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Jane Darwell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (6)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Palmyra, Missouri, USA
Died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NamePatti Mary Woodward
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Missouri-born Jane Darwell was born Patti Woodard, the daughter of William Robert Woodard, president of the Louisville Southern Railroad, and Ellen (Booth) Woodard, in Palmyra, Missouri, where she grew up on a ranch . She nursed ambitions to be an opera singer, but put it off because of her father's disapproval (she eventually changed her name to Darwell from the family name of Woodard so as not to "sully" the family name). Making her stage debut at age 33, she was almost 40 when she made her first film, a silent, in 1913.

She easily made the transition from silents to talkies, and specialized in playing kindly, grandmotherly types. Her most famous role was as Ma Joad, the glue that held the Joad family together, in the classic The Grapes of Wrath (1940), for which she won the Academy Award. She was, however, memorably cast against type in The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), as the shrewish, cackling Ma Grier, a lynch mob leader, and again in Caged (1950), as the unsympathetic prison matron in charge of the isolation ward.

She made over 200 films. Her last, Mary Poppins (1964), was made at the express request of Walt Disney; she had retired and was living at the Motion Picture Country Home and Disney came out personally to ask her to appear in the film, after which she went back into retirement. She died in 1967 after suffering a stroke and a heart attack, and was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Trade Mark (2)

Often played mothery women
Often played brassy "old dames"

Trivia (6)

Had retired in 1959 and was living at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, California, when she was approached by Walt Disney Pictures to play the Bird Woman in Mary Poppins (1964). She at first refused, but Walt Disney was so set on having her in his film that he personally visited her at the MPCH and eventually persuaded her to take the role.
Was the 15th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Grapes of Wrath (1940) at The 13th Academy Awards on February 27, 1941.
Biography in "Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties" by Axel Nissen.
Had appeared in four films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Gone with the Wind (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) and Mary Poppins (1964). Of those, Gone with the Wind (1939) is a winner in the category.
Had appeared in six films directed by John Ford: The Grapes of Wrath (1940), My Darling Clementine (1946), 3 Godfathers (1948), Wagon Master (1950), The Sun Shines Bright (1953) and The Last Hurrah (1958).
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6735 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.

Personal Quotes (1)

I've played Henry Fonda's mother so often that, whenever we run into each other, I call him "Son" and he calls me "Ma", just to save time.

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