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Fay Bainter Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (20)  | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (4)

Born in Los Angeles, California, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (pneumonia)
Birth NameFay Okell Bainter
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Fay Bainter's career began as a child performer in 1898. For some time, she was a member of the traveling cast of the Morosco Stock Company in Los Angeles. In 1912, she made her Broadway debut in 'The Rose of Panama', but this and her subsequent play 'The Bridal Path' (1913), were conspicuous failures. She continued in stock and, after forming an association with David Belasco, took another swing at Broadway. She had her first hit with a dynamic performance, which established her as major theatrical star, as Ming Toy in 'East is West', at the Astor Theatre (1918-1920). Alternating between comedy and melodrama, Fay then shone in 'The Enemy' (1925-26) with Walter Abel and gave an outstanding performance of mid-life crisis as the desperate Fran Dodsworth ('Dodsworth',1934-35), opposite Walter Huston as her husband Sam. Fay never had the chance to recreate her stage role on screen - Ruth Chattertongot the part instead. At the same time, now aged 41, she was offered a role in her first motion picture, This Side of Heaven (1934). Co-starring opposite Lionel Barrymore, this was the first of many thoughtful, understanding wives, aunts and mothers she was to play over the next twenty years.

Of stocky built, with expressive eyes and a warm, slightly smoky voice, Fay rarely essayed unsympathetic or hard-boiled characters, with the exception of her Oscar-nominated dowager in The Children's Hour (1961). While not often top-billed, her name remained consistently high in the list of credits throughout her career. Critics applauded her sterling performances in productions like Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) and Quality Street (1937), as Katharine Hepburn's excitable spinster sister. Fay won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for the movie Jezebel (1938). As Bette Davis' stern, reproving Aunt Belle, she excelled in a somewhat meatier role than the genteel or fluttery ladies she had previously been engaged to portray. That same year, she was also nominated (as Best Actress) for her housekeeper, Hannah Parmalee, in White Banners (1938), but lost to Bette Davis. Fay enhanced many more films with her presence during the 1940's, notably as Mrs. Elvira Wiggs, in Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1942), Merle Oberon's eccentric aunt from the bayou in Dark Waters (1944) and Danny Kaye's mother in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947). From the 1950's, she alternated stage with acting on television. Her last role of note was as Mary Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's 'Long Day's Journey into Night', on tour with the National Company in 1958.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (1)

Reginald Sidney Hugh Venable (3 June 1921 - 28 September 1964) ( his death) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Her warm, slightly smoky voice

Trivia (20)

Screen, stage and television actress.
Aunt of Dorothy Burgess.
A change in the Academy Awards nominating and voting rules was made because of confusion over her two nominations in 1938.
Following her death, she was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Her husband was a military officer who was buried there.
Along with Teresa Wright, Barry Fitzgerald, Jessica Lange, Sigourney Weaver, Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Emma Thompson, Julianne Moore, Jamie Foxx and Cate Blanchett, she is one of only eleven actors to receive Academy Award nominations in two acting categories in the same year. She was nominated for Best Actress for White Banners (1938) and Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938) at the 12th Academy Awards in 1939, winning the latter award. Not only that, she is the first actress to have ever been nominated in both categories in the same year, and also the first to have a nomination in both categories ever.
She was pushed into acting by her mother. As a girl, she was on stage by age 6, and made her Broadway debut at age 18. Nothing came of it, so she went back to working in stock acting companies.
Her husband Reginald Sydney Hugh Venable (1890-1964) was a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy.
Presented the very first African-American winner with the Oscar statuette when Hattie McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for Gone with the Wind (1939) (February 29, 1940, Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles).
She became one of the few performers to be nominated for lead and supporting Oscars in the same year (for White Banners (1938) and Jezebel (1938)). She won for the latter.
Was the 12th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Jezebel (1938) at The 11th Academy Awards on February 23, 1939.
Biography in "Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties" by Axel Nissen.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Is one of 15 Oscar-winning actresses to have been born in the state of California. The others are Gloria Grahame, Jo Van Fleet, Liza Minnelli, Tatum O'Neal, Diane Keaton, Sally Field, Anjelica Huston, Cher, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Marcia Gay Harden and Brie Larson.
Daughter of Charles Frederick Bainter (1849-1928), born in Illinois, and Mary Okell (1850-1922), born in England.
Her son Reginald died on June 27, 1974 in Los Angeles, California at age 50.
Gave birth to her only child at age 29, a son Reginald S. Venable Jr. on July 23, 1923. Child's father was her husband, Reginald Venable Sr.
Returned to work 5 months after giving birth to her son Reginald when she began performing in the Broadway play "The Other Rose".
Was 3 months pregnant with her son Reginald when she completed her run of the Broadway play "The Lady Cristillinda".
Was in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: Jezebel (1938), Our Town (1940) and The Human Comedy (1943).
Younger sister of Grace Burgess (May 22, 1880-March 10, 1974).

Personal Quotes (4)

[In 1938] There comes a day when the flush of youth disappears from every woman's face. Most women dread it. I did. Like so many things, however, it is worse in anticipation than actual fact.
[on her early stage work with Minnie Maddern Fiske] I was only a raw girl, with no better sense than to ape Mrs. Fiske in everything she did.
Some of the young players that all that is required of them is learning lines and speaking them when their cue comes. They stand staring at you with vacant eyes, concentrating on what they have to say, instead of listening to and concentrating on what you are saying.
[on wearing a black wig for her role as Ming Toy in the stage production of East is West] A disappointed blonde am I. And the dye runs and is ruining my hair.

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