at the Tribeca Film Festival, 2007
|Born||Patsy Louise Neal
January 20, 1926
Packard, Whitley County, Kentucky, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Roald Dahl (1953–1983)|
After moving to New York, she accepted her first job as understudy in the Broadway production of The Voice of the Turtle. Next she appeared in Another Part of the Forest (1946), winning a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play.
In 1949, Neal made her film debut in John Loves Mary. Her appearance the same year in The Fountainhead coincided with her on-going affair with her married co-star, Gary Cooper. Later she co-starred with Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
By 1952, Neal had starred in The Breaking Point, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Operation Pacific (the last with John Wayne). She suffered a nervous breakdown around that time, following the end of her relationship with Cooper, and left Hollywood for New York, where she returned to Broadway in a revival of The Children's Hour, in 1952. (She also acted in A Roomful of Roses in 1955, and as the mother in The Miracle Worker in 1959.)
In 1963, Neal won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Hud, co-starring Paul Newman. When the film was initially released it was predicted she would be a nominee in the supporting actress category but she began collecting awards and they were always for Best Leading Actress. She not only received the Academy Award but also picked up awards from the New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review. She also received a BAFTA award from the British Academy. Two years later, in 1965, she was reunited with John Wayne in Otto Preminger's In Harm's Way winning her second BAFTA Award.
Neal was offered the role of "Mrs. Robinson" in The Graduate (1967), but turned it down, feeling it had come too soon after her strokes. She returned to the big screen in The Subject Was Roses (1968), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.
She later starred as Olivia Walton in the television movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971), which was the pilot episode for The Waltons. Although she won a Golden Globe for her performance, she was not invited to reprise the role in the television series; the part went to Michael Learned. Neal played a dying widowed mother trying to find a home for her three children in a moving 1975 episode of NBC's Little House on the Prairie.
In 1978, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville dedicated the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in her honor. The center serves as part of Neal's paralysis victim advocacy. She has appeared in Center advertisements throughout 2006.
In 1988 Neal published an autobiography, As I Am.
Patricia Neal is a long-term actress with Philip Langner's Theatre at Sea/ Sail With the Stars productions with the Theatre Guild.
In 2007, Neal worked on Silvana Vienne's innovative critically-acclaimed art movie Beyond Baklava: The Fairy Tale Story of Sylvia's Baklava, appearing as herself in the portions of the documentary talking about alternative ways to end violence in the world. Also in 2007, Neal received one of two annually-presented Lifetime Achievement Awards at the SunDeis Film Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts. (Academy Award nominee Roy Scheider was the recipient of the other.)
She often appears on the Tony Awards telecast, perhaps because she is the only surviving winner from the first ceremony. Her original Tony was lost so she was given a replacement by Bill Irwin when they presented the Best Actress Award to Cynthia Nixon in 2006.
In April 2009, Neal received a lifetime achievement award from WorldFest Houston on the occasion of the debut of her film, Flying By.
During the filming of The Fountainhead (1949), Neal had an affair with her married co-star, Gary Cooper, whom she had met in 1947 when she was 21 and he was 46. By 1950, Cooper's wife, Veronica, had found out about the relationship and sent Neal a telegram demanding they end it. Neal became pregnant by Cooper, but he persuaded her to have an abortion.
The affair ended, but not before Cooper's daughter, Maria (now Maria Cooper Janis, born 1937), spat at Neal in public. Years after Cooper's death, Maria and her mother Veronica reconciled with Neal.
Neal met British writer Roald Dahl at a dinner party hosted by Lillian Hellman in 1951. They married on July 2, 1953, at Trinity Church in New York. In 1961 and 1962 she suffered the death of one child and a grievous injury to another. Her daughter, Olivia, died from measles encephalitis and her son Theo's carriage was hit by a taxi when he was just four months old. The marriage produced five children: Olivia Twenty (April 20, 1955 – November 17 1962); Chantal Tessa Sophia; Theo Matthew (b. 1960); Ophelia Magdalena; and Lucy Neal (b. 1965).
While pregnant in 1965, Neal suffered three burst cerebral aneurysms, and was in a coma for three weeks. Dahl directed her rehabilitation and she subsequently relearned to walk and talk ("I think I'm just stubborn, that's all"). On August 4, 1965, she gave birth to a healthy daughter, Lucy.
Neal and Dahl's 30-year marriage ended in divorce in 1983 after Dahl's affair with Neal's friend, Felicity Crosland.
|1949||John Loves Mary||Mary McKinley|
|The Fountainhead||Dominique Francon|
|It's a Great Feeling||Herself||cameo|
|The Hasty Heart||Sister Parker|
|1950||Bright Leaf||Margaret Jane Singleton|
|The Breaking Point||Leona Charles|
|Three Secrets||Phyllis Horn|
|1951||Operation Pacific||Lt. (j.g.) Mary Stuart|
|Raton Pass||Ann Challon|
|The Day the Earth Stood Still||Helen Benson|
|Week-End with Father||Jean Bowen|
|1952||Diplomatic Courier||Joan Ross|
|Washington Story||Alice Kingsley|
|Something for the Birds||Anne Richards|
|1954||Your Woman||Contessa Germana de Torri|
|Stranger from Venus||Susan North|
|1957||A Face in the Crowd||Marcia Jeffries|
|1961||Breakfast at Tiffany's||2-E (Mrs. Failenson)|
|1963||Hud||Alma Brown||Academy Award for Best
National Board of Review Award
New York Film Critics
Nominated - Golden Globe
|1964||Psyche '59||Alison Crawford|
|1965||In Harm's Way||Lt. Maggie Haynes||BAFTA Award|
|1968||Pat Neal Is Back||Herself||short subject|
|The Subject Was Roses||Nettie Cleary||Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress|
|1971||The Night Digger||Maura Prince|
|1973||Baxter!||Dr. Roberta Clemm|
|Happy Mother's Day, Love George||Cara|
|1974||"Kung-Fu; Blood of the Dragon"||Sarah||TV 2-part episode|
|1975||B Must Die||Julia|
|1979||The Passage||Mrs. Bergson|
|1979||All Quiet on the Western Front||Paul's Mother|
|1981||Ghost Story||Stella Hawthorne|
|1989||An Unremarkable Life||Frances McEllany|
|1991||Preminger: Anatomy of a Filmmaker||Herself||documentary|
|1999||Cookie's Fortune||Jewel Mae 'Cookie' Orcutt|
|From Russia to Hollywood: The 100-Year Odyssey of Chekhov and Shdanoff||Herself||documentary|
|2000||For the Love of May||Grammy May||short subject|
|2003||Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There||Herself||documentary|
|2007||The Fairy Tale Story of Sylvia's Baklava||Herself||documentary feature film|
|2008||Shattered Glory||Mrs. Wyatt||pre-production|