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Kim Hunter Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (22) | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (4)

Born in Detroit, Michigan, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameJanet Cole
Height 5' 3½" (1.61 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Her father, Donald Cole, was a consulting engineer, and died in 1926 when Kim was only 3 years old. Her mother, Grace Lind, once performed as a concert pianist. She had one brother who was eight years older than she, and she was educated at Miami Beach High.

According to an in-depth article on Kim Hunter by Joseph Collura in the October 2009 issue of "Classic Images", Kim was quiet and painfully shy as a child and overcame it through the guidance of a local dramatics teacher, a Mrs. Carmine. Included were diction, voice and posture lessons.

She studied at the Actors Studio and her first professional appearance was as "Penny" in "Penny Wise" in Miami in November 1939. Then, she joined a repertory group called "Theatre of Fifteen", but it disbanded in 1942 when WWII took away most of its male members.

She made her Broadway debut performance as "Stella" in "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York, in December 1947 that was the 1947-1948 season's success and for which she won the Critics Circle and Donaldson awards.

A one-time student of the Pasadena Playhouse, she was appearing in the 1942 production of "Arsenic and Old Lace" when she was discovered by an RKO talent hunter who signed her to a seven-year contract for David O. Selznick's company. Selznick suggested she change her first name to "Kim" and a RKO secretary suggested the last name of "Hunter". A few years later, Irene Mayer Selznick, David's ex-wife by then, recommended Kim for her reprise role of "Stella" in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), for which she won an Oscar.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Artemis-9

Spouse (2)

Robert Emmett (20 December 1951 - 8 April 2000) (his death) (1 child)
William A. Baldwin (11 February 1944 - 12 February 1946) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (22)

Gave birth to her 1st child at age 22, a daughter Kathryn Deirdre Baldwin on December 13, 1944. Child's father is her 1st husband, William Baldwin.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 31, a son Sean Robert Emmett - aka Sean Emmett - on January 20, 1954. Child's father is her 2nd husband, Robert Emmett.
Political activist, she signed several civil rights petitions and was a sponsor of a 1949 World Peace Conference in New York - which triggered her label of being a Communist sympathizer, for which she was blacklisted in films and TV even though she never even held pro-Communist views. Her testimony to the New York Supreme Court in 1962 against the publishers of "Red Channels" helped pave the way for clearance of many performers unjustly accused of Communist connections.
An agent for David O. Selznick saw her in a stage production of "Arsenic and Old Lace" at the Pasadena Playhouse and signed her to a seven-year contract. Selznick suggested she change her first name to "Kim" and a RKO secretary suggested the last name of "Hunter". A few years later, Irene Mayer Selznick, David's ex-wife by then, recommended Kim for the role of "Stella" in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).
She played the mother of Richard Kiley's character in Blue Moon (1999) in spite of the fact that he was eight months her senior.
Mother of two children: Kathryn and Sean. Kathrin, from her first marriage with Marine Captain William A. Baldwin, and later, she was adopted and took the last name Emmett from her mother's second husband, stage actor Robert Emmett; she used to ride on the handlebars of Marlon Brando's motorcycle, and became a judge and a mother of four. Sean Emmett, born 1954, is a rock musician (Mainstream, Sienna).
Won the Critics Circle and Donaldson awards for her 1947-1948 Broadway debut performance as Stella in "A Streetcar Named Desire".
A one-time student of the Pasadena Playhouse, she was appearing in a 1942 production of "Arsenic and Old Lace" when she was discovered for film by a David O. Selznick talent representative. Kim was signed by RKO.
Joined a repertory group called "Theatre of Fifteen." It disbanded in 1942 when WWII took away most of its male members.
According to an in-depth article on Kim by Joseph Collura in the October 2009 issue of "Classic Images", Kim was quiet and painfully shy as a child and overcame it through the guidance of a local dramatics teacher, a Mrs. Carmine. Included were diction, voice and posture lessons.
Father Donald Cole was a consulting engineer and died in 1926 when Kim was only 3 years old. Mother Grace once performed as a concert pianist. Kim had one brother who was eight years older than she.
Did voice work for the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.
Although Hunter was initially signed by David O. Selznick, she only did loan-outs for the two years she was under contract. Her only work inside the Selznick Studio was three days of screen tests for Hitchcock on "Spellbound," sitting in for Ingrid Bergman as actors were tested for minor roles. Even though she was only shot from behind her head, she impressed Hitchcock, who had lunch with her. A year later he recommended her to Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger for "A Matter of Life and Death.".
Was the 36th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) at The 24th Academy Awards on March 20, 1952.
Hunter was in New York rehearsing for the Horton Foote play, "The Chas" when the OGscar ceremony was held. Bette Davis accepted her Oscar for her although the two had never met. Several years later the two actresses would co-star in "Storm Center.".
The guest starring role in the "Crazy Annie" episode of "Baretta" played by Hunter was originally intended for Lucille Ball. She was nominated for an Emmy for her work. However, because of an internal squabble in the Academy, the initial nominations were discarded and new nominations were substituted. Although Hunter's nomination was a causality, she did get to keep her original Academy nominating certificate.
When a TV movie "Fear on Trial," was made about the famous Faulk/Nizer case, the producers wanted Hunter to play herself. Hunter claimed it contained untrue sequences, so she not only declined to play it, she had her name removed from the script. Lois Nettleton ultimately played the role.
Returned to work 9 months after giving birth to her son Sean Emmett to begin her run of the Broadway production "The Tender Trap".
Returned to work 2 months after giving birth to her daughter Kathryn to begin filming You Came Along (1945).
She died one day after the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C.
Is one of 4 actresses to have won an Oscar for a movie where they acted out a labor, Hunter's being for A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). The others are Luise Rainer for The Good Earth (1937), Mary Astor for The Great Lie (1941) and Brenda Fricker for My Left Foot (1989).
Was one of 4 Best Supporting Actress Oscar winners to have guest starred in Murder, She Wrote (1984). The others are Teresa Wright, Claire Trevor and Shirley Jones.

