Actress Jennifer Jones, who won an Oscar for lead actress in 1943 for “The Song of Bernadette,” died today at age 90. Read more on Jennifer Jones below.
Jennifer Jones was known for her Hollywood career but also as the widow of Norton Simon, an art collector who founded the art museum in Pasadena that bears his name.
Jones was also previously married to producer David O. Selznick and Robert Walker.
The actress was also in movies including”Duel in the Sun,” “Since You Went Away” and “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.” Her last movie was “The Towering Inferno” in 1974.
From the Associated Press:
She was born Phylis Isley on March 2, 1919, in Tulsa, Okla., to parents who operated a touring stock company that presented melodramas in tent theaters in the Southwest. She began doing roles in their plays at the age of 6.
After graduating from a Catholic high school, she toured with another stock company, studied drama at Northwestern University for a year, then persuaded her father to support her for a year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
She married Walker in 1939 and they spent their honeymoon traveling to Hollywood. They could find only bit roles in small pictures, she in a western, “New Frontier,” and a serial, “Dick Tracy’s G-Men.”
The pair retreated to New York before Jones was selected for the prize role in “The Song of Bernadette” about a French peasant girl who claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858.
Her performance and the Oscar for best actress helped make her one of Hollywood’s most popular leading ladies.
Director Henry King recalled testing the six finalists for the role of Bernadette: “A man held a stick behind the camera; the girls focused their rapt attention on that stick. The other five did very well. But only Jennifer looked as if she saw the vision.”
Among her other films were “Love Letters” (with Joseph Cotten), “We Were Strangers” (with John Garfield), “Madame Bovary” (with Louis Jourdan) and “A Farewell to Arms” (with Rock Hudson).
She received a supporting actress Oscar nomination for “Since You Went Away,” and lead actress nominations for “Love Letters,” “Duel in the Sun” and “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.”
While in Rome filming “A Farewell to Arms,” Hudson told a reporter, “I heard fantastic stories about this girl, that she was neurotic, temperamental, under hypnosis by Selznick. Not a word of truth in any of it. From the first take, she’s been cooperative with everyone — except reporters.”
Her last film under Selznick’s guidance came in 1962 with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender is the Night,” a failure.
Several months after Selznick’s death in 1965, she went to England to film “The Idol.” As it turned out, she made only two more film appearances, in 1969’s “Angel, Angel, Down We Go” and 1974’s “The Towering Inferno.”
Two years after she filmed “The Idol,” a sheriff’s deputy found Jones in the surf at Malibu. She was not breathing but still had a heartbeat and he was able to revive her.
She had earlier called her physician to say she was taking pills, and it appeared she had fallen from a cliff into the ocean.
Her daughter plunged to her death from the 22nd floor of a hotel in west Los Angeles in 1976, and tests showed traces of morphine, barbiturates and alcohol in her system. The death was ruled a suicide.
After retiring from acting after “The Towering Inferno,” Jones avoided the limelight as much as possible.
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