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Pat At Last


sapphiere
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I planned on writing my appreciation of Patricia Neal yesterday, but the power strip on my laptop went bad. Everything is ok now. Patricia is a woman, mother, and actress who I have admired for a long time.Patsy Louis Neal was born in Packard, Ky. on January 20, 1926. Patsy had a older sister and a younger brother. In 1929 the family moved to Knoxville, Tenn. where Patsy spent her formative years. At the age of eleven, Pat began drama lessons at the Emily Mahan School Of Dramatics. After graduation from high school in 1943, Pat entered Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Northwestern was noted for it`s speech and drama departments.Pat left the university after her second year was completed.She decided to try her hand in summer stock.Starting in September 1945,pat was cast to understudy two roles in THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE.She continued with other roles on the road until she was cast as a replacement for a month in 1946. The Play was THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE again, but this time she was on broadway in New York City.In 1946 Pat met Lillian Hellman who had a large impact on Pat`s career. Lillian, who had a huge hit as writer of THE LITTLE FOXES 1939, decided to write, cast, and direct ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST. This play concerned the earlier lives of the Hubbard family.Patricia read for the role of Regina Hubbard, and her reward was winning the first Tony award for best featured actress in a play. Hollywood soon took notice, and she signed a contract with Warner Brothers. Her first role was the comedy JOHN LOVES MARY 1949. Patricia`s second role in THE FOUNTAINHEAD 1949 changed her life. The star was Gary Cooper, and the couple soon fell in love.Gary was almost twenty five years her senior, but it made no difference to Pat. THE FOUNTAINHEAD turned out to be a flop, but their affair continued for three years. They also made BRIGHT LEAF 1950, but this inferior film was also not a success. Before Patricia`s contract was cancelled, she did make a few films that I like.THE FOUNTAINHEAD, THE BREAKING POINT 1950, and THREE SECRETS 1950.Pat went on to sign a contract with 20th Century Fox. The two films from Fox that stand out are THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL 1951, and DIPLOMATIC COURIER 1952 with Tyrone Power.i also enjoyed WEEKEND WITH FATHER 1951 for Universal. She ended the affair with Gary, breaking her heart and her health. Pat moved back with family to recover. When she was ok again, Patricia moved back to NYC. Two important events occurred. She was cast in a revival of Lillian Hellman`s THE CHILDREN`S HOUR with Kim Hunter. Pat chose the role of Martha Dobie, which she later said in a interview that it was the wrong choice.Lillian Hellman gave a dinner party before the opened in December 1952, and Pat met the acclaimed children`s author, Roald Dahl. He ignored her the whole time, and she refused his telephone calls for a date. Finally Pat couldn`t think of another excuse to give him, and they began to date.On July 2, 1953 Pat married Roald in NYC. They were blessed with five children four girls and a boy. During this time period Pat co-starred in A FACE IN THE CROWD 1957 and bREAKFAST AT TIFFANY`S 1961. She also was in the broadway hit THE MIRACLE WORKER 1959 portraying Helen Keller`s mother Katie. By this time the Dahl`s had two daughters and a son. The boy`s baby carriage was hit by a speeding taxi while his nanny was crossing the street. After many brain surgeries with Roald`s help, Theo recovered. The family moved to England, and Pat commuted to the set of HUD. For her role as the ranchhand`s housekeeper Alma, Pat won the Academy, the NYC Film Critics Award, and the BAFTA. The couples oldest child daughter, Olivia died in November 1962 of measles. A third daughter was born in 1964 preventing Pat from accepting her Oscar in person. In February 1965 while beginning the John Ford movie SEVEN WOMEN, Pat suffered three deliberating strokes. She was also in the first trimester of her fifth pregnancy. Thru intense physical therapy,Roald`s help, and her wish to recover, Pat delivered a healthy daughter in August 1965. In three years she received her second Academy award nomination for THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES 1968. pat went on to play THE ORIGINAL Olivia Walton in the TV special THE HOMECOMING A CHRISTMAS STORY 1971. At the end of her career I like a movie she made for Robert Altman COOKIE`S FORTUNE 1999. Patricia had become friends with Mother Delores Hart after her divorce from Roald.Four months before her death in August 2010, Patricia converted to the Catholic faith.As per her wishes, she is buried at The Abbey OF Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT. where Mother Delores resides.

