Gene Tierney Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (30)  | Personal Quotes (5)  | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Houston, Texas, USA  (emphysema)
Birth NameGene Eliza Tierney
Nickname The Get Girl
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

With prominent cheekbones, luminous skin and the most crystalline green eyes of her day, Gene Tierney's striking good looks helped propel her to stardom. Her best known role is the enigmatic murder victim in Laura (1944). She was also Oscar-nominated for Leave Her to Heaven (1945). Her acting performances were few in the 1950s as she battled a troubled emotional life that included hospitalization and shock treatment for depression.

Gene Eliza Tierney was born on November 19, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York, to well-to-do parents, Belle Lavinia (Taylor) and Howard Sherwood Tierney. Her father was a successful insurance broker and her mother was a former teacher. Her childhood was lavish indeed. She also lived, at times, with her equally successful grandparents in Connecticut and New York. She was educated in the finest schools on the East Coast and at a finishing school in Switzerland.

After two years in Europe, Gene returned to the US where she completed her education. By 1938 she was performing on Broadway in What a Life! and understudied for the Primrose Path (1938) at the same time. Her wealthy father set up a corporation that was only to promote her theatrical pursuits. Her first role consisted of carrying a bucket of water across the stage, prompting one critic to announce that "Miss Tierney is, without a doubt, the most beautiful water carrier I have ever seen!" Her subsequent roles Mrs O'Brian Entertains (1939) and RingTwo (1939) were meatier and received praise from the tough New York critics. Critic Richard Watts wrote "I see no reason why Miss Tierney should not have a long and interesting theatrical career, that is if the cinema does not kidnap her away."

After being spotted by the legendary Darryl F. Zanuck during a stage performance of the hit show The Male Animal (1940), Gene was signed to a contract with 20th Century-Fox. Her first role as Barbara Hall in Hudson's Bay (1940) would be the send-off vehicle for her career. Later that year she appeared in The Return of Frank James (1940). The next year would prove to be a very busy one for Gene, as she appeared in The Shanghai Gesture (1941), Sundown (1941), Tobacco Road (1941) and Belle Starr (1941). She tried her hand at screwball comedy in Rings on Her Fingers (1942), which was a great success. Her performances in each of these productions were masterful. In 1945 she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Ellen Brent in Leave Her to Heaven (1945). Though she didn't win, it solidified her position in Hollywood society. She followed up with another great performance as Isabel Bradley in the hit The Razor's Edge (1946).

In 1944, she played what is probably her best-known role (and, most critics agree, her most outstanding performance) in Otto Preminger's Laura (1944), in which she played murder victim named Laura Hunt. In 1947 Gene played Lucy Muir in the acclaimed The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947). By this time Gene was the hottest player around, and the 1950s saw no letup as she appeared in a number of good films, among them Night and the City (1950), The Mating Season (1951), Close to My Heart (1951), Plymouth Adventure (1952), Personal Affair (1953) and The Left Hand of God (1955). The latter was to be her last performance for seven years. The pressures of a failed marriage to Oleg Cassini, the birth of a daughter with learning disabilities in 1943, and several unhappy love affairs resulted in Gene being hospitalized for depression. When she returned to the the screen in Advise & Consent (1962), her acting was as good as ever but there was no longer a big demand for her services.

Her last feature film was The Pleasure Seekers (1964), and her final appearance in the film industry was in a TV miniseries, Scruples (1980). Gene died of emphysema in Houston, Texas, on November 6, 1991, just two weeks shy of her 71st birthday.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel, Denny Jackson and Chris

Spouse (2)

William Howard Lee (11 July 1960 - 17 February 1981) ( his death)
Oleg Cassini (1 June 1941 - 28 February 1952) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trivia (30)