Personal Quotes (10)

[about her "blacklisting"] For a long while, I wouldn't talk about it at all. I do now, because there's a whole new generation that doesn't remember. And the more one knows, the more one can see, and not allow history to repeat itself.
[on being known as an actress rather than a star] That's fairly accurate, I think, for a great number of us. Becoming a star wouldn't have bothered me, but what is a star? A star isn't anything. An actor acts. That's the important thing.
[about Marlon Brando] The great thing about Marlon is his incredible sense of truth--he may make some bad choices in the roles he does, but the one thing he cannot be is false. I think that's why he didn't like acting very much, because it always drew up painful things from within him about his life that he then transferred to his character. But to work with that great sense of truth was simply wonderful.
[about her Oscar-winning role in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)] It was not at all certain I would do the movie. As a matter of fact, I had to test for it twice. First, I did a film test in New York with Elia Kazan. Then I got a call telling me to come to California for another test. They weren't happy with my hair. Vivien Leigh was going to wear a blonde wig, and for some reason they wanted me to be blonde as well--as if sisters always have the same hair color. So I bleached my hair and got the part. Later Kazan said to me, "There was no way I was going to direct the film with anybody else but you playing Stella".
[on Marlon Brando] An absolutely gorgeous actor! And a beautiful human being... Also: he dearest, most thoughtful, considerate human being I've ever met. Wild sense of humor; practical joker, no end. An extraordinary human being, no question!
[on Vivien Leigh] Vivien was an incredibly charming woman!When she spoke to you - to anybody - you were the only person in the world.
[on Bette Davis] I love Bette. What a dame! Absolutely straight on - no nonsense!
[on her blacklisting] I was never a Communist or even a pro-Communist, but I was very pro-civil rights, and I signed a lot of petitions. I think my big "Sin" was agreeing to be a sponsor of a (1949) World Peace Conference held in New York during the time I was in "Streetcar." I never actually attended it, but "Life" magazine came out with a big picture spread of all the (Gcelebrity) sponsors - I was in mighty good company - and I think this fanned the flames."
[In a 1986 interview] As a child, I considered being a concert pianist. At 11, I decided to be a writer. Then a drama teacher moved nearby. I d always loved the movies, and I asked to take some acting lessons.
[on "Lilith" in a 1986 interview] The tensions on the set contributed to his (Rossen's) death. I don't think I want to talk about it. Since then, Warren has grown so; at that time, he wasn't ready to be a star. He knew it and was scared! In rehearsal, he'd be great. The closer he got to the camera, the more he'd retreat. He'd cut half his lines, which made Warren interesting and the rest of us talky as hell! He gave Jean no help whatsoever. She was damn good in a demanding role. At the wrap party, a group of people threw Warren into a stream.

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