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I met Pat a few times and worked with her once. She was one of those whom one could spot around New York City. Maria Cooper Janis once invited me to a party, in honor of her husband Byron, at the French Consulate. Seated in a corner were Pat Neal, Arlene Dahl, and Marian Seldes. 

 

Pat was very nice to work with, the one time I had that pleasure.

 

I think she is glorious in The Subject Was Roses, though her hairstyle was a '60s flip, in a film that in all other aspects depicted post-war '40s NYC so well.

 

Apologies for the name dropping!

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Thanks for that informative and detailed bio.  I get a sense from it your interest in her is personal.  Did you know her, or ever meet her?

No, I never met Patricia, but I which that I had. I read have her book AS I AM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHYand Patricia Neal An Unquiet Life by Stephen Michael Shearer.Pat had corresponded with Maria cooper Janis after her stroke.Maria had contacted Mother Delores about Patricia.Mother Delores wrote Pat welcoming her to visit the abbey.Patricia went to the abbey, and she enjoyed her visit. In the early 1980`s Pat and Roald divorced, and he remarried. Pat was very bitter, and she wanted to write a spiteful book. With the help of Mother Delores and her friend Richard DeNeut, a much better autobiography was published.The Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center was established in Knoxville, Tn. to help stroke victims. I will always remember the legacy that Patricia left for us to enjoy. 

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I met Pat a few times and worked with her once. She was one of those whom one could spot around New York City. Maria Cooper Janis once invited me to a party, in honor of her husband Byron, at the French Consulate. Seated in a corner were Pat Neal, Arlene Dahl, and Marian Seldes. 

 

Pat was very nice to work with, the one time I had that pleasure.

 

I think she is glorious in The Subject Was Roses, though her hairstyle was a '60s flip, in a film that in all other aspects depicted post-war '40s NYC so well.

 

Apologies for the name dropping!

You do not have anything to apologize for. I am glad that you were able to meet Pat. She always seemed to me to be so honest and a nice person in her interviews. She was a good friend of Mildred Dunnock and Jean Hagen. The only movie star I ever met and talked to was Otis Young who co starred with Jack Nicholson in THE LAST DETAI 1973. I was the head cashier at acommunity college bookstore, and Mr. Young was a professor. He was a very nice man.

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Well Sapphiere, you at least saved us all the trouble of going to WIKIPEDIA to find all that information out.

 

We all here have a huge appreciation of Patricia Neal.  I know I first saw her in TDTESS, but obviously, as I was NINE, had NO idea who she was.  Associating her with a name didn't happen for ME until I saw HUD, and THEN catching AFITC on Bill Kennedy's afternoon movie presentation a few years later.  And even after reading about her stroke recovery, I grew an even deeper respect and admiration.

 

I wouldn't say she's my favorite actress, but as my choosing such a thing seems too daunting an endeavor, if I WAS to try and do so, she'd surely be at or VERY near the top of the list.

 

Thank you Sapphiere, for bringing her up on the boards.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I met Pat a few times and worked with her once. She was one of those whom one could spot around New York City. Maria Cooper Janis once invited me to a party, in honor of her husband Byron, at the French Consulate. Seated in a corner were Pat Neal, Arlene Dahl, and Marian Seldes. 

 

 

 

Is Maria Cooper Janis the daughter of Gary Cooper?

 

Does this mean that she and Patricia Neal eventually became friends?

 

I understand that one of Gary Cooper's daughters was quite hostile to Patricia Neal at one point.  

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Is Maria Cooper Janis the daughter of Gary Cooper?

 

Does this mean that she and Patricia Neal eventually became friends?

 

I understand that one of Gary Cooper's daughters was quite hostile to Patricia Neal at one point.  

Gary Cooper had only one daughter -- Maria Cooper Janis.  Yes -- as far as I could tell, she did become friends, or at least friendly acquaintances, with Patricia Neal, at least later in Ms. Neal's life.  Another person I met through Maria was Pia Lindstrom, the daughter of Ingrid Bergman.

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Gary Cooper had only one daughter -- Maria Cooper Janis.  Yes -- as far as I could tell, she did become friends, or at least friendly acquaintances, with Patricia Neal, at least later in Ms. Neal's life.  Another person I met through Maria was Pia Lindstrom, the daughter of Ingrid Bergman.