Her first daughter was born intellectually disabled because Gene had contracted rubella (aka German measles) during her only appearance at the Hollywood Canteen. This served as the uncredited inspiration for the plot of the 1962 Agatha Christie novel and later movie The Mirror Crack'd (1980).
Had two daughters with her ex-husband Oleg Cassini: Antoinette Daria Cassini (October 15, 1943 - September 11, 2010) and Christina Cassini (November 19, 1948 - March 31, 2015). Both Daria and Christina have died at age 66.
Was represented by the John Robert Powers Agency as a fashion model in the 1930s.
Darryl F. Zanuck, founder of 20th Century-Fox, said she was unquestionably the most beautiful woman in movie history.
Howard Hughes provided the funds for her daughter's medical care.
Second husband, William Howard Lee, was originally married to Hedy Lamarr before he married Tierney.
Had her share of love affairs during her Hollywood reign, including a notorious one with John F. Kennedy, whom she met while filming Dragonwyck (1946). Kennedy broke this up because of his political aspirations. She also had dalliances with Tyrone Power during production of The Razor's Edge (1946) and with Prince Aly Khan in the early 1950s.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer offered her the lead role in National Velvet (1944) but when the production was delayed, she instead signed with 20th Century-Fox.
Received extensive shock treatment in the 1950s while battling her mental instability.
Was in the throes of suicidal depression and admitted to the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas on Christmas Day 1957 after police talked her down from a building ledge. She was released from Menninger's the following year.
20th Century-Fox offered her the lead role in Holiday for Lovers (1959) following her rehabilitation therapy. However, the stress proved too great and she was forced to leave the production.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6125 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Discovered she was expecting daughter Daria while filming Heaven Can Wait (1943). Began filming Laura (1944), after returning from her maternity leave.
Gave her name as "Gene Eliza Taylor Tierney" upon her marriage to Oleg Cassini in Las Vegas, Nevada.
She appeared with Vincent Price in four films: Hudson's Bay (1940), Laura (1944), Leave Her to Heaven (1945) and Dragonwyck (1946).
She appeared with Dana Andrews in five films: Tobacco Road (1941), Belle Starr (1941), Laura (1944), The Iron Curtain (1948) and Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950).
When she saw herself on screen for the first time, she was horrified by her voice ("I sounded like an angry Minnie Mouse"). She began smoking to lower her voice, but it came at a great price--she died of emphysema.
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by either Lydia Simoneschi and Rina Morelli (most notably Laura (1944) and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)). She was also dubbed by Miranda Bonansea in The Return of Frank James (1940); Rosetta Calavetta in Sundown (1941) and Paola Barbara in Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake (1942).
Despite her earlier romance with John F. Kennedy during the 1940s, she voted for Richard Nixon in 1960 instead. However, she did send JFK a congratulatory note when he was elected president.
Was offered the role of Linda Nordley in Mogambo (1953), which she was forced to turn down due to pregnancy. Grace Kelly, who went on to receive a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, was cast instead.
No relation to actress Maura Tierney.
Her mother, Belle Lavinia (Taylor), was a gymnastics teacher. Her father, Howard Sherwood Tierney, served in World War I. Her older brother was named Howard Junior and her younger sister is named Pat. She was of Irish, English, and Sephardi Jewish ancestry.
She was a lifelong staunch Republican and a strong supporter of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in particular.
She was a guest at the house of Tyrone Power on May 19, 1946, when Primula Niven, wife of David Niven, fell down a flight of stairs, sustaining injuries that would eventually result in her death.
Related to Academy Award-winning producer Gordon Hollingshead; her mother was his cousin. She was "discovered" when Hollingshead was giving Tierney's family a tour of the Warner Brothers lot, and director Anatole Litvak spotted her, told her she should be in pictures and got her to take a screen test.
Although she played Tod Andrews's mother in Heaven Can Wait (1943), she was six years his junior in real life.
During the mid-1930s and years before she became famous, she attended a boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland, where her roommate was Maria Riva, daughter of Marlene Dietrich.
Following her death, she was interred at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, Texas. She passed away thirteen days before her 71st birthday.
Ex-sister-in-law of Igor Cassini.
Spoke French fluently.

Personal Quotes (5)

Jealousy is, I think, the worst of all faults because it makes a victim of both parties.
It was the fashion of the time, still is, to feel that all actors are neurotic, or they would not be actors.
Movie failures are like the common cold. You can stay in bed and take aspirin for six days and recover. Or you can walk around and ignore it for six days and recover.
Children don't understand about people loving each other and then suddenly not.
Nothing strengthens a woman's determination to be in love quite so much as being told that she cannot.

Salary (1)

The Return of Frank James (1940) $350 / week

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