Sunday, April 17, 2011


Born on October 17, 1918 actress Teresa Wright was born Muriel Teresa Wright in Harlem, New York City, the daughter of Martha (née Espy) and Arthur Wright, who was an insurance agent. She grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey. During her years at Columbia High School, she became seriously interested in acting and spent her summers working in Provincetown theater productions. Following her high school graduation in 1938, she returned to New York and was hired to understudy the role of Emily (played by Dorothy McGuire and later Martha Scott) in Thornton Wilder's Our Town. She took over the role when Martha Scott went to Hollywood to make the film version of the play.

Wright was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her screen debut in The Little Foxes (1941). The following year, she was nominated again, this time for Best Actress for The Pride of the Yankees, in which she played opposite Gary Cooper as the wife of Lou Gehrig; that same year, she won Best Supporting Actress as the daughter-in-law of Greer Garson's character in Mrs. Miniver. No other actor has ever duplicated her feat of receiving an Oscar nomination for each of her first three films.
In 1943, Wright was loaned out by Goldwyn for the Universal film Shadow of a Doubt, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She played an innocent young woman who discovers that her beloved uncle, played by Joseph Cotten, is a serial murderer. In my humble opinion it was her best work ever. Other notable films include The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), an award-winning film about the adjustments of servicemen returning home after World War II, and The Men (1950), another story of war veterans, which starred Marlon Brando.

Wright rebelled against the studio system of the time. When Samuel Goldwyn fired her, citing her refusal to publicize the film Enchantment (1948), she expressed no regret about losing her $5,000 per week contract. She said, "The type of contract between players and producers is, I feel, antiquated in form and abstract in concept... We have no privacies which producers cannot invade, they trade us like cattle, boss us like children." However, before a March 2006 screening of Enchantment on Turner Classic Movies, host Robert Osborne said that Wright did later have some regrets about leaving Goldwyn, since her salary per film went from $125,000 under Goldwyn to about $25,000 per film afterwards.

After 1959, she worked mainly in television and on the stage. She was nominated for Emmy Awards in 1957 for The Miracle Worker and in 1960 for The Margaret Bourke-White Story. She was in the 1975 Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman and the 1980 revival of Morning's at Seven, for which she won a Drama Desk Award as a member of the Outstanding Ensemble Performance.

Her later movie appearances included a major role in Somewhere in Time (1980) and the role of Miss Birdie in John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997), directed by Francis Ford Coppola.On March 6, 2005 she died of a heart attack at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut at the age of 86...


  1. Great post! I really like her in Shadow of a Doubt, and it was interesting reading more about her life. I didn't realize she was in Somewhere in Time!


  2. A sensitive and intelligent actress, and a favorite of many.

  3. I always admired the work of Theresa Wright. She was magnificent in Shadow of a Doubt.