 

Gary Cooper had only one daughter -- Maria Cooper Janis.  Yes -- as far as I could tell, she did become friends, or at least friendly acquaintances, with Patricia Neal, at least later in Ms. Neal's life.  Another person I met through Maria was Pia Lindstrom, the daughter of Ingrid Bergman.

You are correct. Maria and Pat became friends. Rocky Cooper, Maria`s mother, remarried after Gary death to Dr, John Converse While making GHOST STORY with Melvyn Douglas, Pat learned of Rocky`s husband`s passing.Maria had wanted Pat to get in touch with her mother for sometime, and Pat sent a condolence note.Rocky sent a very nice letter in return, saying that that she would like the three of us Pat, Maria, and Rocky to have lunch together. Pat had found peace in her life..

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Lil' bit o'trivia:  The real name of author/actress/ '70s game-show panelist Fannie Flagg is Patricia Neal. 

Your trivia was new to me. I only know Fannie Flagg from her novel FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFE which was made into a movie starring Kathy Bates.

 

Thanks for that informative and detailed bio.  I get a sense from it your interest in her is personal.  Did you know her, or ever meet her?

I  also became interested in Patricia because both she and Mother Delores are converts to Catholicism. Everybody has a right to their own beliefs, but for the record Betty Hutton, Ann Sothern, Jane Wyman, and next months SOTM Susan Hayward were all converts.

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You are correct. Maria and Pat became friends. Rocky Cooper, Maria`s mother, remarried after Gary death to Dr, John Converse While making GHOST STORY with Melvyn Douglas, Pat learned of Rocky`s husband`s passing.Maria had wanted Pat to get in touch with her mother for sometime, and Pat sent a condolence note.Rocky sent a very nice letter in return, saying that that she would like the three of us Pat, Maria, and Rocky to have lunch together. Pat had found peace in her life..

 

Is there truth to the story that Gary Cooper's daughter once spat at Patricia Neal? 

 

This would have been before they became friends, probably when Patricia Neal was involved with Gary Cooper.

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Maria Cooper Janis and Pat Neal lived fairly near each other, on the East Side of Manhattan. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. lived nearby -- his widow still lives there. Maria and Byron still live there as well.

 

But -- a slight digression. I worked with Brooke Hayward once. She's the daughter of Leland Hayward and Margaret Sullavan. Leland Hayward had had a romance with Katharine Hepburn before he married Margaret Sullavan. Brooke told me that Ms. Sullavan was not fond of Ms. Hepburn. Brooke also told me that she was once in an elevator with Ms. Hepburn, who said to her (add Kate's distinctive voice to this line): "Sooooo -- you're Leland Hayward's daughter."

 

Now here's a real obscure bit of information: Byron Janis, celebrated pianist and husband of Maria Cooper Janis, was first married to June Dickson Wright, who was the sister of Clarissa Dickson Wright, one of the "fat ladies" of the British cooking show "Two Fat Ladies."

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Is there truth to the story that Gary Cooper's daughter once spat at Patricia Neal? 

 

This would have been before they became friends, probably when Patricia Neal was involved with Gary Cooper.

Yes, the story is true, Pat,Gary,Mrs Neal,and two friends drove to Aspen,CO. to see the new cooper vacation home that was under construction, and to hear Albert Schweitzer give a speech. Rocky and Maria flew up earlier. Pat did not want a weekend with ROCKY, but against her better judgement she went because she thought it was her one chance to hear Albert Schweitzer. The next day Pat noticed that there was something wrong with Gary, Everyone parted for a early dinner, and a rest at their respective hotels.The next morning Gary was waiting for Pat in his work truck. As Pat looked out the truck window Rocky and Maria passed by, and Maria spat. Gary and Pat drove and he finally explained what happened. The night before Rocky asked him if he was having an affair with Pat, and if he was in love with her. The answer that he gave to his wife for both questions was yes.

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But -- a slight digression. I worked with Brooke Hayward once. She's the daughter Leland Hayward and Margaret Sullavan. Leland Hayward had had a romance with Katharine Hepburn before he married Margaret Sullavan. Brooke told me that Ms. Sullavan was not fond of Ms. Hepburn. Brooke also told me that she was once in an elevator with Ms. Hepburn, who said to her (add Kate's distinctive voice to this line): "Sooooo -- you're Leland Hayward's daughter."

