Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gene Tierney

Gene Tierney was born November 20, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. The daughter of Howard Sherwood Tierney, an insurance broker, and Belle Lavina Taylor, a gym teacher.

On a trip to the West Coast, she visited Warner Brothers Studio. Director Anatole Litvak, who was so taken by the seventeen-year-old’s beauty, told her that she should become an actress. Warner Bros. wanted to sign her to a contract, but her parents advised against it because of the low salary. Her father felt “If Gene is to be an actress, it should be in the legitimate theatre.” Tierney began studying acting at a small Greenwich Village acting studio in New York.

In 1938, she made her Broadway debut carrying a bucket of water across the stage in What a Life. A critic for Variety magazine stated "Miss Tierney is certainly the most beautiful water carrier I’ve ever seen!" She appeared in Broadway productions such as Mrs. O'Brien Entertains, Ring Two, and The Male Animal.

In 1940, Gene Tierney made her film debut as Elenore Stone in The Return of Frank James.

Gene Tierney's most notable films include Heaven can Wait (1943), Laura (1944), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), The Ghost and Mrs. Muri (1947), The Iron Curtain (1948), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), The Secret of Convict Lake (1951) and Advise & Consent (1962).

She received one Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for Leave Her To Heaven (1945).

She appeared in five movies with Dana Andrews: Tobacco Road (1941), Belle Starr (1941), Laura (1944), The Iron Curtain (1948) and Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950).

Gene Tierney has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.

Gene Tierney's first daughter, Daria, was born deaf, partially blind and mentally retarded. Gene had contracted measles during her only appearance at the Hollywood Canteen. Howard Hughes provided the funds for her daughter's medical care. Gene never forogt Hughes' acts of kindness.

Like Vivian Leigh, Gene Tierney was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. During the 1950s, she received extensive shock treatment which forced her to drop out of Mogambo and was replaced by Grace Kelly. Later in life, Gene became an outspoken opponent of shock treatment therapy, claiming that it had destroyed significant portions of her memory.

In 1958, Gene Tierney met Texas oil baron, W. Howard Lee, (who was married to Hedy Lamarr from 1953 to 1960). Tierney and Lee married in on July 11, 1960 and remained married until his death in 1981.

After retiring from motion pictures, Gene settled in Texas where she became an excellent contract bridge player.

Gene Tierney died on November 6, 1991 shortly before her 71st birthday of emphysema.

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