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Shirley Booth Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (26) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 30 August 1898New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 16 October 1992North Chatham, Massachusetts, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameThelma Marjorie Ford
Height 5' 1½" (1.56 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Character actress Shirley Booth could play everything in all facets of show business, whether it was a smart-mouthed cashier on radio's "Duffy's Tavern", the sassy maid on TV's Hazel (1961) or the pathetic woman in Come Back, Little Sheba (1952). For those who only know her through her sitcom, it might be hard to believe she was a seasoned theatrical veteran, having appeared on Broadway from 1925-70. She was highly regarded as a stage actress and ranks as one of the premiere talents of the 20th-century theatre.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (2)

William Hogg Baker, Jr. (24 September 1943 - 4 March 1951) (his death)
Ed Gardner (23 November 1929 - 4 September 1942) (divorced)

Trivia (26)

Born to Albert James Ford and his wife Virginia Martha Wright, she had one sister, Jean Valentine Ford (born in 1914).
Made her Broadway debut in the play "Hell's Bells" opposite Humphrey Bogart (26 January 1925).
Known for a while as Thelma Booth Ford.
Is interred in Mount Hebron Cemetery, Montclair, New Jersey.
Portrayed Miss Duffy on "Duffy's Tavern" (CBS Radio: 1941-1942; NBC-Blue Radio: 1942-1943).
One of only nine actors to have won both the Tony and the Oscar for the same role on stage and film. The others are Yul Brynner (The King and I (1956)), Joel Grey (Cabaret (1972)), Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady (1964)), Anne Bancroft (The Miracle Worker (1962)), Paul Scofield (A Man for All Seasons (1966)), José Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)), Jack Albertson for The Subject Was Roses (1968) and Viola Davis (Fences (2016)).
Became the fourth performer to receive the Triple Crown of Acting, winning an Academy Award in 1953, three Tony Awards (1949, 1950 and 1953) and two Emmy Awards (1962, 1963).
Won three Tony Awards: in 1949, as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for "Goodbye, My Fancy;" in 1950, as Best Actress (Dramatic) for "Come Back, Little Sheba," a role she recreated in an Oscar-winning performance in the film version of the same name, Come Back, Little Sheba (1952); and in 1953, as Best Actress (Dramatic) for "Time of the Cuckoo."
First actress to win an award at the Cannes Film Festival and an Oscar for the same role (Come Back, Little Sheba (1952))
Is mentioned by Jason Alexander's character "George Constanza" on the Seinfeld (1989) episode "The Subway" (1992).
Three actresses earned Academy Awards nominations for playing the same character in motion picture versions of her plays: Ruth Hussey in The Philadelphia Story (1940), Rosalind Russell in My Sister Eileen (1942) and Katharine Hepburn in Summertime (1955).
Died at her home in North Chatham, Massachusetts.
Lived next to Julie Harris.
Later auditioned for but did not win the title role of radio's "Our Miss Brooks", the role that made Eve Arden a star in 1948.
Divorced from Ed Gardner in the 1940s, the marriage was a rocky one as Gardner was a drinker and inveterate womanizer. She remarried in 1943 to William H. Baker, a kindly investment banker. The union was a happy but relatively short one. She was in rehearsals for "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" when he died suddenly of a heart ailment. She had no children from either marriage.
At age 12 she joined the Hartford Stock Company. For the next six years she did up to three plays a week, sometimes walk-ons, touring road and stock companies.
Her father, Albert J. Ford, was a "martinet," a salesman for I.B.M. Corporation, and was a stern taskmaster. She was closer to her mother, Virginia Wright Ford. Her parents separated when Shirley was in her teens, and her mother died in 1933. Her father remarried and lived his life out in Brooklyn. When Shirley decided to act for a living, her father forbade her to use the family name, thereby losing the "Ford" and the "Thelma" in her name and becoming "Shirley Booth." After her parents' divorce, Shirley never saw or spoke to her father again out of the cruelties he inflicted on both her and her mother.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 3, 1991-1993, pages 67-70. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001.
Campaigned for the lead roles in Summertime (1955) and Desk Set (1957), both of which she originated on stage, but lost both parts to Katharine Hepburn.
Is one of 16 actresses to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, Emmy and Tony); the others in chronological order are Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Audrey Hepburn, Anne Bancroft, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Ellen Burstyn, Helen Mirren, Frances McDormand, Jessica Lange and Viola Davis.
Shirley Booth was the first actress to win the Oscar, the New York Film Critics Circle Award, and the National Board of Review Award as Best Actress all for the same performance as Lola Delaney in "Come Back, Little Sheba".
Was the 38th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952) at The 25th Annual Academy Awards (1953) on March 19, 1953.
Is one of 4 actresses to win the Best Actress Oscar for her film debut (for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)). The others are Julie Andrews (for Mary Poppins (1964)), Barbra Streisand (for Funny Girl (1968)), and Marlee Matlin (for Children of a Lesser God (1986)).
In 1960 Shirley Booth was announced for the role of Melissa Frake in the forthcoming 20th Century-Fox Picture "State Fair", eventually released in March 1962, with Alice Faye having replaced Shirley Booth.
Shirley was originally penciled in to be Carol's mother on The Brady Bunch but the role was re-cast by Sherwood Schwartz.

Personal Quotes (2)

Acting is a way to overcome your own inhibitions and shyness. The writer creates a strong, confident personality, and that's what you become - unfortunately, only for the moment.
Burt Lancaster advised me against doing Hazel (1961). "Don't do television," he warned. "It'll ruin you! Burt is a doll and a heck of an actor, but I'm glad I didn't follow his advice. Everybody under 40 knows me better from "Hazel", not from my movies!

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