 

 

I heartily recommend Brooke Hayward's autobiography Haywire

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I watched HUD for the first time in a long time on Pat Neal's night.

 

Her work in that film is one of those very rare supporting performances that deservedly won a leading Oscar because it is so strong it dominates the movie (see also: Anthony Hopkins in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.) I wish she had more scenes, because her Alma (which is most appropriately the Spanish word for "soul") is the heart and soul of HUD.

 

It is a shame though that she maybe appeared in less than five features after winning, although she did get a second nomination (for THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES) and did plenty of stage and television.

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Is there truth to the story that Gary Cooper's daughter once spat at Patricia Neal? 

 

This would have been before they became friends, probably when Patricia Neal was involved with Gary Cooper.

The designer Irene apparently committed suicide after Cooper died. I guess they were also an item.

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I watched HUD for the first time in a long time on Pat Neal's night.

 

Her work in that film is one of those very rare supporting performances that deservedly won a leading Oscar because it is so strong it dominates the movie (see also: Anthony Hopkins in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.) I wish she had more scenes, because her Alma (which is most appropriately the Spanish word for "soul") is the heart and soul of HUD.

 

I was quite young, but I remember the Oscars that year. I hadn't seen Hud and didn't know much about Pat. I was pulling for Leslie Caron to win, for her incredible performance in The L-Shaped Room. I was happy about the Oscars for Tom Jones, though I thought Albert Finney should have won over Sidney Poitier. And the winning song was a mistake -- that insipid "Call Me Irresponsible" winning over the beautiful "More."  But I've seen Hud since those days, and I see that Pat gave a great performance.

 

Just look at the nominees for that year -- really amazing, right down the line:

 

http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0000003/1964?ref_=nmawd_awd_2 

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I watched HUD for the first time in a long time on Pat Neal's night.

 

Her work in that film is one of those very rare supporting performances that deservedly won a leading Oscar because it is so strong it dominates the movie (see also: Anthony Hopkins in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.) I wish she had more scenes, because her Alma (which is most appropriately the Spanish word for "soul") is the heart and soul of HUD.

 

It is a shame though that she maybe appeared in less than five features after winning, although she did get a second nomination (for THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES) and did plenty of stage and television.

You may think so, but the last time I saw the film, I only saw about the second half, and Neal was nowhere in sight.

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I watched HUD for the first time in a long time on Pat Neal's night.

 

Her work in that film is one of those very rare supporting performances that deservedly won a leading Oscar because it is so strong it dominates the movie (see also: Anthony Hopkins in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.) I wish she had more scenes, because her Alma (which is most appropriately the Spanish word for "soul") is the heart and soul of HUD.

 

It is a shame though that she maybe appeared in less than five features after winning, although she did get a second nomination (for THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES) and did plenty of stage and television.

 

 

 

Yes, its one of those roles that is really a supporting role, but could also be considered a leading role since it is the lead actress in the story....

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Yes, its one of those roles that is really a supporting role, but could also be considered a leading role since it is the lead actress in the story....

 

 

Plus, it helped that 1963 was a weak year for film in general and solid lead performances (by both actors and actresses.) Although I have always wondered how it was that Judy Garland in I COULD GO ON SINGING didn't at least get a nomination....

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Plus, it helped that 1963 was a weak year for film in general and solid lead performances (by both actors and actresses.) Although I have always wondered how it was that Judy Garland in I COULD GO ON SINGING didn't at least get a nomination....

I think 1963 was a particularly strong year -- amazing, actually. Here are the nominees again:

 

http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0000003/1964?ref_=nmawd_awd_2

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I was quite young, but I remember the Oscars that year. I hadn't seen Hud and didn't know much about Pat. I was pulling for Leslie Caron to win, for her incredible performance in The L-Shaped Room. I was happy about the Oscars for Tom Jones, though I thought Albert Finney should have won over Sidney Poitier.

 Me too.

 

Leslie Caron's part in THE L-SHAPED ROOM is a lot more substantial than Neal's is in HUD, but Patricia is just that good in HUD...the other three nominees are fine, but hampered by the fact that their films aren't as good as they could be.

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