKay GouldNominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
1969The Big BounceJoanne
MaroonedCelia Pruett
1970The LandlordJoyce EndersNominated - Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated- Laurel Award for Best Supporting Performance, Female
There Was a Crooked Man...Mrs. Bullard
1971Columbo: Ransom for a Dead ManLeslie WilliamsNominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
The Neon CeilingCarrie MillerPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
The Last Generationarchive footage
Plaza SuiteNorma Hubley
1972Portnoy's ComplaintSophie Portnoy
1974The Internecine ProjectJean Robertson
1975ShampooFelicia KarpfAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Fay (TV series)Fay StewartNominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
1976Voyage of the DamnedLillian RosenNominated - Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1977Airport '77Karen Wallace
The SpellMarilyn Matchett
1978Damien: Omen IIAnn Thorn
The SwarmAnne MacGregor
The Mafu CageEllen
1979When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?Clarisse Ethridge
1980Little Miss MarkerThe Judge
1981Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon QueenMrs. Lupowitz
1982Visiting HoursDeborah Ballin
1984Billions for BorisSascha Harris
ConstanceMrs. Barr
TeachersDr. Donna Burke
1985Sanford Meisner: The American Theatre's Best Kept SecretHerselfdocumentary
1987The Big TownFerguson Edwards
1991Defending Your LifeLena Foster
1992Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz StoryCarol GertzTV film
Earth and the American DreamNarratordocumentary
Citizen CohnDora Marcus CohnNominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1996It's My PartyAmalia Stark
The Substance of FireCora Cahn
Under HeatJane
2000Dr. T & the WomenDr. Harper
The Amati GirlsAunt Spendora
2001Mulholland DriveLouise Bonner
2005The Needs of Kim StanleyHerselfdocumentary
Going ShoppingWinnie

Director[edit]

YearProductionNotes
1975For the Use of the HallTV film
1976The Strongershort subject
1980Tell Me a Riddle
1981The Willmar 8documentary
1984A Matter of SexTV film
1985What Sex Am I?documentary
ABC Afterschool SpecialCindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale (TV episode)
1986Nobody's ChildTV film - DGA Award
Down and Out in Americadocumentary (also narrator)
1989Staying Together
No Place Like HomeTV film
1994When Women Killdocumentary
Seasons of the HeartTV film
Following Her HeartTV film
ReunionTV film
1997Say It, Fight It, Cure ItTV film
1999Confronting the Crisis: Childcare in AmericaTV film
2000American MastersSidney Poitier: One Bright Light
The Loretta Claiborne StoryTV film
2001The Gun DeadlockTV dilm
2004BiographyMelanie Griffith
2000–2004Intimate Portrait43 episodes
2005... A Father... A Son... Once Upon a Time in HollywoodTV film

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Unterburger, Amy L. ed. International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers - 3: Actors and Actresses 3rd ed., St. James Press (1997) pp. 498-499
  2. ^ http://forward.com/articles/202192/lee-grant-said-yes-to-everything-except-mccarth/
  3. ^ Lee Grant profile at FilmReference.com
  4. ^ Gray, Spalding. Life Interrupted: The Unfinished Monologue, Random House (2005) p. 154
  5. ^ Best Actress Award (Cannes Film Festival)
  6. ^ Bacharach, Burt. Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music, HarperCollins (2013)
  7. ^ Ford, Elizabeth. The Makeover in Movies: Before and After in Hollywood Films, 1941-2002, McFarland (2004) p. 198
  8. ^ Dern, Bruce. Things I've Said, But Probably Shouldn't Have: An Unrepentant Memoir, Wiley (2007) p. 231
  9. ^ Jarboe, Jan. "Sissy Spacek's Long Walk Home", Texas Monthly, Feb. 1991 p. 126
  10. ^ Women in Film website
  11. ^ Michael C. Moore (August 12, 2013). "Theater: High-powered cast deals this 'Gin Game'". Kitsap A&E. Retrieved 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Estelle Parsons
Vacant (2003-2004)
Artistic Director of the Actors Studio
2004-2007
With: Carlin Glynn
and Stephen Lang

(2004-2006)

Succeeded by
Ellen Burstyn