Shirley Booth Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trivia (32)  | Personal Quotes (2)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in North 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 Miss Duffy the Tavern Owner's Man Crazy Daughter on "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 premier talents of the 20th-century theatre.

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

Family (4)

Spouse William Hogg Baker, Jr. (24 September 1943 - 4 March 1951)  (his death)
Ed Gardner (23 November 1929 - 4 September 1942)  (divorced)
Children None (no children)
Parents Albert James Ford
Virginia Martha Wright
Relatives Jean Valentine Ford (sibling)

Trivia (32)

Born to Albert James Ford and his wife Virginia Martha Wright, she had one sister, Jean Valentine Ford (1914-2010).
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 (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).
Shirley Booth is one of 4 actresses to receive Academy Award nominations for playing the same character in motion picture versions of their plays. The other 3 actresses are: Ruth Hussey in The Philadelphia Story (1940), Rosalind Russell in My Sister Eileen (1942) and Katharine Hepburn in Summertime (1955). Booth is the only actress to win the Academy Award.
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 15 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, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Anne Bancroft, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Ellen Burstyn, Helen Mirren, Frances McDormand, Jessica Lange, Viola Davis and Glenda Jackson.
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.
Although she was well into her 50s by the time she entered films, Booth knocked 9 years off the year of her birth, thereby claiming to be almost an entire decade younger than her actual age. Most contemporary journals published prior to her retirement determinedly accepted her birth year as 1907 and it was not until many years later than the correct year, 1898, was finally made public.
Is one of 3 actresses to have won the Best Actress Oscar (hers being for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)) and the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy (hers being for Hazel (1961)). The other actresses are Loretta Young and Helen Hunt.
On winning her Oscar for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952) in 1953, she became the third (and final) woman born in the 1800's to be named Best Actress by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The previous two were Mary Pickford (in 1930) and Marie Dressler (in 1931).
In 1953, Shirley won the Oscar for "Come Back, Little Sheba" and the Tony for "The Time of the Cuckoo", making her one of five actresses to win the Tony and the Oscar in the same year. Audrey Hepburn, Ellen Burstyn, Mercedes Ruehl, and Judi Dench are the others.
Shirley was one of 10 performers to win the Tony Award and the Academy Award for the same role. For "Come Back, Little Sheba", Shirley won the Tony for Lead Actress (Play) in 1950 and the Oscar for Best Actress in 1953.
Shirley is one of 6 performers to win the Tony Award in back-to-back years. She won in 1949 for "Goodbye, Mr. Fancy"(Featured Actress in a Play) and in 1950 for "Come Back, Little Sheba"(Lead Actress in a Play". The other performers to share this distinction are Gwen Verdon (1958/59), Sandy Dennis (1963/64), Stephen Spinella (1993/94), Judith Light (2012/13), and Laurie Metcalf (2017/18).

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!

Salary (1)

Come Back, Little Sheba (1952) $5,000 per week

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