|Born||Sandra Dale Dennis
April 27, 1937
Hastings, Nebraska, U.S.
|Died||March 2, 1992 (aged 54)
Westport, Connecticut, U.S.
Sandra Dale “Sandy” Dennis (April 27, 1937 – March 2, 1992) was an American theater and film actress.
Dennis was born in Hastings, Nebraska, the daughter of Yvonne, a secretary, and Jack Dennis, a postal clerk. She had a brother, Frank. A high school classmate of Dick Cavett, she attended the Nebraska Wesleyan University and University of Nebraska. Dennis grew up in Kenesaw and Lincoln, Nebraska, appearing in the Lincoln Community Theater Group and moving to New York City at the age of 19.
Dennis made her television debut in 1956 in The Guiding Light and her film debut in Splendor in the Grass (1961). However, she was more committed to following a career in the theater. She won consecutive Tony Awards for her performances in A Thousand Clowns and Any Wednesday. She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Honey, the fragile, neurotic young wife of George Segal, in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). She followed this with well-received performances in Up the Down Staircase (1967), The Fox (1967), Sweet November (1968) and The Out-of-Towners (1970). In 1964, she appeared in the television episode "Don't Mention My Name in Sheboygan" of Craig Stevens's CBS drama, Mr. Broadway.
An advocate of method acting, Dennis was often described as neurotic and mannered in her performances; her signature style included running words together and oddly stopping and starting sentences, suddenly going up and down octaves as she spoke, and fluttering her hands. Walter Kerr famously remarked that she treated sentences as "weak, injured things" that needed to be slowly helped "across the street." Nonetheless, William Goldman, in his book The Season, referred to her as a quintessential "critics' darling" who got rave reviews no matter how unusual her acting and questionable her choice of material. During her stint in Any Wednesday, Kerr said the following: "Let me tell you about Sandy Dennis. There should be one in every home."
Her last significant film role was in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982). In 1991, she played a leading role in the film The Indian Runner, which marked Sean Penn's debut as a film director, and he also wrote the screenplay.
Dennis lived with prominent jazz musician Gerry Mulligan from 1965 until they split up in 1976. Although Mulligan often referred to Dennis as his second wife, Dennis later revealed that they had never married. She also lived with actor Eric Roberts from 1980 to 1985.
In the documentary film Confessions of a Superhero, Superman impersonator Christopher Lloyd Dennis claims to be her son; however, no evidence was provided by Christopher proving this claim, and the film also includes Sandy's relatives' denial of this claim.
|1961||Splendor in the Grass||Kay|
|1966||Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?||Honey||Academy Award for
Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe
|1967||Up the Down Staircase||Sylvia Barrett|
|The Fox||Jill Banford|
|Sweet November||Sara Deever||Nominated - Golden Globe|
|1969||That Cold Day in the Park||Frances Austen|
|A Touch of Love||Rosamund Stacey|
|1970||The Out-of-Towners||Gwen Kellerman|
|1974||Mr. Sycamore||Jane Gwilt|
|1976||God Told Me To||Martha Nicholas|
|1977||Nasty Habits||Sister Winifred|
|1981||The Animals Film||Herself|
|The Four Seasons||Anne Callan|
|1982||Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean||Mona|
|1991||The Indian Runner||Mrs. Roberts|